Catholic vs. Other - 2016-12-11 - Anthony Greene

Author Recorded Sunday December 11th, 2016

There are 41 episodes in the Versus:Other series.

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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

Anthony is a good friend. We discuss religion and philosophy all the time, so this is nothing new. I appreciate that even though he doesn't agree with me on everything, he listens to meand defends my controversial faith when he can.


Catholic vs. Other - 2016-12-11 - Anthony Greene

Author Recorded September 24th, 2016

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my name's Anthony green and you're listening to Catholic versus other so what just tell us a little bit about yourself who you are what you believe and why you believe it well what I believe that's really hard to fit into a bucket I guess if you really had to put me into a corner you'd call me either an atheist or an agnostic I avoid both those labels where at least I can surround both those labels for various reasons really anybody who just has never really investigated the subject who's never really spent any time thinking about it the easiest thing that they could fall back on is calling themselves agnostic and and that's what I call weak sauce and then that certainly doesn't describe me at all because I spend a tremendous amount of time alright on a daily basis for twenty thirty years putting inquiry into this though the idea of a hard agnostic is kind of appealing what I would describe as a hard agnostic is not that we don't know whether there is a God or not whether there is a first cause or not we can't know we can question these things but we will never ever actually know it's unknowable is anything noble in the heart agnostic will view logic rationality wise one has thrown equals two that's knowable right now if you want to go full on moral relativist you could say even that's an invented system and it's only used as a convenience I'm not willing to go that far you know all life falls apart when you go that far no I'm very comfortable with saying one plus one equals two that is a universal reality that you know law of non-contradiction you can't have a and not a right that's knowable so before we get too deep into this philosophical stuff I'm wondering if you can get more personal and talk about your childhood so your first sort of Inklings of God is there goddess or not god I wasn't raised in an especially religious household but my mother thought it was the right thing for us boys to go to church my dad didn't join us remember which church you went to yeah there was a church just cut across at backyard and then a street over so it was about a it was about a five minute walk and it was an Anglican Church and then later I was probably around eight or nine or ten and my mother had decided to switch churches to one across town which was a United Baptist Church and I do have some memories of that I remember Sunday school from that and I remember actually some church sermons from that so the two memories I can definitely recall which comes to my first questioning about God we'd been one in Sunday school where I liked the devil I just loved them and the temptation in the desert story with all my favorite because it was really the longest story with the devil in where he's an active character what did you like about him he's a badass because you're told he's a badass but at the same time you know that he's the underdog right this book is not about him hey right he only gets to show up and stir up trouble every now and then and there were something about that that appealed to me Plus also the drawings were cool and Jesus just seemed boring he just seemed like a nice guy so the first memory at you know of me really seriously questioning religious teaching was a temptation in the desert Jesus is out starving in the wilderness and that will come as long and says well if you're hungry and you fear the Son of God why don't you just turn these stones into bread and Jesus goes well man can't eat on bread alone and I'm like where does Jesus a savior is he a dietician it's silly but that's my first official moment of questioning is like is there something about diet nutrition I've never been told now if he said you can't live on oatmeal alone you would have proved him wrong I certainly did live on the meal alone for a few years you know though there was also coffees red note meal or maybe opposed just water and oatmeal maybe I would have died who knows now I noticed that Satan is being destroyed in a painting behind you can you describe that a little bit what that is and we this is st. George I have these three pictures that I enjoy tremendously the first one is the Archangel Michael the second one is st. George fighting the dragon and the third one is Peter and Paul holding up the church yes and they're really I think the nicest thing in this opponent they're very classy and yep they got cut out of a calendar from chapters but two out of three show your hero the devil being destroyed absolutely so and I had a book on dragons growing up a really nice illustrative book on Dragons story about st. Michael locking Satan away into the earth and locking it the seal with a key and the devil always loses which is one of the reasons why he makes us such an interesting character for me can I ask you a little side question about the Rolling Stones sympathy for the devil I've never understood that what is it about theology or no it's it's about human evil and maybe the devil has always been with us because human evil has always been with us but it's not a theological song it does get that cool factor of the devil it gets like it's a great song and I liked the song but then at the end of interview with the vampire where the Guns N'Roses version of that comes on it's like I'm going to give you the choice that I was never given and boom less that takes the wheel and driving across the bridge just brilliant just perfect way to end that movie but that that's the great song cuz it really does capture the cool factor of it then well even that's unimaginable horror the absolute atrocities that have gone through over history there's still a cool factor to the devil that God and Jesus just don't have you know God Jesus is the right thing to do and yet for some reasons sin is very appealing even to an eight-year-old boy sin is very appealing do you feel like a sinner date today yes absolutely but you know not in any spicy or juicy kind of way more just I just didn't get up early enough that left then for mine o'clock all that's wrong with me is more than mundane feelings day today I've