Catholic vs. Other - 2019-05-25 - Benjamin Bisconer

Author Recorded Saturday May 25th, 2019

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

Recorded September 21st, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-21 - Tino

Recorded September 10th, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-10 - Judah

Recorded September 2nd, 2017

Catholic vs. Other - 2017-09-02 - William

Recorded October 21st, 2016

Catholic vs. Other - 2016-10-21 - Ben

Benjamin reached out to me on Facebook. He was raised Catholic but is now questioning his faith because of philosophical difficulties he encountered at the Franciscan University of Steubenville. I enjoyed our chat.


Catholic vs. Other - 2019-05-25 - Benjamin Bisconer

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016

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hi my name is Bridgman miss connor and you're listening to catholic vs. other tell the listeners a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and why you believe it well my name is benjamin and i basically since early childhood have been obsessed with knowing the truth and knowing deeper truths knowing reality as it is and I was raised I was home-schooled Catholic and then went to a private Catholic High School and then went to a private Catholic College and the whole time I was growing and learning and developing her faith and then the last two years of my college education and Franciscan University it was the little details in philosophy and metaphysics that were sort of beginning to derail my beliefs and the nature of the supernatural and then everything kind of came crashing down all at once and ever since then I've considered myself pretty secular minded but I am trying to keep my mind open to any and all possibilities as I always have then that where I'm at now I usually like to get a little snapshot of your earliest religious memories if you can reach back in your memory and try to find an image for us definitely my earliest memory is actually my parents uh teaching me how to pray before bed they would you know do the Our Father and Hail Mary and kind of go over the things to be thankful for and I remember you know kneeling next to my bed and then reciting the Hail Mary and I remember not really understanding the words at the time but they had you know they had a picture of the Virgin Mary and they had a picture of a guardian angel and you know whenever I was scared at night they told me you know you're you have a guardian angel is watching over you and it was the prayers at night and the prayers before meals so we had prayers before meals as well and those are my very earliest religious memories and it was around five years old they gave me a the beginners Bible so I had a little like cartoon version of the Bible and I would that was one of the books I learned how to read from and I actually you know fall asleep reading through those chapters and kind of inculcating the the biblical themes obviously much more you know shallow sense you know just the plot not really the you know the meanings but uh yeah that's about the earliest I can think of another thing I like to ask my guests about usually is puberty and rebellion can you talk a little bit about the dark years if you had any yeah yeah well a lot of my dark years were just being madly obsessed with this girl in high school and me having absolutely no chance to even have a conversation with her but yeah I mean I still sometimes feel the waves from that because it was quiet it was it was brutal I I think I think it was more than what most kids you know get it crush on it was pretty intense and it was actually prior to me hitting puberty so I was actually a you know not sexually aware whatsoever and that's when I fell in love with her and then it was almost a separate thing going through puberty and a lot of the you know Catholic teaching they sent me to these like chastity seminars and things because my parents were kind of uncomfortable going through those details with me so everything I learned was from those seminars I had a lot of chastity books they're actually really useful and I surprisingly find a lot of value in their lessons still like they talk about how saving yourself for marriage has all these benefits how being chaste you know really improves your you know emotional stability especially in adolescence and and they had a lot of good points and I kind of agreed with a lot of I mean it might have actually been a benefit to me at the time to have that in my life for sure for sure can you talk me through this sort of highlight of your walk with God try to find a sort of peak experience or at one or two if you can yeah well one springs to mind right away it was actually in 2004 I went on a retreat and I came from a more traditional Catholic background like almost like pre-vatican to a lot of Latin Mass and we met we kind of disassociated ourselves from the more Protestant flavor of things and this retreat was a more Protestant flavor they had a lot of was still Catholic but they did things like speaking in tongues and all these things I was pretty unfamiliar with and I was actually a prehensile about because I used to kind of make fun of Protestants for doing that and and they said no this is you know the Holy Spirit this is one of the gifts of the Holy Spirit like you know you really have to surrender yourself you know they were explaining to me and so I decided to go that route and it's sort of ironic I'm gonna relay this to you as I experienced it and you know obviously I feel different about it now but at the time I was they were huddling over me and praying and I I just started crying because I you know I was trying to you know my best to be holy and it was difficult especially being a teenage boy and and one of the counselors was you know spoke