Transcription #135

Hi guys, welcome to threads, podcast life unfiltered. Thank you so much for joining us when you’re listening to this, which a lot of people listen right when it comes out or at night or when they go for a run or whatever we appreciate it any time of the day that you’re listening and hope you’re having a good day. This is Episode 135, an interview with Catherine Roberts. But before we get into that interview, we’re going to kind of find out what threads is all about. And Ben is going to do a quick intro and then we’ll move on from there.

Thanks, Jason. The threads podcast life unfiltered is all about conversation, conversation around three main topics. Those are faith, mental health, and uncomfortable conversations. We want to normalize talking about things that are taboo. We want to create a space where it’s okay to say, I’m really anxious and I’m struggling with my mental health. And yesterday was a really rough day. We want to make it normal to say things like that, we also want to create a space where it’s okay to acknowledge that we may have doubts surrounding our faith, or our purpose in life and all of those big things in life that honestly, we know less about, and then we do know about them. So this is a space where it’s okay to wrestle with doubt, talk about faith openly and honestly, and be real about our mental health. So that is what the threads podcast is all about. And tonight, we have Catherine joining us and our focus will be I imagine will will camp out around the faith concept and a little bit more specifically just about purpose in life, what gives us meaning, that sort of thing, but I’m sure we’ll have hints of the mental health and uncomfortable conversations thrown in there as well.

Hi, Ben. Hi, Jason, you’re definitely definitely going to have I have lots of uncomfortable things to say. Perfect. Perfect. Yeah, happy to be here. Thank you so much for inviting me on.

Really looking forward to this conversation. Our pleasure. Before we get in, we’re gonna do an icebreaker and basically what we do is just say, Hey, how are you showing up tonight? It’s a while we’re recording this. It’s Sunday evening. So we’ve had the weekend some some people get the Sunday scaries where it’s like, I gotta go back to work tomorrow.

I know. Fortunately, I don’t have to get up and go to work. So you know, I’m showing up pretty relaxed and refreshed. Yeah, I this is I hardly did a thing today. I got up early. I took a nap before noon. But it’s been it’s been raining here all day. And when it stops raining, the mosquitoes come out. So I’ve just been in the house for pretty much for the day. But it’s a lovely day here in the cove. Awesome about you, Ben, how you showing up? We haven’t talked much today. So

I know what is that we go for spurts where we talk multiple times a day and then today rolls around and I have barely said Hyder here to Jason. So my day has been pretty good. It was a very late night in the Crocker house last night. My daughter miracle went to summer camp in Branson, Missouri, which is a good 12 plus hours away. And of course, with all the bathroom breaks and everything else, they didn’t get home until about two o’clock in the morning. So they got to the church at two. And then once everybody was finally home and settled in it was around three. So I had been out rideshare driving and usually when I come home, everybody’s sound asleep. But the house was a flurry of activity at three o’clock in the morning. So we crashed and got some sleep, went to church. And miracle actually decided she wanted to talk about her experience in front of the whole church. So that was an exciting thing to see. Kind of very much a proud dad moment. man brought tears to my eyes. She even pointed to our family and said and I thank God every day for my family who adopted me. And I was just like, oh, so that definitely hit all the feels like just kind of kicking back took care of some, you know, fun, budget administrative household stuff. That’s always fun. But yeah, excited for tonight.

Mike, my question for you, Ben is did you get an app today?

I did not intentionally did not take one because if I take a nap, it throws my sleep schedule off and I won’t fall asleep until been nine or later. So it almost defeats the purpose of taking a nap. Okay, I love it. I worked on the budget instead.

I love a good nap. I think like on Sundays after being in the ministry for so long, like, I think that’s a lie, isn’t it that you have to have a nap on Sundays.

So that that’s right up there with. I think that’s honoring the Sabbath keeping it.

I used to come home from church and get to take my clothes off, put my pajamas on and get right in the bed just like it was the middle of the night. Oh, yeah. 100%. Yeah.

Awesome. Well, I’m coming in pretty good. Had a decent weekend. Did some yard work, went for a run. Had a good meal tonight. So I’m coming in pretty good. A lot of weather uncertainties. This week, we got about five, you’re getting the rain that we got Katherine, but we got about five inches in three days. So I work outside and we put heavy machinery on lawn. So that might be an issue for me not getting my full work week. But you know, we shall see. I haven’t heard anything yet. So I’m planning on going to work tomorrow. But yeah, I’m excited to be here tonight. Katherine, I had a little pre interview. And that was that was good and enjoyed the time with that. So I’m, I’m really interested in this story. So as we kind of jump in, why don’t you tell us, you know, a 62nd elevator speech? Or if someone said, what do you do right now, or just a little bit about you? And then we’ll kind of get into the interview portion? Sure. Well,

I live in New Finland. I am married. And retired. We I retired early. And I spent 24 years as a born again, preacher, Pastor, ordained minister. And a few years ago, I went through some things that we’ll probably get into, into tonight. And today I’m an atheist. And I’m actually writing a book on my journey out of faith. And I’m hoping that it’s going to be a guidebook for other people who are questioning their fate. Awesome. Very cool.