never been comfortable with the idea of sin or the term said it just seemed too punitive to me and the doctrine of original sin had always bothered me but through our conversations you really restructured that word for me it's very compelling to me sin isn't badness sin is just sub-optimal living it's the choosing of a lower good over a higher good sub-optimal good so you could live a perfectly good lifestyle but if you're not living the best lifestyle that's still sin and then suddenly the the doctrine of original sin isn't so nasty it's just no there's a better way to live and there's always a better way to live and nobody lives the best life nobody lives the optimal life but you can strive for for men it's impossible but for God nothing's impossible so but God doesn't have to get up in the morning by the work you know you know God's credit Jesus did have to get up in the morning go to work I just wondered you know did he ever hit snooze on the alarm clock yeah so I like the romance of God I like that he is that beauty that we're chasing you may not be quite there yet in your journey but when you see a woman and you say oh my god this is the one this is the one I don't know how I know it she's not what I expected but she's the one I don't know if that's happened to you but it potentially could happen to you and I live in Montreal it happens on a daily basis like I go get her number or anything but but there are so many sub optimal ways of courting her and of approaching her the parallel I'm drawing here is that there is no perfect move or there's no perfect there is no you you are going to mess up and st. Augustine said something funny about God and how he only shows his full nakedness once you love him exclusively and nothing else nothing else not beautiful women you're not drugs not sleeping in in the morning if and when you love God exclusively then you get to see him fully naked I find it too dangerous and maybe not even a good approach to God because I've been a longtime fan of reading really from across the board and the lifestyle you're describing is very well lived out by say Catholic monks of 12th century but nobody lives that out better than indian brahmins who give up everything who basically go naked and live under a tree for 30 40 50 years and yet I don't think that's what God has in mind for us right that complete asceticism to love nothing but God I don't think that necessarily the the path he has mined for us is to get rid of all of our worldly cares and to not engage in the world and to the beg for alms the thing that saves me from falling into that and it never occurred to me to fall into that is that the Ten Commandments are really one commandment love and that one commandment can be split into two Commandments love of God and love of neighbor and those two Commandments can be further broken down into six Commandments you have the love of God in thought word and deed and you have the love of neighbor and thought word and deed so there's six Commandments and then you can go to 10 when I look at the two commands love of God and love of neighbor the first commandment love of God what is that because we can't put a coat on his back or put a meal on his table what is it to love God it's different from loving neighbor but actually the irony is that it's not different from loving neighbor loving God is loving your neighbor this is the Christian idea of love when Jesus said if you love me and he was God he said if you love me keep my Commandments there's a sort of a self-referential feedback loop if you love God keep his Commandments and what are God's commandments well the first commandment is love God and the second one is like it love your neighbor as yourself so the love of God for us humans really really centers on love of neighbor and that will make us keep our clothes on keep our job keep engaged in the world they really will we will not be in that pantheistic mode we won't because we're Christian and I'm so Christian that that didn't even occur to me to strip myself naked and go meditate under a tree it didn't occur to me it doesn't appeal to me I've never liked woods or certainly been Christians who've done the same thing well and we can't say the same as Saint Francis Yeah right whoo I probably regard as popping my favorite but you remember that was highly controversial in the church at the highly controversial no the Franciscans were all but driven out with good reason I would say yeah because they really did the Buddha thing the church should be reduced to poverty it's all about love of God and I've always been very drawn to asceticism hence my two years living on Oak Hill are you a fan of Buddha and a fan of st. Francis yes I not so much of a fan of Buddhism simply because I feel that for Westerner out of the Christian tradition we can't really truly understand Buddhism from its actual context without twenty thirty years of actually living under that it's just not the way our brains are constructed and I don't like Westerners who have found Buddhist because I think they missed the point entirely you've been to India it was foreign and strange and a little bit disturbing to you right very disturbing yes I would have a hard time distinguishing between the Hari Krishna temple in Bangalore and a religious version of Disneyworld it was so artificial and so fake and do you mean the decor was catches everything it was kitsch yes it wasn't meant to be kid that doesn't bother me but it did bother me that seems like a little bit of a superficial judgment it is but what really horrified me was tens of thousands of people lining up for two hours so you can bow before an idol and then move on and buy some concessions at the concession stand that doesn't strike me as the spirituality that I'm looking for I can tell you that I went to a Hindu temple here in town there were literally three people in a large temple it was calm it was quiet there were candles there were statues which was a little bit kitsch but that doesn't bother me that doesn't bother me no but I saw the reverence and I saw the devotion and frankly I felt like a sort of Catholic atmosphere there yeah and I think that's getting to my disdain of Western Buddhist I think this is ingrained into us culturally that's true spirituality is a private affair that's not like that all it is in the east it's nothing like that right these notions we walk around with as Westerners what spiritualities that's not at all what being a Buddhist is like being a Buddhist is a lot closer to being Hindu in India your elbow to elbow with a thousand other people and it's about conforming to about at this time by this fruit