Do Christians have to obey the Old Testament Laws?


(music) – And when it comes to
applying the Bible today, there are many, many
commandments in the Bible. And should Christians obey them all? We think of all these
commands, for instance, in the Old Testament. And some people charge us as Christians with being inconsistent. They’ll say, you follow the commandments you happen to agree with,
but many other commandments in the Bible, you choose to ignore. For example, the Bible
says, don’t wear a garment with two different kinds of cloth. So don’t wear a garment
with polyester and cotton. I mean, we have all kinds
of commands like this in the Bible. Don’t boil a goat in its
mother’s milk. I mean, nobody thinks
about that commandment, maybe some of you haven’t
even heard of that command. So clearly, I would say, as Christians, we’re not the first Christians
to think about these things. Clearly, Christians have argued, even if you’re not aware of
this, no, we’re not required to obey all the commands in Scripture. So the question is, is that arbitrary? Is that whimsical? Do we have a reason? Do we have a foundation
for what we’re saying? And I’d say we do have a reason. We do have a foundation,
there’s a good reason. And that good reason is,
we have to read the Bible in terms of its storyline. We have to read the Bible in terms of its covenantal development. So there are many covenants
mentioned in the Bible, but for our purposes here,
there’s an Old Covenant made with Israel. That covenant made with Israel, they had certain requirements. And those requirements
that were given to Israel set them apart from the nations. It distinguished Israel from the nations. So we have an Old Covenant, and then we have a New
Covenant in Jesus Christ. That New Covenant is
prophesied in Jeremiah 31, Ezekiel 36, other passages as well. When we read the whole Bible, when we read the Old
Covenant in light of the new, we see that that Old
Covenant has passed away. Christians are no longer
under the Old Covenant. They are no longer under the
stipulations, the commands, the prescriptions in that Old Covenant. The New Covenant is new. So none of the commands, I would argue, none of the commands in the Old Testament are binding in and of themselves, because that whole covenant
has passed away as a package. We’re under the New Covenant entirely. So really, the question is, why do we keep any of the
commands of the Old Covenant? Not, why do we avoid some, but
why do we keep some of them? And we do keep some of them, don’t we? Some of them are repeated
in the New Testament. Don’t commit adultery. Honor your father and mother. Don’t murder. Don’t steal. Don’t lie. And some other commandments as well. Is there a rationale in what the New Testament writers are doing? And I think the most helpful
way to think of it, actually, is that New Testament writers,
I think, argue that we are under now, what Paul
calls the law of Christ, in Galatians 6:2, 1 Corinthians 9:20-21. We’re not under the law of Moses, we’re under the law of Christ. What is the law of Christ, fundamentally? Galatians 5:14, the law of
Christ is the law of love. And that’s what Jesus taught too. That’s in Paul, Galatians. But Jesus taught, Matthew 22, how do you summarize what
the law’s about ethically? It’s about loving God
and loving your neighbor. And then both Jesus and Paul
and other New Testament writers unpack what that love is. What does love look like? Well, if you love, you honor
your father and mother. If you love, you don’t steal. If you love, you don’t murder
and you don’t commit adultery. So some of those commands,
it’s not surprising, is it? Some of those commands from
the Old Testament pass over. Some of those commands, they’re
still required for today. But they’re not required because they’re part of the Old Covenant. They’re required because
the New Testament indicates that they’re part of the law of Christ. So I think, actually, when
we read the Scripture, we’re not being arbitrary,
we’re not being whimsical. We’re just picking out the
commands we want to obey, we’re actually being faithful. We’re being faithful to what the Bible, as a whole, teaches us. We’re reading the Bible in
light of the whole story. In light of the fulfillment
that’s in Jesus Christ. The nation of Israel, it
was intended to be enforced for a certain period of time. It was a state and a church. But now the Church of Jesus
Christ is in every nation and every people group. And the commands, the
laws that are required, they’re different than the
laws for a small little nation that was a political and church entity. What God requires of
us in the new covenant is clear. I mean, it’s fundamentally,
what he fundamentally call us to is to love one another. It’s pretty remarkable when
we read the New Testament, that the New Testament isn’t filled with detailed regulations. The New Testament focuses on love of God and love of neighbor. And then it kind of sketches in for us, okay, here’s what love
looks like in broad strokes. But we’re fundamentally called
upon to imitate Jesus Christ, to follow in his footsteps. We see what the love of
God is like in the cross of Jesus Christ and His
self-giving love for others. And that’s what God calls
us to as Christians. (music) – [Narrator] Thanks for
watching Honest Answers. You can submit your
questions by email, Twitter, or in the comments section below. Don’t forget to subscribe
to find out the answer to next Wednesday’s question.

Can Your Life Be Meaningful Without God? | Dave Rubin & John Lennox | SPIRITUALITY | Rubin Report


– Look what they’re
offering us now? Their answer is, “Okay we’ve
removed God from the equation and what do we get?” We get government. And they now pray
basically to government. (upbeat music) (audience applauding) – Wow, thank you very much. That is a great welcome. Thank you so much. Well welcome tonight’s
“Big Conversation,” filmed live here in
Costa Mesa, California. “The Big Conversation”
is produced by Premier Christian
Radio in partnership with the Templeton
Religion Trust and it’s a series
of video discussions between thinkers across
the religious spectrum, looking at some of the
biggest questions in life. Who are we? What’s it all about? Looking at science,
faith, philosophy, what it means to be human. I’m delighted to
say that tonight we’re going to be sitting down
and hearing from two people I’ve really been looking forward to bringing into
conversation together. We’re gonna be looking at
the question of is God dead? It’s a conversation on faith,
culture and the modern world. Where are the next
generation turning to in an increasingly
post-Christian society? “Is God dead,” as
Nietzsche once declared? Or is there space for a
renaissance of religious belief in the modern world? John Lennox, who is here on my
left, is emeritus professor. Yeah give him a
round of applause. (audience applauding)
(audience cheering) Just to give a brief info, John is emeritus
professor of mathematics and the philosophy of
science at Oxford University. He’s a leading Christian thinker and he’s engaged many of the world’s leading
atheist voices as well. His latest book is called, “Can Science
Explain Everything?” And it is available
as well after. Dave Rubin is my other guest. Let’s have a round
of applause for Dave. (audience applauding) Now Dave hosts the
“Rubin Report.” It’s an online talk show that reaches millions
of people every week. Dave is gonna be telling us
about his religious background and where he’s at now. So I won’t sort of
label him at this point but he regularly
hosts conversations with leading cultural and
religious thinkers on his show. So I’m really looking forward to and he’s going to be bringing
to this conversation today. He has a new book out it’s
available for pre-order, “Don’t Burn This
Book,” is the title. (audience laughing) Thinking for yourself
in an age of unreason. So I do recommend
you go and get that if you can on pre-order as well. So one more time just
please give a warm round of applause to my guests,
John Lennox and Dave Rubin. (audience applauding)
(audience cheering) Well, welcome gentlemen
both tonight’s discussion. I’m really looking forward to what we’re gonna
be covering tonight because I’ve had you on
the show before, John, and very often I’ve
put you in conversation with maybe a quite firm atheist, someone like a Dawkins or
an Atkins or a Michael Ruse. But I think tonight’s gonna
be a little bit different because I’m really
looking forward to hearing your story, Dave. We haven’t met before, in fact,
tonight was the first time but I’ve watched your stuff and
I’ve seen some of the people that you’ve increasingly
been talking to and being influenced yourself and it’ll be fascinating
to hear where you’re at now in terms of both the cultural and religious aspects
of your worldview. – Well, I’ve never had
anyone give me an intro and say we’ll label him later. (audience laughing) So I’m feeling really
undue pressure right now and I’m the only
one here from SoCal, so let’s see what happens. – Well, whatever
those labels may be, I’m really looking forward to what you’re gonna
bring to us tonight. Perhaps we’ll start with
you first of all, Dave. Tell us a little bit about
who you are, growing up. I know that you came from
a pretty religious family. So do you want to tell
a little bit about that and where you found
yourself as you grew up and as regards sort
of faith and so on. – Sure, first off
I just want to say what a pleasure
it is to be here. You know, I’m usually on the
other side of the interview and the reason I’m particularly
excited about tonight is that I don’t talk about
this sort of thing from a personal
perspective that often. You know I’ve sat down
with tons of atheists, Sam Harris and Michael Shermer and Peter Boghossian
and that whole crew. And I’ve talked to
plenty of people of faith like Bishop Aaron
and Rabbi Wolpe and plenty of other
people that come from different
political perspectives and personal perspectives. And I always find that
I go into each interview with no agenda other than
hearing their thoughts and seeing how that shakes
out around my worldview. That being said, I’m
excited to be here because I can sort of
tell you a little bit more about where I come from
and sort of where I’m at. So I grew up in a conservative
Jewish household in New York. We kept kosher. We did Shabbat on Friday
nights, all the big holidays, but there was a strong
secular belief within that. And as I was telling
you sort of backstage, you know there’s an interesting
piece related to Judaism that I think is a little
different than other religions in that the ethnic tie to
it, at least in a modern way, is for most Jews more important than the religious nature
of it, specifically. Let’s say beliefs specifically. Because John, as we
were talking about, there are many, many Jews, especially in sciences
and in mathematics, that aren’t believers per se but have a real
cultural affinity and I would say that
that’s sort of where I’m at or at least where I’ve been
over the last couple years. I actually am now in
the last few years and this has to do a
lot with being on tour with Jordan Peterson for a year. Jordan and I did about 110
stops in one calendar year in about 20 countries. It was pretty amazing. And when you spend that
kind of time listening to a true innovative thinker, I mean truly the
guy that I think is the world’s most important
public philosopher, let’s say. You know, talking about
his biblical lectures and talking about his
perspective on life and that there has to be
a bedrock of something that is real and
true outside of us and then how he relates that
through the biblical stories. it moved me, it moved me
over the course of the year that we did this together. So I would say I’m secular
basically in my life but I definitely in the
last year have found that there has to be
something outside of us. The rest of this makes no sense. I mean the part, very
briefly, the part that you know I’m really known
for is the political part and that I was lefty and the
difference between leftism. – [Justin] You kind of
had a political conversion of sorts, yeah.
– I had, right. So I’m usually much
more comfortable talking about my political conversion
than a religious one. But I would say this. That consistent with me talking about sort of what’s happened
with the postmodern left with the progressives
and we see this now where there’s sort of nothing
that’s empirically true and any given day
you can feel anything about any particular topic,
there’s a reason for that. And the reason is they’ve
disconnected everything. Their whole worldview
is disconnected to anything that
came before them so that that could be God
or a religious set of ideas or something like that. So I’m really, really
fascinated by that at the moment and it’s changing
how I live my life. I just did, it was Yom Kippur, which is the holiest
day in Judaism. I was at a service that
was actually at a church in Pasadena in Los Angeles
hosted by Dennis Prager that I’m sure many of
you guys know about, Dennis Prager, who
many of you know. So I’m sort of, I
would say I’m in it the way you guys are all in it, trying to find some
truth in the madness. – I’ll be interested
to tease that out a little more in due course. I mean one thing I did notice is I have seen just watching
some of your videos that there definitely
been a progression in your thinking on this. And probably if you
go back a few years, I think you had said, along the lines of
you probably thought of yourself as an atheist. But evidently that’s not
quite the case anymore. – Well I had a bunch of
atheists, high-profile atheists, on the show in a row. Starting with Sam Harris, who I admire and he’s
a good friend of mine and Michael Shermer
and Peter Boghossian. And I really love the
intellectual side of that. I really, really do love it and that’s not at the exclusion
of anything else actually. But what I found was that I had had a series
of atheists on in a row and then people online
just kept saying that I was an atheist. – Right. – And then I sort of just
said it one day without, it didn’t mean anything to me
sort of one way or another. It was almost, it
just sort of came, it just sort of came
out of my mouth one day. And then two years ago, you know I do this
off-the-grid August thing where I literally lock
my phone in a safe and I don’t look at
any news or television. I am completely offline
and I really disappear and I try to let my brain reset. And two years ago when I did it, one of the thoughts that
I kept having sort of in my peace was that
I’m not an atheist. And I came back and I said
it in a very casual way. And I just did this live stream where I just sort of
said it very flippantly that I just don’t
like the word atheist, it doesn’t fit what I believe. I do believe in something else even if I can’t completely
articulate what it is. I think Jordan has
gone a long way to articulating the type
of thing that I believe in. And I got a lot of
hate for that one because you know the atheists, they don’t like a
converted person either. So, you gotta watch
out for that too. So you know we all
have our own trappings. But what I’m most interested
in is talking to people from all walks of
life and figuring out what the common stuff is. And what I like to frame
that around is a conversation about freedom and how
do we limit government so we can all believe
what we want to believe and think what we want to think and be part of a society
that’s pluralistic and decent for all of us. – John, let’s have a bit
of an introduction to you for those who aren’t
familiar with you Tell us about your own faith
journey up to this point. You now obviously
speak to many people all over the world
about Christianity. But where did it
all begin for you? – It began for me, and
let me say as well, how delighted I am to
be back in Costa Mesa and I’ve enjoyed in the
past some marvelous shows with Justin and
I’m just fascinated by what’s gonna happen in
the conversation tonight. But I grew up in
Northern Ireland which isn’t always the best
start to discuss religion because it was a
divided community and there was a lot of
terrorism that was connected in a very complex
way to Christianity of both versions,
Protestant and Catholic. But the important thing was that my parents
were very unusual for that kind of
cultural context. They were Christian,
convinced Christians, but they weren’t sectarian
and that was very unusual. My father had a small business. We lived in a small
town, 15,000 or so and he tried to employ people from both sides
of the community. Now why did he do that? I once asked him. I said, “Dad, it’s so risky.” And he was bombed
for doing this. My brother nearly lost his life. And he said, “Look,” he said, “I believe that every person, “whatever they believe,
is of infinite value “because they’re made
in the image of God, “going back to the
Hebrew Scriptures “and therefore I will employ
across the community.” And that has stuck with me. And it’s been very important
when you’re discussing, as I often do, with people
that do not share my worldview, that always comes to my mind. Here’s a person in front of me, and it relates to what you
were saying about freedom. I would connect
with freedom value that here’s something
outside of my parents that gave every human
being dignity and value. That was point number one. The second thing was that
they allowed me to think. Now Northern Ireland’s
often associated with religious bigotry,
extreme fundamentalism, all this kind of thing. And my parents were
not highly educated but they really gave me space. So my first encounter
with Christianity was not mind closing, it
was mind expanding. And I remember when
I was about 13, my father came along, he says, “Here’s a book
you need to read.” It was Marx’s “Das Kapital.” I said, “Dad, have you read it?” He said, “No.” (audience laughing) “So why should I read it?” “You need to know what
other people think.” I never forget that. It was, set a compass bearing. The third point is their
Christianity was credible, morally credible, they actually
lived what they believed. So in that sense I had a
hugely privileged background that didn’t compress me into
a narrow-minded bigoted person and it was noticeable when
I went to Cambridge in 1962. Not 1862, I know I look old. (audience laughing) But when I went to
Cambridge in 1962, many of my contemporaries
from Ireland, the moment they got
out of the country that was the end
of any Christianity because they’d never
made it their own. They’d never thought about it. But I’d been encouraged
to think about. And that sort of set
the compass bearings. There’s one further point
that really shaped my life. I was challenged in
Cambridge, very early on, by student at table at night. And he said, asked, “Do
you believe in God?” And then he said, “Oh
sorry, sorry, sorry. “I shouldn’t have asked
you that, you’re Irish. (audience laughing) “All you Irish believe in
God and you fight about it.” And I’d heard that many times
but somehow it was different. And I thought,
gosh yes, you know, I’ve never really met atheists. You know in Ireland
people divided the Protestant atheist
and Catholic atheists. But they’re not
really real atheists. So I thought, what I’m going
to do is to start today and befriend people, befriend
them that’s important, that do not share my worldview. And I’ve spent my
whole life doing it. So that really sets
the scene I think. – So Nietzsche famously
declared, “God is dead.” Now he may have been a
bit premature in that but maybe he’s
finally, you know, his thoughts are coming
true in 21st century West because we are living in an increasingly
post-Christian age, people say. Increasingly the
number of people who tick the census
box that says none, no religious affiliation
is going up and so on. I mean you’re engaging with
this kind of demographic all the time on your show, Dave. What’s your feeling? Do you do feel like people are
genuinely less religious now? To what extent are
some of those friends that you made early
on in your show, people like Sam Harris and another well-known
atheists responsible for people moving away
from the religious bearings that they once had? – So obviously I don’t
want to speak for Sam or any of those guys. What I have found
in the conversations that I’ve had with non-believers
and with believers is that at a micro level
you can be a non-believer and be absolutely moral
and decent and good and a productive member of
society and all of those things as I believe those couple
people that I mentioned are. What I think is
becoming the problem and I think this was really where Jordan Peterson
hit on something is that societies can’t
organize around that. That it can sort
of work for a while and there’s you know most of
the things that I believe in and I talk about the
individual all the time and why I believe that
classical liberalism is the best sort of framework
for a political system that we should have. They almost can’t exist without
that underlying bedrock. And so your question
sort of gets to what I was saying earlier which is that the reason
that the secular world feels so out of control right
now, I mean just yesterday, I’m sure some of you
guys saw that CNN did this quality Town
Hall last night. And it was like you
know everyone has to mention their gender pronouns and you have to admit that
there are more than two genders and all of these things that we know these
conversations are not being had. There are settled
science debates that went on for a long time
that we know what facts are and yet we find because this
has now become untethered to anything other
than how you feel that now everything
is up for grabs. And that’s why it
sort of feels like that there’s something sort
of godless happening here or something like that. Now trust me that
is a hard thing for someone like me to say. As someone that really my
beliefs really are rooted in the Enlightenment and
the Enlightenment thinkers and this a real
debate amongst people who talk about
the Enlightenment. Could they have done it, could
they have reformed religions and burst liberalism in
a positive way forward without some religious
belief behind it? I don’t know the
answer to that exactly, I don’t know that we’ll ever
really know the answer to that. But I would say that
the reason I first said that I’m happy to be here
with you guys is that in the last year where now
I’ve virtually only get invited to events by conservative groups or libertarian groups for sure but groups on the
right let’s say but I often get
invited to churches. I often get invited
to places of faith. Now I know we can
go through a litany of political disagreements
that we may or may not have and I absolutely
know that everyone in this room would
be happy to do that and there would be
nobody fighting, there would be nobody screaming, we could explore those
ideas as far as we can and then we would
put it down in front and either agree to disagree or maybe we’d move each
other one way or another and that would be wonderful. And I don’t think
that’s a coincidence. I don’t think it’s a
coincidence that you guys here and that generally believers
right now are more tolerant. They are, it’s just the reality. The people, yeah, give
yourselves a round of applause. (audience applauding) I mean that really is true. Who are the most intolerant
people in society right now? It’s the people that are
