CVS Meta - 2019-01-20 - Doubt and the architecture of belief

Author Recorded Sunday January 20th, 2019

There are 19 episodes in the Meta:Rants series.


In this Meta episode I flesh out the three steps to Roman Catholicism after allowing Satan to strip me of all my faith and (almost) all of my reason.


CVS Meta - 2019-01-20 - Doubt and the architecture of belief

Author Recorded January 22nd, 2012

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meda as you know my name is David I'm the creator and host of CBS in this episode of Mehta I'm going to talk about doubt and the architecture of belief this episode is inspired by another met up so they did last April called doubt faith and reason and if you haven't listened to that yet you can go and check it out basically the idea is that there are three components to any worldview and only one worldview strikes the balance where we have proper emphasis and harmony just the right balance of doubt and faith and reason one of my listeners wrote to me asking why I think that it's Roman Catholicism that occupies that place because it seems that every adherent of every worldview will necessarily consider themselves to have that balanced position and that they from their perspective will see themselves as possessing just the right amount of don't faith and reason and although it's true that they can subjectively feel that they occupy that place I think that by the proper application of doubt faith and reason we can prove that only the Holy Roman Catholic Church deserves the title of a balanced insane worldview so what I'm gonna do now is just sort of step through I'm just going to flesh out this sketch that I made in that meta episode back in April 2018 by talking about the architecture of belief and how we can tear down belief with doubt and then build up a solid understanding of belief from a solid bedrock a solid foundation I think it worth mentioning that my day job is related to architecture I work in a construction company and the type of work that we are concerned with is the waterproofing of foundation walls and foundation slabs and I work in the estimation department poring over architectural plans of huge projects I've got four screens laid out in front of me and I've got architectural plans I've got structural drawings I've got technical specifications there are mistakes that are made blatant mistakes obvious mistakes and they're constantly being revised their ad endows being put out all the time because you can't nail everything down it's impossible so this does reflect a general aptitude that I have every day I'm dealing with architecture every day I'm dealing with doubt and every day at my work I'm dealing with belief so that's just a little glimpse into my day job and I think it has some imagery that is pertinent but there's another image I want to outline briefly before I start with my main discussion here and that image is of the martial artist there are a lot of martial arts that do have a passive component in their philosophy in terms of going with the motion of your opponent with your aggressor that way the momentum that is there is used to your advantage and it's the same thing in the case of spiritual battles so if on the spiritual plane an atheist comes at me trying to instill doubt in one of the more sophisticated beliefs of Roman Catholicism for example they like to attack specific passengers in the Bible that's one of their favorite things to do I don't resist I just go with it and I move with the doubt and I lead them into doubt I drag them down to the bottom down to that foundation stone upon which my church is built in order to show that everything has a solid foundation and that one thing builds on another using a balanced approach of DOE faith and reason so let's set it up like a devil's advocate sort of scenario where I'm in the desert with Satan and he's gonna tempt me with doubt he's gonna lead me into doubt if he wants to go one step I'll go two steps and he wants to go one mile I'll go with a second mile I'm not actively doubting I don't doubt any the dogmas of the Catholic Church if I did doubt them then I would not be Catholic but I'm able to doubt them in a way that is turning it over in your hands and examining this pearl of great price which I was fortunate enough to find and when I found it I bought it I sold everything I had and I bought it so I'm examining I'm turning it over in my hand that is the sort of theoretical doubt that does not weaken your faith but rather which strengthens your faith so that's why it is a wholesome activity so in this thought experiment I am being tempted by Satan in the desert it's just the two of us there so he starts attacking and his first attack is on the primacy of st. Peter the Pope by quoting scripture and the early church fathers he attempts to convince me that st. Peter does indeed enjoy a primacy but it's only a primacy of Honor there is no primacy of power there is no primacy of Magisterial Authority in the Pope it's just a primacy of Honor okay I'll go with that so now I'm an Orthodox I'm no longer Catholic now I'm Orthodox and so Satan now starts attacking the council's the apostolic authority of the ecumenical councils of bishops and he undermines that using Scripture and he undermines all of sacred tradition so I accept his arguments as part of my spiritual martial arts technique of passive resistance I go with his attack I use his momentum and I admit for the sake of argument that there is no apostolic Authority and there is no such thing as sacred tradition so I'm no longer Orthodox now I'm Protestant I just left clinging to my Bible and