follow these it's not a deeply introspective solo journey this is a very westernized concept of spirituality and then to try to impose that on to the East is really very ignorant what do you think about the Western religious tradition it's very diverse yeah but is there a common core there that you can relate to as a westerner um same with the seed like a black Pentecostal church it very much turns me off you know if there's one reason I don't go to churches I can't stand the singing really I read just give if I could find a church where it's just a few of us standing around and doing what we're doing right now and discuss I would be right into that the singing I just can't stand but I do believe in diversity of thought diversity of experience and diversity of expression and if people find that to be their gateway to spirituality I 100 support that it's not right for me I don't know if you've ever worshiped my god I don't know have you I tried to have conversations with them and I will pray but I don't think I've been able to cross that line into worship the closest I can come to worship is mindful thankfulness that's the closest I can come to actual worship but I try to practice that as often as i can when i went from atheism to theism it happened in a heartbeat i remember the exact moment when i was reading or na Descartes the emphasis was really on public worship and it's so counterintuitive because I am introverted I'm not a group person I'm socially awkward I was never a fan of ritual but I can tell you that when I met God part and parcel with that came this notion that you will worship me in public I agree with that in principle you see that in Dante's Paradiso you go up to the higher realms of heaven and it's choirs of angels you don't have some guy off sit him in heaven and say I'm so happy to be close to God know if closeness to God you prejudice to say being part of a course being part of a group and I think that is an essential component to real spirituality probably the the principle thing that holds me back from that experience is skepticism right and you're naturally a skeptic what have I lost my skepticism do you think in most things no but in this regard yes you have lost your skepticism and that's okay because that's kind of what you have to do to attain faith is to give up on your skepticism but I'm not sure if I'm prepared to say that skepticism is sinful in fact skepticism seems to be somewhat godly right to doubt to question I do question and there are a lot of things that we can doubt yeah they just so have it there's certain things you can't yeah that's the thing that's the thing I would sort of put it on par with a romantic relationship when you're a bachelor and you've got your bachelor pad and all your buddies come over and you're doing your thing and you talk about the joys of The Bachelor life once you meet your woman and you try to explain to some of these lifelong bachelors what's changed in you why you're willing to limit yourself you will have to try to convey to them even though they don't understand that you've moved up in the world you move on to another level and you're working on that level yes and the compromise you make in your world it's not really a compromise it's just you've changed gears yeah a good analogy and it is better but is that true going back to the aesthetic the aesthetic doesn't do these things the aesthetic lives purely for his spiritual beliefs but you see that as a danger as a as a danger yes but at the same time a more spiritually pure path so which is the holier life I've had conversations with Muslims and they would reject the ascetic lifestyle it's laid out very clearly in the crawe that the holiest life is to be married and to have children and being a monk a celibate monk is not necessarily a holy lifestyle no the holiest people should have many children to spread Islam through bearing up children whereas being such a solitary loner you know I am drawn closer to sort of the idea of the Christian monk working in his cold cell duplicating manuscripts I think that is a very romantic image he wasn't the first was the I think it was the first desert dweller was he that okay yeah are you comfortable talking a little bit about what you like about Islam maybe not really no and then that will eventually that will actually segue me back to my second early spiritual experience when I was like nine right I mentioned the thing about the temptation in the desert the other significant experience I had as an eight or nine year old I don't member it my exact age but this was at the United Baptist Church and my brother and I were standing there listening to the minister and we had sort of a conjoined moment of skepticism where the minister was talking about Jesus and he and I looked at each other it's like well first there's God then there's Jesus why do we want have a relationship with the number two guy why don't we talk directly to God when did you first encounter the idea of Islam as a pure monotheistic system I didn't have any any experience whatsoever with Islam until I was 21 and one of my closest friends who had done a lot of dalliance with religions but when he would dally into a religion it would be hard core two years read the stuff every day when I met him he was going into Mormonism then he broke out of that and went into Wiccan and then from there he became a Buddhist and then from there he became a Muslim and he is a Muslim to this day but he was a phenomenal resource because I might be too lazy to necess we read all day every day the text but I've certainly got a good dissemination from it well today there are YouTube videos see if there is today there's YouTube news and there's you I get to have the same thing from you I get to get a dissemination of a tremendous amount of reading that I don't necessarily want to do do you think that your friend ended up in the best religion among the ones that he tasted did he end up with the best one or will he start at Catholic oh he did he was raised Catholic oh okay and any Catholicism is still strong in his family so he's got Catholic ok felt too I would say that yes for him it's a good fit for him it's quick you don't have that much respect for Wicca I never did the same way that I don't respect a westerner who becomes a Buddhist I don't respect somebody with central heating and central air becoming a Wiccan real wick real paganism is ground on the fact that life is horrible up there and you could die at any time at the crops fail you're dead not just you're dead your whole family dead your whole tribe is dead that's actual paganism and these newfound pagans you know they've