So 20 years is a pretty significant stretch of time. 24 years. I too, have a background in ministry, I’m no longer serving in a full time, vocational capacity. However, I still maintained certain levels of volunteer involvement. So how many churches were you involved in during that span of time? Was it just one or several?

Well, I’ve moved a lot. So I’ve been involved in churches in Newfoundland, Nova Scotia, and Saskatchewan. The terms I pastored was in Saskatchewan. But when I first started in the ministry, it was here in Newfoundland, and I started doing like Sunday morning services for the kids. And then that kind of morphed into me doing puppet shows, which I loved, loved doing. Oh my goodness. And so I would write them and my daughter, and a couple of her friends would act them out. And I loved it. And after that, like from that I started, I would get invitations to speak and to preach. I got involved in some women’s parachurch ministries. And when we moved to Nova Scotia, I got involved in the I was on the pastoral pastoral team there. So yeah, it was 24 years. I’m so sorry. But that dog sorry, the window was shot. So we weren’t talking. We were. We were I was wondering what the the denominational background, you gentlemen are.

Okay, so I have kind of a hodgepodge of backgrounds. Part of my story is what, as I’m doing my own work in therapy, I’m coming to realize there was a lot of spiritual abuse and a lot of very inappropriate things that were done in said to me as a child, by church leadership, and a lot of pressure that was put on me, and that was in a very charismatic Pentecostal environment where, you know, people can speak for God and nobody really takes the time to like check it against reality or checking the Scripture. It’s like, I hear the Lord saying that you should go into youth ministry and yeah, just very unhealthy stuff. So I’ve been over the last year especially kind of unpacking and recovering from that and realizing just how deep the talons were long in my soul. It was, it was pretty. It was bad. I hear ya, I hear ya. That was my early background. And then from there I went, my family went to a Baptist Church. It’s like a full circle, from one end of the pendulum to the other. And then I went to a Baptist affiliated college, and now kind of found a home in the Wesley and tradition. So that’s the denomination that I’m in now.

I spent most while I spent all of my Christian life in. guess you would call it Pentecostal circles, although I was mostly non denominational, charismatic word of faith. I don’t know if you’re familiar with all of those terms. Okay. Yeah. So, so if I go back to the beginning, you like, if I say, I got saved you, you understand what I’m saying? And then for sure, yeah, so I find it strange to talk about my story. Now that I don’t believe I look at it in a different from a different perspective. And so the language has changed. But, um, so back in 1996, is that is when I got saved August the sixth to actually 1996. And I can remember it so well, because it was a life changing event. I was really depressed. And there’s no way to talk about my, my, my journey without mentioning my mental health, because it’s very much tied in there. But I was very depressed, lonely. I hadn’t seen my husband in six months, I had three little babies at home, they I don’t even think they go This was in kindergarten, I was suffering with major postpartum, depression and suicidal. And I ended up calling a friend, who it was the only Christian friend that I add, I think, at the time, although I did marry into a large Pentecostal family. And anyway, my friend said a lot of things that really struck my heart. You know, she told me that God loves me. And up to that point, I argued with her that there was no such thing as God. I thought it was an imaginary friend. And I was very vocal about that, you know, and I remember saying to her, I don’t need it. I don’t need a crutch. I need real help. You know, when I hung up the phone, I had this thought, like, Well, why don’t I try it? Like, rather than kill myself, you know what maybe it was like my last ditch effort. If this doesn’t work, then I can always carry on with my plan. And so it was a very emotional night for me. I was at home, and I prayed. And when I finished praying, I just felt a very large shift in my emotions. I felt happy, I started to weep. I cried and cried and cried and cried. And at some point, you know, it felt like a very cathartic moment. And I felt that I had a mystical experience and experience with God. And then I went to church the following Sunday, and I went to her church, which was a Pentecostal. And it was a fairly large church, I think it was probably around 300 people going there, I think, at the time, and everybody was so nice. Everybody was so nice to meet. I had all of a sudden, instant social circle. I had brand new friends, I had support. I had older women in the church who were so supportive of me and, and helpful, and you know, especially as a single mom with three little kids, and I got involved in the church immediately. But I was told that I was a baby Christian, so I couldn’t understand all of those things. So right at the very beginning, I the doubts that I had, I very quickly learned to put them aside. And it took me decades to get back to them because I got so I truly with all of my heart believed that I had a relationship with Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, God the Father, I if somebody said, I was religious, I would have argued and said, No, I’m spiritual. I’m not religious, I have a relationship. And it was my entire life. So I didn’t, you know, it determined who I hung out with and where I lived. How I raised my children. I didn’t let my kids go to school unless I prayed for them before they went to the bus. I got involved in in school counseling. So that I can make sure that my kids only had Christian stuff. You know, I got I got quite deep into it. It was my whole life. It was everything that I everything I thought of every, it was a basis for every foundation. Yeah. Okay.