the Satan closes in gets closer to me and he's reaching out to grab the Bible from me as he tells me a very mesmerizing story about Jesus Christ that he's not who I thought he was the historical Jesus is nothing like what is recounted in this book of Lies it's been manipulated Jesus Christ was a wonderful man God would not have crucified him and furthermore that everyone knows that there is only one God there is no Trinity and that Jesus is not in fact God so rather than resisting this I just nod and smile and I hand over at the Bible so I'm still a monotheistic Wriston I guess I am some sort of Muslim now so he goes on the attack and he says you know what this Jesus that you Revere as a prophet he was not even a messiah he is not the Promised One he is not spoken of this man Jesus is not a good man he is in fact a liar and a lunatic and he certainly is not the promised Messiah so I'm left with no respect for Jesus and I am just worshiping Yahweh and because I've been such a willing victim of his doubt he is confident as he comes in close I can feel his breath on my cheek and I can smell that rotten stench of death as he closes in for the kill he's going to kill my god and I'm not going to resist I'm going to go with him he doesn't use words he just stares into my eyes and he convinces me to doubt God he's convinced me that I have no reason to believe in the physical universe the desert disappears Satan disappears and even my thoughts become obscure I have nothing the blackness that surrounds me is a sea of question marks not before my face because I have no face I'm no longer there the doubt has smothered me I am gone this is nihilism so I've gone right to the bottom I've fallen into the pit of despair to the point that I doubt my own existence and so I let rip into the darkness of this black night of doubt a scream I have not and just as I think that I'm being snuffed out completely I hear an echo coming back to me and a bright point of light in the distance I see the words coming back to me those words that I screeched out from a parched and dry throat like a death crow these words coming back to me and pure bright white light as a single point coming back and piercing my soul hi there is not only doubt there is reason and that reason has echoed back to me my own denial of myself and by virtue of that small point of reason in the echo chamber of my self-doubt I am able to discern that by denying my existence I have in fact affirmed my existence so I have now something to cling to why because there's not only doubt there's also reason I do not have faith I've allowed Satan to strip me of all my faith so I do not have faith I only had doubt and yet reason was there for me a small speck of reason was not able to be extinguished and my cry was echoed back to me and now I see that my denial of self is an affirmation of self I am the foundation stone of ontology and epistemology is this phrase I am which cannot be denied because in denying it I affirm it so this is the foundation upon which I will build I am so there is this idea of self and the idea of existence so the natural question is am i self existent or does my existence come from another am i partaking of existence or am i existence in other words am I God or is God God either I'm God or God is God so if God is not God then I am God but I know that I am NOT God and that God is God because if I am wrong then I am also not wrong since if I am wrong when I say that I am NOT God then I am God and God cannot be wrong therefore I know that I am NOT wrong when I say that I am NOT therefore I am NOT God but if I am NOT and so now that I've acknowledged freely and rationally that I am NOT God that God is God God floods me with faith there is no way to stop this torrent of faith it's gonna come flooding in just like Rene Descartes describes in his discourse on method the faith comes flooding in of course the real world is real and objective it's of joy and a pleasure to find myself back in the universe a well-ordered universe that means there is science there is cosmology and the history of the Jews and the prophecies of the coming Messiah and then in the film's time comes Jesus Christ in the flesh born of the Virgin Mary and he founds the Catholic Church in the seven sacraments and he sends out his apostles to all the four corners of the world commissioning them to teach in his name giving the keys of authority to the prints of the Apostle st. Peter and the Apostles assigned successors st. Paul is converted and he's building churches and the whole early church is a very Christian Church and it is self-evident the Jews were wrong when they said that there's no Messiah and we see that the Muslims were wrong when they said that Jesus was not crucified and that the early Christian movement was a Muslim movement and then we see that there is no divine table of contents that's given by God and there is no way for one to say that your Holy Spirit interpreted the Bible one way and the other person's Holy Spirit interpreted that same passage in a way that is mutually contradictory and we see that the church has always been apostolic and that the successors of the Apostles are bishops and those bishops when they meet in ecumenical councils have the power of the keys to bind and to loose infallibly and we can see that it is clearly taught and defined that it is a dogma divinely revealed that the Roman pontiff when he speaks ex cathedra that is when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians by virtue of his supreme apostolic Authority defines a doctrine regarding faith and morals to be held by the universal Church by the