got their welfare check and they've got their paid for housing and there's nothing unsafe in their lives have no idea what paganism actually is but there are the microaggressions there are microaggressions to be afraid of yes around every corner modern pagans see the Earth Mother as a loving thing it's all about love nature isn't love nature is terrify how how do you view because you seem to view people's choice of religion in the West as sort of like a lifestyle choice like hey I'm a Rasta I've got dreads and I smoke weed and I listen to Bob Marley but what prevents you if you I don't know maybe you do see my choice of Catholicism in that same one Oh your system of belief is what created this world I credit all of modern science directly attributable to Christianity no other system of thought in the world was able to create the Scientific Revolution it's not like will it happen to come from granolas necessarily came from Christian Buddhism cannot create the scientific method the way we did the Greeks for all their brilliance the pagan Greeks could not create the scientific method the way that we happened Christianity is very good at taking the best of paganism take the best of classical Greek philosophy taking the best parts of eastern asceticism taking the best parts of and there's a theological reason for why it's so good at being able to do that to the pagan Greeks the world wasn't knowable there was a chaotic unpredictable capricious element to nature it took the Christians and this is what my favorite philosophy professor dr. Stanway he is the first one to post which University was a this was University of Medicine sackful new brunswick and he had first posited this idea to me that what the christians did was they separated nature from God and they killed nature they took nature and it made it into a body in an autopsy it's static it's an artifact from God and only then were we able to actually dissect it which what we do science so it's making a clear distinction between the finite and the infinite really yes exactly the finite is knowable and the crazy stuff you should be afraid of well it's god it's the abstract it's heaven it's hell do you still find Jesus boring because he's nice no as someone who's been past 25 years researching into mythology religion the more I learned the more interest in the character of Jesus becomes we've been listening to this lectures from Jordan Peterson and it was very exciting when he nailed down like what is the archetypal character of Jesus and he said it's truthful speech and that is the grain of Western civilization right the more I learn about this the more interesting and exciting it becomes and that as I get older and sin is less interesting the interests when the devil becomes it just becomes base human nature now as a kid the devil was very very interesting as an older adult speaking the truth becomes very exciting especially today we're in a postmodern sort of phase aren't we well exactly the foundations of truth are being undermined attacked by the academia pretty much what's almost singularly being taught in the humanities there's moral relativism or cultural relativism that truth does not exist that it's a pick-your-own truth and all truths are equally valuable the idea that no there is actual innate human truth this is becoming an unpopular idea and the more unpopular it becomes the more exciting it becomes to me maybe that's the Satan and hahaha maybe I because it's unfashionable would be maybe maybe because I feel like I'm pushing a boulder up a hill all by pursuing this it makes it more interesting I want to just spend a little bit more time on Satan because the book of Job portrays God the judge and Satan the lawyer coming and getting permission to go and do X Y and Zed to job and Satan is happy to stir up problems in jokes life and gods happy to allow him to do it within constraints so there's this sort of servitude that Satan has to God which I like as a Catholic I like the idea that Satan's doing God's will not he is positive well but his permissive will he gets permission from God each and every time he stirs things up on earth so is this an idea you're comfortable with I think it's an idea I'm more than comfortable with there's something very exciting about that does God need the devil in a way yes I think there's something profoundly interesting to me that even at such an young age the devil was more interesting a character and then God eight years old I probably wasn't ready to start thinking about God but certainly the devil was a very interesting character I remember back when I was in my 20s and I used to write and think of myself as a writer and that's what I wanted to do more than anything else a line would come to me and I would write it down and I'm not gonna be able to remember the exact line but I'm gonna try to paraphrase as best as I can when all the wars in earth and heaven have been fought and are over and all the angels have gone back to heaven and all the souls have been feared out of hell I'll be the last man standing in Hell next to the devil asking him what did he think of it all and I've always saw myself very much that yeah I will I'll be like the second last person who ends up in heaven with the last one being the devil but I'll always be there to ask him what his side of the story was okay you are very sympathetic to the underdog we don't need to go into the psychology too much but do you have any quick and dirty way of explaining why you maybe feel like you are an underdog well I was always the smallest kid in my grade you know growing up I was picked on not extremely harshly but I was picked on a lot there is an advantage to being the underdog to being physically the weakest to having to you know get by on charm and good looks as opposed to strength does the slave morality come into this at all or are they best entirely slave for alpha T and I thank you since my knowledge of Nietzsche is nowhere it's as good as it should be for eight years ago introducing that concept to me because I always knew it as a thing but I didn't know somebody to actually put a name to it of slave morality and master morality and I had always been a strong proponent of slave morality and only recently passed five or six years where I see slave morality has just gone completely wild and out of control and craziness we're seeing any universities like oppression and microaggressions you know I think we do definitely need it return to some master morality did these two have to stay imbalanced with each other right we shouldn't just give up on human virtue just in our quest to be the biggest victim in the right that