You mentioned in the beginning of your story, just the the depression that you were under and missing your husband. And you mentioned being a single mom. So just raises a question for me, if you don’t mind sharing, what’s the story there with your husband?

Also, it’s a it’s an interesting story we had been married for I think, we got married in 89. And this was 96. So you know, we were married seven or eight years. And we were in Alberta. And then I came home to Newfoundland, and he was supposed to come home in a couple of weeks, and those couple of weeks turned into six months. And it was a very difficult time for me because we weren’t officially, like we weren’t broken up. Or at least I didn’t. I didn’t think we were Yeah. But it was just a really difficult time, we’re both very young, I should say that we were 28 years old, you know, and already married for seven years with three kids. And he stayed in Alberta for six months. And on the notes to me at the time, he had an affair, just a one night stand type thing. And which made our marriage kind of difficult when he came back, even though I didn’t know about it, but he did. And I think the guilt really affected him, you know, and I was really involved in the church. And he didn’t, he was afraid to tell me. And so fast forward 16 years. And I get a text message from somebody that I know. And she said this, this woman is looking for you and your husband, look for you and Sheldon. And he happened to be sitting in the living room with me at the time and and I said to him like who is this? I don’t remember this woman from Alberta. I don’t remember her name. And, and I should, I should have remembered it. And I made a joke. And I said, I hope that’s not a baby, some baby mama coming out of the woodwork. But listen, I was I was at an ordained pastor then I was. I was pastoring my own church. And he and I was starting a new job also the next day. And I remember he looked at me and he said, that’s what it is. And I laughed. And he said, No, no, listen, that’s what it is. And I said, this is not funny. Like, why are you doing this? Why are you saying it is not funny? And it took them? Like he had to tell me several times because I was not expecting it. And he said, Yeah, I did. I had an affair when I was in Alberta. And now that’s probably what’s going on. And so he contacted her and yeah, and a 16 year old son. So I became a stepmother. overnight. Yeah. And your marriage survive? Yes. Yeah. Yeah, it did. Um, it was not easy. I was, can I tell you about the first night when I after I found it. I made I made my husband’s sleep upstairs in different room. And in all of our time together, we have never, we never spent a night in, you know, separate rooms because we were angry at each other. But this was something a little bit bigger. Right? We had two rooms upstairs. One of them had a double bed. The other one had a little single bed. And I guess he felt so bad that he slept in the single bed. Like got up, probably around two or three in the morning, and put my robe on and walked upstairs and opened the door. And he was lying there on the bed and I said, I hope you die in your sleep. And I shut the door and I went back downstairs and went back to bed. And you know when you’re a pastor, it’s hard to find a support system. You know, you can’t always you can’t go to your congregation members and say, I’m heartbroken or you know, I just told my husband I hope he dies. Because, you know, I’m the pastor.

I really I had I had one good friend and I might cry if I talk about her those so I have one good friend that I met in college and she she was the only one who would say who told me the truth. Like my Christian friends when I talked to them, they would say but you’re you know, you’re a special woman of God and you know, you’re a woman of faith, and you’ll get out of this and your husband’s a good man. And, and he is and he was, he was then and, you know, people were saying, Well, that was 16 years ago, he’s a different person. And I’m like, Yeah, well, I only just found out last night, you know, it’s all fresh to me. But my, my, my best friend in the world, I remember she said, I said, I don’t know if I’m going to make it out of this one. I don’t know if Sheldon I will survive. And she said, I don’t know either. She said, this is really really shitty, I understand is really shitty. And to have somebody validate that I was allowed to feel anything less than faith filled and positive. was really, you know, really helped. I ended up having to go to the doctor went to the emergency room and, and got on some medication for a while, but not very long. I stopped taking them. That’s an another thing about the faith that I had, you know, the word of faith and the positive confessions and all that kind of stuff. I for 20 something years, I wouldn’t take my antidepressants that I needed, I would I was on antidepressants when I was 18 for the first time. And you know, my doctors over the years would say you should do it. And I’m like, No, I’m not depressed. So the guilt would make me you know, come up with the medication. So,

let’s let’s jump into one of the segments is that you had sent us that little little blip, which we appreciate it then in 2008, your husband and you lost your business vehicles and everything we own me came homeless after we were swindled in a Ponzi scheme by a friend from church less than 10 years later at the age of 48. Retired owing seven mortgage free properties, which is amazing. What about this friend at church? What happened with that we blindsided by that what?

