CVS Live Guest - 2020-02-05 - Nathan Ormond

Author Streamed Wednesday February 5th, 2020

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I interviewed Nathan before, but I invited him back to see how his faith-journey is unfolding. Turns out he is now agnostic. We discuss the philosophical and existential landscape as it now appears to Nathan without the lens of Christianity.

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These YouTube transcripts are generated automatically and are therefore unformatted and replete with errors.
I'm live with Nathan Ormond Nathan how are you doing I'm good thank you how are you I'm doing very well I've had you on before but maybe just catch us up a little bit how you been doing what you've been doing how's your faith journey and all that stuff okay sure I guess we're now I probably am NOT a Christian anymore really of any denomination and maybe maybe some liberal types would kind of count me as well but yeah and I'm more in the ADA Gnostic camp where I sit right now and over the past four five months of that okay and well this is bad news for me but talk me through the journey hear what happened yeah sure so I guest online through some of the people I was talking to and I got talking to some people who do this thing called like Street epistemology so I've got an interviewer a couple of interviews with Pine Creek that I did I split some people on a discord server that's dedicated to that Street epistemology as well and and I think that that got me to reduce my confidence in some of the kind of core claims of Christian theism and then I think just studying studying philosophy as well and look looking at textual criticism things like that has just made me realize at least at least the version of Christianity that I was holding to I I can't at the minute and do too just not thinking but those particular things are true anymore okay I just noticed our friend Matthew Murdock and Lord Mozart 308 are in the live chat so I just want to give a shout out to them but yeah so how would you explain your conversion to Christianity and then you're following in in very meta terms meaning that you're going beyond the arguments maybe maybe not a purely psychological explanation but sort of an objective a nominal logical description of what what exactly do you think happened and so I think yeah I think I think in the first instance when I started becoming a Christian and it's really it's really difficult to separate out that kind of phenomenological thing from like the psychological I suppose and in the first instance I think it with like a like a so as always becoming Atman and becoming an adult dealing with the real world and also dealing with leg trauma from my past as well I think religion helped me to make a lot of sense of those things and and then I started to I started his first see it as like a pragmatic truth and and then I I thought well maybe maybe there's some correspondence here too to an actual ultimate reality that sits behind there so it's not just that it works pragmatically and then it's completely untethered from from any substance and then I think I went deeper and deeper kind of into like conservative evangelical Christianity I guess and I guess that's the form that I find intellectually untenable at the minute at least and I think I think the movement out was very difficult as well if it I think and like I think I thought physically kind of sick for a while actually and as a result of you know like these things that I really thought were true and important stuff being being challenged and trying to trying to fight to understand them through that old lens and yeah I guess now it just doesn't make sense in that same way anymore but one way one way I couldn't make sense of it through the old lenses I could say maybe like Calvinism is true and I've just been reprobated by the gory or the Calvinist God or something so do you believe in an uncaused first cause are you willing to go that far and I wouldn't say that that's something so what are the alternatives to having an uncaused first cause in your view well first there's like a load of assumptions involved in that but there's have you ever listened to and the discussion between Frederic Kapil stone and Bertrand Russell on the contingency not long ago and Sir Frederick coppleson was a Catholic philosopher and theologian I think black friars College in Oxford which is like the the the Catholic and what you even call them like seminary order but the Catholic College Oxford Bertrand Russell obviously the kind of famous atheist and they had and this series of discussions on reasons to believe in God and basically ahem they go through this this contingency argument so calm person saying you know things don't can take the the cause of themselves within that within themselves so then like this kind of regress back to it back to the first cause and butter it's all kind of replies what maybe I can demonstrate your fallacy is this and every every man has a mother therefore there's a mother of all men or something like that and then they kind of you know go on and discussing this topic and it just reaches the point where I think there's basically an impasse essentially on whether it's necessary to posit an omnipotent being guess that first cause you know you could you might as well just say well the universe itself is necessary or and I think all things all things given that we know about like modern physics as compared to like medieval metaphysics and stuff you know do we do we really even know how the universe functions metaphysically enough to say and that there must be a first cause or what what the rules have got and I'm certainly not someone who knows enough to say something like that I've just got no idea to be honest yeah well the act important