is not virtuous there is a virtue to being the underdog but it's not an absolute virtue master morality still always has to win out but slave morality it's an important consideration I mean this is the morality of Jesus Christ right being the emperor of Rome doesn't give you absolute moral authority but it does give you some work authority right you can't just throw one out so these two have to remain some way in contests to each other and balance and I think this is built in at the ground level in Christianity Christianity is not just throwing out all master morality in favor of slave morality it is built on this tension between the two and I don't think you find that so much in Judaism I have a great love affair for Judaism my reading of the Old Testament is there's two commandments that Jews keep messing up and keep getting punished for and that is breaking the Sabbath and idolatry those are the two consistently that over and over and over and over they just can't live with these rules and they keep breaking them they don't have any problem with breaking the thing on thou shalt not kill or thou shalt not covet thy neighbor's wife you know King David had a problem with it but it's not a consistent theme but the two that they constantly have troubles with but I think it's telling that the one that may be the reason why the Jews have survived as a culture without a homeland for 2400 years this Sabbath is a very powerful idea that's just one day a week you know whether you're living in a foreign land of Western Russia or whether you're living somewheres in the Middle East one day week you be halt all activity and you just remember who you are who your peoples are and you commemorate God and that may be the secret ingredient they had to keep their their cultural you can't grab ahold of the Sabbath you can't burn this out you can't destroy this habit well you can dominant cultures swallow up smaller cultures but the only way to kill a Sabbath is with this cultural approach that's the only way physical violence can somehow 2400 years before the concept of cultural war and this is a 20th century concepts they invented a defense yeah on cultural war and they also done other things like they changed the patria lineage to Maxiell lineage right it's a little trick you know the Conqueror the father may come in and you know capture a few wives but Judaism actually goes through the mother just a couple little tricks that allowed the culture to survive 2400 years without a homeland so I have a great level fair for Judaism are you now why would never be Jewish is I I would convert tomorrow but I honestly believe that you can't convert into the chosen people you just don't get to elect yourself into that no matter how hard you try yeah I can't make myself black no matter how much rap I listen to I can't make myself black and I can't make myself Jewish Judaism and rabbis are famous for arguing debating hashing ideas out do you see it as a rational religion yes I don't know if it's as rational as say the Greek philosophers it's a different kind of rationalism but it's like let's figure things out by talking about it and that's Rush what what about Islam how do you view Islam there's a lot that I do love about the purity of Islam getting back to like I don't want to go through an intermediary to get to God I don't believe in intermediaries like what you did acknowledged earlier that I bring with me when I come to visit you I bring notions of God I bring north as a religion so I am I am in a way an intermediary for you no but you're human into me yeah but I don't need a spiritual intermediary you don't need a god man Jesus Christ I don't need a god man exactly and this is the appeal of Islam the appeal to Islam is the purity of it the absolute purity and with my with my strong feeling on the graven Idol thing they and the Jews they get that one right in my book no representation of anything godly or even the prophets just just don't do it so there's there is a lot that I appreciate with them now the danger with Islam is very much the same danger that I see with Mormonism it's one guy one lifetime one voice the entire shebang Christianity is an evolved religion it's 800 years many different writers living in many different countries a lot of conflicts a lot of contradiction but there's a truth somewheres in resolving all those contradictions Islam is one guy and it can be pure but that there's a lot to be feared in that purity Islam structurally can not reform itself and it's a core problem that they were going to have to deal with you can't modernize Islam they can't ever grow out of this extent because it was perfect it was the height of human perfection there's no such thing as a better man than Muhammad whereas you might say there's no such thing as a better man than Jesus but who wants to be Jesus exactly at least Jesus isn't impossible to attain figure that you get crucified you know I wonder if Muhammad ever actually said these words my kingdom is of this world because Jesus famously said My Kingdom is not of this world no I would have to actually ask a Muslim scholar that it is implied because that's think that's what the Caliphate is entirely based on is to bring God's kingdom into this world it's not a bowl waiting for the next it spoke Islam shall not rest until the entire world is Muslim and that's a problem so what is it about religious tolerance that is so important to you as a Western man getting back to Jesus truthful speech we all have to speak the truth we're still working now what the truth is in human existence this is a never-ending struggle and we don't know where that truth is going to come from it might come from a tribe somewhere is in New Zealand you know the best truth we don't know so that's why we can't shut people up for the truth we just have to let throughs compete for each other it's sort of a free market of ideas a free market of ideas and I think there's something inherently capitalistic in Christianity that the best ideas should win out and not forced what about respect for the conscience of the other person is that missing from his long a thinker reduced what does Islam mean a submission submission not find your own truth its submission I don't want people to find their own truth I want people to find the truth yeah you're not the harbinger of the truth you're doing your best you invite me to do my very best and let's hammer it out right but I don't have to submit to your truth well you hope you have the better I hope you submit yeah you hope you can no that's convincing me that's called convincing hey you have the better idea right and you're eventually going