constantly telling you how tolerant they are. (audience laughing) That’s the irony. It’s the people that tell
you you’re a bunch of racists and bigots and homophobes
and the rest of it. And that’s the real bizarre flip that we have
happening in society. And I think that is
linked to either, however you want to phrase it, either a post-Christian world or a post Judeo-Christian
world or a postmodern world, however you want to define that. – I mean to what
extent do you agree with Dave’s analysis
there of what’s going on especially I suppose
at that academic level and in terms of the kind
of conversations now that you are and aren’t
allowed to have almost when it comes to these issues? – Well, I think it’s a
pretty accurate analysis and that’s what I
experienced right there. I’m always interested in
the phrase “God’s dead,” because it seems to
assume he was alive once. (audience laughing) And of course I hear Richard
Dawkins kind of saying which God and I think that’s
a question worth addressing because the God
that I believe in that is the God of
the Bible is eternal and that raises problems
for the deadness doesn’t it? – [Justin] Sure. – But there’s a sense in which Nietzsche was
a very accurate prophet and what to my mind
is very important with him was that he could see where many contemporary
atheists cannot see that if you abolish God, you wake the ground
under any solidity on which you can base on
morality, human dignity, freedom, all those values. He saw that connection
and he said, if you didn’t bring God you’ve
no right in the end to value. So that you notice where
the values are real out in our society they’re
mostly values that go back to the Judeo-Christian
tradition. And I think, therefore, to bring that back
into the discussion. I like the idea and I think
it’s very important start where there’s something more, there’s something outside of us. That’s the start,
it seems to me, of coming back to something around which society
can be organized because otherwise
everything is subjective. And you mentioned postmodern. And it amuses me that
so many, but it’s sad, that so many of these
people will tell you as an absolute truth
that there is no truth. Now that’s just sheer nonsense. (audience laughing) – [Justin] Yeah because it’s
a contradiction in terms. – Yes. – I mean you you obviously spend quite a lot of time
speaking and especially to actually a lot
of young people. – Yes, I do. – Many of the
events you do, John. Do you find that there’s a kind
of people are looking again for a source of meaning,
for something to hold onto? – Absolutely, I
think that, well we, it’s country-specific because
there are parts of the world, of course and where, for
example Christianity, is growing like wildfire. But in the UK and in the U.S. I find that young
people find the world that is presented
to them by people like the old New Atheists or
the naturalistic philosophy is too small to live in. It doesn’t give them any
kind of solid foundation. So they’re looking again. And just what, last week, I spoke to Central
Hall Westminster, 1,500 young people starting
at the age of 13 to 18. Absolutely fascinating
spending a whole day thinking about these big ideas. That I find
enormously encouraging when young folks start
asking these questions. And I find a huge
response around the world. But it’s self
selecting, you know, it’s very difficult for me to give a global
and fair assessment. – I mean, it strikes me, Dave, that you did this 100 city tour with Jordan Peterson
and it strikes me that the crowds that have
flocked to hear him talk about meaning in a meaningful
way have been quite young. The kind of crowd that you kind
of might have expected more to be turning out to
hear the Sam Harris’s and the Christopher Hitchens
and Richard Dawkins and so on. What’s changed? Why, in a sense, is the
conversation moved on from well we all
know God’s dead to. well what’s gonna
happen next, I suppose? – Well it’s really interesting because if you were
paying attention to the media around
Jordan during the year the implication somehow or
the condemnation I should say, from the media was
that somehow this was for young straight white men. That he’s only talking
to straight white men as if inherently that’s
somehow an evil thing, right? So that was the idea that
somehow he’s really broken that straight white men are
showing up to his events and that’s somehow
inherently evil. Now of course that’s
absurd if, let’s say, he was talking to all
straight young white men, if he happened to have been
giving them something positive that could put a little
order in their life away from the chaos
as he would put it that would actually
be a wonderful thing. Of course the irony is that
actually wasn’t even true at all because the crowds were
wonderfully diverse and I usually thought they
were about 60/40 male to female and age range all over
the place and all that. But to answer your
question specifically, I think that we got, as politics and the media and social media and the fact
that we’re all walking around with a phone in our pocket
that has the world’s knowledge and you can connect
with somebody literally
across the world in a split second, I
think we have no idea how this information
orgy basically, I think we have no idea how
it’s affecting our brains, our ability to think
clearly about things. It’s doing wondrous
things, right? We’re all here because of
this, this a podcast, right? We’re disseminating this
through the digital world, this is incredible but it
also has destabilized sort of basic beliefs and I
think then Jordan stepped in and said we have to be able to
get some meaning out of this. So that’s why he
wrote “12 Rules.” He thought these are 12
rules in a modern sense. He wasn’t handing down
the Ten Commandments again but he was saying
in a modern sense these are 12 things you can do. Stand up straight with
your shoulder back, with your shoulders
back, clean your room, clean your room before
you clean the world. These are basic things
where now we have people that want to fix
the world constantly that can’t fix themselves. They’re doing it backwards. But just very briefly
on the underpinning of some sort of belief
that can lead to freedom and that’s what sort of what I was talking about
about the Enlightenment. Think about, you know, the founding documents
of this country I think are the greatest
man written documents, let’s say, political
documents at least. And what did the Founders say? They said these are God-given
rights, they’re self-evident. We did not give
you these rights, the right of freedom and
of free speech all things. We can protect these things
but we didn’t give them to you because they came
from somewhere else. That is so deeply important and in many ways very
unique to America and that’s why there’s
such a bizarre assault on freedom of speech right now and actually almost everything
in the Bill of Rights and it comes mostly
from the secular world. That is a really sad twist that truly I would not have
expected a couple years ago even as someone that
saw this coming. I mean five years ago I
was waving me the flag, going guys there’s something
happening here on the Left, this progressive
thing, this no good. But even, it’s gotten so crazy, that I’m still a little
surprised myself. – To some extent
it’s almost as though that the meaning crisis has
almost created this vacuum and people are finding all
kinds of crazy things to do. – Oh yeah, they’re looking
anywhere you can look, you can play video
games all day, you can do whatever it
is to fill up that hole if it’s an existential hole or a hole in belief
or whatever it is. But there’s a lot of
ways to fill that hole. I think Jordan, Jordan in my
opinion has given the best set of beliefs that take from
a religious tradition and blend what I would say
our enlightenment values or basically secular values,
Judeo-Christian values and he’s blended them in
the most effective way. – I mean, as we’re
on the subject, talking about Jordan Peterson, I know that you’re
somewhat familiar with some of what he’s
been doing as well, John. What’s your take on what
he’s put his finger on, that obviously so many
people are responding to, and, yeah, well how does
it relate in your view to the Christian
faith that you hold. – I think people are
longing for sense. And you mentioned connectedness. That has almost replaced meaning but it’s not real connectedness. And I was reading a book on artificial
intelligence just recently and it was a warning that people will die if they’re not connected
to the internet because all the meaning
is being placed there. I mean, think what
Jordan Peterson is doing is putting a nuclear bomb
in the middle of that and saying this not good enough. You’ve got to get
outside of that. And you’re right it
is rewiring brains. The psychologists tell us it’s
messing people’s brains up, especially if they try and
use two machines at once. And therefore I just think
that there’s an underlying, and from where I sit,
people are looking for this because although they
often don’t believe it or even have never heard of it, they are made in
the image of God. They’re beings who’ve got
eternity in their hearts. And a kind of
materialist universe without meaning just
won’t satisfy them because they’re actually
made for something bigger. And CS Lewis put it years ago, “If you find a lie in you that’s
not satisfied in this world “maybe there is another world “in which it could
be satisfied.” And I’m gonna play that
to the world of ideas. So I really think
he’s hit a nerve. – And interestingly
if you read his book, “12 Rules For Life,” and he’s done a number of lectures.
– Yes, I have. – Is he’s drawing a
great deal on the Bible especially the Old Testament. – Oh, sure, he is,
especially the Old Testament. And it has intrigued me that he has concentrated
his lectures of the Bible on
the Old Testament. Now that to me
resonates completely because I, as a Christian,
have been for years trying to communicate to people
that they’ve got to begin to take the Jewish
Scriptures seriously because there you’ve
got the foundation, the foundation story and people are looking for
a story that’s big enough to fit their lives into
and there’s the start of the big story, creation, human beings made
in the image of God and what that means
for their dignity and their freedom
and everything else. If we just get that one fact. I remember in Siberia where
I used to go quite a bit and I gave the first lecture
in 75 years on these issues in the University
of Novosibirsk. And I made the point, I said, “Just think of
the one statement. “Human beings made
in the image of God.” And I said, “If I believed
that they wouldn’t murder one “of you let alone the 100
million that Stalin did.” And it absolutely
erupted the place. Of course they’d
never heard it before. It was totally new to them. And I think our society
needs to hear these truths. And Jordan Peterson is
moving into that area because he’s actually
going back to the book and not being ashamed of it. And more power to him, I say. – Yeah, and just very briefly, just from being on
tour with Jordan, I told you this backstage but I never saw the guy
break one of the 12 rules. I mean try to imagine
how chaotic his life was in the course of this,
becoming a massive star, traveling all over the
world, the book sales, the celebrity, the entire thing, and he never broke
one of those 12 rules. Just 20 seconds we
were at a dinner party at Douglas Murray’s house
with Maajid Nawaz and Jordan, you may know those guys. And one of the rules is
that if you see a pet, if you see a cat in the
street you should pet it. And Douglas had a
cat and we’re there for about three or four
hours, we’re having dinner, we’re having a great time and I’m looking at
the cat the whole time and I’m looking at Jordan. And I’m going the guy hasn’t
pet the cat, like you know, what am I on tour
with this guy for? Like, is the whole thing
is it, is he a fraud, what’s going on here? I swear to God I was
thinking it the entire time and then as we were
walking out the door, Jordan literally and you can
sort of picture Jordan’s, he’s very tall and he has
long limbs and he’s slender and he basically sat down in
the cat’s bed with the cat and stroked the cat for
a good five minutes. And I thought all right
he’s the real deal. (audience laughing) – We should probably
talk about someone other than Jordan
Peterson tonight. I mean I’d love to key in a
little bit more on your story Dave–
– Sure. – Because it sounds
like you have been on something of a
journey of discovery over the last year or two and obviously very
much influenced by the way Jordan has
brought that alive in his lectures and so on. So I mean you obviously now
are seeing more and more the value of religion. What does that caused
you personally to do in terms of maybe,
is it causing you to rediscover your own
Jewish roots a bit more and the religious
aspect of that? – Well, I would say
there’s two things here as I said at the beginning. There’s sort of just
the cultural affinity and the understanding of
the history of the people that came before me which
you know unfortunately in the case of the
Jews is a pretty brutal often almost unimaginably
horrific history. And I grew up around Holocaust
survivors and I know that. That, though the pain
of your ancestors or whatever the history of your
people is can’t be the thing that defines you going forward. I would say as I’ve sat down with believers and
non-believers alike, I’ve genuinely found, well I guess sort
of this would get to what you were saying, John. I have generally
found the believers not only more welcoming so
like in a situation like this but more open, actually
happier, less dependent on things outside of themselves,
more self-reliant, let’s say. So I don’t think that means I’m going to be religious
per se tomorrow. That being said, as I said, I went to this Yom
Kippur service that
Dennis Prager hosted and I found it
incredibly moving. And Dennis gave a
sermon that, you know, he talked all about
Judeo-Christian values and sort of what’s happening
in our country right now and how it all seems to
be becoming untethered and he used some
religious backing to
give some value there. And I thought well
this is value, this something in
a real world way that I could come
somewhere once a week or build some community
around or friends that would have value. So I can’t say I’m, you
know it’s like if ultimately I can see in your eye
you want me to be like, yeah, yeah, Jesus let it go. (audience laughing) I can see it. There’s a guy back there
waving a Jesus sign at me. All right, I see you. (audience laughing) – [Justin] Well, if you insist. – Yeah, let’s put it this way. I have no problem with
Jesus, I like the guy. You know what I mean? Like the message of Jesus
that all of the things that we’ve talked about
here on stage and backstage, I love these ideas. I think that if my life becomes
a continuing conversation about these things and I can incorporate
the best parts of that to be a better person? Well, I’ll tell you this. I know for a fact, I am
a better person today than I was before I started
this journey with Jordan. That those things, and that
doesn’t mean I prescribe to the Church of
Jordan Peterson, that is just that this guy who has communicated
the bedrock ideas that we’re talking about here, by me listening to
that and hearing that and incorporating some
of that in my life, I’m a better person. So that means something,
you know what I mean? – Any comments on
Dave’s journey so far? – Feel like “This is My life.” (audience laughing) – You’re on–
– all right. – [Justin] The
psychiatrists couch tonight. – Well I think what
struck me, just listening, was you’re being
moved by Yom Kippur. I’m not Jewish by background but I owe everything to a Jew and the history of
the Jews has been enormously important to me. And when you mention
the Holocaust as you do and I’ve been in
Auschwitz many times. And I’ve wept every time. And I have many Jewish
friends who lost everybody and that raises huge, deep,
existential questions. And therefore just thinking
of the big picture, the big biblical
story and I love it because although
there are all sorts of twists and turns
and difficulties, I see the Jewish history,
the history of Israel, the law, the prophets as
pointing towards something big because at the heart of Judaism and I have many Orthodox friends who still expect Hamashiach,
the Messiah, to come. Now the difference is that
I believe he has come. And Yom Kippur means
a huge amount to me because in those
Jewish festivals, and I’ve been at many of them, I see, I don’t want
to put a crudely but a thought model
that has been fulfilled in what Jesus did. And I find Yom Kippur moving because I see in him
the fulfillment of it and here is a person
who actually died
the Day of Atonement. It’s an atonement to deal with. Now here comes the point. That what happens when you start with a creation
story of people made in the image of God,
that’s wonderful. But we know that
something has happened, a bomb has hit the human race. There are huge problems
and we long for a solution. We long for justice. We long for true freedom. We long for true values. And we’ve got to
therefore face the problem of human rebellion against God. Now the sin word is
not popular these days. But it seems to me that
there’s a fulfillment within what Jesus
did and taught, a fulfillment that everything
that Judaism stood for and stands for powerfully. And therefore I feel
a close affinity here, the whole Judeo tradition
is immensely important to me because there I find
these fundamental values. But they raise a big question and it’s the
fulfillment of that, the whole history of
Israel, its sacrifices, the institutions, the prophets
looking forward to Messiah who will deal with the basic
problem of human rebellion. And so that’s clearly
a difference between
me and Judaism. But I wouldn’t underemphasize
the huge contribution that it has made to the rock on which I believe I stand
today, if that makes sense. – Well it does make sense
and if I could quickly, I actually do want to answer your question a little
more specifically now that I had a moment
to think it through. So this year I went, my
parents live in New York still, in the same family
home that I grew up in. And I went to a temple
on Rosh Hashanah and Rosh Hashanah is the
beginning of the new year and it’s about creation. And then basically you
have the week or so between Rosh Hashanah
and Yom Kippur where you’re supposed to
think about your life, the things that you’ve done, the good things
that you’ve done, the bad things you’ve
done, apologize to people if you’ve done, whoever
you may have done harm. And I really did, so
this is the real answer to your question, I
really did that this year. I really did think about it. Probably didn’t fully
get there on Twitter throughout the week. I probably did drop the ball
a couple times on Twitter. But I really was
very aware of that and I tried, you know, just
a few days ago at services, I really was trying
to be cognizant of it doesn’t necessarily
matter if I believe in all of this, all of it fully. But there is value in this, this story that has
been told by my parents and my grandparents and
my great-grandparents going way back when. There must have been something
that kept this thing alive and there must have been
some reason behind it. And for me to pretend
that I’m so enlightened that I have figured out
something that is so brilliant that I could just
set all that aside that it, to me that strikes
me is the worst sort of like egomaniacal hubris
that you could have. So I would be happy to
do this again next year and we can continue
the conversation. The Jesus guy’s still
waving at me back there. (audience laughing) – Good. I’m finding this fascinating because obviously there
has been something of a spiritual awakening. And I think, yeah it
sounds like you’re saying, I’m not quite sure what
that looks like exactly but I want to start
to investigate and live into this
kind of tradition more that obviously your
forebears have done so. I mean there’s a lot
of people out there who would say, “Come on, wake
up, it’s the 21st century. “We all know that these
are just superstitions “and everything else
and you need to get “on the bandwagon of reason.” You’re about reason, Dave. And if we just think straight, work things out with
science and logic then that’s the way
forward, that’s the way you, religion is kind of the way we used to do
things not anymore. – Yeah, well I think the
counter to that would be that everything that
Jordan has talked about, not to bring this
back to Jordan, but the counter of that
is that we’ll look sort of where the secular world is
at where we can’t figure out whether you’re male
or female anymore we have to now debate that. I don’t it’s sort of like
I don’t like using that one because it’s so easy and
it sounds sort of glib and I don’t mean
it to be that way. But that is where
this all leading. If there is nothing outside
of ourselves then, John, as you said everything
else is subjective and we will debate
every little thing depending on how we feel
about it on any given day. And that will lead,
there is there’s a reason why right now the idea of
socialism is suddenly popping up in America which is the
genuinely the worst set of collectivist ideas that
you could possibly ever have that hundreds of millions of people have died
in history under. And it’s popping up
because if you listen to what’s happening on the
Left right now politically because they’ve outsourced God, imagine if one of those
people on stage said that they were a real believer. Imagine if any of them,
maybe Biden could do it, but really the
rest of them can’t. They would never really say
that they’re a believer. Now I don’t know what they are and I wouldn’t want
them to say anything that’s not true to themselves But they would be mocked
by everything mainstream, everything mainstream
would mock them the way that everything mainstream
mocks any Christian that happens, ’cause they’re
usually on the Right, they happen to be conservatives. But look what they’re
offering us now. Their answer is, okay we’ve
removed God from the equation and what do we get,
we get government. And they now pray
basically to government. They think that they
can figure out somehow by sitting in a room with a
bunch of other politicians and bureaucrats, the worst
sort of people that exist, (audience laughing) I didn’t even mean that
to be funny but actually. I mean, but that’s
what they think. They think that they can
rejigger all of humanity in a way that will
be so much better than everything that
came before them. And not only can’t they, they are going to do
the complete reverse. So that, if for no other reason, if for no grand revelation
or something like that, that would be a reason
to be respectful of people that are believers because they can fight that in
a way that secularists can’t. The good liberals
don’t have enough juice in and of themselves, they don’t have enough
juice to fight that. That’s why liberalism
has collapsed in the name of progressivism. – Yeah, I approach
this in two ways. The first one is your comment
that secularism is collapsing. And one can analyze
the defects of atheism where it leads to and
the millions of people that died in the last century. But coming over
to the other side. What you’re saying, Justin,