to me and like you know as a surrogate for Christ and he said you know just hold on you know son I'm so proud of you you know just hang in there you're doing great and I remember just sobbing because it felt like you know that was God like speaking through him to me like saying you know hey you know I'm here for you I totally am watching you and I understand and it it was like the whole day up leading up to that experience I knew something big was gonna happen like I could even like even how I was looking at my surroundings I was sort of like anticipating something strong and when that hit I knew that was it and and I had just collapsed and you know people kept praying kept speaking in tongues around me and none of that even mattered like I was it I would say that was the closest thing to a religious blissful experience of it was like a very simple clean happy moment and and that all that's that's stuck with me yeah I'm very very cautious about that the charismatic movement Catholic or otherwise and I would be very cautious but I am I am attracted to the whole self surrender and the the emotionality of it obviously riding that wave of emotion can be thrilling and it's precisely because it's so overwhelming that I'm very cautious about it but I you know I applaud those who are able to discern and plunge into that ocean but I'll just be hanging out on the shore playing it safe that's sort of my approach so can you talk a little bit about your parents reaction to your sort of drifting away from the faith the your parents or anyone else that's close to you that cares about the Catholic faith can you just talk about how that affected them and how how does maybe shaped some of the relationships and that sort of communication and what's that like for you oh well you know for my dad it was more of a somber occasion because he actually converted we being Catholic when I was about seven years old so I you know I watched him get confirmed it was a big part of you know what was making his life happy and helping him through you know things and you know when I told him that it was it was more of like a hopeful you know this might not last sort of tone like okay you know if this is what you need to do for now you know you know I just I'll still pray for you and you know I'm still on your side and and and he's he's pretty wise and and he knows not that you know if he pushes in might backfire so he he's kind of taken a you know adult-to-adult attitude with me at the time I was only you know 22 but my mom on the other hand when I confided in her she actually confided in me that she had lost her faith years before and she didn't want to tell anybody and she was a you know she's go to church and but for her the reason I think I'm speculating behind her reason but I remember there was a lot of new stories about you know little girls getting kidnapped and you know the tragedy you know that they have them finding the body after the fact and I think my mom was secretly traumatized by that and I think that just eroded away at her faith and but she's still I I mean she's still I think is you know fearful of God like I I think she believes that there's something that she needs to respect and that there's there's some sort of cosmic agency active in the world but she doesn't she's kind of given up on knowing or understanding what that is but that which was much different for me like that my had nothing to do with emotion at all all the you know kind of emotionless details yeah so let's talk a little bit about where you are today and the intellectual journey these sort of issues that interest you most yeah definitely well all my issues that interest me are philosophical and one of the things even when I was a believer that I started to you know separate in my mind anyways was an objective morality or even you know ethics itself and how that relates to God because it all started with Socrates and the Euthyphro dilemma which was he asked one of the his followers is something pious because it is something the gods do or do the gods do it because it is pious and what he was trying to separate was is is it defined as something close to God or His goodness have its own objective definition and God is it a being that meets that criteria of goodness and when once that separated for me there was a lot of proofs for God that were kind of based on the moral angle that I couldn't even begin to follow because I'd already had separated so I'm curious as to how you I you know morality and God in your mind yeah well it's been resolved very early in the church I'm a huge fan of st. Augustine and he resolved it very handily by saying that it's a false dichotomy because God's not conforming to the good and the goods not an arbitrary decree of God rather God's nature is goodness God's nature is justice beauty and life and health and all the other perfections so if you've been reading any of medieval proofs of the existence of God you'll see how we can know with the light of natural reason and without supernatural revelation that God has all of these infinite perfections and that he is identical with all of his attributes and those attributes are in fact identical among themselves and God as you know is perfectly simple he's not composed even of essence and existence his essence is existence so on that note you know a lot of the explanation for the existence of evil God's creation is the existence of free will and free will defined as the capacity to choose between good and evil right no no no no free will is not defined as choosing between good and evil we never this again is st. Augustine we never ever choose evil because there is no such thing as an evil thing there's only an evil way it's the way that we choose goods everything we choose is good and every temptation you get from Satan will be a wonderful