see we wrote that the ancient Greeks took I think is a good one everything that's changeable here has a certain amount of potential that can be activated to a greater or lesser degrees and you know classic examples of seed like an acorn growing into the mighty oak it doesn't have to manifest that potential it doesn't have to actualize the potential doesn't have to but it can't right it's just like the zygote in the mother's belly doesn't have to thrive in the real world it could be aborted or it could die of natural causes many ways for potential to be snuffed out but to say that the universe the material universe is necessary is to say necessarily logically necessarily that everything that it is now is the actualization of an eternal potential and that potential is infinite meaning that there's no there's no end to it in the future either so there's no there's no there's an actual infinity behind us and necessarily an actual infinity ahead of us in time do you accept that much philosophically and I'd say on the on the first account of talking about the potential in the Acorn stuff like that I mean I think that to use that in the same sense to describe things on that macroscopic level it sounds kind of like an you know like like like in scholasticism when they talk about kind of like sympathies and antipathy is flowing through the air and now we kind of describe things in it in maybe different terms it's all I can you know like the desire of an object to move in a certain direction things like that and I don't think even even if you get into like a 1700s kind of physics and stuff and they're talking about well maybe it's corpuscles or all the monads or something and that's what's really in the object with the motive to it to move it or whatever and I just don't think that we know anything like like I don't think we're even scratching the surface to say that this is really what the universe is like that there's there's really this thing that is but sorry but yeah on the macroscopic level when you're talking about the universe is infinite in the past or infinite in the future I mean I suppose maybe in some bizarre mathematical way but I don't understand it could be I mean I don't think I don't think it is but I'd never say you know I don't even really have a belief about it because I it's something that I have such little knowledge about okay well there are very few ways that something cannot be right this is a strainer of some up Spinoza it cannot be because it was never brought into being like that the building that I thought that we haven't built yet right it cannot be because it was destroyed like the building that did exist it was built and it was destroyed okay and then there's the not being that is just the consequence of logical necessity it can't be because it's impossible like the square circle so there really aren't that many ways to not be and Spinoza famously said that if it's possible for God to exist then he necessarily exists because the only way he could not exist is through logical impossibility so if it's possible for him to exist he necessarily does exist because he can't be created or destroyed by his very nature of my definition so this is the suspense point of view and I think it's logically sound you're free to pick at that or to just die behind agnosticism if you like but pardon the the disparaging comment there but that's how we see if Gnosticism sort of as a hiding place you know in the complexity of philosophy and the complexity of Natural Science and the complexity of the natural world are plenty of hiding places if you want to hide away and you can you can use the fancy label with Gnosticism for that if you want but this is not an attack on your characters just it's just a rage that I have against agnosticism so don't take it personally but yeah this idea that if it's possible for God to exist he must necessarily exist can you just sort of respond to that one thought of Spinoza please and this also sounds kind of like Malcolm's ontological argument and I I think that essentially what this shows is yes if if God exists God exists necessarily but reality still controls whether something exists or not like you can't you can't just define something into reality by adding exists to its kind of description yeah and now bouncing back to this you know universe which isn't necessary I understand necessary being to be eternal a temporal not subject to change but you obviously have a different notion of a necessary being like it could be complex if composed of parts it could be subject to change like the material universe obviously is so we have a very very different understanding of what the necessary being has to be can you just talk about that I mean but I'd even go as far as to say I mean I don't really even know what I mean by saying something is necessary or contingent like I I mean may in like the small the small set of logical problems or may come across in my life I can use these terms and they might help me solve riddles but when it comes to really like getting to the fundamental nature of what the universe is and I'm talking about something being necessary or contingent like I don't really understand what these concepts mean and when we get into into like really really what's going on with it I understand as far as my kind of faculties what will allow me that I could you know like I could say for example and necessarily if if P then Q isn't it late like some kind of relationship like that but the like it like again just me just me using these kind of terms to describe my experience as best I can and make sense of the world doesn't even mean that that's really what's going on there I don't think I've got any way of knowing that that's really really what's happening in the universe yeah so when it comes to like