Yeah, where we ever blindsided all sudden, everybody in the church and everybody in another church and Halifax. He swindled over Well, he got charged for swindling $4 million. But he was he was friends with my husband. I didn’t know him that well. But we Blanca was, you know, fairly small church, I think was wanting about 100 people. And it was shortly after we had moved to Nova Scotia and join the church. So it was one of these Ponzi schemes, you know, you invest so much money, and we were promised, you know, huge returns. And we thought we were being blessed by God. And then the money starts rolling in. And then the investigators called and Oh, yeah, yeah. And my husband was on the board of this organization. And that’s how that’s how, how good he was. I know a lawyer who was on the organization. They were really good people on this board, who thought they were doing really great stuff, you know, but, ya know, he, he took off to Panama. And in a gated community, he had to be extradited to back to Canada to face charges and, and then he dragged his feet in the court for I think, like a couple of years. So we ended up getting time served, but it was we we like my husband and I we were we were upset over it. I mean, yeah, for sure. It the it caused the CRA to freeze our bank accounts, and oh man, personal and business at the time. We had a car dealership and an ATV dealership at a garage. And so we were essentially out of business overnight, we had no access to our accounts. And so we we just started going behind more and more. We put the house up for sale and it didn’t sell it took us 18 months. And we got behind that far that the bank came and took the I think my car was the first thing to go I had a brand new six month old car and then then the house we were left with nothing. We ended up in Saskatchewan with just the stuff we could put in our small pickup truck with our dog. And when we finally got a job which is a you know and a house which was a story in itself. We ended up we were sleeping on an air mattress and we had we borrowed two lawn chairs. had nothing.

So in light of that, with this happening in a church setting with somebody who may have even joined the church under false pretenses pretending to be someone that he wasn’t, it helps me understand why you came to this place in your life where you chose to walk away from that Christian faith. And and we’ll get into that.

Yeah, cuz that doesn’t that really does not play into me leaving Christianity at all. Oh, no, I everything that happened after that I attributed to God, I mean that I was Christian for almost another 10 years after that. And I believe that it was all a miracle. I mean,

okay, I guess the question that I have from the outset, as I listened to your story, and as I hear about where you’re at now, I’m always curious, with people who who have shifted gears away from the church away from Christianity, what is your impression of the people who decide to stay? Well,

my take on it, of course, it’s gonna be a lot different from other people.


I kind of, I’m definitely an anti theist, and an atheist. So I think that organized religion does more harm and has done more harm than good. But the reason that I feel that way, is because I am not convinced that there is a God. So what’s happening in the church is that, like, if you, for me, this is, this is how I feel, if the foundation of it is is wrong, you know, then, then the rest of it is going to be at least a struggle. You know, like, how can I, you know, like, my, my mental processes, my think my thought processes now are so much different than when I was a Christian, and my life is so much easier. And I don’t mean, I don’t mean easier, like I’m, you know, going around floating on clouds all the time, but just that, no, I

kind of get it, I do want to challenge you a little bit on like, you feel like church, you know, you have this amazing story of coming up from the depths and being pulled away from certain death from Christians and Christianity, but yet you feel it’s better off than, yeah, having it and so I would

have been better off, I would have been better off I wish one of my biggest regrets is going into church that day, and not going to see a doctor. And, and getting antidepressants, which is what I needed. Over the years that I was a Christian, I did try them. But for the most part, I would argue that I was not depressed. When I was a Christian, I would have bents of very serious depression. And yet, I was trained to believe or to attributed them in to spiritual attacks. So I went, you know, 20 something years not taking a rational look at my mental health.

I have a question. Catherine, did you take that same approach if you like broke your finger? No.

Personally, me? No. But my, you know, like, my husband hardly ever went to the doctor. He was raised. You know, I mean, I’ve been I would go to the doctor if I hurt my arm or whatever. But it was still going to the doctor was still very much frowned upon. I mean, I know people with arthritis that won’t take medication. Yeah, so yeah, if you had to go to a doctor, it was a little bit of a lack of faith. I mean, we couldn’t even say that we were dying with a cold or my back is killing me or anything like that you had to always repulsive confession. We believe that our words were containers. So if I said my back was killing me, then I was giving the devil an opportunity to attack my back. I was agreeing with the devil so I had to always be careful. And so but that just makes things so much harder to deal with when I eventually went on my antidepressants about three years ago. Eight days, my doctor said if these are going to work, you will know you will know in around a week and On day eight, I woke up like a different person. I felt like I had my brain back for the first time. In probably decades. It was that much of a difference. I, I called my doctor and cried and told them how happy I was that he talked me into doing it.