you see I am a scientist and one of the
fascinating things is that science is a direct legacy of the Judeo-Christian
tradition. You were saying we’re all
scientists now and all this is, no, it is not. And let’s start
absolutely basic. In the beginning God created
the heavens and the earth. Hebrew Bible written
millennia ago knew there was a beginning. It was in the early ’60s before scientists
caught up with that. (audience laughing) And the Bible was right. And Dawkins said, “Well
there was a 50/50 chance,” when I debated him. And I said, “At least
the Bible got it right.” But more seriously
than that, you see, the fact that I’m
a mathematician and
interested in science, all right, just
think about that. The fact that mathematics
can describe what goes on in the universe is a
matter of huge wonder. Einstein once said, “The
only incomprehensible thing “about the universe is
that it’s comprehensible.” And he saw the problem. Why does it work? Well it’s not an
incomprehensible thing if you start from the idea
that there’s an intelligent God who made us in His image and
therefore we can do science. And that’s exactly
what the early pioneers of modern science,
starting with Galileo and Kepler and Newton
and so on and so forth. They were all believers in God. And therefore when I hear
that kind of question I’m not remotely ashamed
of being a scientist and a Christian
because I want to argue that it was Christianity
gave me my subject. And CS Lewis put it brilliantly. (audience applauding)
(audience laughing) I’m glad you understood
it in the end. (audience laughing) CS Lewis said, “Men
became scientific “because they expected
law in nature. “And they expected law nature “because they believed
in a lawgiver.” And I think we’re
getting to the stage now where serious atheist
thinkers are beginning to reexamine the
kind of naturalism that reduces everything
to physics and chemistry. And one of them lives in New
York, his name is Thomas Nagel and he’s a brilliant
philosopher. And he says
something’s going wrong because if everything
is reducible to
physics and chemistry then so is your mind but then
why would you trust your mind? In other words atheism taken
to its logical conclusion undermines the very
rationality you need to trust to do science. And I’m not in for
accepting a worldview that undermines the foundations
of any kind of argument or discussion whatsoever. So I think that in
the 21st century we can push back on
that very naive notion that God’s out,
we do science now. No, science actually
brings God back in. – It’s very interesting, I mean. (audience applauding) All of this leads me to want
to ask you at this point, Dave, you’re sitting down
with John here tonight, obviously a Christian believer, someone who gives
evidences for God. And I know that on your show you’ve had people
like Bishop Barron and I think Ravi Zacharias
is gonna be featured shortly. Where does this leave you on
if you like that God question? Because one level, I can
absolutely see the way in which there’s a
kind of the utility and a kind of sense
in which meaning, we can gather meaning from
doing the religious things, the rituals and so on. But at the end of the day and I asked this of
Jordan Peterson once, it was an interesting answer. Do you believe in God? Do you feel like that’s
where you’ve got to at this point in your life? – You know it’s funny
when we would do the Q&As at the shows with Jordan for the first few we
would let people come up to the microphone. And what usually happens is
that people start telling their life story
and they would want to get a therapy session in
front of 3,000 strangers. And it started
getting very weird so we decided to better rate it. We used an app to do it and
when Jordan was on stage, basically, I would go
through the best ones and I’d find some funny
ones and some serious ones and everything else. But what always came up, no matter how many times
Jordan answered it was, do you believe in God? And he and as I’m sure he
said to you, he finds it to be sort of the most annoying
question possible. So I think I would answer it, I mean I would answer it in a
similar way that Jordan would. That look I think
I’ve sort of laid out a set of beliefs here
that show the utility of believing in something
outside of myself and I do believe in that. So if you want to call that God, that there is something
outside of me, there is something that
is connecting all of us that has nothing to do
with the material world, there is something
that drives us that is the driver of humanity, that is something
good, I believe that. I don’t, I can’t,
yeah I believe that. (audience applauding) – But could you put a name on
that something at this point? (audience laughing) I told you I wanted to label
you by the end of the evening. – Ah, Jesus? (audience laughing)
(audience cheering) – I guess, I mean in a sense
I hear what you’re saying. – Do I get a cookie at least? I mean, come on people
what are you doing here? (audience laughing) – I guess it’s kind of like
what are the particulars though? What would that look, how is
that gonna make a difference, I suppose in your life, is there a sort of sense
in which you feel now any new obligations given
this kind of new sense that there is something
beyond yourself. – You know, I think we’re all sort of wired
differently, right? I think some people can
really, can really flourish just sort of on their
own set of ideas that they create in the world. And I think that can really
work for some people. I think some people need
some order outside of that. Some people need
more of a community, some people are real loners. All of those things. I think perhaps, but I truly
mean what I said before, I’d be happy to do this
every year with you and continue these conversations and I’ll continue them
on my show obviously. I think for me the
adventure of discussing this and seeing what kind of people
that I bring into my studio that interact with
at events like this, what type of people
I want to be around, that really is the proof. That is what, well that’s what
makes this, right? That’s what makes this. So I don’t know, so again
I can’t what you’re, I get the question, I
respect the question truly and it’s the question, right? I mean it’s like saying,
what’s the meaning of life? Right, it’s the big one. I would say I’m on the
adventure to finding that out and I’m really okay with that. I hope that doesn’t
sound dismissive of the question or like
I’m trying to evade it. I’m really not. I like, and maybe
this just a function also of what I do for a living. I mean I get to sit
every week with people that in most cases
are smarter than me, who have spent years working
through all of these issues as you have, John. And that is an incredible
privilege that I have. So I would like to see
how far I can take that. – Sounds like we’re not
gonna convert him tonight. (audience laughing) – You’re doing your best. – Yeah, working overtime over
there, I’ll tell ya that much. – But it’s wonderful to hear an open
description of a journey. And I try to think
my way into this that getting around these
ideas is really big stuff. I mean coming the
way you’ve moved from the little I’ve
understood of it just meeting you
for the first time it’s most interesting
to me the way that movement is going. Now from where I sit there’s
another element comes into it. What I mean by that is this. There’s the things that we
can think about existentially as you’re doing and that’s
vastly important to me as well. The kind of people
you like to be with, the evidence of
that, you like this, if you feel there’s
something outside yourself and so on and so forth. But then it comes to
a couple of questions, One is, could it be that
something is actually personal? Now you’re Jewish Hebrew
Scriptures would say exactly so because that’s how
Bereshit, Genesis, starts with a God who sees,
who blesses, who speaks. And one of the most
interesting things to me, both as a scientist
and a believer in God, is the simple
description of creation. And God said, “Let
there be light.” And God said and God said. There’s a sequence as you know. But the most exciting one
is the one you never hear. It’s the final one
and God said to them. And that opens up a whole
world of possibility. That what is being
claimed at least is that there’s a God that speaks to me and that means that opens up
the possibility of revelation where it’s not simply me
investigating the people I know, the things I hear, the arguments
philosophically and so on. But there’s another side to it. That if this is true then
God is interested in me and he’s wanting me as
a discussion partner. He’s wanting to talk to me. And if one is open
to that possibility it seems to me to open a
huge new dimension to this. And the more I think about that, this a word based
universe scientifically and religiously in that sense. And therefore the idea that there’s something
there, that’s fantastic. There’s more than
the material world. But if that more is
personal and can speak to us it’s worth testing
the claim at least because it runs right
through the whole of the Hebrew Scriptures
and the New Testament. That’s the fundamental thing
is a speaking God, not dead. (audience applauding) – I should say, I
mean we normally never on my show get to this point because most of the
time the person sitting opposite someone like John
is a confirmed atheist. And it’s really, God is
always gonna be debated in the abstract. John you kind of come to
the point we’re saying, well let’s look at where
the God could be personal. – Yes. – Whether God could speak to us. Again I feel like we’re
grilling you tonight but I guess– – No, it’s fine,
it’s interesting. I genuinely I love this there’s
nothing you could ask me I don’t think that would
that would offend me or– – Well, I really I’m grateful for you being an
open book tonight because I suppose my
next is question simply, could it be? Do you think that it’s possible
that there could be a God who is personally
interested in you, who listens to your prayers, who is interested in the
way you live your life, who wants the best for you? Is that something that’s on
the table as a possibility for where your journey
might take you, I suppose. – If he walks out
on stage right now, I would get baptized
tomorrow, okay. (audience laughing) Like if this is
like a Maury Povich and here he is everybody! (audience laughing) Yes, well my basic
answer would be, yes. Why would I rule that out? Why would I rule that out? Why, as you said
that so eloquently, would I be like, no. That just doesn’t
stand to reason. And that again goes
back to why I said I love having these
conversations. And I don’t even, though
this a little different for what you do usually,
I don’t take offense by it or anything like that. Like that’s interesting to me. But and by the way I think
that this sort of where Jews maybe have done something
a little bit differently, where it always has been
about this sort of battle about what God is? You talk about science
and mathematics. You can go to most of
the Jewish hospitals in New York City where
they have the best doctors in the entire world, many
of them are Orthodox Jews who actually won’t press
the elevator on Shabbat because they don’t want to
use electricity on Shabbat. So they have the elevators that go to every
floor on Saturdays. Now from an outsider perspective you weren’t really
thinking about it that way, you’d go well that’s
completely crazy. How are these people of
science and math, doctors, why would they possibly care
in this crazy superstition if you come from that
discipline of science and math. And yet those people don’t
find it to be in conflict. So I don’t see any of
this in conflict actually. If anything, I feel like
this really what it’s about. This ability to play, because
I know that there are plenty of you guys out there
that are at some level of where I’m at with
some of this stuff. It’s not like everyone that
walks in these doors is going this absolutely what I believe
and we believe the same thing and I want to convert everybody to believe in the
same thing I do. I just, I don’t believe that. I’m not gonna poll
you don’t worry. (audience laughing) But I know that’s true. And we’re all on those
journeys together. So of course I don’t dismiss
could God be a personal, you know do we all have
that piece of us behind us that knows what’s right when
you make a bad choice in life. You have those, yeah, I
shouldn’t have that drink or shouldn’t do this
or whatever it is. I don’t know is that a
personal relationship with God when you have that other thing or some would say is that
just the voice in your head, what is that, what
is that thing? I mean philosophers have
been debating this forever. – I think that’s a
really great place just to draw this part of
the conversation to a close. – Thank God. (audience laughing) Whoa, all right, okay. Literally, I mean that. – Let’s give a round of
applause to John and Dave. (audience applauding)
(audience cheering) (upbeat music) (audience applauding) Oh there’s a lot for
you I’m afraid, Dave. (audience laughing) – Can I text in a couple
questions myself right now? – I mean there is
one very obvious one which someone wants to
ask and if you could this could be a whole
evening for you, John, but someone simply asks what for you would be
the key evidences for God if you were in a conversation
with someone about that? – It depends entirely
whom I’m talking to because it seems to me there
are two kinds of evidence. There’s the objective
kind of evidence. That is from the
scientific point of view, looking at the
universe, the beginning, the fine-tuning of the universe
and all those pointers, the very doing of
science that point to an intelligence
behind the universe. That would be one set. The second set would be the
whole revelation through Christ and who he is and what he did
and all that kind of thing. And central to it of
course would be the fact that I believe the death
problem has been solved in the sense that at the
heart of Christianity there’s not only a
death but a resurrection which validates the
significance of the death. So I want to go into the what
I believe are the evidences for the resurrection
historically and so on. And then finally there’s
the existential side. Many people say to me
you can’t be a Christian and a scientist because
Christianity is not testable. And I say of course
it’s testable. And to be blunt about
that, very briefly, Christ makes certain
claims that if we trust him he’ll give us peace
with God, forgiveness, new life, a new par. You can test that. And you know in my life,
which has been quite long, I’ve met many people
and you meet them and there maybe in the midst of a broken relationship,
narcotic dependence, all kinds of stuff and you
meet them six months later and they’re
completely different. And you say, “What’s
happened to you?” Now they may express
it in different terms. They may say, “Well I
became a Christian,” or “I was born again,”
or “I was converted.” But when you see that as I
have done again and again not only in my own life
and those around me but in people around you, you add two and two
and you get four. And I wouldn’t sit here for
a nanosecond as a Christian if I didn’t believe it can
be tested in real experience. If it doesn’t work
then it’s very suspect. So that is the fastest
answer I can give to that. – Thank you very much
ready for the answers. (audience applauding) That’s a lot of
thinking boiled down into a very brief answer. Question for you,
Dave, has come in and it’s what do you find
unbelievable about Christianity? So I guess the question is,
okay you’re on a journey, you’re willing to be open
to that potential answer what are the main
objections at this point that you would have
to kind of embracing that kind of a view? – Well I suppose
it’s a good question because I don’t have a
particularly good answer for it. So I think we could probably
do this one pretty quickly. I mean, I don’t, there’s no… Well other than what
would be a generic answer about any religion. Let’s say some sort of
like true leap of faith to ultimately say this
whether it’s Christianity or Judaism or whatever
you want to say, whatever religion or set of
ideas we’re talking about. Beyond that full jump
I don’t have any, there’s nothing, there’s
nothing that’s been said up here there’s nothing that
John has talked about or than any of the
religious thinkers that I’ve had on recently. The conversation that I
had with Ravi Zacharias, it’s going up next week I think is one of
the best interviews that I’ve ever been part of. There was nothing
that he said there in the course of
that hour and a half that I found objectionable or I found completely
incongruent with my set of
beliefs, let’s say. So I don’t know that I have, there’s no answer for
that in that I’m willing to keep continue
that conversation. – A few people have asked a
follow-up question effectively which is I mean do, it’s
phrased in a few different ways, so I’ll try and– – Is it hot here? (audience laughing) – It kind of goes to the
heart of Christianity though which is what do you think
about the central claim that Jesus rose from the dead. Because that at the
end of the day is at the heart of the
faith John holds. Is that something you would
be open to investigating to kind of you know seeing whether there’s
anything in that claim? – Yeah I, look, I
think I don’t know how many of these types of
questions there’s going to be. – [Justin] I won’t do
too many more of them. – But yes I can’t, I wish I could think of
a better way to say it. But I am completely open
to these discussions as they have, your answer
actually John was perfect. That if these things
weren’t testable in that you did not
see the evidence that people were living better
lives, more fulfilled lives, happier lives, all those things, that you wouldn’t
as a man of science, you could not sit up here. That’s a really beautiful answer that feels to me to be
complete as a person of faith and a person of science, right? And I think that
would be a worldview that I could prescribe to and that is that
actually is a worldview that I prescribe to. And that doesn’t exclude
the fact that very early on I said that at the micro level some of my best
friends are atheists and they are deeply
moral, good, decent people and you’ve debated many of them. so there’s no, there’s nothing that is so separate, let’s say. – I mean, I promise no more
grilling you on faith questions. But for John, kind of the
opposite question coming in. Is there, have you ever
questioned if there is a God? And another person asks, whether
you’ve ever been presented with an objection that
you found difficult? – Oh, can I do that one? (audience laughing) Come on, man. – Of course I have. You see, this interest me
because I spent my whole life not only questioning
myself but exposing myself to some of the most powerful
questioners in the world who are against my viewpoint. And the reason for doing that
is partially the Freudian one. The accusation that was made
against me at Cambridge. You believe because
your parents believe and your grandparents believe and it’s Irish
genetics, end of story. (audience laughing) So I have questioned
everything in that sense and it’s through that
my certainty comes. You see, the word faith
has flicked in there to this conversation and
we need to be careful what we mean by that. By faith I don’t mean
a leap into the dark. I mean a step into the
light that’s evidence-based and it’s exactly the same
kind of commitment in science. We believe certain
things about the universe because we’ve evidence. Now in Christianity it
is exactly parallel. Real faith is a commitment,
a step based on evidence and of course there’s a personal
dimension to Christianity that doesn’t occur when you’re believing Einstein’s
equations for example. It’s not quite the same
as trusting a person. But still it’s got to be
evidence-based or else is blind. And blind faith is
extremely dangerous, particularly in the
sphere of religion. So asking questions all
the time is a process that I discover in
the Bible itself which is one of the things
that makes it credible. Jesus was always
asking questions and he didn’t always answer them and his disciples
were asking questions. My great intellectual
hero was Socrates who was forced to commit suicide because he corrupted
the youth of Athens which meant that he taught
kids to ask questions their parents couldn’t answer. Which is usually what kids do. But it seems to me that
it’s very important. My whole process of relating
to people, as Dave’s is, is asking them questions and getting them
to open themselves. So yes, absolutely this
is the way the thing works and that is where
assurance comes. It’s fear that stops us
questioning the propositions or the commitments
of what we believe. And I want to break
through that fear barrier and get into a proper
public discourse. – There’s a question here which
relates to a story you told on your podcast of being I think at a John
Peterson lecture night and you met a couple who had both been
through a difficult time. Perhaps you can tell the story. I think a miscarriage
is involved and there were
difficulties in the family and the way you responded
was the interesting perhaps part of
that story as well. Do you want to tell the story and just maybe dig
into that a bit because the person asks
that they’d just like to hear a little
bit more about that. – Yeah, you know
it’s so interesting that someone’s asking this because I actually
don’t remember telling this story publicly. But I must have said it
publicly at some point. I don’t remember. We were in the UK, I don’t
remember what city we were in, but a couple came up
to me before the show and they both looked very, they were just
sort of distraught. You know sometimes you
people come up to you and you could just
see it in their face, you could feel in
their body language and they started talking to me. And basically it turned out
that he, oh, it was young couple I mean they were in their
maybe late 20s, early 30s and the guy had just found out that he had like
stage four cancer and didn’t have
much time to live. And then, yeah, I mean
that you can’t believe it is actually real. The woman found out
that she was pregnant, she was a few months pregnant
and the fetus had died and she was gonna have
to have it removed like the next day or
something like that. I mean like unimaginably
horrific circumstances. And they said this
to me and then said that Jordan’s helped
them get a little meaning over the last few weeks as
they’ve been going to doctors and all of these things. And I think the reason that
the person’s mentioning that I bring it up
is the only thing that I could say was, “God
bless you, God bless you, guys.” That’s what I said. I had, there was nothing else, there was just nothing
else I could say. What can I possibly say, “I’m sorry to hear about
what you’re going through.” You know, I hugged them I tried
to just kind of stand there and be with them. But that happened to be
what popped up in my brain. So if that, in a weird way, if that is evidence
of something, if that is that when
faced with unimaginable, I mean no one can possibly
imagine the level of horror of that situation. I hope I’m getting it
fully technically right. That’s what I had
left I would say. – It was the only words
that you felt made sense. – Can I make a comment?