to win me over with the better idea and that's the Western Way right like let the better idea flourish so in this next part of the interview I want you to take over with any sort of religious questions or anything you have that you want to talk about there's only one thing that I really wanted to talk about in this interview which we haven't gotten covered and that is what is my finish it up no because I've been struggling with this one and you know this whole interview I've been putting off for so long because like what is my religion not religious but I do see definitely the value in religion but that's sort of as an abstract now I can shop around I can look at the Buddhists I can study Buddhist I can study the Hindus I can study Shintoism I could study Christianity I can study Islam and I could study native North American mythology and all these things have value to me but they're all for me voices of the same fundamental questions that all people ask and I'm a big believer in evolution and also history and of prehistory and in mythology and these all tie very closely together for me your quest for a religion would you be happy with a philosophy if you could find a philosophy or do you need a religion is there a difference between a religion and a philosophy for you yes and I don't have a religion I would like to find a religion you have a philosophy though I've always had a philosophy you're not human progress and that's rationality and that's science and that's not enough to make me happy yeah right and that's okay the very dark place that I live in may be nice to have what you describe I can espouse Jesus Christ's message as being the one most compatible with not just modernity but bring a boat modernity it's like when the greatest religious expressions of the human soul and the struggle for what it means to be human but at the same time I don't necessarily believe he historically existed I think there are many many pieces of the puzzle missing for you for Christianity right now but I'll never know them I'm not even sure if I believe that he existed historically as a person and if he's not just the best religious archetype of our collective struggle so I can't call myself a Christian no because I haven't even gotten to the point of bleeding he existed historically much less he died and came back to life from the crop yeah right that's the whole next jump I'm not even ready for the first jump I would like to believe and I coined this term this summer while talking with my dad I've talked with you about this and I thought it was a great breakthrough for me that I might be an atheist but I'm a sad atheist hahaha most the Atheist I know are very happy to be they think they're better than you they're smarter than you they're more rational than you they're more scientific than you because they're atheists yeah they think it's the path forward worse I'm upside yes I would very much like there to be a god I dearly wish that there is truth that there is a best way to live that there is a universal justice I desperately I thought that I dearly want that to be true either you're not desperate that might be what's missing from you yeah I'm not desperate but ideally want there to be a universal truth I dearly want there to be the God that you decide nearly want it to be true but I don't see evidence for yes what would you say in response to the sort of blunt Christian diagnosis of your lack of faith that it's your pride and it's your sin pride is the worst of all the sins according to the dogma and they're right it's the hardest one to beat the other ones bloody sloth anger lust you can work on those but the one about like okay God prove to me that you exist that's the hardest one and it's the last one to go you're gonna have to beat me in an argument for me to agree with you but I'm not gonna let you win that argument right yeah I think desperation is the path to God I think humility comes through knowing that you're weak knowing that you're stupid knowing that you're ugly knowing that you smell I think I got humility in spades as a nihilist I think I beat everybody in humility I am the best in humility I have a very fast in humility but I I do I do think that's true right it's like I I am a multi-celled life-form living on an insignificant rock circling an insignificant negligible star you know unimaginably massive universe now you started this little yes because I want to talk about my actual religion yeah so I talked a bit about history and the written word has been around for let's say ten thousand years but we as humans we've been talking to each other for probably about 70 thousand years the more you read mythology and the more you read world religions you notice common stories than the flood being the classic one almost every religion or mythology across the planet even North Americans have somewhat of a story about the flood it's almost a universal story did all people across the world come up with this thing or is there a much older story is there a story from say 40,000 years ago back when all people lived in one little tiny valley in northern Africa you know one of the theories of mankind's origins which I've been reading has starting to become discredited the Out of Africa theory but it's still basically hold to the Out of Africa theory that literally every Homo Sapien on the planet today descends from one region in northern Africa which you might very well describe as the Garden of Eden and we lived there for two three hundred thousand years and and other populations of apes died out but we all come from one common place and during that place we developed a crude but functional spoken language and we told stories and then as the population spread out that the stories changed and they evolved but there is a common to all the world religions and this is very much what I think is my religion it's not Christianity it's not Islam it's not Judaism it's not Mesopotamia and it's not Chinese I think there is a common root all religions are answers to the same questions the questions are 40 50 thousand years old and there's only one races the human race we vary we differ we have different languages we have different stories but these questions that Christianity tries to answer there are deeply existential questions is your temperament geared towards the existential questions more than the philosophical first cause type of cold and dry questions I think you might have to explain that because and then they're the same to me like okay why are we here could you seriously be happy as a pantheist I could not no no I could not be and I think these the the philosophical questions lie