How do you come to terms with acknowledging and admitting that you’ve had this spiritual experience that pulled you out of the depths and essentially saved your life? How do you reconcile that with your current view of faith or lack thereof? You know, where’s the, the time get there? I guess,

I’ve spent the last three and a half years researching, you know, how the brain works and logical thinking and, you know, looking at things rationally and skeptically being a skeptical thinker, our brains do amazing things. And that’s what I believe, happened to me on August the sixth 1996 is that, you know, for one thing, just crying releases endorphins and stuff. And, and, you know, so sure, I felt better. You know, I felt better. I got up from kneeling on the floor, kneeling by the bed to pray, and and I felt better.

I totally get that. And I’m so a little I’m kind of how do I say this? I’m not on team, atheist by any means. I’m on Team Christian. But I do struggle with a lot of the same things that you struggle with. I don’t think that’s the reason why you went away? I think it was, it sounds like with the church, just having that pressure, like when you talked about like, you know, not being saying we have a cold, I’m like, that’s a different mentality that I don’t I be a part of.

Yeah, but I didn’t see the flaw in any of that, while I was in it. Absolutely. None of it.

So I have two follow up questions with that. What’s it like for you to go back and read some of the works that you did during that phase in your life,

I wish I, I wish I had them. But unfortunately, in my first year, I went through the angry atheist stage, which apparently, every every ex Christian turned atheist does. And I couldn’t get those things far enough away from me. So I burned all of my notes and stuff, I sold my books and through way, my CDs and that kind of stuff. So I realized that the Bible was not the same to me as it used to, I started seeing things in the Bible that somehow, in my indoctrination, and my you know, cognitive dissonance I missed, you know, the misogyny somehow I missed the, you know, Wilder stories in the Bible, just the story of Adam and Eve. I remember having my husband is sitting down one night and, and talking about that. And, you know, realizing that none of that made sense to me anymore. I just didn’t, I just could not get behind it anymore. And once I realized that the Bible wasn’t the way for me to find out who God is or what he’s about. I, I put that aside, I said, Well, you know, I just don’t, I don’t understand it.

So kind of on that note, my question, the second one that came to mind is, if you experienced the Christian faith in a tradition that was not as toxic as the Pentecostal Word of Faith movement was, say, for example, you grew up or you became a part of a church similar to brain, Brandon Robertson, who is an openly gay pastor who is very committed to the Christian faith. He has a quote that says, As a Christian minister, I believe that queer people and all people are created in the image of God. You think that if you were in a vein of Christianity that kind of followed that thinking, do you think the outcome would have been the same as it was being your parting Word of Faith movement?

I Well, that’s a that’s a difficult question. I have, I don’t know. I’m not an atheist. Because I chose atheism. For me atheism just means I’m not convinced of your God claims. You know, like, like, right now I’m speaking to two gentlemen who believe in God. You know. And I’ve spent the past almost four years asking people why they believe in God, hundreds of people, I mean hundreds of people. And nobody has a really good reason. Nobody has a convincing reason. And so, as far as like leaving the churches, I didn’t leave church, I realized I no longer believed in God. So I would I mean, can I ask you guys a question? I want to know, why, why you guys believe in God? What is your reasoning? Like? What’s your number one? How do you know that God is real?

For me, it’s a matter of my experience. And there’s a lot of words don’t get me wrong. Like my, my belief in God has wavered at significant points in my life, whether it was seasons of loss, or just furious anger at people who claim to be of God. But the thing that keeps me anchored and coming back to my faith, is the story behind it all, and how, in some way, I feel as though I’m a part of that bigger story, for me God is, is the movement of God in the church, and my faith is all. It’s bigger than just me. And that’s what keeps me going. It keeps me connected to the world around me. And it gives me a lens through which I see and understand the world. And my lens may be different than your lens. And that’s always been confusing to me. And, but I think that’s just the beauty of life is we have the opportunity to choose how we see the world around us. And for me, the story of, of my faith and and who I know God to be,

but how do you know? How do you know? Like, at some point, you were you became convinced that a God existed? Right? Yeah. What was that convincing factor for you?

I would say the complexity of the world around me. And

you don’t think that complexity? You don’t think that complexity could happen without without a supernatural? being behind it? No, I really don’t know. I do.

That that’s basically where I’m at. I don’t have an eloquent answer, like Ben. But that’s what I always go back to.

But I don’t know. I don’t know where we came from either. But I’m okay with saying I don’t know, it doesn’t it doesn’t have to be a god. I can’t. For me, I can’t fill in those blanks of you know, where the universe came from. With a god. I just can’t. There’s no evidence for it. I can say, I don’t know. It could have been God. I don’t know. It could also it could be it could be that there’s no God. You mean?

Yeah, there’s there’s definitely not really evidence on the other end, either, though, you know, as how like, I go back to creation, right? Because I just look how complex the human body is, as a whole. Being so complex, I will honestly say to you, and you can hear it, you know, and Ben terribie says, I, maybe it’s not the God that I worship, but some God, some superpower natural created us. And that’s why when someone’s an atheist, I often go, Okay, well, if you say, you can’t tell me that there’s a God, then tell me how we recreate it. And they can’t give me an answer either, either.