– Yes, please do. – Because I didn’t
answer your question. And one of your
questions to me was do you make objections that
you find difficult to answer. And I do and that’s one. The problem of
moral evil and pain, which is what you talked about, is the hardest question
that any of us face. And it has been a very
important part of my life to try and think that through. I arrived in Christchurch,
New Zealand two days after the earthquake and I
had to cancel all my talks and replace them with
“Earthquake, Why?” Now that’s not
easy to deal with. Now, the atheists say, “Well
it’s just the way the world is. “There is no God, that’s
just what you’d expect.” But you see, if you abolish God and I’m not gonna go
into details in this but it’s hugely important. If you abolish God actually
you can make the problem worse because there’s now no hope. If you bring God
into the equation from the Christian perspective there is the hope
of the Resurrection. And not going into it in detail, I want to say two big
things to this problem. They’re not answers, that would
be simplistic and trivial. But they’re are a window
into a possibility. And the window into the
possibility is this. If it really is true that’s
God incarnate on the cross what does it mean? Well at the very least it means that God has not remained
distant from human suffering. He has become part of it. And so your God bless you,
I think it’s a huge layers of meaning underlying it. That’s the first thing. And the fact that Jesus
rose from the dead means that ultimately
there is real hope. Why, because one of the things the early Christians
preached was that the resurrection
guaranteed a final judgment. And we don’t like that
idea, but think about it. If there’s going to be an
utterly fair assessment, although as I said I’ve been
to Auschwitz many times, if there’s going
to be a judgment that deals with these things
that gives me a window of hope. And so, therefore, I think
this the hardest problem for anybody and any philosophy in any world for you
nobody escapes it. – A question for
you this time, John. And maybe you might want
comment on it as well, Dave. But someone asked what
does it take for a person to move from an abstract
intellectual belief in God to this personal experiential
faith which you talked about. – Well that’s assuming
that they start with an abstract faith. Now people come different ways. Our journeys, and that’s why it’s so interesting
talking about journey and I haven’t finished
my journey yet. There are lots of questions
I’ve got, things unresolved. I started by the existential
side, the personal side, I saw it was real. But then as a child I was
taught to ask the questions, so the intellectual side and the practical side
walked hand in hand throughout my life. And some people come
to faith in Christ because they’ve been
befriended by somebody that shows a real friendship
and it’s existential. Others come because they’ve
been challenged intellectually. I was speaking in
Germany a week ago and speaking with a
very intellectual person and what started him off in
his journey was at school he was grown up in a,
he grew up in a home where all his father
said about everything was everything’s lies, that
was his, everything’s lies. Total skepticism. And he had a school
friend, they sat together and the school friend
said to him one day, he said, “Jesus Christ
rose from the dead.” And this chap thought, “What?” And he started to
investigate it. And that led him to become
an ancient historian. And now in Germany
he’ll fill a hall with 5,000 people talking about how he became a Christian
from skepticism. So the intellectual
side got him first. So you can’t generalize at all. But I think in that sense if a person is just
cerebral about it they haven’t understood it because Christ
does make demands. There’s a relational thing, there are moral
dimensions to it. And so it needs to move,
how shall I put it? I’m worried about
the distinction because even when we’re
emotional about something the emotions are
precipitated by our thoughts. You can’t separate
thought and emotion. But I think the important
thing is that since, let me put it this way. God is not simply a
philosophical theory. He’s a person and
therefore our response to persons is different
from a response to say a mathematical equation. And we need to take
the various dimensions and aspects into account. So I’d simply want to
encourage a person like that to think about, well, what
does Christianity mean that you should be doing. But since it’s an
abstract question, I don’t know the person,
everybody’s different. – I’m tossing it
over to you, Dave. There’s a sense in
which, you know, we’ve talked a lot about
Jordan Peterson this evening. But when I see him on stage, he’s not afraid of
getting emotional. In fact, he quite frequently
is close to tears very often when it’s talking about
the search for meaning, when he’s engaging with
where people are at in their struggles and so on. And in that sense he’s
quite the antidote to the kind of very coldly
rational kind of approach that many sort of big thinkers
often take to these issues. Is that something
that’s attracted you, I don’t know, to the
way in which he engages with that kind of aspect of
reality in a very personal way in a sense in which
he approaches these
kinds of issues? – Yeah, well I can
answer that two ways. First, not specifically
with Jordan, but I think one of the
reasons that the YouTube game and the podcast game and
all of the digital stuff and all of this new
set of personalities that you guys all watch
and consume and listen to, the reason it’s working is because these people
are being people. These are actual people. I mean the person that you see when I’m doing
something on YouTube, that’s this guy that’s right
in front of you right now. I happen to be on
stage with a mic but I’m the same person
when I step down there and talk to you guys. Jordan is the same person. As I said, he lived
those 12 rules. He’s the same exact guy, right? There’s a little something
when there’s a camera there I forget what the sight,
there’s a theory, you know, that you all, when a camera’s on you turn it on like
5% or something. But I think what’s happened
over the last 20 or so years with cable news is that
everyone on television became so incredibly fake
and over prepared and really ridiculously robotic that there is a
breath of fresh air when people just
actually are decent, when people just actually can
look each other in the eye and not pretend that they have every answer to every question. I think that’s a
deeply powerful thing. So when Jordan would go
onstage and he, I kid you not, it’s almost unimaginable but
the guy 110 some-odd shows that we did together, he never
gave the same lecture twice. He would give a different, some nights he would
talk about all 12 rules, some nights he would
talk about one rule, some nights four rules, some nights he would just
talk about the media, some nights he would
talk about YouTube. I mean, it was just
whatever was in his mind. And you know, the book,
he was on a book tour they wanted him to sell a book. Sometimes the book
never came up. I mean, he just didn’t he, but to answer your
question specifically he was being present
as much as possible. That is something that I
really try to do in my life and when you’re doing it right
you don’t really have to try because it just starts happening and you just start being real. And that’s why actually
I’ve thoroughly, as I just said to
you guys at halftime or whatever we’re calling
it the Dave Rubin grilling. I’ve really enjoyed this because
this is real, this is real. And the more that
we can do that, the better we can
understand each other. So there would be nights
where he would be on stage, you know, telling the story that I’m sure many
of you have heard where he talks about Pinocchio. And the reason that you
have to wish upon a star and what that means and
then he would link it to a biblical story
and he would tear up and he would cry and
you could hear the crack in his voice and it was real. We would be backstage
right after the show, just sitting in the greenroom and I would just
kind of sit there and give him his moment
to collect himself. So it was real. And I think all that really
is is being vulnerable, being open, the best way
I could describe it was what I saw the guy do
was that every night that he went onstage
he tried to take as much of his intellect
and his set of beliefs he would take them as far as
he could on any given night and there were nights where I could see him stretch
that a little bit further. That’s a pretty incredible
thing to be around. – On a slightly lighter
note, someone ask, Jordan Peterson versus Ben
Shapiro wrestling match, Who’d win? (audience laughing) – Well Jordan’s tall and
lanky Ben is quick and short. So I feel like he’d take
out the legs, you know? Ben probably, probably,
Ben will start, Ben’s you know about, you
know, 20 years younger, so. – So many of these
questions actually are– – He could actually
use the yarmulke as some kind of
boomerang or something. There’s things, there’s
things the guy can do. – Here’s a serious question. – What am I doing here, exactly? – This is really,
this is a tough one. I mean, I know I’ve heard
this you put this position but as much as you
obviously have a great deal of respect for people
like Ben Shapiro and other religious figures, you disagree with them on some pretty
fundamental things, some ethical issues,
for instance. – Sure. – So, for instance, Ben
Shapiro’s very strongly opposed to abortion and someone
asks you on text here what about you, what would it
take to change your position on that particular ethical issue knowing that you are pro-choice? – So I describe myself as
begrudgingly pro-choice which I take no pleasure in
even discussing abortion. I find this to be the issue, beyond any other
political issue, I find this to be
the most polarizing and almost impossible
to talk about because you’re talking about the most existential
question there is which is the beginning
of life, right? And the way that it gets
framed, unfortunately, through the media is that
if you’re on the right you somehow hate women
and if you’re on the left you somehow hate babies. And that sort of
ridiculous false choice that we’re constantly, basically playing ping-pong
between is insane. My position basically is that, look, I believe
in the individual. Now I get why that
could be messy in a conversation about abortion because I do believe that
a fetus is life, I do. And we can, and it’s up to
ethicists and philosophers and all sorts of
scientific minded people and theologians
actually, as well, to decide is that the moment
the sperm meets the egg or is that two weeks later? And there’s different
religious traditions that can teach you all
sorts of different things. My belief is that
the individual, we as a society cannot
have a perfect system that is perfect for
everyone all the time. What we can try to do is
have some set of rules that can maximize human
flourishing the most it can. What I believe is basically that you have a
couple week window. A few years ago and the
first time I debated this with Ben Shapiro who’s
obviously completely pro-life, so he’s completely
anti-abortion, I used to say 20 weeks because
there was scientific evidence that at 20 weeks the fetus
can actually feel pain. And what Ben said to me, which I think is a completely
legitimate argument, he said, “Well, so you’re saying
you’re admitting it’s a life “and you’re acknowledging,
well, if you’re saying 20 weeks, “well then 18 weeks is
obviously still alive. “Why not 18 weeks?” And I granted him that
inconsistency in this view because I’m not trying to
come up with a perfect system. I’m trying to come
up with some system that would allow the 350
million people that live in this country to
have some guideline that we could most, somewhat
agree on, something like that. The problem right now is that the 12 Democratic
candidates have gone so off the deep end with this
that they’re talking about, I mean they’re literally talking
about post-birth abortions like we have heard some
beyond hysterical crazy stuff. Tulsi Gabbard, who
I had on my show, she said that she would not
want third term abortions which by any measure, even
if it’s not for you guys, let’s say here, because I’m
assuming you’re mostly pro-life that would have been considered
a pretty moderate position for a Democrat 10 years ago. But for her now in that field that is a wildly
out there position because they all
believe basically you can have an
abortion, at any time. I mean this even where Biden, who’s supposed to be the adult in the group is
now kind of, right? He’s supposed, I mean that’s why they dragged him back into this, he didn’t want to do
it they’re, you know, but he was supposed
to be the adult and go guys know
you’re all bananas and you know settle down. But it’s not working. So what was your question? What would get me to
change on that or? – Well I suppose that that would be a really
interesting thing to ask. Would this journey
that you’re going on of being open to potentially
God and to religious answers to things cause you to
reconsider your view on that. – Well, I would say these things don’t have nothing to do
with each other, right? So if we find, if we find a
speck of something on the moon that has some resemblance
of life or a cell or something we say it’s life. So I’m not denying
that from conception. I’m actually not
denying that’s life. What I’m trying to
do just as someone that talks about things
in a public way is to, you’re not gonna satisfy
everybody all the time. And by the way the
most uncomfortable
truth about this is that humans get left with
all sorts of horrific choices that they don’t want
to have to deal with. And if abortion was
completely illegal that actually would
not stop abortion. It would also make it
much more dangerous. There would be access for people that had certain
resources financially, that other people wouldn’t have. – [Justin] It’s very
complex, yes, yes. – There’s just a series
of uncomfortable truths that we would have to
deal with to do that. But I would say I would say
I’m begrudgingly pro-choice and trust me this one
more than a God question because this a sort
of policy issue. I mean up here and now, I find it to be the most
difficult one to answer. – [Justin] I mean John,
I’d just interested in your reflection on this, not necessarily getting to
the bottom of this issue which could take us all evening but to what extent for you
does being a believer in God and specifically
Christianity mean that your views on
that kind of thing have to take a certain
direction in terms of the views of abortion
and the sanctity of life and that kind of thing? – I think the important
thing to realize, and we don’t focus
it sharply enough, is that in part ethics
are worldview dependent. What I mean by that is this. If you think that a fetus is
just simply at the early stage an undifferentiated
block of cells, it’s only matter,
why not deal with it? As has been put to me by a
world-class gynecologist. And I pointed out
to her, I said, “But you come to that
because of your atheism.” Now, I said to her,
“What would you do? “That’s not only life after
conception, it’s human life.” From where I sit it
bears the image of God, what right have I to stop it? So that the ethics are
worldview dependent. And this is one of
the huge problems, way beyond that question. You know, if we
teach kids in school that they are purely
animals, full stop, we’ll see they start
to behave like animals. And that’s exactly what
we see in our society. Knife crime in London has
just gone off the map. But it’s because people
have been taught. And you were talking
about abortion, these killing
infants after birth that’s Peter Singer’s
view and I’ve debated him. And the issue stems
straight from his atheism. And so I think we ought
to be more upfront about the connection
between some of these issues and the worldview of
the society around. – If I could just
add on that quickly. I mentioned this equality forum that the Democrats
had last night. And one of the things
that, it seems to me that they’re always trying
to outdo themselves and who can be the most
Left or the most progressive or the most collectivist. And you may have
heard this last night but Beto O’Rourke
basically said, the churches and
places of worship that aren’t for
same-sex marriage, he would want them to
lose their tax exemption. That’s an absolutely
absurd position. But this why those of
us, we can disagree on these sort of margin issues but we have to come together
around the freedom issue, number one because
will come next is that they’ll say all right, well now if you’re not
completely pro-choice you should lose
your tax exemption. And they will just
keep encroaching on every set of
beliefs you have. So I may not share that
exact belief with you but I would 100% defend your
ability to have that belief in the place that you
worship without question. (audience applauding) – Got one for you here, John. And it’s keeping on a sort of
pretty serious tack as well. This person asks on the premise that we are created
in the image of God and we each have value
how do you respond to the growing rate of
suicide in the West? I think we’re seeing
this especially among men that suicide is increasing
at an alarming rate. Where do you see that coming
from and how do you speak to it as someone who does
believe people are made in the image of God? what does suicide have to,
what’s the response I suppose, to somebody who goes that route? This is very
complicated question because suicides
are all different. I have a colleague who’s one of the world’s
experts on suicide. And just talking to
him makes me realize that this a very complex thing. But just thinking about
it simplistically, people tend to commit suicide when they have
nothing to live for, they’ve got no future
that they can see. And I do believe that the
Christian message addresses that head-on by
giving people that. And I have personally
seen people come from the edge of suicide and become settled,
balanced everything else because they’ve come
to faith in Christ. And they’ve got that meaning that has answered that
need to destroy themselves. And the difficulty