divine assistance promised to him and blessed Peter he's possessed of that infallibility which the divine Redeemer willed that his church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals and that therefore such definitions of the when pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the church IRRI formable and so seeing all that I see that I am back where I started and I am once again in possession of my Catholic faith so as I was proclaiming all of this Satan was shrilly into himself and squirming into the crevice of the rock upon which he sat and in the form of a serpent entered into the depths of the earth Saint Paul says that if Christ has not risen from the dead then we are the most foolish of men the most pitiable of men we Christians he is using a theoretical dote it's a reduction to absurdity proof basically saying look if this then that that cannot be therefore the theoretical doubt that we adopted for this reduction to absurdity proof is not the case and therefore what we firmly adhered to by faith is necessarily the case st. Anselm of Canterbury one of the major proponents of this and he worked diligently to examine his faith in order to gain understanding and it's only as st. Augustine said it's only by faith that we have understanding so the two work together and doubt is part of that equation we need to be able to do the reduction to absurdity it's a very very useful part of deductive reasoning now this dialogue with Satan in the desert is a cute little thought experiment it's fun way for me to deconstruct and then reconstruct my faith tearing it down rebuilding it on a solid foundation reaffirming why I believe what I believe but when it comes to involving others in this sort of thought experiment I think it's more useful to use a more pragmatic approach and so I want to go through the building back up for the first step the key word is entropy and the acronym is F C which stands for first cause which is a key component in the argument from entropy key component of the second step is history and the two letter acronym I've chosen for that one is JC which stands for Jesus Christ who is at the center of this historical argument and then for the third step which is based on Authority we have RC which stands for Roman Catholicism which is the source and summit of God's Authority the best way to argue from entropy is to ask a simple question is there a first cause or is there not a first cause the principle of the excluded middle means that there is no third option well if there were not a first cause what would that mean it would mean that the material universe we see has always been here there is no beginning there is in other words infinite time behind us this cannot be because if there were an infinite amount of time behind us then the heat death would have arrived therefore we know that there is a first cause so there we have answered the first question the second question is that first cause natural or not well we know that it is not natural because if it were natural then that means that the natural first cause has no beginning it is the first cause it is uncaused it doesn't have a cause itself because it is the first cause so if the first cause is natural then it is without beginning and anything that is natural is temporal and when we combine these two ideas of the temporal and beginningless Ness we have infinite time behind us necessarily and that is untenable because the heat death has not yet arrived so we've shown that the first cause exists and we've shown that the first cause is not natural therefore there is necessarily a first cause and that first cause is necessarily supernatural and because of the principle that in effect cannot be greater then it's cause we have a first cause it is supernatural and that is infinite in every perfection infinite in power just as truth beauty all the perfections that we see in the world every perfection that it is better to have than to not have the first cause those perfections and is identical with those perfections and those perfections are identical among themselves so the first cause is the god of monotheism the god of classical theism and we know with certainty that this God is one and not many because if there were a second candidate that proposed himself then we need only ask if there's any difference between the candidate and the real God and if there is a difference then the candidate is not God and if there is no difference then the candidate and God are not two but one they are one because identical in all of the attributes this is the famous deductive proof given by st. Augustine in the 4th century so having taken the first step let's take a look at the second step it all hinges on history it all hinges on the Jewish prophecies about the Messiah concrete descriptions of the time and the place of when and where the Messiah will come to save the Jews and not only to save the Jews but to save the nation's there are many many many hints in the Old Testament in the Jewish Scriptures that the nations will come in the first hint is that the Jews themselves were supposed to be a priestly nation to the Gentiles to the non-jews the Hebrew people were supposed to be the priesthood for the non-jews it just so happens that the stiff-necked Jews were difficult people and God had to work with them he cooperated with their weakness and he reduced the priesthood to the Levites and there's a lot of confusion that comes out of that but in the prophets we see that there is a place for the Gentiles and we even see how the Gentiles will have pride of place and the Jews will be jealous that their younger brother