But your answer, but your answer is just a God that you can’t demonstrate. So how is it? How is it any less honest to say we don’t know, where the universe came from?

Fair. I mean, there’s books, obviously, from the Bible that, you know, that explained all of this. You know, again, it’s an old book, too. So I do question that as well. But I guess I’ve never had anyone that we’ve had on the show that talk about Christian or like how things have been made to give me a good case. Otherwise, you say, it’s not that and I was like, Well, that doesn’t help me.

Right. And so you don’t think that the Big Bang Theory is a is a fairly good working model for how the universe came into existence with the knowledge that we have at the moment? No, no, I don’t.

For me, I think the big bang is feasible. But in my mind, everything has to have an origin, like, what caused the Big Bang, like, for there to just be a big bang, I mean, there had to be a cause or something, at some point somebody someone, some mysterious, or whatever you want to call it at some point somebody, something initiated sometimes. And for me, the story that has made the most sense in how I’ve experienced it, and in how I’ve studied it, and come to know it. And I’ve looked at other options. The one that makes the most sense for me is, is Christianity. And at the crux of that is, is Christ. And the one thing that separates all of the religions for me is the fact that my faith is not about how I can get to God. Like in Islam, or in Hindu, you know, you’ve got these different requirements where you have to do this, if to pray this direction, you have to recite these prayers. In my faith, the reason that I’ve stayed so strongly committed to it is I believe that Jesus is the representation, he’s, he’s everything that the Bible says he is. And instead of me having to find my way to God, I feel as if God has found his way to me through His Son, Jesus. And that same opportunity is open to the whole world to whoever will believe. And I know there’s a lot of questions with that. And I can’t answer all of those questions. But in my life, that’s the story, the narrative, the viewpoint, that makes the most sense to me and where I feel. I feel like it’s not on me like it’s the way it isn’t on my shoulders to have those answers. I feel like it’s been provided, there was a way out, there was a way forward that was set. And it’s like this constant rhythm that has been going on through generations, just the fact that the faith of Christianity is even still in any sort of existence yet today, I really believe that there’s just the rhythm that’s been beating in the universe, and it’s in some way that I’ll never be able to understand or, or fully explain. I really do believe it’s rooted in the truth of Christianity and what I know of my faith, and that’s how I see it.

What do you What are you raised in Christianity? Well, a different flavor. Yes. Yeah. But you are, but you were raised to believe that in the biblical Abrahamic God, pretty much. Most of us, most of us are in North America. You know, most of us are taught that right from the very beginning.

For sure, and when I see things differently, if I grew up in a different background, probably, I don’t know, though. That’s the beautiful thing about the universe is it’s so diverse. I don’t know if I would have experienced it differently. But this is what I was born into. And what I know. Yeah,

I’ve heard I’ve heard a lot of interviews with Hindus, and people have thought totally other religions. And what I find to be really surprising, or I did at one point is that they have the exact same reasons for believing in a totally different God. They say that they were raised and they have the book and they believe in, in in their God and, you know, their narrative and, and all of their experiences, point them towards their God. It’s like, at some point, I got to a place where it’s like, Okay, everybody can’t be right. So somebody has to be you know, it’s either true or it’s not true that there is a God right?

Where I struggle with to where you bring that up about the Hindu which is such a good point. I say to my wife, I’m like, so if my god okay is like, the way he is and loving and everything, is he in that is the correct God, right? Is he just gonna smoke out all the other people just because they didn’t know Christianity? Like, that seems weird, right? Like, that seems totally unfair, that my loving God is just gonna be like, yeah, so you never got the opportunity to hear about Christianity. So that’s bad on you, and you’re going straight to hell like that. I struggle with that like that. That can’t be the way so I don’t even know if Christianity is the way this is the way that I’m going. This is the way that I believe, and those kind of things but I mean, we all could be really wrong. I’m more like you than you think I’ll be honest with you, but and I challenge it a lot. But yeah, I totally agree with that. I I don’t see our God my loving God just wiping out people in India because they never heard of Christianity. Yeah,

or sending you to hell for eternity over like, like, for a finite crime of not accepting Jesus, you will spend all of eternity in hell, you know, if you if you have a faith that believes in hell, of course, but yeah, I mean, I always I wonder like, you know, if you have, say, a Hindu woman, and a Christian woman who are everything, all things being equal, and they’re both equally strong in their faith, and you ask them and they’ll say, you know, the Christian will say, Well, I just know Jesus is real. I’ve always known and he’s moved in my life. And he’s done this. And then the Hindu woman says, the same thing. Yeah. And it’s like, so how do we determine? How do we determine what’s true? I don’t think we can. Exactly. I don’t think we can, either. Which is why you know, I’m at, which is why I’m an atheist. And that,

you know, I have no judgment on where that I get it like, you choosing a non lane is just as much as us choosing a lane. Yeah, I mean,

I don’t believe that we choose our I don’t think we choose our beliefs, you, you guys do haven’t chosen to believe in God, and I haven’t chosen to be an atheist. Belief is just a matter of conviction, you’ve either been convinced of it or you’re not right? You can’t really choose like, you can’t right now choose to not believe in a god. Right? You it would take it would take some convincing, you would need, you would need the evidence.