then talking about like a necessary being behind everything like I genuinely am not even sure what what that actually means beyond like and you know like I could I could pretend but I knew what it meant but yeah I want to sort of walk you through really quickly and amateurishly the modal argument of Blessed John Duns Scotus is that okay yeah sure so you admit that there is something in this material world like for example you yourself you do exist as a material being right yeah I think so yeah so let's just for the sake of argument and you're free to you know this could be you don't need to commit 100% but let's just say that you exist okay so you you are manifest in reality apparently and we'll just go with it we'll just we'll just take the appearances as reality and in the case the reason I chose you as the object not the fork on your table or whatever the reason I chose you is because when you deny your own existence you're affirming your own existence so it kind of nails you down to where you can't really deny it the act of denying is affirming it so that's why I chose you as the object but the fact that you exist now and the question of if this is real or if it's Memorex that's a different philosophical question right like is the arrow of time actually passing sweeping through this exact moment of time right now we don't need to dwell on that I don't want to go down that rabbit hole a theory of time B theory of time all these sorts of things but the fact that you exist right now that's a manifest fact and you are there are you know we can I think I think you will admit that your parents were instrumental largely responsible for bringing you into being through the marriage act and however that happened whether it was in a lab or whether it was the old-fashioned way but you know you're willing to admit that your parents were causes of your existence right sure okay so so this whole idea of manifest reality I'm getting a little bit off-track but the basic idea maybe we should start with an inanimate object because it's gonna be a lot easier if I'm if I'm right now I'm pressing a button on my keyboard in front of my computer and the key in in one split second in a moment in time that button is being depressed by my finger which is being moved by my forearm and my shoulder and ultimately by my my brain and my brain and my will and the decision that I made to press this button okay consciously or unconsciously freely or in a way that is not free or that has a limited freedom doesn't matter okay my my will or my decision to type causes my finger to depress that particular button at this particular time so there's a there is within this instant there's a chain of causality and it's it's an essentially ordered series of causes and effects within the moment and we can disregard any of the temporal stuff that's going that led up to this moment or that follows this moment we're just dealing with the moment it's called an essentially ordered series because it's limited to that vertical stream in the moment it's a it's a synchronous simultaneous series of causes and effect so my will is above my brain and my brain is above my arm my hand and my finger and my whole physical body is above a key and the key is depressed and there's there's a hierarchy there my will is more perfect than my body and my body is more perfect than the keyboard and this is this is all a blessed John Duns Scotus so the idea is if we look at this essentially ordered series and pauses mm-hmm there is necessarily a first member even if that first member it's isolated now of course because we're isolating it from past sort of accidental AHS in effect accidental series and from accidentally ordered holiday also so we're isolating it from those but it doesn't mean that that first memory is not a member of those but I'm just isolating it and so the main point here is that there is a first efficient cause at every moment in time for every essentially ordered series of causes and we can we can know because it is not repugnant to being as this is a scoliosis term it's not repugnant to being for me to cause a keyboard key to move it's unnecessary it's a necessary fact it's it's in this it's it is necessary that it is formally possible this is a technical language it's formally possible or such a thing to occur right so there is there it is formally possible it's a necessary fact that it's formally possible for an essentially ordered series to exist and we know that essentially ordered series has a first member in terms of efficient causality and because we have isolated it from the temporal series on the horizontal plane the accidental causes and the accidentally ordered series of causes there's nothing repugnant to being to having an a temporal first cause a first efficient cause that is not subject to space and time and so because nothing could bring that into existence or take it out of existence nothing can act on it because it's formerly possible it's necessary so there is unnecessary first efficient cause which is a temporal that's what everyone calls God so that's a really sloppy summary of one part the first part of Blessed John Duns Scotus is modal proof for the existence of God so it does away with a lot of the questions about the Eternity of time and the material universe and it focuses it's it's an a a posteriori proof meaning that it deals with reality as we find it manifest right now and it takes as its necessary premise the manifest reality that we see all around with it with causes and effects and objects and these sorts of things and then it deduces from the fact that these are not repugnant to being that they're formerly possible it deduces from that that they're necessary and that these essential essentially ordered series of causes are necessary and there is