is, I’m too old now to really understand
the vicious effect that Facebook for example,
likes and dislikes, have on young people where
they get bullied in cyberspace and they feel completely awful and they lose all
their self-worth. I mean the cruelty
that people exhibit to one another is unbelievable. And what’s the answer to that? Well the answer, I’ve
got to start with me. I love Jordan’s thing,
“Clean up your own room “before you clean up the world.” And it needs to start with
me, the people I know, looking for the
signs of depression or feeling down or feeling
lonely or feeling meaningless. We can all do a
little something. It may not be much, it
may not hit the headlines but it could take someone
back from the brink. There’s no universal
answer to it. – There is a follow-up
question that this has sparked and has been coming in
which is what about the case of believing Christians
who perhaps commit suicide. And I think that has been
quite a significant case here in Southern California recently. – Well I know of one or
two very significant cases of people I actually knew. And I’m not a doctor,
I’m not a psychologist but we’ve got to realize that our minds can
actually break down. There used to be a time,
fortunately it’s past, where psychiatrists and
psychologists were looked upon by many in the Christian
community with a
lot of suspicion. If you broke your leg,
you went to a doctor and that was fine, everybody
thought that was fine. But if your mind broke
that wasn’t fine. And I think we’ve got to realize that even to believing
Christians, they’re still human. They still have got
flaws and difficulties. Your temperament doesn’t
change overnight, you may have noticed, when
you become a Christian. And if you haven’t noticed that you ought to wake
up and notice it. (audience laughing) And therefore we can break down, the chemical imbalance
in our brain can go and people jump off a
cliff or shoot themselves. We need to be very careful
how we judge those people because we don’t see
inside their mind. And I want to say,
okay this has happened, it’s tragic but don’t judge
what was going on in their mind. You’ve got to leave
it to God ultimately. (audience applauding) – Can I just add to that? I would just add one
thing to that quickly which is there’s a
strange paradox right now because we’re more connected
than we’ve ever been, right? We’re all on Twitter
and Facebook and YouTube and all these things and
we can connect with people. And we can send
pictures to people and do all this stuff, right? And it feels very connected. And then on the other hand
the number one type of email that I get is people that are
afraid to say what they think and they say they watch my show because they’re afraid
to say what they think. And I happen to be having
some of the conversations that are the things that
they’re thinking about. And I suspect that if
you’re walking around, as most of us do
probably everyday, not really saying the
things that you’re thinking the end result of that will be such a
disconnect from reality because all you’ve got
then left is your own mind. And if you do that over and
over and over and over again you got nothing
left and I suspect that would be the type of place where there would be you could
see yourself having to make that horrific choice
because you’re so– – Connected versus
not friendship>- [Dave] Yeah. – Yeah, absolutely,
we’ve gone over some pretty big issues tonight and we’ve had many,
many more questions in than we can answer. There’s just one maybe which
kind of sums up the evening to some extent that we’ve had which is a question for
John referring today which is, John, do you want
Dave to become a Christian? (audience laughing) – I really have to ask my agent
what the original pitch was. (audience laughing) – I don’t choose, well, the questions kind of
choose themselves here. There so many people
are basically asking, hey, what, can you ask Dave this question
about Christianity. So I had very little
choice in the matter. But yeah, I mean, I’m guessing
the answer is yes, John. – You’re not guessing. (audience laughing) Because I’ve experienced a
life which I don’t deserve, which has been full
of profound joy, a journey that has been
deeply meaningful to me and it’s connected with my
relationship with Christ, of course not only
Dave but everybody here because there may be
many skeptics here and people watching online. Of course, my desire
is that they can share that experience that I
share and become Christians. But, but, I’m not
in the business of browbeating people and forcing them
beyond where they are. I feel very strongly and that’s why I believe
in public discussion. Let’s have the
discussion on the table from different points of
view but trust the people to make up their own mind. And so my motivation is
to get the message out and leave the results with God. But my desire is that,
of course it’s that. But don’t specify Dave
alone poor chap. (laughs) – Thank you, John. – Just think of our
neighbors and our friends. Is it our desire? I think, when I’m asked
a question like this I get very slightly nervous because I want to relate
to people as whole persons not just as evangelism fodder. And that’s very important. (audience applauding) Dave, you have been a
tremendous sport tonight and I can only say,
you’ve been so gracious and willing to engage
with you know– – Exactly. – Occasionally being
browbeaten actually on this. But I guess, you
know, if we come to just some final thoughts at the end of our
conversation now, what for you has been the value of having a
conversation like this? What for you, why do you sit
down, week in and week out with people that you may
not necessarily agree with on everything but
you’re interested in finding stuff out from? What’s the value of these kind of big conversations
around culture, faith and God in the end? – Yeah, well first off, it
never struck me as so obvious. You know, Jews don’t
try to convert people. That’s made this doubly
funny for me, I think. No, first off,
just joking aside. This has been an
absolute pleasure. You know, I have found that
when I am having an interview with someone that
is really real, when we’re suddenly hitting
some unchartered territory or I can really see somebody
exploring a new idea or not giving me
the packaged answer and we’ve really
connected in that deep way that I can actually
feel something. And I really mean that. I can feel a physical
reaction to that sort of warm, I can’t really
fully describe it. But it’s not just
something physical. It’s almost like,
truly, it’s almost like I can see almost like
an aura around somebody. And so this sort of
a religious something I guess I’m giving you. But I can feel something
when something is truly real and I think we all
know those moments when you sort of let all
of the other stuff go and you’re just having
something that’s real. There’s something there. However, you want
to describe that. I love being on this
type of adventure, this type of conversation, this is exactly
why I do what I do because we desperately need it. You know, there’s
been a, I think theme throughout all of this beyond
the personal stuff to me but I think theme really was that there is a
crisis of meaning and we’re all sort of realizing that the world is in
complete flux right now. The future feels
like it’s in flux. I’m 43 years old
I was born in ’76. At no point in my life, until the last say two
years or three years, did the world feel
like it was in flux like the future is
actually confused. Will America continue to
exist the way it exists? Will the West continue to
exist the way it exists? The UK, I mean, you
guys have all sorts of crazy things going on.
– Oh yeah, it’s an interesting
adventures for us too. – Yeah, I mean I could
do an hour on Brexit. We’ll let that be. That’s more difficult than God. (audience laughing)
– True. – So many people are
feeling that though that sense of uncertainty. And for the final
Jordan reference that
I’ll make tonight, I mean he has been trying to
hand people a little bit of, not a little bit,
some of the tools to make the world a
little less uncertain because if you can
whole yourself first then you can deal with
the rest of it, right? So this an absolute,
absolute pleasure. And I will gladly have
you both on my show. We can do this together or
we could do it separately and we can continue
these conversations and more than anything
else what I would say is, you know, for you guys here I think there’s a feeling
out there that if you listen to the way the mainstream
frames everything it’s like somehow you
guys are the bad guys or Christians are the bad guys or conservatives
are the bad guys and this just sort of factory
setting boring dribble. I know it’s not true because
I’m in this room with you right and I’m not gonna get
lynched on the way out. (audience laughing) Right, like we know that. There’s, yeah, yeah,
I know I got it, I got like a few
people answer that. He’s not getting lynched, okay! We know that right and I
think take confidence in that and you know start
saying what you think. That’s all that
I’m doing, truly. I’m talking to people
and interviewing people but really all I’m really
doing is saying what I think. And for some reason in
2019 in the freest country in the history of the world
that’s a special thing. I have no idea why. Well, I know why, but I don’t
know why I don’t fear it. I just don’t. But I think if all
of you started saying what you think a
little bit more, you might find out that the
people that are your neighbors and your friends and
even and your co-workers and even your family members who you disagree
with politically, you might actually
start changing them. But you’ll never change them if you don’t say what you think. So that would be my main
message more than anything else. – Well done.
(audience applauding) I think that’s a great
place to draw it to a close. So let me first of all
say thank you to John, thank you to Dave
for a really amazing, very open, very honest
conversation tonight. Thank you all for all
of your interactions. The questions that came in, sorry we couldn’t get
to all of them tonight. I just want to say a
big thank you as well to Calvary Chapel Costa
Mesa who have hosted us. Can we give a big
round of applause? (audience applauding) – If you’re looking
for more honest and thoughtful conversations
about spirituality instead of non-stop yelling, check out our
spirituality playlist. And if you want to
watch full interviews on a variety of topics check
out our full episode playlist. They’re all right over here. And to get notified
of all future videos be sure to subscribe and
click the notification bell.

Ex Muslim Exposes The Reality of Islam In The West | Yasmine Mohammed | SPIRITUALITY | Rubin Report


– It doesn’t make any
sense to have a woman in Mormon underwear on the
cover of “Sports Illustrated.” – No one’s saying Mormon
women can’t be athletes. – Exactly, and it also
doesn’t make any sense to have a woman in a burkini on the cover of
“Sports Illustrated.” Nobody’s saying women can’t
wear Mormon underwear, nobody’s saying women
can’t wear burkinis, but for us to pretend that
this is some empowering, feminist thing that should be
celebrated, that’s the lie. (tense music) – Hey, I’m Dave Rubin, and
this is “The Rubin Report.” Just a quick reminder to click Subscribe on
our YouTube channel and hit that little
freakin’ bell over there so that you actually see the
videos when we put ’em up, and share ’em, and
all that good stuff. Okay, joining me today
is a true fighter for liberalism in the
best sense of the word and the author of the new book “Unveiled: How Western Liberals
Empower Radical Islam.” Yasmine Mohammed, welcome
back to “The Rubin Report.” – Thank you so much
for having me, Dave. It’s great to be here. – I am glad to have
you here, my friend. This is your third “Rubin
Report” appearance. – That’s right. (chuckling) – Pretty, pretty, pretty good. Just quickly, before
we really get into it, last time you were here
I interviewed you solo, and we’re gonna recap
some of your story, which is just
absolutely incredible. And then I had you
and Faisal on together and there was an
author here from– – “Der Spiegel.”
– “Der Spiegel,” which is a big German magazine, and I had you on talking about
your fight for liberalism, and leaving radical
Islam and the rest of it, and Faisal as a Iraqi
refugee coming to America, fighting for freedom, and
then “Der Spiegel” put me on the cover of the
magazine saying something like I’m the leader
of the alt-right, so I don’t know what you’re
gonna do to me today. (Dave and Yasmine chuckling) – That was terrible. That was absolutely shocking. The word Nazi was in
that article too, yeah. – I thought bringing
in someone like you would offer me a little
cover, and yet here we are. – I’m a Nazi too, Dave. (Dave and Yasmine laughing) – All right, you’re right. So let’s get right to it. So I really think you
are one of, truly, I’m just gonna pat you
on the back to start. I think you’re one
of the most brave, fearless, fun, joyous,
decent people that I know. – [Yasmine] Thank you, gotcha. – And your story is incredible. It’s incredible and
it’s exactly so much of what is happening right now, so for anyone that didn’t
see the original interview, can we just do a five-minute
sorta recap of your life. Give me your whole
life in five minutes so that we can then
shift into this. – Okay, I’ll try as hard as I
can to get into five minutes, but essentially I grew up in a fundamentalist Muslim
household in Canada. So here I am, living
in the free West but essentially under
Sharia in my own home, so I feel like I have
one foot in each camp. And so growing up in a
fundamentalist Muslim household meant that I went
to Islamic schools, the hijab was put on
me at nine years old, I was forced into a
marriage with a man who turned out to be jihadi,
a member of Al Quaeda. Actually, he was
one of the people that trained the
terrorists that bombed the American
embassies in Tanzania, so a horrible human being. And I was able to get away, I had a daughter with him, and then was able
to get away from him and start a new life
with my daughter and I because we’re living in
a free, secular democracy that supported me
in that decision. And I stayed quiet, living my life with my
daughter for many years, until the infamous episode with Sam Harris and Ben
Affleck on “Bill Maher,” and that day I was
really shocked to see that everybody on my Facebook
page and all my friends were totally
supporting Ben Affleck and against this guy
that Ben was yelling at. – Yeah, can you just quickly, I know most of my
audience knows the story, but can you quickly recap
what that’s all about, because, as you
know, my wake up, I came from a liberal
New York family and literally my
political wake up was the exact same moment. I was watching it live as
you were watching it live. We weren’t gonna
meet for five years, and so many people, not just us, woke up at that very moment. – Yeah, it’s a pretty shocking little microcosm of
everything, you know? So essentially Sam and Bill
were talking about liberals and how–
– Bill Maher. – Sorry, who did I say?
– No, no, well, you just said Bill. I just want people, everyone
to be sure we’re talking about Bill Maher here.
– Yeah, yup, yup. Sam Harris and Bill
Maher were talking about how liberals will
get so excited, and happy, and applaud loudly if
we talk about supporting the real values like women’s
equality, LGBT equality, free speech, all
those kind of things, but then if you talk
about how those values are nowhere to be seen in
the Muslim-majority world, or if we talk about the fact
that in countries like Egypt, like close to 90%
of people believe that if you leave
the religion of Islam that you should be executed. These are concerning numbers,
these are concerning things, that if we care
about liberal values, we should care about
them universally, not just within our close
proximity geographically. And as they were talking, Ben Affleck got really irate and he started yelling at them, and calling them
gross and racist because he felt like,
exactly, he was, it’s like he decided he
wanted to be exhibit A to embody exactly what they
were talking about, you know? – Mr. Virtue signal. Let’s roll.
– Mr. Virtue signal, and he went ahead
and just did exactly what they were talking about, which was to get all upset that they were
talking about Islam; meanwhile, this is the
same person, of course, that did a movie criticizing
Christianity, “Dogma,” criticizing dogma in general. – That’s literally what
the entire movie’s about. It’s actually a pretty
funny movie, yeah. – But then why can’t
we also criticize other religions that
also deserve criticism? – How much of it for you was
that Sam clearly laid out something that I now talk
about all the time here, that you’re allowed,
not allowed, you must criticize ideas and must not be
bigoted towards people? It’s such an obvious thing
when you think about it, but people can’t, or not people, a certain set of people
seem to be unable to detangle those things. You could criticize the
Old Testament all you want, the New Testament. That doesn’t mean you hate
Jews or you hate Christians. Or you would criticize
a political party. That doesn’t mean
you everyone who, say, a Republican or a Democrat. But for some reason
with this issue, it seems almost
inextricably intertwined. – I don’t know if
it’s that intertwined. I think that they just
pretend that it is, to be perfectly honesty, because it’s sort of like
if Ilhan Omar says something and people criticize
her for what she said, the response is, “Oh, you
hate her because she’s black “and because she’s Muslim.” It’s like nobody has mentioned her skin color or her religion. We’re talking about the
words that she has tweeted or the words that she has said, but it’s just a way, I
think, of deflecting. And, in fact, that
episode with Sam Harris, the reason why I
started to speak up was because everybody
that was attacking him was attacking him not because
of anything that he said because everything that he
said made absolutely sense. They were attacking him
because of his skin color, because he’s American,
white, and male, and so that’s what
they were against. So I said, “All right, well,
I am Arab, female, and–” – That’s good enough!