and good gift from God for example if you're married and Satan presents you with the temptation to sleep with a younger hotter version of your wife that younger hotter woman is good everything about her is ontologically good the way that you decide will determine if your choice is a moral choice or an immoral choice you need to choose the higher good and that will mean conforming to God's laws so if you're oriented toward God then everything naturally flows from that but if you turn away from the light you won't benefit from the light you as a creature do have the free will to say yes to God or to not say yes to God and there are many many ways of not saying yes to God or of saying not yes to God but they all at the end they all come down to a no because at the end of the day either you're in or you're out there's heaven and there's Hell so there is no that economy between goodness and God because God is this itself you know and any and every choice a creature would make is choosing the good element of nothing and they may or may not choose it in the right process or attitude and that attitude or process is parallel with or not parallel with God being the highest of the good and that is where you know the evil component of being lacking of good like kind of like a hole in Swiss cheese maybe it's in our existence privation yeah it's a privation another keyword is perversion because everything has a nature God is the author of nature because there's a supernatural and then there's the natural right and so God made the natural world with natural laws and you have a human nature and so nature is part of God's plan he made nature he designed nature to be natural and grace does not destroy nature grace perfects nature because God is the author of nature so this word perversion is a good word because it's literally a turning away from the nature of things it's a turning I mean we were made by God and for God so when we put the creature first and when we put ourselves first as st. Agustin said there are two cities characterized by two loves love of God under contempt of self and love of self and contempt of God those are the only two games in town and as Kent Hovind said to me today there are only two religions the religion of Cain and the religion of Abel and I agree with them completely and so yeah this idea of perversion is literally a turning away from reality this is also a definition of insanity sanity is recognizing reality and choosing to live in reality and insanity is a failure to do that whether a failure that's based on your own will or whether it's just a defect that's caused by original sin or the sins of others but you can be sure that sin is the cause of evil in the world and if there had been no sin there would have been no evil and we would still be in that perfect paradise of Eden I can only speak for my own self and my own soul on this but you know through my own soul-searching every time I examine the motive or intent behind all of my decision it does come to a self-interest whether it's a direct self-interest around about 12 interest like even if I choose to love God so I could go to heaven I would be choosing that so I could go to heaven so that I could see the truth because I want the truth and I could never take myself out of the equation as the primary motivating factor when making a decision and even if I separate myself via steps if I'm honest with myself that is where my intent truly lies but I that makes me inspect and that makes me make an inference to everyone else you're absolutely correct and again my favorite theologian and saint st. Augustine says and I quote God is the fountain of our happiness to this good we ought to be led by those who love us and to this good we ought to lead those we love for he who loves himself wishes nothing else than this and the goal set before him is to draw near to God and so when one who has this intelligent self love he's commanded to love his neighbor as himself what else is enjoying but that he shall do all in his power to commend him to the love of God this is the worship of God this is true religion so that's the end of the quote st. Agustin is recognizing that there is an intelligent self-love those in the city of God do have a self-love but it's the love of God unto contempt of self it's just like it says in the Bible where Jesus says that you have to hate you mother and your sisters and your brothers and your very self if you are to be a disciple of Jesus Christ and then he also goes on to say that you have to love your neighbor as you love yourself there's no contradiction there is paradox however because we do need to love God above all things under contempt of self but loving God above all things will lead you to the 10 commandments Jesus said time and time again if you love me it's conditional if you love me then you'll keep the commandments so you don't have to love him but you're free to love him and if you love him you will keep the commandments and the commandments there are two Commandments there were two tablets that Moses brought down from the mountain and the first tablet was all about the love of God and the second tablet was all about the love of neighbor but if you look at the love of God that first tablet the love of God is to keep the commandments so it's self referential so all you're left with that has any content really any outlet for your love will be the love of neighbor and you're supposed to love your neighbor as yourself so really at the heart of the Ten Commandments is a sort of self love you love yourself and you have to love your neighbor as yourself because you can't put a cloak on God's back you can't put a meal on his table and you can't visit him in prison and these sorts of things so we're obliged to love ourselves we are in a natural finite world and we have