necessarily one a temporal first necessary efficient cause so just I just wanted to throw that out there you can you can go away and chew on it study it read the actual text blessed John Duns Scotus but I wanted to bounce that off you and see if you found it at all interesting and if it was a different Avenue from what you might have seen in for example st. Thomas Aquinas is five ways and stuff like that yeah I still don't understand how it doesn't commit that same fallacy of saying everything has it cause therefore there's a cause of all things which which is tautologies and I know maybe I've missed something there and the second thing that sounded strange to me was saying it's formally possible therefore it's necessary and I don't understand how that follows oh that was Spinoza that was out of Spinoza if there are only three ways that something could not exist being brought into being being taken out of being or logically impossible because what's what what's cordis does is he shows that it's not impossible to have an a temporal burst efficient cause in at least one essentially ordered series of causation okay so he shows this it's not repugnant to being to have an a temporal first efficient cause in an essentially ordered series of causality okay so he shows that and then he says well the only way that temporal burst efficient cause in an essentially ordered series would not exist because it could not be brought into existence or taken out of existence so therefore the only way it could not exist is if it were impossible and because it because we have just shown that it's possible therefore it's necessary that's going back to Spinoza's thing okay I see so yeah I mean I mean I'd have to I'd have to look more to be able to say but it makes sense a bit more now yeah might be an interesting route to take but this whole this whole notion of agnosticism I'd like to zoom in a little bit on your agnosticism what are the limits to your agnosticism are you agnostic about your agnosticism or do you know with do you know with some sort of certainty that you are agnostic and that you have you mapped out the domain of your agnosticism perfectly imperfectly or you have some doubts about how far and wide your agnosticism has contaminated everything I've I've no idea really I mean I might like things like like metaphysics probably and most of that sort of stuff and yeah I don't really know okay coming from the other angle what are some of the sorts of things you're absolutely 100% certain of convinced oh like one plus one equals two for example and like I'm thinking think is probably the only the only real sort of order that I am whatever I am I'm having an experience is that the only one or that's the most certain one that's the only one that I'm like I put like a hundred percent certainty on and then like other things on top of that are not less than 100 percent I think okay and do you enjoy this headspace or is it a source of anxiety and insecurity existentially for you I mean I'd say from like coming out of my Christian theological beliefs before that and there's been psychological difficulty with that and but I actually think that it's somewhat somewhat made me a better person because I don't have I don't have the confidence that I'm I'm a hundred percent right and have the God of the universe on my side which makes me more more humble in the way that I try and deal with people in the way that I deal with problems in in life I think I'm more I'm more with people rather than having like this us versus them attitude against the world and not participating in reality the same where the people are and just kind of waiting for heaven to come or something or like it take stances on things like and climate change fretwork be like oh there's a new and I know people have different theological interpretations but I say be like oh well there's a new heaven and new earth coming someday so why is something like that matter or and and I don't think that they were good I I don't think it was good to kind of be that way so I think in in some ways I mean I don't have the kind of certainty of an afterlife or anything like that but I mean I think realistically if there's nothing after death and there's nothing to be worried about and I think that if there is a God who exists it it if it's all good it can't be a god but does eternal conscious torment and so okay I used to work for the Mafia in another here at a very low level position but one of the people ordered a mail-order catalog a mail-order bride catalog from Russia where a bunch of women in it you flip through the book and you choose which woman you want to marry and of course he bought this on someone's credit card it wasn't his own credit card and whatever but um I you know I looked through the book and I thought you know some of these women are hideous some are attractive whatever but the idea is an interesting one you know you can order this woman and then she'll be shipped over and you can get married whatever so and it might or it might not work out at any stage right like I mean they might not accept your second transaction on the credit card and you just don't get the woman at all so where were you with Jesus Christ were you browsing through the catalogue or had he come over and he consummated the the wedding like the marriage how far had you gone because it sounds like either you never knew him and so he never loved him or you were in love with just the picture of him or you were in love with him and you but you're selfish so you divorced him because it was too hard what which one of those is the case for you do you think I mean I don't think that necessarily even like accurate descriptions of the available options like I mean well if we if we just take a look at my actions say going into private and