– What’s the third thing? – Well, also you grew up Muslim. That might have some value
in this equation, right? – Right, and I’ll just go ahead and I’ll say the exact same
thing that Sam is saying, and then you’ll have to
respond to the actual message. – Oh, but you do find out
that that was not the case. – (chuckles) Yeah, no, I
didn’t calculate correctly because apparently I can
still be a white supremacist. – Yeah, it’s actually pretty–
– (chuckles) You know? – So had you ever, was the
reason that your wake up in that moment watching
that television show, was the reason that you had never heard it so
obviously explained and seen a reaction that
was so over the top? Were you thinking
sort of this stuff? ‘Cause, for me, as a
big lefty and working at “The Young
Turks” and all that, I had been seeing it,
but suddenly it was like, “Whoa, that’s all
of it right there.” – Yeah, so I hadn’t
been seeing it at all, and, in fact, when Sam started
to speak and he started to talk about the concentric
circles and everything, I started to get really excited
because mainstream media. I mean, this guy is
on Bill Maher’s show. I’ve been watching Bill
Maher since I was a teenager. And I was so excited that this is part of mainstream
conversation now. People are gonna start
talking about this. People are gonna
talk about people being hacked to death in
the streets of Bangladesh, or people being whipped in
the streets of Saudi Arabia, or women going to
prison in Iran. I mean, et cetera, et cetera. All of these problems
in the Muslim world that we should be addressing. Gay people being executed in
15 Muslim-majority countries. Why isn’t this an conversation? Why hasn’t anybody
mentioned this? We have a whole month where we
have pride flags everywhere, but that never comes up again. It’s only people within this
close geographical proximity. So I was really excited to hear Sam and Bill having
this conversation, and then it was such an
incredible punch to the gut to have Ben Affleck
shut them down, because I was like,
“Oh, my God, really?” Like, “Can you just, please? “You don’t understand
anything about this world. “You don’t understand the value “of these men
finally speaking up.” And for him to shut them
down, it was really hurtful. It was really upsetting. – So let’s back up for a
second because you’re talking about the geography
related to all this, and you mentioned a
couple other countries that are not that close
to Canada and the U.S., but you grew up with a lot
of those rules in Canada. I think that’s hard for a
lot of people to understand. Can you just talk, I know
we’ve done this before, and we’ll actually link to
your original video in this. But can you talk a
little bit more about, like, I don’t think people
can really understand that you grew up Canadian
in Western, you know, in a Western country and lived
under some of these laws. – Absolutely, and, in fact,
Faisal grew up in Iraq, and him and I talk all the time about how his
upbringing was more– – More liberal.
– More liberal than mine was, and that has a lot
to do with the fact that when you’re not in a
Muslim-majority country, sometimes the family members
become a lot more zealous because they’re super concerned about you picking up ideas
from the non-believers, so they wanna have a very tight, they wanna make sure that
your bubble that you live in is very separated from
the non-believers outside. – Were your parents
first-generation
immigrants to Canada? – Yeah.
– And were they fundamentalists on the way in? – No, they weren’t. So neither of them were
practicing, really. They were just born Muslim, and pretty secular upbringings, and it wasn’t until,
well, they separated, my mom and dad separated, and my mom was alone
with three kids. She started looking for support, started looking for community, and so she went
looking at the mosque. She went to the mosque and
that’s where she found a man who offered to take her on as
his second concurrent wife, so he was already married,
already had three kids. – This is in Canada. – This is in Canada,
and I have to express, these are very common things. This isn’t just my story. This is very common
that there are people that I speak to all
over the states, all over the Netherlands,
all over Europe, all over the U.K.,
Scotland, everywhere, that tell me about
how they also grew up in households with
more than one mother, more than one wife
to the husband, and going to Islamic schools, and living in their own
little bubble of Sharia. It’s not like my
story is unique. – Are they technically married? Are the mosques actually
performing that marriage? It’s obviously not
done in a civil way in a place like Canada. – Yeah, so that’s exactly it. So the first wife would
be his legal wife, and then the second
wife, third, fourth, would be Islamically married. So, yes, the mosques are
performing these marriages, and quite often what
ends up happening is he will go on
social assistance and each one of the other wives
will apply as single moms. Quite often the government is sort of aware
of what’s going on, but they don’t do
anything about it. This is an issue in
Canada where there’s millions of dollars
spent in this direction, but they don’t wanna
say anything about it because, of course,
cultural relativism. Even though it’s
against the law, this is the subtitle of my book, because things are
against the law, but when a Muslim does it, people are afraid to touch
it with a 10-foot pole because they don’t wanna
come off as being racist, or Islamophobic, or
bigoted, or whatever. And then, of course, that
is a real slippery slope that can lead to things like
the rape gangs in Rotherham, where journalists, politicians,
everybody was too scared to say anything because
most of these rape gangs were being led by
Pakistani Muslim men, and so they stayed
quiet about it. That, of course,
allowed these girls, some as young as 11, to
continue to be raped. So that’s what happens
when we turn a blind eye. There are victims under there. – So, all right, the
subtitle of the book, “How Western Liberals
Empower Radical Islam.” You wake up, you’ve
lived through this. It sounds like you, basically,
immediately realized, oops, this isn’t gonna
be as great as I thought. You sorta thought the dam was
gonna break and it was like, holy cow, people are
gonna start understanding. The left’s gonna wake up. Liberals are gonna wake up. You quickly found out that
wasn’t what was happening. What else happened at that time? Did you start seeing
support from places maybe you didn’t think you
were gonna get support? – Yeah, so initially I
came out as anonymous, and I started getting
messages like crazy from people all over
the Muslim world who were excited that
I was telling my story, happy that I was
telling my story, and asking me to be their voice, so telling me their
stories as well. And then I got to a certain,
you know, it wasn’t very long. I was probably
about a year into it when I started to
just feel ashamed. I was like, here I
am using a a fake, you know, “Confessions
of an Ex-Muslim,” ’cause I’m afraid
to use my real name. – Right, that was your original experiment, right?
– That was my original thing, and I don’t have
my face out there. And these are people
that are living in countries like Pakistan, where they can go to prison
for just questioning anything to do with the religion that
would be considered blasphemy, and thrown in prison. So I started to feel like, here I am living in a
free, secular country. I have to be, you
know, I gotta man up. I gotta put my face out
there, put my name out there. And so that’s actually
what initially was the catalyst for
me to start speaking. So that was, their support, and it still is their
support that keeps me going, especially women in
countries like Iran when they take off their hijab
and they’re posting videos. Women in Saudi Arabia taking off their niqabs
and burning them. The women all over the
Muslim-majority world that are fighting back against
the literal patriarchy, those are the
women that I really wanna be here to support,
and they’re the fuel. – Are you shocked at how
fearful people are in the West? You’re just describing these
incredibly brave people who literally could lose their
life and everything else, but that people in
the West are afraid to say what they think, be who
they are, and the rest of it? – Yeah, absolutely, it
makes me (chuckles). It’s infuriating, actually. Like I mentioned, these
people can go to prison and they can be killed
for speaking out. Over here, you’ve got people where it’s your First Amendment. Free speech is like, there’s a reason why it’s
in the First Amendment, it’s that important,
and they are instead, they’ve got these
self-imposed blasphemy laws. Like in Saudi
Arabia, and Pakistan, all those other countries, the government will get
you for speaking out, but here, they get each other. It’s really shocking
to me and sad. – Were you also shocked that, ’cause there is a world
of either ex-Muslims, or Muslim reformers,
or whatever, and I’ve had some of them
on the show, actually. Were you shocked
how sort of at odds even that world
sorta seemed to be? So that it’s many times
someone like you comes out, you defend liberalism,
and then they’ll even, those guy who are
supposedly the reformers will even attack
someone like you. – Yeah, I think
that there’s always, the thing is about people
that leave their communities, (chuckles) it’s
like herding cats. – Yeah. (chuckles)
– You know? (laughing) We’re not the
wallflowers, right? The wallflowers are still
in (chuckles) the religion. So I think that when you
get a bunch of people that are willing to be
vocal in this sphere or willing to walk away
from their communities, those people are usually,
they’ve got some fight in them, and so you see all
sorts of schisms and sometimes
negative interactions, but I don’t necessary
see that as a bad thing. I come from a world
where everybody followed the exact same book, and everybody had to, in Islam it’s called the
(speaking in foreign language). So it’s this long, thin,
almost like a tightrope, and underneath the
tightrope is hell, and you have to walk
this long, straight path, narrow path, and you have
to be very, very careful never to stray or you’re gonna
burn in hell for eternity. So there was no
variation in anything. Everybody thought the same, everybody spoke the same, everybody acted the same, and so now out here
in the real world where people have
different ideas, and people disagree,
and whatever, I don’t see that as a bad thing. I’m happy to see it. – Yeah, it’s interesting
because when I started doing some shows
with people like you, the amount of hate I
got from that crew, the supposed reformer crew, I was just like, “You
know what, I tried. “It was an interesting thing. “I thought this was a nice
way of defending liberalism.” And, basically, I haven’t
touched this topic in probably since literally
the last time you were here, which is almost three years ago. So even though I had
Faisal on a few weeks ago, we really just talked about
foreign policy and geopolitics because there’s a certain
opportunity cost that comes with defending liberalism in
liberal Western societies, which is quite bizarre. – Yeah, yeah, but you know what? You’re doing it. (laughing) – (chuckles) I guess.
– We’re doing the best we can. – We’re doing the best we can. So this is sort of where
I’m at with all of this, and we don’t have to make this
specifically about religion. Do you think there is
something inherently flawed or that liberalism has
some sort of weakness that these people have
been able to either exploit or unearth that maybe
we couldn’t see before? – Yeah, unfortunately,
I think that that’s true and they’ve been very
transparent about that. So the Muslim Brotherhood
clearly said that we’re going to spread Islam without
raising a single sword, and the way that we’re gonna
do that is through three means: number one, through the
wombs of Muslim mothers; number two, through
immigration; and number three, through using secular
laws against themselves. And, in fact, Hassan al-Banna, who is Tariq
Ramadan’s grandfather, so the person who started
the Muslim Brotherhood, said, “We need to have
our children in the West “so that they can
understand the Western mind, “so that we know how to
infiltrate,” basically, because us, ’cause
he was Egyptian, doesn’t matter even if
we live in the West, we’re never really gonna
understand their mindset. We’re not gonna know
how to work against it. So, yeah, that was
part of the plan. – So what do you think the
weakness is of liberalism? You know I talk about
classic liberalism a lot. I do believe it is
the best set of ideas to create the most
human flourishing and allow people to
be themselves, and
govern themselves, and live the lives
they wanna live, but I have come to a certain
unfortunate conclusion that it might have a soft
spot and they’ve gone for it. What do you think it is about? Not what they’re trying to do, but do you think
there is something within liberalism itself? – I think that the
problem with liberalism is that people
aren’t standing up for liberalism as
much as they should. So what ends up happening–
– Do you think that’s an inherent problem of liberal, of the openness of liberalism
allows that to happen? Like that, I’m starting to get to that spot.
– Yeah, look. I’ll tell you what I mean. So I gave the example of
the rape gangs in the U.K. Also in the U.K., once every hour a girl
goes to the emergency room. There’s a case reported of
FGM, female genital mutilation. For the past 30 years, it’s
been against the law there, but nobody’s ever
been prosecuted. There’s my personal
story in there of me going to the
judge, basically. It went through social services, and through police
and everything, and I ended up going
to family court, where I told them about how
my family were beating me, and I showed them the bruises, and they all understood
what was going on, and in the end, the judge said, “Listen, you come from a
culture where that’s acceptable. “That’s the way your family
chooses to discipline you, “so that’s their right.” – Unbelievable.
– So this is what I mean. If we stood by our principles, if we stood by our
values, and we said, “Look, this is what
liberalism means “and this is the
stop sign,” right? But this failure that
I think you’re seeing, and that I’m seeing too, is that there’s no stop sign. Where’s the boundary? You have to have a
point where you say, “Yes, we’re inclusive. “Yes, we accept
you, up until then. “Up until you cross
this line right here.” – So would you say that
it’s moral relativism, that you referenced earlier, that has somehow
seemed into liberalism? I mean, to me, that’s what
created the progressives. You had decent liberals
who just wanna, like even now when
they’re virtue signaling about gays, and blacks, and
Muslims, blah, blah, blah, I’m like, most of you
aren’t bad people. You’re just confused
about what the issues are and you’re confused
about what freedom is, but then this moral relativism
seeps in and for some reason, I mean, it’s probably
for a whole other show, but, I mean, I do have a lot
of thoughts on why liberalism has this soft underbelly
that accepts that, where something
like conservatism maybe because of
religious connection, which is a pretty
bizarre position for someone like you
to have to think about, has protections against it. – Yeah, I think that’s
actually the biggest problem I can see with the
progressives right now, is that they remind me too
much of religious people. It reminds me too much of the
world that I walked away from. So these progressives,
the far-left ones, they’ve got this cancel
culture, for example. Well, you see that
with Scientologists,
suppress a person. Muslims will kill you if
you leave the religion. You can be ex-communicated,
ostracized, or canceled. Do you know what I mean? There’s so many– – Our friend Pete Boghossian
calls it a secular religion. That’s what he calls–
– Absolutely. – Radical leftism.
– Mm-hmm. So when we’re talking about
liberalism, I’m here for it, but then when we start to talk about this far-left progressive,
secular-religion people, those guys remind me so much of the guys that I
just ran away from, like risked my life and
risked my daughter’s life to get away from, so I
want nothing to do them just as much as I want
nothing to do with them. But the problem is
here in the middle where there’s
rational-minded people, these guys on both sides
are just nasty. (chuckling) You know what I mean? If you think of the Westboro
Baptist Church people standing there with
like God hates fags, or the jihadis with
their behead anybody who criticizes Islam– – Both bad, I’m happy
to criticize both. – Yeah, and then on this side, you’ve got those guys that
were blocking that old lady and her walker that was
trying to get to your talk, you know what I mean? – Whose husband fought
the Nazis in World War II and they’re calling her a Nazi. – Unbelievable, so, I mean, they’re just angry people
that are unwilling to engage in just decent interaction
with other human beings, but they want people to walk on that long,
straight, narrow path. They decide what that long,
straight, narrow path is, right? And they want everybody
to walk on it. That’s what I’m totally against. – In a weird way, though, is it scary for you as someone that left a fundamentalist
line of thinking to see that as the secularists
become fundamentalists, it almost seems to me that
everything happening right now is just the end of secularism,
which really blows. That’s the best way–
– I hope not. – Well, that it
almost seems like what the progressives
are offering us, and the moral relativism,
and post modernism, and identity politics,
and all those things, which is so the reverse of
liberalism and Western belief, that that is secularism on
steroids, you know what I mean? I truly hate to say that. – I think that, well, as you
know, I’m a college professor and my students are like
18 to 25 demographic, and I really do believe, maybe I’m being a hopeless
optimist right now, but I really do believe–
– You sorta have to be in your business, wouldn’t you? – (chuckles) Yeah, I feel
like there is a post-woke, they’re called Zoomers
now (laughing). – [Dave] Yeah, yeah, yeah. – I really feel that
they roll their eyes at all of these things,
and I honestly feel like those people that
we’re talking against, I feel like they’re gonna
fizzle themselves out before they’re able to bring
down secularism or liberalism. I really– – Do you see signs of that? So your signs are saying that young people now
that you’re teaching, and, believe me, I see
plenty when I go to colleges. There’s plenty of people
standing up against this, but I would say for as many
that stand up against it, we just don’t know how many are afraid to for
the same reason. – That’s exactly it,
and that’s exactly what the religious
thing reminds me of too, because when I was Muslim
and I was doubting, and I was questioning, and I didn’t like the
things that I was hearing, I wasn’t gonna say anything because I’m gonna
be attacked for it. And I’m gonna be
not just attacked, I’m gonna be demonized
for it, right? If I just say these things, it’s like, oh, how could
you question the faith? You’re a non-believer. You’re us and them. You’re now the enemy. And it’s exactly the same thing
that’s happening over here. I mean, my daughter’s in, you know, she’s studying
to be a social worker and in that field
it’s super left. I mean, she had a question
in one of her final exams– – [Dave] Oh, God. – It said, “Gender is a social
construct, true or false?” And she was like, “Mom, I had to answer it
incorrectly to get the grades.” You know what I mean? And so many stories like that. And, so yeah, so she
bites her tongue in class because she wants to pass, and sometimes in
discussions she’ll notice that there are other people that are sort of
saying things too, but like she was telling
me the other day, as soon as the
discussion started, her teacher just shut
it down and was like, “Different people have
different opinion. “Different people,”
and she’s like, “Literally, that’s
the point of school, “is that different people
have different opinions. “Why are you guys even scared
to have these conversations?” – Is that a doubly
intense thing for you? Because not only your backstory and everything that
you’ve told us here, you’re also on college campuses. So you’re like really hit with this monster all
the time, basically. – Yeah, yeah, yeah, I
try to as much as I can just focus on all of
the positive things that are going on, you know? But it does bring me down. Quite often I just feel like
I just wanna quit everything and just move to
a deserted island, but there are enough thing
that I see that keep me going. – I’m looking into
some land somewhere. I don’t wanna say what
we’re doing (laughing). – No, don’t (laughs), don’t
say it on air. (laughing) – Did I ever tell
you about the time, I think I was speaking
at University of Arizona and, I don’t know, there
was a couple hundred kids, and there was a kid
towards the back who was brown-skinned,
happened to see him, and it wasn’t the brown skin
that alerted me in any way, it was that he looked very
glassed over in his face, really sort of lost and
sorta, and you can pick that. You speak in front of public. Sometimes your eye just gets
caught to a particular person. It might be the body
language or whatever it is, and I could see he
was also really sweaty and he kinda looked
glossed over, and I just was a little nervous. Like, you just don’t know
these days, you just, whatever. Anyway, I’m doing the
meet and greet after and I see him in the line,
and he comes up to me, and he gets really close to me, and he says, “Can I hug you?” He hugs me and then he
says, “I’m like you.” I didn’t know what
he meant at first, and then it took me a second, and then he said, “I’m gay.” Oh, and his name was Mohammed, and I thought this
is just so twisted that someone like him
has to live in fear while he lives in Arizona. And it’s, like, you see this
over, and over, and over. – Yeah, and that’s
why it’s so meaningful when you go and do these talks. That’s why it’s so meaningful when Sam was on
Bill Maher’s show. Or it’s so meaningful when
Sam was doing his TED Talk and he was talking about
women in Afghanistan having to cover
themselves up in bags and why we don’t
care about that, and why we’re not talking about. It’s so meaningful to
people like me and this guy, who were brought up,
I mean, him probably, you know, it’s Arizona,
and, for me, it’s Canada. You think that these kinds of
things only happen over there, in these countries under
these strict Sharia regimes, but anywhere, we’re within, these ideas cross
borders, right? So if we’re within
that community, you really have to keep
your personal thoughts, your doubts, your
homosexuality, your feminism, your any ideas that go, that are sort of
dissonant in any way, you have to be so
quiet about it, so to see somebody
else talking about it is just incredibly healing. – So to be crystal clear, for those of us,
including the two of us, who would never want anyone to be bigoted towards
Muslim people, and who want Muslim
people to live free and practice their religion
however they want– – I want all people
to live free. – Of course. What do you think the reformers, are the reformers
making any headway? It’s sort of hard to say. And what can the
liberals do even? ‘Cause every time the
liberals get involved, it doesn’t work out
well for the liberals, and then it actually,
in many ways, it seems like it
hurts the reformers ’cause then they doubly seem
like sellouts or something. But do you think
the reformation, you know, other religions have
gone through reformations. There’s a reason that most
Jews are mainly liberal, which upsets a lot of
conservative people, but they’re mainly liberal, usually, I think, in the
better sense of liberalism, or Christianity, obviously,
went through a reformation. The church went
through a reformation. Do you sense that Islam can
go through a reformation? – I think that there are people
all over the Muslim world and the Western
world that are Muslim that are pushing back
against fundamentalism. ISIS did a lot to
help people to see this is what your
religion teaches. This is the end game right here. So it got a lot of Muslims–
– What would you say to people that say that’s not
what the religion teaches, or? – Then I would say read about
the religion. (laughing) Read the Koran, read the Hadith, read the way the prophet lived. Not everything ISIS did was
following the prophet’s example, but the sex slavery, throwing gay people off
of a highest rooftop. A lot of the things
that they did were just following in
the prophet’s footsteps. Let’s not forget that
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi had a PhD in Islamic studies. – You mean the austere religious scholar–
– Yes! Oh, my God.