to live in this world with our neighbors we have to take care of ourselves we have to love ourselves we have to love our neighbors and this is how we actually love God and if you look at someone like Mother Teresa you'll see that in action the Ten Commandments in action if role in this equation is this abstract in this theoretical and what it boils down to when it comes to making decisions is equivalent to saying love yourself rationally and love your neighbors you could almost skip the going through the God element let's go straight to loving yourself and loving your neighbor and you wouldn't be able to distinguish somebody who's loving and who's empathetic with somebody who loves God and the only way they can love God is through the environment that they have which is with themselves and with others yeah well Jesus addresses this paradox and he says if you love your wives and children what big deal is that the pagans are doing the very same thing so if you examine the lives of the saints I was an atheist for 25 years and it was the Saints that drew me into the Catholic Church it wasn't anything else it was the Saints the lives of the Saints and the deaths of the Saints and the way that they were willing to live and die for God and they always put Jesus Christ first they always put God first and they put their neighbor first on that horizontal dimension you could always see it whether it's Maximilian Kolbe laying down life in Auschwitz or whether it's any of the murders throughout the past 2,000 years laying down their lives bravely st. Stephen recorded in the book of Acts all of them are doing wonderful things some of them are not martyrs in terms of blood but many of them were martyrs in many other ways dealing patiently with suffering and so on and so forth and persecution so that was really the turning point for me where I was able to accept Christianity because I was an anti-christian atheist for so many years and then when I converted to God the Father I thought I must be either a Jew or a Muslim because the last thing I wanted to be was a Christian but it was the lives of the saints that really had an impact on me and I don't think anyone can deny that the only way to deny it is to not read the stories to avoid the stories or if you have read the stories to quickly forget about them and dismiss them in your mind but when you open the books and when you look at the lives of the saints your heart will be touched and I think that's it's a very very powerful way to come back in touch with your faith well you know two very interesting things to add to that one that's the exact same reason why my father converted to being Catholic he was actually irreligious before he wasn't necessarily anti religious but he had basically no interest in religion and it was this and I asked him what why are you converting and he told me it was the stories of the saints exactly as you described it was my father's reitman catholic and you know all the stories I I'm familiar with the stories but all the stories are from my childhood my early childhood they are all books written for children I do not believe that I read things that my father was read I am extremely familiar with st. Maximilian Kolbe because the high school I went to was Colby Academy it was named after him so they obviously went through a detail in Maximilian Kolbe EES life I have a lot of respect for that and I wouldn't berate anyone for that being their reason but part of what is unconvincing about it to me is that what when you're when you're a very like I would say for lack of better term spiritually awakened person I there's probably a better psychological terminology but I I can recognize well when there are people that are kind of on a higher level of consciousness that you know who have their their views their metaphysical views aligned in such a way that they have a better appreciation for the value of life and for the value of people for anyone in that mindset to allow suffering it's almost like hyper empathy in a way like they could it would be worse for them to endure whatever harm might the father their enemies then it would be for them to do it themselves which is sort of what makes them tilt toward to that seemingly supernatural mode of living as selflessly for others and it is inspirational because I would say that you know that is something that any human being would recognize as not you're not you're going beyond your obligations you're like going from I'm fulfilling the basic requirements of not being a bad person to being an extra good person on top of it and I think anyone secular otherwise acknowledges that that's a good thing and something that's admirable yeah there's a little anecdote I want to tell you whether it's true or whether it's just a sort of pious legend I don't know one of my favorite saint st. Philip Neri he was preaching at a church there were all kinds of people coming to see him some Catholics some not and the Holy Spirit spoke to him and indicated to him somehow and for some reason the most holy person in that church at that time and the Holy Spirit indicated to Saint Philip Mary an elderly lady who was right close by to him and she happened to be a Muslim woman and so the Holy Spirit made it clear to Saint Philip Neri that this woman although she's not Catholic she loves God more than even Saint Philip Neri so imagine if you compare that Muslim woman's love of God with my love of God for example or with your love of God which right now is going through a little bit of a lukewarm period to put it mildly if we compare that Muslim woman's love of God to yours I think you'll be inspired to imitate her and st. Philip Neri was inspired to imitate her and her love of God in her simplicity because we in the West and we in the church have a lot of riches intellectually philosophically