crying and praying for hours in reading entire books of the Bible for hours I would say like actions like that on somewhat you know like hey this is this is what's very frustrating is what theists want to do because it makes them cut is the the you will you just never really got it like I get it no I like I got it I was a hundred percent in and you know I was convinced this was real and I was convinced that I was that spiritual warfare was real I was convinced that and actually my my purpose in life was to try and like sacrifice my own well-being and just just do everything I could to try and convert people to Christ and try it like I was genuinely convinced of of all of these things and so if it I think to say I think so well you know you just kind of did it didn't get it you don't you know you didn't and then to say what to say you didn't know Jesus well this is not if there is such a person there well that's not through any lack of trying on my behalf and I think that would only say something about the character of this person again that's where maybe the Calvinism starts to make sense maybe it's just this this this person who preordained evil in the world that that would be possible and yeah but in my analogy I'd like you to stick to my analogy with this mail-order bride booklet so maybe you know the photo she looked really hot in the photo and you paid your money and she came over and she was short and hairy and ugly and stupid and smelly so you wanted to get your money back because she sort of catfished you that's another option there many many options but just use this mail-order bride example and try to describe to me what is it with Jesus Christ was he a catfish would is there no such person or is he just not what you thought he was going to be it's that is that I think and it's well I mean if we to go literally into it is that I think that and Jesus was someone who thought that they were the Messiah and died and didn't have any divine so it's not we thought your say right yeah but it depends it in terms of like what what that actually means is that depends what you you know how do you look at that like so so someone like is it Albert Schweitzer who who went who thought the exact same thing but then is still a Christian for the rest of his life goes and builds a hospital in some some island with people people don't have access to health care he studied to be a doctor beforehand spends the entire his life treating these people built in churches things like that but all the time thinks that Christ died a man with no divine attributes describes his God as a hope and not a fact well I mean are we gonna well he's not a real Christian then because because he's got those sorts of like I don't I don't know yeah I'm not trying to I'm not trying to put you down or put you on the spot it's just to find out what happened like I mean I I admit that I might be wrong in that Jesus Christ might not be what I think that he is right I'm right there with you I'm ready to abandon Jesus Christ right now you know if you can show me that he's not what the Church teaches that he is it's not like I am it's not like I'm 100 percent certain if I were 100 percent certain it would not be faith right if faith means that I don't have that certainty faith means I trust without certainty I am sorry if I have certainty I have certainty and I have certainty and God the Father but I don't have certainty in in a messiah the Jewish Messiah how could i how could I possibly have certainty in that other than by the grace of God you know I do have I do have a lot of confidence right it's when it falls short of Honor percent certainty because I'm fallible I'm fallible a fallible human being so I'm not putting myself above you and I would hope that no theist would put himself above you or put you down for following the truth wherever it leads you it is going to be disappointing for a Christian to find out that someone rapidly came in and quickly exited obviously that's disappointing I'm disappointed I had no idea about this you know but what has the reaction been like and you said you gave a hint that you've sort of been turned off a little bit by some of the reactions you've had from Thea some of that's in the theory or in practice that you've actually experienced negativity but what's the reaction been from both sides of that theists non-theist line well they're me I mean from from the non-theist side and I'd say people want to be tribal and so people who are who are theists want to have their tribe atheist ones have their tribe and I don't like and atheism I I don't like and the kind of identity and a lot of the stuff surrounding it so I've also kind of got it from that end as well where it's like well if you're if you're thinking these things you have to you know you have to be an atheist now here's how we here's how I can define it so as you are included and I you know you will hold the propositions that you know that we hold kind of as assert almost and then I think the the tribal reaction from the theists side is well you've got this foods versus then spiritual warfare worldview thing going on so to want to make sense of what's going on with me well it's obviously I'm just in love with my sin it's obviously just this Satan tempting me and it couldn't possibly be that I actually who's just following the truth and there's none of that involved it's it has to be you know like that that I'm evil and delivered at a but kind of stuff is that the impression you get from me and I think I think maybe from was it to question you got the impression I get is a little bit not not of that but of that you just you know you never knew Jesus or you never and I but I could be being a bit presumptuous there and but I assume that's maybe what you think of it well I mean I from my perspective