at the heart of everything philosophically I cannot accept anything but monotheism do you sympathize with my position because I think it's a better more refined story but is it true in terms of something came from nothing as opposed to you know because pantheism doesn't say that something came no I have expressed my disdain not sustained distinct from modern people becoming pantheists but I think the story is evolving and it's getting better like I don't want to go back to 10th century BC Industrial Technology I'm better than I want to go back to 10th century BC narrative sandstorm okay there are stories that are better than others but what I'm hesitating with when you're talking about your religion your quest for religion I don't like your emphasis on the Mauryan ism yeah moral world yes because that is a conflict between us I want to know that your truth that there is a literal God that there is a literal truth and the verses for me there is just the best expression I don't want a Joseph Campbell religion for you yeah but you know it is something that I continue to struggle with and then that is something that I can't call myself okay even though I can say that Christianity the best expression yet for Humanity objectively there may be a hand-in-glove kind of thing where you may see the glove and say yeah your hand fits into that glove and I'm focused on the hand I all I can believe in this is the coop right I don't see what you admit that my hand fits is like lovely a superior way right and I would love to believe in a historical Christ I'm not so far you don't yet I would like it to be true like this is why about sad atheist right like I would like I've really liked the Christian story to be true yeah for the time being I will settle for it being the best story we got are you surprised my willingness to swallow all kinds of things that I haven't verified I am surprised but I'm supportive do you also understand that it would be a hellish nightmare to uncompromisingly hold myself to such a high standard that I would need to actually do the research on all these issues it's the hellish nightmare it's the hell is nightmare I live much less a good friend but very happy that you that you believe what you believe I wish I could come around to but you but I don't there's a principle here where you say look I've been to the ocean and I believe in the ocean and at the same time uncomfortable knowing that I haven't charted out every cubic centimeter of the ocean I know the ocean exists you don't need to chart out the ocean to apprehend it to know the ocean yes yeah and to dive into it so that's how I feel with God and religion we are told explicitly don't try to put the ocean into a thimble because you're gonna fail you know so you don't try if there is a God I like to think he made me this way yeah there's a reason he made me this yeah yeah yeah he be gave me an unquenchable thirst and I'm just going to have to go along trying to quench my thirst drink that ocean it might be sin and mean I still haven't figured out if that's not an issue for you sin is an issue for all of us I am now comfortable with doctrine yeah that's a big step it's a really big step big step and then I owe I owe thanks to you for that better definition of sin then what I had heard and I owe it to the church have you ever seen these videos they make where the are demonstrating the power of filmmaking if you put the same alligator walking up the beach with cutesy music versus with dramatic music have you seen those types of elephants but I love where you're going with my love this imagery go on the power of the atmosphere yes yeah and I often think like for example when I go to an atheist group and I talk to them I often think of the ominous music that's playing in their head and the light-hearted music that's playing in my head and it's two different worlds yeah and I think that you can understand what I'm talking about even better now that you've come to understand my perspective on sin it's one small example of that tonal difference sonal shift makes all the difference and you know that we have other friends that look at me and when I say the word sin there is Darth Vader music playing they can't get past that this martes academics I've ever listened to who hold dearly to that term atheist there's flaws and they're thinking and I'm happier with the flaws and you're thinking with the flaws and they're thinking there are what I call the happy atheists everywhere for my Christopher Hitchens - a Sam Harris smarter people than me but there is a hole where there's a hole there there's a hole there and they they don't address these they just blow over words you don't blow over the holes in here there's one big hole in your argument and you acknowledge it yeah yeah and you move on but they don't acknowledge the holes in their arguments and I don't consider them necessarily the smartest people I've listened to even though they're very articulate and very aware in like 98 percent but there is a 2% where they just sort of blissfully walk over hmm at least Catholics are painfully aware of their flaws when a mystery is a mystery we know just a mystery I can answer that yes question I understand that it's a stumbling block for non-believers and I sympathize with you but our Trinity is something no matter how many times we talk about it and just not together I don't spend much time talking about it because that's the kind of thing where you know you need version for that and until then that's not worth spending a lot of time on that now I have a question for you sort of psychological question and a philosophical question about me I do have faith I do believe but there's a line in the Bible someone speaking to Jesus and he says I do believe help my unbelief that's the position that I'm in and I think that every person of faith is in I don't doubt but I just allow for the theoretical possibility that I'm wrong I do believe but I also acknowledge that I could be wrong about Christianity and I've talked to you about this before if I'm wrong I'm happy to abandon Christ and go to the true religion I do feel a little bit conflicted about it I feel a little bit blasphemous because if I have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and I love him and I trust him and I follow him and I'm striving to be like him I shouldn't even talk about the theoretical possibility right but my rational side says I'm a fallible human being I could be a brain-in-a-vat so where do you fall in terms of looking from the outside in at people of faith do you prefer when they say nope I can't be wrong blind faith is not a virtue for me it is are