theologically historically in the Saints and we have so much there is a tendency to stray from that childlike simplicity which perhaps that elderly Muslim woman had I'm just speculating here but I think you get my point right what that makes me think of a question for you which is how important is it to have your idea of God correspond correctly to the reality of God in order to love him properly because it feels to me like you know nobody's gonna have a correct idea of God if you understand God it's not God this is a direct quote from the st. Agustin if you understand God then it's not God one of the first books that I read that got me excited about theism when I was an atheist was the Cloud of Unknowing where we don't know who or what God is it's a mystery and there's just an apprehension a blind apprehension and I am interested in the V&A cattivo what is God not for example God is not spatial he's not temporal he's not composed of parts he's not this he's not that because if we're going to talk about infinity that term is a negative term it means not finite not bounded he's not bounded right but we can't wrap our heads around that we really can't comprehend it it really is I think one of the best proofs of the existence of God that we even have a word infinity or that we have that little sideways eight symbol for infinity and that we can do manipulations with infinities and the different kinds of infinities and mathematics and the sort of abstract thinking now that I'm a believer it just seems to me obvious and self-evident that yes we are made to interact with God I mean we have the capacity to go beyond we're always striving we're always seeking after more truth more knowledge I mean we're never satisfied we're always seeking and searching through faith and through prayer and through contemplation and through self-surrender as the charismatic s' bathing in the very water like fish and water and there's some people that start to doubt that there is this thing called water and the problem with proofs about God's existence and evidence for the existence of God is not the lack of evidence it's the super abundance of evidence for the existence of God and as a fairly fresh monotheists I'm still very very excited and overwhelmed by the abundance of evidence and it's just everywhere it's palpable it's like that fish that becomes aware that not only is he swimming in water at all times but the very air outside if he pokes his head out of the water into the air the very air is full of vapor and his very body is 70% water or whatever it is for fish is actually water but it's permeating everything God is fully transcendent like the Muslims say but he's also fully imminent a lot of atheists come to me and they say David you're gonna get bored in heaven and they don't understand what love is you never get bored with love you always want more love and in all eternity in heaven we will be getting to know God and contemplating God and it's a process a constant process of discovery and when I use the word process it brings to mind a temporal sort of process but it's only because I have to use language from within the natural to describe something that is a temporal and that is in the supernatural eternity of God's presence but we will never fully comprehend God but we'll always be discovering more and more of his beauty and his justice and his life his very life will enter into the Sabbath of God the peace of God the rest of God and the love of God I think that's the most exciting part indeed I really liked everything you had to say I actually had to take some notes because I I wanted to respond to certain things if I didn't want to interrupt you so I have about five things I want to say in response to everything you're saying one is the human brain's ability to abstract it simplifies and categorized as objects and then it's able to manipulate its characteristics and once we can name a characteristic once we put that name we can just very arbitrarily remove that and then even without a mental referent we can almost kind of play the word game of whatever those things or elements are and you know sometimes it does benefit us like with quantum mechanics where things are so complicated that you know our brains are literally incapable of handling the reality that exists it we could at least do the math because we were able to do that but it also kind of opens a door for error because you could say you know I want an infinitely tall ice cream cone that never existed but there's there's no way could it like just because we could say the words and put those words together you know it doesn't necessarily mean there's there has to be an infinite ice cream cone and and one of the technicalities of God and his characteristics that really got me in 2009 was the idea of being outside of space and time because God has being an is being and we would say he exists now in this moment or in the future in the past and all of those things like I think it was a manual can't the philosopher that was saying that we can't escape the category of life of time outside of our thought like if it's thought it's thought in a space at a time st. Thomas Aquinas famously said that our faith does not terminate in propositions it terminates in the realities that are indicated by those propositions and that those propositions point us to and that they refer us to okay so this is an important point that I want to make about language we live in a postmodern age where language has become very dominant in terms of philosophy and understanding ultimate reality in terms of grammar and language and one of my favorite quotes by Friedrich Nietzsche was we will not have killed God completely until we have killed grammar the grammar of language spoken and written language so I think that's a very very powerful