has usurped them and there are many many images in historical books and in the poetic books and in the prophetic books about the younger son taking the place of the elder the eldest son was a very privileged position but time and time again we see this imagery so there are many many clues that the Gentiles will come in they're gonna worship the one true God of the Jews the Jews are and remain and will always remain the chosen people of God we Gentiles who are Catholics today are Catholics because we are grafted into the tree of the Jews we are wild olive branches grafted on to the domestic olive tree we are dogs eating crumbs at the table of the Jews we have to remember that and if the Jews were able to be cut off from their own natural tree how much more readily will God remove those of us who are wild branches and who have even less glory we are not the chosen people the Jews are the chosen people but all the Jews will come back in but my point here is that if you're speaking with the Jew about the historical Jesus there is a lot of evidence that is very easy to accept if you look at it without prejudice the Messiah did come as predicted and it's Jesus Christ if they're not convinced by the prophecy then they need only look at the historical fact of the temple being destroyed as predicted by Jesus and the priesthood being completely abolished there are no more sacrifices Judaism as we knew it is gone only a willing blindness would prevent someone from seeing the reality that Jesus Christ is the promised Messiah of the Jews the Muslims also need to look at history they need to look at the history of the early church they claim that Jesus Christ was not crucified that he was a good prophet and that he was spared by God and that the movement surrounding the good Muslim Jesus they were all Muslims - they believed in a Unitarian God not three persons but just one person in the Godhead and that this early movement was not in fact a Christian movement but that it was a Muslim movement and that if the books seemed to suggest otherwise it's because those books have been corrupted their lies that have been written into them and people have made a mockery of the Muslim Bible by turning it into some sort of Christian Bible rewriting it manipulating it and so on us but this is a question of history if you have goodwill and you look into the history of the early church you will see that it is not Muslim it is not Unitarian it is a Trinitarian church with the belief in the real presence in the Eucharist that Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man and that we eat his body blood soul and divinity in the Eucharist and that if you do so unworthily you're in danger of eternal damnation so very serious stuff very Catholic stuff all seven sacraments are there in the early church we can see it's a very very Catholic Church no if we move up to the next step and we look at the Protestants and Orthodox they have accepted Jesus Christ but they reject the authority of the church so we're gonna need to make an argument from Authority and the way we do that with the Protestant is very easy we just look at the Canon of Scripture what is the Bible how many books are in the Bible what are the books in the Bible are there sixty-six books in the Bible or are there 73 books in the Bible how do we know that there is an infallible set of infallible books how can we have that given the fact that there is no divine table of contents in the Bible the doctrine of Bible alone does not appear in the Bible and it says in the Bible that the church is the pillar and ground of the truth not the Bible the Bible is not self authorizing it is the Catholic Church that gave us the Bible and an effect cannot be greater than its cause therefore if the Scriptures have infallible Authority that infallible Authority must have been given to them by the Holy Roman Catholic Church which met in Council to decide which books were in and which books were out so much for the Protestants the Orthodox believe that ecumenical councils are infallible but that Peter does not have primacy of Magisterial Authority primacy of power that he only enjoys a primacy of Honor if you were to look at this as a judge or a jury with a disinterested love of truth you will see very clearly that Peter does have a primacy that he is given the keys authority as an individual he is addressed in the first-person singular by Jesus Christ in key passages of the New Testament and he has singled out time and time again he's mentioned first time and time again and that there is more than just honor taking place here he has consulted the Bishop of Rome throughout the early church is being consulted as being bowed to as the authority not just a Authority but the authority other sees are bending their knee to the see of Peter in Rome so to bring an Orthodox into the Catholic Church we need to use arguments from Authority where we're pointing to the authority of the church the authority of st. Peter the authority of Scripture the authority of the early church fathers and I hope this gives you at least a hint as to why I place the Roman Catholic Church in that sweet spot of healthy and balanced doubt faith and reason so if you have any other questions feel free to email me CBS broadcast at gmail.com if you want to be my guest as always get in touch or go to my website CBS podcast.com my interviews are friendly informal and unprepared we're just chatting about you who you are what you believe and how you came to believe what you believe so that's it for now take care we'll talk soon god bless bless

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