I mean I I think you're wrong about Jesus but you think I'm wrong about Jesus too right so that is it complete there's a complete symmetry there so we can't take the high ground neither of us there's a symmetry you think I'm wrong look Jesus I think you're wrong about Jesus right I'm not saying I'm not saying glycon it's some some kind of like moral defect in you which is why you believe this I think that's the difference no no I never meant to imply that I'm sorry if I did but the reason I presented it in terms of a really shoddy and criminal analogy of a mail-order bride catalog is because it's because it is a dirty and messy affair our struggle to find the truth right like I mean and as I've admitted to you I might be wrong about Christianity I mean I don't have I don't have certainty right so you know I I come across as smug and that's one of the common you know insults that gets hurled at me is that I'm smug but that's just my Scottish heritage shining through but no I I mean I think you should follow the truth wherever it leads and never ever ever ever ever ever pretend to be something you're not just to please people and that's that's the fast-track to depression right there you've got to be yourself you got to be authentic the image that comes to mind for for me is more of a city map like a street map where you've got your GPS and you can your destinations over here and you're over here and there are all kinds of ways to get to the destination and people get excited when your car is facing the destination but there's so many twists and turns on the way you might not even end up going there even if you're headed toward it and you're even right on the same street and it's right it's two blocks ahead of you you might take all kinds of twists and turns and end up going back where you came from god only knows how this all plays out but people my point here is with this analogy with the street map and GPS is that people are going to get very excited and start cheering whenever you're oriented toward their goal and they're gonna they're gonna get disappointed and boo when you're oriented any other way but what we need to do is relax and say that each person's on a journey and the best we can hope for is authenticity in that journey that you will listen to your GPS right what is your GPS well it's your conscience and it's the available information and its history and its philosophy theology everything you know with unnatural science everything we've got everything there to help us and even fictional stories and the myths and everything you can use everything but what we need to do is we need to love and respect each other enough and trust each other enough to give each other space so they're not pressured and then making crappy decisions about the most important thing which is first things we're gonna you know ultimate reality and what what's important in life so yeah there's no pressure for me whatsoever right so where do you go from here philosophically and what's what are you excited about do you want to escape from your agnosticism are you just gonna sort of lounge in it and I mean I don't think I I don't know it depends were and thinking about these things kind of leads me and I I'd be for example like I I still want theism to be true and I don't want metaphysical naturalism to be true and those are those are my natural biases and I I mean I'm still I'm still exploring these things and thinking about them I guess and and just trying to be as honest in my inquiries I can be on all on all fronts because I think that they're fascinating and important questions whatever that kind of and conclusions are so one of my diagnostic maps is a sort of a there are three zones on it like there's God and not God and then the center overlapping part of the Venn diagram has both God and not God so monotheism is in the center there's God and there's not that they both exist okay monism says only God exists so that some of the Eastern religions talk like that Chile and the guest that I interviewed today she's a Unitarian Universalist and she thinks like I do and then they're nihilists on the other side of the spectrum that think only not God exists right so when you couch it in the stark terms it's kind of hard to be comfortable with nihilism or to say that only not God exists only the contingent exists but you will maybe slip be a slippery guest because you your agnosticism allows you to not commit to a direct correlation between material universe being necessary and the contingency that most lost first throughout the history of time have joined with a necessary to being right I like that that it's not contingent and that that there you sort of wriggled your way out of that association but when you think about monism when you think about the you know so I heard solipsism when you think about Buddhism or Hinduism or any of these are the Eastern religious are you attracted to that and on the other end of the spectrum with with nihilism and you've already said that you don't like the naturalism but I don't think anyone's attracted to nihilism but so there's really nothing over there for you but with the bond ISM that might be a safe place a sort of compromise where you could have your God you could have your theism but it's it's a monism there have you toyed with that idea at all I mean yeah I've kind of thought about it I think I could defend almost any of these positions but to be truly honest I don't have any idea as to which one's really really true I mean like for example there are some really appealing things about monism and and weird you know you know I get going all the way back to amenities and zeno and all those kind of arguments and then you know like like change change and becoming and constant kind of works and that but then like on