insight that he had it's another one of these proofs of God where I just hear someone communicating to me and they're claiming to be an atheist and I'm just thinking to myself this person is making a lot of sense a whole lot of sense therefore God you know this idea of grammar and how hard it is I don't know if you've tried to break the rules of grammar you can break one or two you can break maybe a handful in one sentence but you can't completely destroy it it's really really hard the other thing I wanted to mention was Conte and transcendentalism this is a really dark turning point in the history of Western philosophy and the Protestant movements really picked up on this it leads to feed a ISM the Muslims have picked up on this idea and there's a sort of fides and with them as well where God is completely transcendent we can't trust reason and therefore we just have to enter into this sort of quiet ISM and wait for you know be submissive quietly submissive to the will of God and the sort of thing there are many many many different various manifestations other I'm not saying that all Protestants and all Muslims are identical in the way that this transcendental ISM from manifests itself what I'm saying is it's a very very dangerous game when you start going down that path and I think he'd be better off examining what do the highest and brightest minds of the High Middle Ages say what did st. Anselm say what did Blessed John Duns Scotus say what did Thomas Aquinas say there's so many bright minds that were well grounded in reality and that we're able to talk about the transcendent and the imminent and to keep us in contact I don't remember Don SCOTUS as much as Anselm I did a paper on an Psalms proof of God but it would come down to the same problem the the very grammar of the language and if you right now hated God and religion you wanted to make your own little cult just to make money and to get lots of women you could do that but you would be in the process you would be preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ and you would be propagating the means of salvation the Catholic means of salvation in the process and you would be bringing people to God even if you didn't want to even if you wanted to do the exact opposite because of that idea that I was talking about with grammar it's so hard not to participate in that water that water is in you it's outside of you it's in even in the air above the water it's everywhere that what you're saying really is ringing a bell for me with the hero's journey and how so many movies follow that plotline and how if you want to make a successful movie they they have to tell that exact same story they just changed the dressings of the characters and the dressings of the surroundings and and when you're talking about how you know if I were to start a cold I would still have to tell the same story it very that sounds very similar to me yeah what do you think of Jordan Peterson did he make waves where you are odet well he made waves with me recently and that's I would say about a year ago today I started following him and I love everything that guy has to say and he actually I was sort of despairing having any philosophical conversations with anyone so I kind of just hid away for a while and it was because of him that I decided to put myself out there a little more to voice my opinion to have more dialogues because I thought you know hey here's this guy he's you know I really appreciate him speaking out and maybe I should you know look eventually be that smart and have the elliptical the intellectual clout so yeah that's I'm sure I triggered that thought in you with the hero's journey yeah yeah yeah sure I'm not a huge fan of him as guru but I do have sympathy for him I like his face I like his personality I'm touched by him I feel a lot of sadness when I look in his eyes I think he is one of the rare true nihilists walking the planet today someone who's really looked over the edge and I hope I wish him well but he's in a really really dark place I think I know I know I mean it because I'm reading his book maps of meaning and I've read some Kierkegaard and philosophers that you know they go to very dark places very hopeless places and the soul whole and of reality and and I'm reading Jordan Peterson's book and man he goes there like he went full-on I'm ants I got really hard to read but he's fighting in the right direction I would say but I feel like he I agree with you I'm not that there is that sadness in his eyes and I I appreciate how honest he is about it because one thing about most atheists that I don't share in common with them is what the consequences of accepting atheism really are you know existentially like so many try to play it off like you know it's fine like you know you don't need that fairytale and why are you trippin like no that's a pretty big deal yeah yeah I don't know if you know but my conversion to God was deeply angst-filled existential trip where I just had a confrontation with life itself and I you know I had drifted into hurt solipsism after many years of studying philosophy as a hobby and it was really really really dark place and so I have a lot of respect and sympathy for the true existentialists and yeah I would put in Jordan Peterson in there in some kind of way I mean everyone's obviously got their own twist on things and I'm not as excited about obviously about psychology and the archetypes and this sort of Jungian stuff but yeah I'm very sympathetic to the existential philosophy I think it is actually one of the best forms of therapy and one of the best ways of confronting yourself and like Socrates said Socrates is probably my favorite flaws forever you know his idea was know yourself and the Catholic Church teaches the same thing if you do not know yourself you cannot go to heaven