they more at risk of disappointment than I am yes I don't think God loves them Oh God but of all the people on earth I think he loved them least maybe it's just me maybe that III have no respect for those people and I hope God has no respect for those hours little respect and love is for anybody else I'd rather God loved the unapologetic atheist over the blind faithful okay right I think they're the worst amongst us I think the conflicted faithful are the best amongst us the conflicted skeptics the second-best and then the Atheist third and then the blind faithful last okay is our Western burden to doubt you do understand that I don't doubt Christianity but I do admit in principle that I could be wrong yeah but that's doubt it's not active doubt but it's it's a form of holding at least a little bit in suspension and to do that and then also to believe I think is the best all do you do you understand the difference of saying that my biological father might not be my biological father I believe that he is I I have no doubt that he is I don't doubt that he is but I am willing to admit an in-principle ability there's a possible I'd be surprised to find it out but I wouldn't just dismiss all the overwhelming evidence and say no it cannot be she's a lot better than the person who would never accept the evidence right that I think that is the most blessed position and that's the best okay getting back to the first introduction to this discussion where I was like I don't want to call myself an agnostic because that's the most cowardly of all positions it's probably the one that most accurately describes me but I don't one who adhere to that label because it's very cowardly to just say well we can't know so why should we even ask I want to ask and I want to pursue but I admit that I can't no yeah and then you choose to believe yeah right which is take some tremendous amount of courage right I think that's what kirkegaard we describe it us it's courage okay that takes courage to leap of faith a leap of faith right and that's courage to accept what it certain doesn't take any courage to accept what's uncertain take some courage it also takes some foolishness but you're a fan of The Fool I'm a fan of The Fool I'm a big fan of the fool right and I'm a big fan of the soldier who accepts orders and goes over the hill to be shot to death just to do his duty you know I I'm a big fan of that amount of courage which I wouldn't say that I have in a room full of atheists I'll defend God in a room head Catholics I'll defend atheists yeah or I'll even defend Satan yeah you know I am encourage us enough to go against the grain but I'm not necessarily create just enough to commit commit to the unintelligible or the unprovable right that that takes a special kind of courage or foolishness but I do respect it and I wouldn't respect you if you had blind faith I respect you because your faith is all we based in Plato I was around for that you know like I I watched your progress yeah and went from from Plato to Augustine ooh God and I can respect that journey today I was just thinking I went to the restaurant to buy hot dogs and I had a flashback to my philosophical journey to God only you David over here ordering veggie dogs that Lafleur Apple flashbacks your journey to God but in my journey to God that whole time I had people telling me about what they had for lunch and where the grandmother went for holiday and I had all this mundane data how did I not get destroyed answering your own question because you did it from desperation I'm not doing that well these days you know mentally and spiritually but I'm not as desperate as you were like you really had to get out of the worst existential hole yeah a human can find himself in right solipsism I mean it's slips of sin the nihilism there the opposite ends of spectrum but they're equally bad holes you know I drink enough that I'm not fully nihilist and I quit drinking I would be probably a desperate night hissed and I would have to find God and you know these creature comforts just keep you from asking those difficult questions so you've listened to some of my podcasts so you know that at the end I kind of let the person give the Jerry Springer moment and just say a message to the listener who would you address in what would you say to them just you so what would you say to me then I'll keep doing what you're doing I respect what you're doing with the Catholic thing you know with this interview thing your plumbing the depths of humanity and that's search for truth you know to end everybody else out there that's what we're here to do keep asking questions don't take the easy answers in your own way keep looking and keep asking questions don't be satisfied and that's the closest thing that I can get to you what is the core of our human struggle we are so lucky to be born in the 20th century and living in the 21st century with all these creature comforts but our struggle continues you know let's build some better technology let's make life better for everybody but these unanswered questions they've been haunting us for 50,000 years and they're gonna haunt us for another 50,000 if God willing we keep living for another 50,000 but they're going to be with us you know this is what drives us forward ultimately is what drives technology forward ultimately it's what drives society forward it's what drives human rights forward is at the heart of it is asking what is good life what is a better life how can I be better to myself how can I be better to others and the root of that is asking constantly the tough questions if I die tomorrow what was the value of my life if I die 50 years from now what is the value of my life what is the value of your life it's one thing that's what is the value of my life what is the value of other people's lives that's even harder question to answer that's a slip cyst I'm aiming that at you how can you prove the value of other people's lives well they can give things to you that you don't have implicitly and that's why as much as I file a from other people I still kind of need them but don't get comfortable I don't get comfortable keep challenging keep asking questions I don't know if we're going to colonize the galaxy or if we're gonna die in a nuclear holocaust ten years and now but let's hope we keep growing you know life this is the one thing that I came from you like for life's sake you're either pro-life we're against life if you're against life you're going to be very unhappy if you're pro-life you're going to be very unhappy but at all you got to do is all you got to do is is

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