the naturalist side again there's there's really compelling arguments for and so like I get against against the being something special about consciousness or get and then and then you've got like Jul ISM I couldn't work it argue for Jul ISM and there being a soul that could argue for me Plato or Descartes I think I think epistemic lis and this is so this isn't a metaphysical position that this is an epistemic position of idealism which I hold where I'm saying the only things I really know like my own in a mental world and that I know the qualia that appear before them and but I have no direct access really to anything else to be to be sure of it so yep yes sorry you go oh you just brought to mind Immanuel Kant what do you think of his world you yeah I get again intra interesting but I don't know enough about it to say that this is definitely the one that's got it right like an maybe maybe he has I did I'm just not sure like like for example I'd be tempted to say oh yeah this guy really knows what he's talking about but then you've got you know like someone like Ryman comes along and rejects the axiom that parallel lines can't meet and then Einstein comes along and builds on top of that and it turns out that can't completely wrong about his theory of like space and mathematics and stuff and everything well if he's wrong on that one then what about like he stopped chipping away at the whole thing like how much do we really know about what's going on here and I I just am not sure yeah what about existentialism as a sort of comforting place to grapple with your existence the mystery of it and the sort of do-it-yourself let's build value let's build meaning let's build a story let's build self and let's you know we can we can even make virtue ethics if we want to with existentialism so what do you think of that I I see big and resse collar and cuff problems with that in myself like you know Raskolnikov the main character and crime and punishment who is trying to kind of be the ubermensch himself and kind of just ends up murdering someone and becoming bitter and wretched and eventually Christian but I mean I I don't think that my nature is fundamentally good and so I think if if my worldview is something to like that there's there's just a kind of there's a kind of arrogance involved and all of these kind of lower maybe the low is not the way all the all these more sort of sinister nihilistic attitudes towards the world become like the driving forces so then it just essentially boils down to like hedonism or something like that logically I late like there's no there's not really on such a worldview where I'm just building things like building meaning up for myself from first principles there's not really such things as like an ability or and the you know like the the beautiful or the girl that apart from like hedonism and selfishness egoism so and there are problems with that for me okay and what about stoicism anything attract you therefore for you to apply to your life to make years to you know just to make it bearable and possibly and I mean like the kind of the kind of pop stoicism of not letting things and outside of your control affects you whatever but again I think I think I probably reject the kind of deterministic attitude of the Stoics towards the world as then oh so you believe in free will or for all intents and purposes like and you know like it like I think it's it's a useless thing to argue against basically I mean it might be the case that it's not there but again with like the epistemic idealism thing it's like it might be the case that metaphysical naturalism is true but that would be a pointless way of coming to the world because fundamentally we experience it as the ghost in the machine so do you do you admit that happiness is the goal of philosophy do you believe that and like a look at eudaimonia type thing yeah possibly I think I think I think so I think it should be it should be to to aim at kind of like flourishing to aim and amen the good whatever that is and what would the alternative it be well I think basically I mean look you can still employ philosophy to this end but I think the alternative is is this kind of nihilism which just boils down to hedonism yeah yeah but hedonism is kind of fun isn't it I mean you you have given yourself a certain amount of license to relax your virtue your your striving for a virtue you can you can have a few more cheat days on every single virtue no and I mean I think whatever whatever it's actually going on therefore virtua thix to kind of like have something to it but that doctrine still hurt so it's that works so when you have those cheat days you know you kind of veer off the mean a little bit and you tend towards those those vices and then and then there's a you know like it might be it might be the most and pleasure in the short term but then ultimately you're kind of like leader leading yourself to a lot more suffering by lifestyle kind of falling apart and messed up sleep habits etc so I uh yeah I don't I think I think it's still the same no it's not works in the same way so if Jesus Christ is not your hero in any way shape or form who could you look to as an example of how to live well at just some some household names who who comes to mind for you and I'd still say Jesus in that sense and they say this is where I say like and what liberal Christians might I'm still like looking at the the kind of like passion narrative as something you know having Avex of deep important thing things in it that might be relevant to life and but then I'd say there are similar things in a lot of religious stories or if if we just generally look to the the type of fiction that tends to kind of like resonate with us lake joseph campbell's kind of like hero myth archetype and that sort of thing