It would be convincing. For me, I think there have been points in my life where I, you know, one of them was coming off of a terrible experience in which I was lied to by my senior pastor that was over me. And I had lost the job. Because he wanted things to be his way. And it was very toxic, unhealthy church situation. So many people left the church over that because regardless of whether they were on pastor, Ben’s team or other pastors team, it brought division, and I just looked at that, and it was like, people’s lives and livelihoods and the Leafs everything’s being shaken up by this, is this really something I want to stick with? And that’s just one of the time so do I choose my beliefs? I think I do. I weigh them in light of my experience and somehow choose to continue with.

I agree with you, I agree with you to a point you, you. You, you choose things but you choose things based on what you’re convinced of you. I can’t convince myself, right now, I cannot choose to believe in Jesus, I can choose to go back to church, I can I can choose to go back and get right involved in church again. But I can’t choose to believe in God, I need some, you know, I need something that’s going to convince me and so far, nobody has been able to convince me because skeptically and rationally, it doesn’t make sense to me.

Do you feel like though there’s a lot of things in life that you’re never gonna you talk about the convincing? So I think it’s kind of like, a word war with like, convincing and choosing you know what I mean? Like, I get what you’re saying, you can choose to go back to church, but no one can you can’t choose to believe in Jesus, which I don’t know, I don’t, I don’t quite understand that. But what else? Can you give an example in life that you think that you struggle with? Because you can’t believe because no one can convince you? Or how am I trying? It’s only

the god belief that people use faith to get to we don’t we don’t use fate. You I know you guys are going to argue with me on this point. We don’t and which is fine.

Oh, anything financial, we put a ton of faith in I mean, we have no guarantee that the markets gonna we

have, but we have experience and we have history and we have, we have confidence from what we know from the past of how the finances work. You know, so that’s different. 2008 I mean, 2008, the wheels fell off. Nobody saw that coming. We are able to look at financial trends, right? Like I’ve had people say, Well, you you, you have faith in that in this chair that is gonna hold you up when you sit down. That’s not faith. That’s competence. I’ve sat in a lot of frickin chairs in my life, right. We’ve all sat in a lot of chairs and for the most part, they hold us up so I have a lot of experience with chairs. Don’t need faith. I don’t, it doesn’t require faith for me to drive my car. I see faith actually as as, as a useless word for not knowing how not being able to explain why you believe in something, it’s just it’s just faith.

Well, what if faith is for those anomalies that we can’t explain like the market that crashes? Or the chair that falls from underneath you? Or? I mean,

how can it be? How can that be? Why can’t it just be a coincidence, though, like, you know, we we know, but we know, we know, by experience that every now and then a chair is going to break. There’s lots of factors that go into it, right? We know, chairs are going to break, I sat on a chair on holidays, once down to St. Croix, and the friggin thing broke, and I was so embarrassed. But, you know, I didn’t have faith that that year was going to hold me up. I was, you know, I had confidence that it was going to hold me up that confidence wasn’t, you know, but But the thing is, is that there are such thing as coincidence. And there’s such thing as, even if a coincidence is extremely rare. The fact that it’s very rare means that it does still happen. So, you know, like I mentioned people, I pray for people who said they’ve gotten healed. Well, some people get healed anyway. You know, there are coincidences, there are natural occurrences, there’s cause and effect, you know, but faith, for the most part, doesn’t even really have much of a definition, when you think about it, unless you mean like your, you know, your, your religious beliefs that, you know, some people use faith, you know, like, my adherence to my faith, right. But for me, for all of those years, I took a lot of things on by faith, which meant that I didn’t have to examine them. And then when I examined them, they fell apart like a house of cards.

For me, faith is, is looking at those things and examining them, and yet choosing to proceed, often with caution, often with reservation. But for me, the faith is, is bigger than me, it’s bigger. It’s not just a card I play when I feel like I don’t have a better answer. So I’m just gonna play the fail hard, or I’m just gonna lean on this as a crutch. Like, for me, Faith is the substance of belief, and it’s the substance of experience and all of that kind of collectively mostly

mean though, Ben, what, tell me what that means to you that faith, because I know I know Hebrews 12 tell me what that means to you. Faith is a substance, like faith isn’t really a substance. It’s, it’s, we say that a lot because it’s in the Bible, but like, you know, my tissue here is the substance but faith, isn’t it really,

I think it can be what are your are your emotions, your emotions are something that we we put a lot of words around mental health and depression,

that substance, emotions are real emotions are just a natural human, you know, experience, that is what makes us human, we’re alive, we have emotions.