– According to “The Washington Post”? – So this is your question,
about what the left can do, or what liberals can do
to support the reformers, or to support the people
in these countries that are fighting back, is how about you not
support the fundamentalists? How about if you not
call a terrorist, I mean, the most vicious,
disgusting terrorist, leader of the most horrible terrorist organization
we’ve ever had to date, how about you not call
him an austere scholar? How about that? How about you not take– – But what do you think is
happening in the newsroom? So let’s remove this
from college kids. – A lot of problems?
Let’s remove this – I don’t know. (laughing)
– from Twitter. Is it just like, has this, or you think it’s just
a massive mind virus that has just run
through the intuitions? Media, political, whatever. – We saw this in Canada too when we were talking
about bringing, Justin Trudeau was talking about bringing ISIS
fighters back into Canada and the conservatives we’re,
of course, against that idea, and so he retorted with calling the conservative
leader Islamophobic, because he didn’t wanna
bring back ISIS fighters. It’s like–
– Wait, there’s a lot there. First, wait, so for
them, what was Trudeau, anyone think, anyone
with half a brain, I don’t wanna give Trudeau
more than he deserves, but if you have half a brain, if you leave your
country to fight ISIS, you should not be
allowed to come back, or to fight for ISIS
or any terrorist group. You shouldn’t be
allowed to come back. I don’t think that’s
a racist thing. That’s not Islamophobic. – It has nothing
to do with race. It has nothing to do with Islam. It has to do with the fact
that this is a criminal. This is a terrorist. This is a horrible human being. And so for you
– What do you think – To not to be able to–
– is happening in Trudeau’s brain.
– They just cannot recognize that people with
brown skin can be bad, that’s what it comes down to. If this person had gone to
Germany to join the Nazis, (chuckles) you know what I mean? – Right.
– And then decided, oh, and had burned his passport because he was so in
support of the Nazis and now he’s decided to
come back to Canada again, there’s not gonna be any
open arms for that person, but for some reason there’s
just like this misfire when the person has brown
skin or when they’re Muslim. It’s really the bigotry of low
expectations, is what it is, is they’re not treating the religion of Islam
or Muslim people, they’re not treating
them the same as they would treat
everyone else. So you see like when I
talk about FGM in the U.K. Okay, once every hour a girl is getting her clitoris
chopped off with a razor. If it was a white
family that did this to their blonde girl,
those people would be in prison in a heartbeat, right?
– Front page. And everybody, yeah,
front page news. Everybody would
be just absolutely
disgusted and horrified that anybody could do
this to their own child, but because they’re
from Somalia, then we’re just not gonna, we’re just not
gonna talk about it. – Do you think all of this ultimately strengthens
the far-right? Because that seems to be sort of where we’re seeing a
lot of that in Europe, and I think we’re
now starting to see some signs of it here
in the United States, and I’m not talking about
the Westboro Baptist Church, just like some
remnant of the KKK, but something more perverse that feels like maybe it’s
starting to bubble up, and in a weird way
it makes sense. I’m not excusing
it, but it’s like, oh, this sorta makes sense, just if you understand
human psychology. – I think that those
people always existed, that are just, you know, that hate Jews just
’cause their Jews, or they hate Somalis just because they have
dark skin or whatever, but in this climate, I think it was Maajid
Nawaz that said it, or maybe it was Sam
Harris, I can’t remember, that if we, the
rational-minded people, are not speaking about
these issues rationally, then we are just leaving
it to the irrational to start having
these conversations. Unfortunately, what
ends up happening is that the people that
are in this rational sphere are craving for anybody
to say these things, and then it’s unfortunate
that sometimes it comes from the
mouth of somebody that you wish it would
come from over here, you know what I mean? And so they end
up getting support maybe because of that one issue, and I think that’s probably, a good example of that
is the way Asra Nomani voted for Donald Trump,
was exactly that. – And then what
happened to her after, I mean, just a pile on.
– What happened to her after. – It was just unbelievable.
– Yeah, yeah. – Actually, I never
hear of her anymore. Is she even still in the game? – She’s still in the– – Come to think of it, I
mean, I follow her on Twitter. I’ve not seen a tweet of
hers in God knows how long. I don’t know if she’s, I don’t know if it’s
shadow banning or– – She’s writing a book
right now, so she’s busy, but she’s still in the game. But it’s, like, I can’t
remember who said this analogy, I’m stealing it from
somebody right now, where they said if
the house is on fire and you can see the
fire everywhere, but all the people are
saying things like, “It’s a fire of
peace,” (laughing) or like, “There’s
no problem here,” then if somebody’s
got the door open, even if it’s Boris
Johnson or Donald Trump, or doesn’t matter who it is. Somebody got the door open
over there and they’re saying, “Yeah, there’s a fire
guys; I can see it,” you’re gonna head for
that person and be like, “Yes, thank you, sanity.” You know what I mean? – Yeah.
– So I think that in a way it probably does
get more supporters, but that’s on us, you know? That’s because we’re over here pretending that
everything is fine and that there’s
nothing to talk about. – It’s interesting,
I can give you another fire analogy
that is from Bill Maher. He talks about how
liberals, for some reason, or lefties, the house
is burning down, and instead of figuring
out how to get out, which is what you’re
describing, they’re going, “There’s a dust bunny
in the corner over there “and we better fight about how
to clean up the dust bunny,” and the whole house
is gonna burn down and then you just
got a bunch of people with a lot of rubble
on top of ’em. – That’s so good. I love that. – It’s just another version
of what you just said there. – That’s exactly it. – The in-fighting,
the in-fighting, instead of going, “Guys, we
got a bigger problem here. “Could we (chuckles),
look over this way.” – Absolutely, 100%
behind that analogy too, and that’s something, like if we talk about
feminism, for example. We’re fixated on are
air conditioners sexist? Can we build chairs so
that men can’t man spread? You know what I mean? We’re concerned about all
of these little things and it’s like, okay, but how
about these women over here that are being throw in prison because they want to wear
what they wanna wear. Do you know what I mean? Or these women over here
that just wanna drive a car. Or these women, you know– – Come on, bigot. – Yeah, like, but what’s
the bigotry though, right? Isn’t that the bigotry? – Well, that’s the bigotry. I mean, that’s–
– That’s the bigotry, is they’re saying, “I don’t care about
those women over there.” In fact, it’s
empowering for them to cover themselves up
head to toe in black in the searing
heat of the desert. That’s great for
them, not for me. For me, I wanna go
free the nipple, but for them, it’s empowering
for them to cover themselves, and, in fact, let’s
celebrate that. Let’s put a hijab on Barbie, and let’s put a
swoosh on a hijab, and let’s put it on the cover
of “Sports Illustrated.” – Is that the part
that makes you crazier than anything else?
– Yes. – Because when you see this, literally, they’ll have
everything you just described. Nike has the hijab
and the whole thing, but they would never do
that for Mormon women, or where’s the, Orthodox
Jewish women wear a wig. Where’s the wig with the logo? In any other religious sense, people would be like,
“This is bananas.” No one’s saying that women shouldn’t be allowed
to do these things, no one’s saying they shouldn’t be allowed to wear
what they want, but sort of like the corporate, ugh, gimme me, I was
gonna say something that was gonna be a
gross, sexual reference. Like, just the corporate
need to suck this thing off. – Yeah, yeah, yeah.
– You know? – Yeah, yeah, yeah. No, absolutely, I mean,
it doesn’t make any sense to have a woman in
Mormon underwear on the cover of
“Sports Illustrated.” – No one’s saying Mormon
women can’t be athletes. – Exactly, and it also
doesn’t make any sense to have a woman in a burkini on the cover of
“Sports Illustrated.” Nobody’s saying women can’t
wear Mormon underwear, nobody’s saying women
can’t wear burkinis, but for us to pretend that
this is some empowering, feminist thing that should be
celebrated, that’s the lie. That’s the problem right there. – Do you think part of it is
just for the average person? Like, let’s try to
give these people as much credit as possible. The average advertising
executive out there. Every commercial
now that you see, there’s always a woman
in a hijab in it. Like, literally, Reese’s Pieces, and we all like Reese’s Pieces, and I’m a Muslim
with Reese’s Pieces. Okay, great.
– Yeah, fantastic. – But they do this in
all these commercials now and I don’t, for me,
it’s like, of course, that’s wonderful that everyone
can eat Reese’s Pieces and everyone can play
sports, we love it, but they do it because
it’s their way of, because they think inclusivity
is the number one thing, and how else could
you show inclusivity as opposed to just
showing people? So they think they’re
doing something good but they’re bizarrely
then protecting things that would never protect them. – Yeah, you’re right, and
that’s why technically the title of my book
should have been “How Western Liberals
Inadvertently Empower
Radical Islam.” So, yeah, they’re not
doing it on purpose, but they are doing
it, essentially. Look at how everybody
just attacked Mitt Romney for the fact that he was
Mormon, do you know what I mean? If we did take, let’s say, a whole bunch of Mormon
symbols and had them, like if Nike put
their swoosh on it, and if we had them on
Reese’s Pieces commercials, and in Banana Republic,
and in Marks and Spencer, and, literally,
any flat surface, we just splashed all of these Mormon symbols all
over the place, people would be responding
appropriately, right? People would be like, “Why
are you celebrating Mormonism? “Why are we valuing this
far, fundamentalist ideology? “We shouldn’t be doing this.” – I don’t even think
they would go that far. I think most people
would say Mormons can be whoever they are and
do whatever the want, but we just don’t need it to
be promoted through all of our mainstream channels.
– That’s exactly it. We don’t need to
slap our logo on it. You know what I mean? Mattel didn’t create Mormon
underwear for Barbie. Why would they create
a hijab for Barbie? That’s all I’m saying. I’m not saying these
people aren’t allowed to make whatever
choices they wanna make or wear whatever
they wanna wear. I’m saying that we
here as free liberal, enlightened country
of secularists, we really should
not be celebrating fundamentalist
aspects of religion. And, in fact, I just wanna add, most Muslim women in
America do not wear hijab, but we’re only celebrating
the ones that wear hijab. Hillary Clinton ignored the
women who won a gold medal. She ignored her
and instead focused on this woman over here
because she has a hijab on. It’s very clear that
we’re not celebrating American-Muslim women in general or just being inclusive of
different types of Americans. We’re specifically
supporting the American women that look like
fundamentalist Muslims because they are
wearing the hijab. Those are the ones
that get celebrated. Those are the ones that get
on the cover of magazines. Those are the ones that get
splashed on every flat surface. – So as all of this
happens to you, and you write a book about this, and you enter the online
world and the whole thing. We talk a lot about
this privately. What do you make of
what’s happening, broadly speaking, on the right? That you’re a woman, you’re
brown, you’re liberal. You’re supposed to be
hated by these people, if we listen to
the just, you know, the non-thinking meme
that’s out there, but that’s not really the case. – No, I mean, I see
a big difference in just openness to
diversity of ideas. So this long, straight path
that I was taking about, I see that very
clearly on the left, but on the right, I
can talk about the fact that I don’t believe
in Christianity, and I don’t believe
in any religion, and, in fact, I think
that it’s toxic. I can talk about
being pro-choice, and I always will be pro-choice, and there’s nothing
you can ever say to me that’s gonna ever get me to
consider not being pro-choice. – And that’s a deal-breaker
for a lot of conservatives, but they’re still
happy to talk to you. – They’re still
happy to talk to me because we agree
on certain things. Like we agree, obviously, the
way we feel about the left. They agree with how I feel
about fundamentalist Islam, but we don’t necessarily
agree if we’re gonna be talking about
fundamentalist Christianity. There are a lot
of secular people on the right that
do agree with me, but what I mean to say is
that the variation in thought is more accepted on the
right than it is on the left. Not the liberal,
classical liberal, not the typical left, but that little far-left
crazies over here. There’s no variation in thought. You need to speak perfectly. You can’t even get
a pronoun wrong or you are just evil, right? But on the right, they’re
more willing to just sit back and disagree with
what I have to say, but not try to shut me
down, or not demonize me, or not, you know, they wouldn’t
call me gross and racist if I had something to say
that completely disagreed with their value system or
with their belief system. Having said that though, there are quite a few
people on the right, on the far-right, who
I’ve interacted with, who they’ll get mad at me
because I have a white husband, and we’ve made a brown baby, so I’ve not ruined that lineage. I get that kind of attack. I get attacks for, oh, once
a Muslim, always a Muslim. We just don’t want your
type in our country anyway. Go back to where you came from. So just like there are
some crazies on this side, there are some
crazies on this side, but I think that this
middle ground here is full of both left and
right people, and that’s, like I said to you when I
was here a few years ago, I really believe that
this is the largest group, that we just haven’t
found a way to, we’re just not at loud. Like, these guys, if
it bleeds, it leads. So these guys are
loud and obnoxious, and so then they’re
getting all the airtime, but all the rational
people in the middle, I think we’re the majority. – In a weird way, it’s almost like we’re
fighting human psychology, to be rational. A couple days ago, I
spoke at Sacramento State, and we knew that
there were gonna be some of these white
nationalist people there, and a local news group came,
and I gave what I think was probably the best
speech of my life, ’cause I’ve been thinking
about a lot of this ’cause I’m writing my book,
and I was really sharp, and I took all the
questions I could, I didn’t censor
anybody or anything, and it actually
went totally fine. There was some minor screaming, like minor, minor,
marginal stuff, but nothing happened. Nobody was attacked,
nobody was thrown out, no fire alarms were pulled, and then, of course,
they don’t cover it on television because
it was a peaceful exchange of ideas–
– Exactly. – And yet had anything
crazy happened, just one person really screamed or had I done anything
on tour or whatever, it’s like now we’re on
the news, the local news, and then it gets picked up
by CNN, and America’s racist, but whenever you
diffuse things as sane, somewhat centrist people,
nobody has a freakin’ clue. – Absolutely.