so it's a there's a very existential quest at the heart I think of philosophy I think existentialism captures the heart of philosophy and it will lead you to God either that or you'll just go insane yeah well you know I it's not that hard for me to imagine myself going and saying certain philosophies I'll be reading and I'm like I feel my brain melting as I'm trying to comprehend what I'm the word on the page but because they're so far beyond me but anyway I so one thing I I noticed in myself as I was listening to atheist when I was Catholic was I felt more calm almost like it was simpler like it was like you know it was a lot of intense emotion in trying to be a good Catholic and trying to balance a chaste relationship trying to balance my conscience with the weight of salvation on my shoulders and the weight of souls knowing that you know that they're damaging their souls was so like a huge emotional burden and this wasn't the reason why I was moved to atheism but I have to acknowledge that there was a sort of like a quiet like I was watching a it was Matt Dillahunty and they had their atheist experience podcast it was like him and some other girl and people would call him so like filled with emotion and they would just calmly be like it's okay it's not real don't worry about it and and I remember thinking hmm is it like like that would be almost nice in a way like yeah well I think that a lot of saints talk about this a couple of quotes come to mind one of them is by Chesterton actually I know if you're a fan of GK Chesterton I know but I think I read orthodoxy in high school and I don't remember okay anyway he said something about only living things can swim upstream against the stream but if you're just a dead piece of organic matter you'll naturally flow with the stream right so there's that sort of release like well yes I want to stop swimming upstream I'll just let myself go with the flow and this is what Jesus I guess described as that easy and broad highway that leads to hell on destruction right so I think it might have been Archbishop Fulton machine who said that there's only one way to stand erect and there are many many many ways anyway you turn there's an opportunity for you to fall and to just relax and to just give up the fight and it's by acknowledging our weaknesses and and asking God to strengthen us that we're able to stand it's only by the grace of God that we do anything when I D converted it was it was because I was convinced by the arguments that exposed the arguments I was using as faulty or I had questions that could not be answered in any other way but that would contradict the faith and so you know even you know because I actually wrote a big proof you know when I was Catholic for the existence of God but in all that and I was trying to make it as bulletproof as possible and I showed it to my dad and he said it doesn't matter like that's not how you're gonna convert people only more converts people you know very similar to what you were saying and you know maybe it's just me but it's really hard for me to think any other way because that's how I'm being led so I I feel like I'm one good theological paper away from my errors exposed and that would just be because you know it that's what pulls me away like and so if it could pull me away could bring me back like you know I feel like the attitude follows the conclusion so if once I realize oh god is there and God is good and he's looking out for me okay now I'm going to you know submit my will and my intention and my love in that direction and part of why I think I've got this mindset is because I was rated with Protestants that I was trying to convert because they would turn me off at you know once I brought logic and reason in and I said man you know you you're missing on the fullness because you're you're stuck on the faith train of you know I'm choosing Jesus and I don't know what that means and I don't care that Jesus started the Catholic Church or that the Catholic Church composed the Bible I'm just gonna follow what Idol says and it drove me absolutely insane and yet I think that's why I was so convinced you know that the answer and the tool was to use that logic and reason wherever I'm gonna go and and that's where I always start at least mentally and then I hope that you know my heart would follow whatever the logic dictates the project of the Middle Ages was very clear it's faith seeking understanding it's not understanding seeking faith okay that's number one the other thing that comes to mind is that guy that we've all seen we've all seen him on TV in movies and sadly in real life we've seen this guy that has his checklist for his perfect girlfriend slash wife whatever we've seen that guy and we've seen how pathetic and sad it is love is not like that love is a relationship between persons and it's a self giving and so you know about love you're in a loving relationship indeed so you do have first-hand experience with love you know that you can't apply some sort of checklist but I do at the end of my interviews I do ask my guests to wrap up with a little positive thought a message of hope so no pressure but what do you think you might be able to say to anyone that might be out there listening now I would say to find something meaningful and pursue it and I know for me what makes my life meaningful is pursuing the truth and that you know no matter what happens to me I know that each day there's hope that I'll get closer to that or learn more about it and and so that's that's kind of why I chose to other instead of atheist because that humility I find not only as a virtue but even as a practical tool for keeping your mind open to new information all you got to do is all you got to do you got to do is all you got to do

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