I think we’re kind of getting down a rabbit hole with this, honestly. So I’m going to kind of pull this out a little bit. Going back to the faith thing. I wonder if you’re, you struggle like I do. And it kind of has to do with like the coincidental thing. But, you know, you see all this stuff in the Bible, right? And Ben and I have talked about this on the show. It’s like, why do I not see that stuff happen in 2021? And why did the Bible stop? Like, why is there no new literature about that? And Ben probably challenged me on that, but so I get where you’re coming from with a coincidence. I think we can talk all night on that. But I just wonder, like, again, I’m on your side, like a lot of this stuff. I’ve on your side. And I think that bugs Ben too, because, you know, bugs him but I mean, I feel the same way. I said you want something tangible and I’m a big tangible guy too. And that’s why I really believe in science but

not really tangible. Well, you evidence, I want something. If if it’s if it’s unfalsifiable I and I can’t believe it and and the concept of God is unfalsifiable which means you you know, you can’t prove there is one and we can’t prove there isn’t one. So when faced with that, decision, you know, where where do we where do we go? If it can’t be demonstrated?

Then how do we go about believing it? Well, that’s the same thing as tangible.

It’s it can’t be your you say you can’t really reproduce it or Yeah, yeah. You know, I often think I was curious about your you brought your chair analogy? And what about driving? Do you have faith that that drivers not going to drive his car into your, into your lane? You know what I mean?

No, that’s not faith. That’s confidence, because we’ve, because we’re on the road all the time. You want to know what faith is faith is, you go put a blindfold on, go to the busiest intersection in your city, ask Jesus to protect you for while you walk across the business intersection, if that would be more closer to faith in, you know, trusting people who are driving who also don’t want to die in a car accident. You know,

that wouldn’t be faith, because that would be just exactly what you experienced in the church. I mean, that would just be stupid. You’d be just putting yourself at risk. I mean, God still asked us to be responsible for our own bodies.

Yeah. I agree. I agree. It’s totally it would be totally stupid to do it. But what I’m saying is that it’s, you know, driving down the street, I don’t have faith that the person sitting at me Oops, sorry, isn’t going to isn’t going to run me out for the road. I have confidence that people know how to drive they have a driver’s license. You know, they don’t want to die. They don’t have a death wish. can it happen? Yeah, sure can. But my experience so far in my 48, year, 53 years, is that people will not veer off into the other lane. You know, but yeah, so that’s completely different than faith. And in my view,

I glad we got into the end of the weeds a little bit at the end, I don’t think we’re going to convince each other otherwise. And that wasn’t our goal by Absolutely not. No. And this is why I love this platform, because you know, we can have a little bit of a heated discussion. I mean, clearly, we’re not going to see eye to eye. And that’s not what we set this up for. But, you know, as we close, I’d love for you to just give us a closing thought what you think about whatever about tonight, like how you felt about tonight, where what you’re doing in the future, just a minute or two to, you know, if you need to plug anything I you know, we really didn’t talk about that if you’re doing anything that you’re looking to plug or you’re just looking to sit down and tell your story or those kinds of things. Why don’t you just take a couple minutes to do that. And then I’ll end it

sure. I don’t really have anything to plug. I am working on a memoir, but the rate that I’m going might be, it might be an end of life thing. I don’t know. I really was really just excited to come here and and share my views and hear your views. And I kind of like you know, just to chat about things. And I enjoy being challenged and I enjoy challenging other people it doesn’t. It doesn’t offend me at all. You know, I think that everybody needs to find their own way in this in this life. I also think that truth is very important, especially in this day and age because you know, the world our what we believe our worldview is what shapes society. And for me, I want my worldview to be to hold as much true things as possible, and as few false things as possible. So, you know, my biggest advice to anybody is just to examine what you believe, and what are the grounds for that? You know, yeah, that’s my biggest takeaway is, is just rational skeptical thinking, I guess.

No, that’s I love that that term skeptical thinking? Not so much challenging, but just like, don’t take what someone says by by face value, you know, just think about it. dig into it, ponder it a little bit. Maybe. I mean, yeah, it’s that but let’s let’s dig around that a little bit. So, Katherine, thank you so much for coming on. Thank you for challenging Ben and I it was it was it was good to hear that it was good to to get that a little bit. And

thank you so much for having me. I had a blast. And you guys are really great to chat with I must say.

Cool. Thanks, guys, for listening to threads, podcasts and I will hit stop recording.

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