I think there's there's like a truth that's being conveyed in these types of narratives about how how to be a person how to conduct yourself about these transcendental categories the good the beautiful and how to kind of wake incorporate them into your life or live in that certain way and it's not there it's not there you know like you watch you watch a hero movie once and you get it right or something but it's something to be aimed that's kind of like coming through in these in this okay what about neoplatonism do you believe in the one that all of the virtues all the perfections lie and one in the same source do you firmly believe that or is it you just hope you really hope that that's the case and I'd say I hope it's the case and I don't know like I have no idea how I could even really like really demonstrate that to be true and because I dunno like the yeah I I just have no idea how we could actually like get it back what about your a reason like pure wood by pure reason we can say well let's assume the opposite let's assume that the perfections lie in different directions and so you're moving towards health and you're necessarily moving away from justice and and life and beauty and goodness and then you're moving towards justice but you're moving away from the truth I mean it just it's a reduction to absurdity it cannot be the case that they don't lie in the same direction therefore they lie in the same direction and then the same source and that's what everyone calls God and I don't see why you would have any problem with that whatsoever I mean an eighth grader could understand that and assent to that of course you know sin and the weakness of our will and the the darkness of our intellect accounts for it since the fall but really I find out I really find it hard to believe that an adult would shy away from this very very simple explanation that I just gave about all the goods lying in the same direction what do you say um well for me I'm genuinely just not sure if the these like these Evo's these ideas these forms actually exist like it seems like they kind of do and you know like and like I said when I take that epistemic position of idealism I'm saying well I'm actually kind of you know I'm sort of certain of these carrot Fifi's em and I'm sort of certain of these concepts that things seem to participate in like say equality and in a way which I'm not really like certain of the phenomena in the in the physical world and but can i how can i really say that that's a thing like it seems to also be pretty parsimonious that and say like theirs but that something like consciousness with its ideas and things arises out of the material nature of a kind of mathematical universe but then what does maths even mean without these kind of ideas and forms and and it's like we just get into this realm of things that I don't even really know what I'm talking about anymore so what about authority I'll let you go l will let you go which is one last question what about authority I submit to my local bishop and I submit to the Pope and I submit to the ecumenical councils and I submit to the church at large and of course I submit to Jesus Christ and God the Father and the Holy Spirit and there's there's a lot of submission in my walk with God did you taste that did you sample that and have you shrugged that off and are you now left with no authority or with a sort of tentative respect for human authority or just talk a little bit about authority from your special um I think I I mean I think because there's no kind of like an you know Divine Right of Kings theology politics kind of thing behind stuff for sure it's it's a bit more tentative in that respect but I do think the moral what whatever morality is and if it it manifests itself to me like that things are good or bad and so and I'm kind of like an subservient to the moral law as it manifests itself to me now there may not actually be a metaphysical law that sits behind that thing that's presenting yourself to me but and that I can't do anything else than kind of like when when it appears to me that it it's wrong always and everywhere to torture babies and all of the fun and that I try and like prevent that sort of thing from occurring or am opposed to it or whatever and so I guess I guess in that sense I'm subservient to the to the good that's my authority and then insofar as like government legislation is in accordance with what appears to me is the good then and okay I guess the the objection to this could be well if it's just your kind of like your whims of what your notions of what right is and then isn't that just kind of you know couldn't that just be anything aren't you just bowing down to yourself and I I mean like again I don't know and I don't think I'd epistemic ly have any way of ever knowing more than as it manifests itself to me anyway even if there is something real that sits behind it and so so yeah I just I okay I guess things have Authority as they conform to what I see is good so anything else you want to get off your chest or say to my listeners before I let you go or I'll let you have the final fire and yeah just thanks for having me honor thanks for listening to me my kind of incoherent rambling on these topics not at all not at all it's a real pleasure to talk to you and I wish you luck I hope you don't mind that I will be praying for you I don't see why you would like yeah yeah and any of your family members praying for you is that the idea of Christian family members I don't have Christian family members I was gonna go and I was gonna check out a Catholic Mass though this Sunday you'll possibly happen it's yes I am very happy so thank you so much once again we'll talk soon and take care of yourself okay talk soon and take care of yourself okay yeah no problem thanks Mike