– Which is a problem. – This is a probably
because then people start to feel like the
world’s gone crazy, and they start to
feel like things are way worse than
they really are. I don’t think, and we
give them too much, because we think that
things are so bad, we give them too much credence. There’s too much
credibility given to these people who
say crazy stuff. Why are we even paying
attention to them? This Jessica Yaniv from my
hometown of Vancouver, BC. So went to estheticians
and insisted that they wax Jessica’s
(chuckling) balls, basically. – Right, so to be clear,
she is a biological male. Nobody has a problem
with her identifying as a trans person,
but she has balls. – Yeah, she has balls, and there are many reasons
why these women refused, one of which being
it’s a completely different skillset
as an esthetician, you know what I mean? – Yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s
probably a different tool. – There’s some very
different things. A very different wax
or different methods, you know what I mean? These are physically very
different body parts. And so these women just weren’t, they didn’t have the
knowledge required to do this, and she took that
and ran with it to the Human Rights Tribunal and said that it was a
violation of her rights, et cetera, et cetera. Oh, my God, how much
airtime she got, right? Ricky Gervais is
tweeting about her, and it’s just all
over the place. Blaire did a really great
video on her, Blaire White, just all over the news,
and that is somebody that as a society we should
just be either ignoring. (chuckling) You
know what I mean? It should have just been, luckily, the Human
Right Tribunal, the judgment, it
was against her, so everything turned
out fine in the end, but she just got way
too much airtime. We spent too much
time and energy talking about
somebody like that. And so it makes everybody
say things like, “Wow, the trans
community, they are nuts!” It’s like, no,
Jessica Yaniv is nuts. – Yeah, but we
ignore all the ones that are just
living their lives. That’s what I always say
about the bathroom thing. It’s like trans people can
go into whatever bathroom they wanted to
pretty much forever and there’s really been no
– It’s never been a problem. – issues with it, and now
we find one issue with it, we blow it up into a national
emergency where suddenly, literally, when it was happening
in North Carolina, I think, Obama was like,
“We’re cutting funding “to the state if they
don’t,” and it’s like, I think we might
have blown this thing out of proportion, guys. – Totally, totally being blown out of proportion all the time, and I think that that’s
really dangerous, and I just wish that we
could get to the point where we just ignore
stupid things, you know? Like there was, was
it Bed, Bath & Beyond that they had to take
down their pumpkins, they had black
pumpkins, and they said, “We’re gonna take these
pumpkins off the shelves “because they’re
pumpkins with blackface.” Like jack-o’-lanterns, right? They’re Halloween–
– I missed this one. Somehow I missed this one. – Yeah, so when
people, when somebody writes you a letter–
– They still do have the 20% off coupons
though, right? – I think those are–
‘Cause people freaked – You’re good with that.
– about those. Yeah, okay, good. – But, I mean, if you’re
Bed, Bath & Beyond and you get a letter
from a nut job saying, “You need to take
these off the shelves “because these jack-o’-lanterns
have blackface,” you know what, send them
a 20% coupon. (laughing) – Yeah.
– Do you know what I mean? – Give ’em five 20% coupons. – Yeah, just like,
shh, go back home. Everything’s gonna be okay. You don’t take them
off the shelves. You don’t listen to
these idiots. (laughing) You know what I mean? – But that also, it still
gets back to that thing about the weakness of
liberalism, I think. And I hate to say it, like,
I truly hate to say it, that it’s like these
institutions and companies, to watch social justice
infect everything, and for some reason liberals, and, of course, I
don’t mean everybody, but they don’t stand up for it. They always take the
path of least resistance. – And I think
that’s the problem. I don’t necessarily think that
liberalism is the problem, I think that the
problem is that liberals are not standing up
for liberal values. And we talked about this when
I was here last time, before, just Western values,
enlightenment values. Why do we feel like that’s
a bad thing to support? – Well, now the memes out there, well, it was all white men. It was John Locke and it was
all white men, Adam Smith. It was all white men.
– Who cares! – John Stuart Mill, white guy. – Yeah, it’s like in all
of these colleges now, where they’re taking down
all the pictures of the poets and statues because
these are all white men. – Most of them wrote poetry
in the name of whiteness, did you know that?
– Oh, goodness. Yeah, the point is that that’s really the problem right there. That’s the crux of
the issue right there, is they’re not looking
at the value itself or the issue itself, but they’re looking at the
color of the skin of the people, and that works both
ways too, right? To go back to the
Rotherham rape gangs, that was the problem there too. Instead of just
looking and saying, “Oh, my God, thousands
upon thousands “of girls are being raped. “We need to do
something about that,” they went, “Wait a minute,
but they’re being raped “by men with brown
skin, so hold up. “We have to address
this differently.” No you don’t! Those are still
girls being raped. Doesn’t matter if
they’re being raped by white men, or black
men, or brown men. Irrelevant. – Is the other part of this, and we sort of referenced
this earlier about, so when there were all
those rapes in Germany a couple of years
ago on New Years, and they didn’t want, and
they sort of covered it up, and basically the only people that were talking about it
online were people on the right, and Breitbart was covering
it, and Drudge maybe, and a few things like that, and then so then what happened is the mainstream media is like, “See the way they’re blowing
this thing out of proportion,” but then regular Germans
who I’ve talked to said, “No, this was real. “This was a real
thing that happened.” And then what happens is
the people who were like, and then it came out that
it was really happening. Like, it was very clear
that it was happening, and then maybe some
minor media touched it, but basically it
makes those people who were the ones screaming
about it first go, “Well, the media’s against us
and this is horrible stuff.” It feeds their, it
feeds the narrative too. – It does, it does,
unfortunately. Yeah, and not only does
it feed the narrative, it feeds the hate too. It feeds those insidious people. So in Sweden, for example, where they refuse to
talk about anti-Semitism and how it has risen so
much, so now it’s like, I think it went from
something like 12% to 50%, or something like that. It just keeps on growing. As long as you
don’t talk about it, as long as you
don’t identify it, as long as you
don’t try to fix it, it’s just gonna
continue to fester, and is that what you want? Really, that can’t
be what they want. They don’t want to be
empowering those people to just keep going because
nobody’s talking about it. – You know what’s funny–
– We’re getting away with it. – You know, I was
on tour with Jordan and we went all over the world. We went to all the
Nordic countries. In Sweden, we ended
up doing two shows because the first show sold
out in literally 30 seconds. – Wow.
– And we were there, and everyone, you know, if
you listen to all the lefties, they’re were saying, “Well,
we should be more like Sweden. “We should be more like Sweden
and the Nordic countries.” Everyone that came to our shows, and I get it, it’s a
self-selected group of people, they’re completely afraid
of saying what they think. That was the running theme. The shows there,
when we got on stage, it was like people were
like, it was like– – Starving about it.
– Like they were like, (exhales sharply), like that. It was actually, I can’t
get the vision though of if nine-year-old
Yasmine in full garb would have know that
20-some-odd years later she’d be on YouTube talking
about waxing people’s balls. I had that in my head
for the last five minutes and I just had to get
it out, otherwise… But there’s a beauty
to that, isn’t there? I mean, there really–
– There is a beauty. I wish I could have
know that any of this was even an option back then because back then
there was no internet. There was no way for
us to all communicate. There was no way for these
voices to be heard, right? Mainstream media
were just deciding what was gonna go on our
little TV with five channels and that was it, you know? And I really felt so alone, and so stuck, and really crazy, because everybody around me, I describe it like
a school of fish. Everybody’s going
in this direction and you don’t really
think about it. You’re not given the
opportunity to think about it. You just move along with them. And if you move on your own,
it’s just so terrifying, but even as a kid, I was
always questioning things, and things didn’t
make sense to me. Imagine being a
nine-year-old girl, being told that you
need to revere a man, a 53-year-old man that
raped a nine-year-old girl. Like, you have to love him more than you love
yourself, you know? That’s pretty gross. That’s traumatizing to have
to stop the part of your brain that is disgusted at
the prophet of Allah, you know what I mean? Because how could you. He’s like the most
perfect example of
humanity for all time, and so you get filled
with this self-hate and this self-doubt, but I
think that what you’re doing now with these YouTube
videos and, obviously, Twitter, Facebook,
social media in general, with people being allowed
to express their views, there’s no gatekeepers,
well, I mean, they are, but (laughing) to
a lesser extent. So not only can we reach people like that young man you
spoke about in Arizona, but we can reach people
in Iran, in Saudi Arabia, and Sudan, and Somalia, and
Pakistan, and Bangladesh. It’s crazy, but they, just like I was as a kid
growing up in Canada, feeling crazy because I don’t
wanna express how I’m feeling because everybody around
me disagrees with me, they have an outlet now, and what they’re
living, of course, is way worse than
what I was living because at least I got
to see both worlds. I got to see outside
of the bubble. I wasn’t part of it,
but I saw it over there, and I knew that
there was a reality that was way better than
this reality in here. And so I had something
to strive for, whereas in a lot
of those countries, up until recently, they
couldn’t even see it. They didn’t know
that it existed. There’s a great quote in the
documentary “Misrepresentation” where they say, “You cannot
be what you cannot see.” And that was exactly
it right there, right? I saw Sheryl Sandberg. I saw, at the time,
it’s kind of ironic now, but Sinead O’Connor and how
she cut that picture, you know? And I saw Madonna
fighting against religion, and all of those things. John Lennon’s
“Imagine,” no religion. There were ideas permeating through that bubble
into my head, but I still felt very
alone, very separate, very just scared, and I
wish that I had been able, you know, I’m so happy now that people–
– Yeah, you’re doing it now. – Get that other side. – So just one more
thing for you, although, that was a beautiful
closing to an interview. So just could you
talk a little bit about how difficult it
was to publish the book because you ultimately
self-published, and we’ve talked
about it privately, but you said to me, basically, if this was about
leaving Christianity, or leaving Judaism,
or leaving Mormonism, or certainly leaving
Scientology, whatever else, you’re gonna get a
book deal real quick. You’re gonna have
a Netflix special, and there’ll be a documentary, and a fiction version,
and dat dat dat da da. – Yeah, and this is, that’s going back
to that whole thing of identity again, right? So if I had gone through
this exact same experience, somebody else went through it, leaving the Westboro
Baptist Church, or leaving Hasidic Judaism, or leaving the Mormon
church, whatever it is, they will not touch my
story with a 10-foot pole because of the color of my skin and because of the fact that
I came from a non-white, what’s viewed as a
non-white religion. So they’re not
comfortable criticizing or celebrating somebody
who is criticizing the ideology of
the brown people, but the issues within Islam are
much, much more exaggerated, like they’re much
worse than they are from Scientology,
or Westboro Baptist, or any of those
other fundamentalist
Christian ideologies that people are happy
to speak out against. Please speak out against
these, that’s fantastic. There’s definitely
a problem there, and we definitely
should celebrate people like Leah Remini, or
Megan Phelps-Roper, or anybody that leaves
these horrible ideologies, please celebrate those people, but can we also
celebrate all people? What about Ayaan Hirsi Ali? What about what
she has overcome? I can’t think of a single
human being that has overcome more than what that
woman has overcome, but we demonize here.
– She’s the barometer. To me, if you say to somebody, “What do you think
about Ayaan Hirsi Ali?” Now, I guess some people
aren’t gonna know her, but if you know her and you
have to think for a second before answering how
wonderful she is, and brave, and all those
things, you are confused. – Yeah, and if she had
white skin, and blonde hair, and overcame those things
in a Western context– – Woo!
– We’d have statues of her. You know what I mean? People would definitely
recognize how amazing she is, but because she’s from a
different part of the world and her skin is a
different color, then they’re not willing
to celebrate her, and, to me, that is
the epitome of racism. – That’s a second
great ending by you. You’re getting good at this. All right, you guys can get
“Unveiled” at Yasmine’s website, which is yasminemohammed.com. If you’re looking
for more honest and thoughtful conversations
about spirituality instead of non-stop yelling, check out our
spirituality playlist, and if you wanna
watch full interviews on a variety of topics, check out our
full-episode playlists. They’re all right over here. And to get notified
of all future videos, be sure to subscribe and
click the notification bell.

The Pastoral Heart of John Calvin


Calvin is an interesting historical figure
just as there’s controversy about Luther who was he, how do we understand his psychology’s,
language, some of the problems with Luther. The problem with Calvin is in a sense that
he is hardly viewed as human. There’s a little book written a number of
decades ago now called “the Humanity of John Calvin.” Sort of as if it was in doubt that Calvin
has almost been treated sometimes like you know, – a great disembodied brain in Geneva
just sitting there thinking and turning out work. And if we think about him beyond just being
a brain, then many see him just as sort of gloomy, oppressive you know the definition
of a was it of the Calvinist or of Puritan, it doesn’t really matter. But a Puritan is one who fears that somewhere
someone is having a good time. And that isn’t fair to Puritanism and it
certainly isn’t fair to John Calvin. But it is sort of the general impression that
Calvin has left in the popular mind of our day. And I think it is really worthy investment
to try to get back behind that to see the real Calvin. That’s why I wrote my little book on Calvin,
“Calvin: Pilgrim and Pastor” because I think the most important thing about Calvin
was first of all that he was a pilgrim following Christ to find the truth as it was in Christ. And secondly, that he was a pastor. I think for Calvin, all of his theological
work was to help him and others do pastoral work. He wasn’t — you know we have a lot of people
today who are pastors who really want to be theologians and they just need to be pastors
to pay the bills. That is tragic for the life of the church. We need pastors who want to be pastors, who
want to preach and who want to be out with the people to help them. Calvin was a pastor like that. And he did his theological work and his biblical
studies to help him and others in the pastoral work. And in that sense we see the heart of Calvin. He wasn’t just a brain. He thought getting things right in your brain
was important but it was so that Christian lives could be properly balanced in the Biblical
way and that was his passion.

Abandoning All Hope | Heaven and Hell


Whether you’re religious or not, and regardless
of what religion you happen to be, thanks to pop culture, we all have a mental image
of what heaven and hell physically look like. Like that heaven is in the clouds and has
pearly gates. But when I ask you to imagine hell, you won’t
be drawing on anything from the bible. Aside from a few descriptions of fire and
gnashing teeth, there isn’t much to work with. Instead, what you’ll inevitably describe
comes from Dante’s Inferno. Christian fan fiction from 700 years ago that
was so important it has completely shaped our pop culture myths about hell to this day. This video is brought to you by Skillshare. Dante Alighieri was a poet from Florence,
which was part of Italy, Italy didn’t exist yet, it was still just a bunch of independent
city-states. Great, we’re already off track, good start. He was already a pretty well-known poet, but
in 1300 he started writing the Divine Comedy, which is actually three books in one, Inferno,
Purgatorio, and Paradiso, and would take him another 20 years to complete. A record I’m sure will soon be broken. Almost all poets at the time wrote exclusively
in Latin, keeping literature behind an upper class education barrier. But Dante broke this mold by releasing the
Divine Comedy in Italian. The fact that it was written in Italian rather
than Latin, opened literature up to the commoner in a way that wouldn’t be topped until the
printing press a century later. Dante didn’t write this in order to describe
his adventures in heaven, hell, and purgatory. It was a piece of political commentary which
was especially negative towards the Catholic Church. But Dante wasn’t stupid, he didn’t want
to be excommunicated or burned at the stake. So he wove that criticism into a piece of
fiction where he says things about politics without actually saying it, and published
it in Italian so the common person could read it. Over the decades and centuries, that satirical
element faded away. To the point that many of the things Dante
wrote regarding heaven and hell, as a work of fiction, became Christian doctrine. Dante drew from St. Thomas Aquinas, and then
the church drew from Dante. Imagine if years after a book was released,
someone wrote some fan fiction based on it, that then grew to become just as important…
why am I turning shades of gray? Or imagine if years later, someone were to
tweet that they used to make poop disappear with magic… and now that’s canon. That’s what happened with many of the things
Dante flat out made up in the Divine Comedy, it became canon – especially from the first
book, Inferno. Inferno starts with Dante being lost in the
woods, where he gets found by Virgil a classical Roman poet who was sent to guide him through
hell. Yes, the city superintendent from ODST and
all the audio logs are loosely based on Inferno – but that’s just a theory, a ga- Dante
is a huge fan of Virgil, which, I mean if I was going to write about my adventures through
the Youtube Rings of Demonetization, I’d probably pick an old sage to accompany me
too. So Dante fangirls for a bit and is then treated
to a personal guided tour. As they enter the gates of hell, they see
the now infamous inscription “Abandon all hope, ye who enter here.” Yes, in this case it really is pronounced
yee, not thee – it’s complicated. Then they come upon the first circle, which
isn’t really the first circle… again, it’s complicated. Complication is going to be a theme. If I were to ask you how many circles there
are in hell, I’m going to get a wide range of answers. Officially, there are nine. But the first one, known as the Vestibule
of Hell or Circle Zero, brings the total number to ten. So most Dante scholars describe it as nine
plus one. It’s similar to the answer to how many states
there are: fifty… and DC. For all intents and purposes, it’s a state,
it even has electoral votes. Making it 50 plus one. So, there are nine plus one circles in hell,
though in truth it gets even more complicated when you realize that several of the circles
have multiple circles within them, making it more like 24, but whatever, nine plus one. This zeroth circle is for the Uncommitted. People who didn’t pick a side in life, cowards
and outcasts… and angels who didn’t pick a side during Lucifer’s Rebellion of Angels. Which is a whole thing we’ll get into some
other time. These people are left unclassified, neither
good nor evil; they’re not in hell, but they’re not not in hell. Though they’re technically inside the gate
so… Their punishment is to forever chase after
an elusive banner, symbolic of what they didn’t do in life, all the while being stung by wasps
and hornets. Sure sounds like hell to me, I’ll run into
traffic to get away from a wasp if I have to. Then they come upon the River Acheron, the
first of the five rivers from the Greek Underworld. Which is another common theme, Dante mixes
Christian theology with Greek and Roman mythology constantly. Christians kind of have a habit of incorporating
previously pagan beliefs into their own, it’s the reason Christmas is in December and Easter
involves bunnies and eggs. They’re ferried across the river by Charon,
another figure from Greek mythology. And they reach the first official circle,
Limbo, for the guiltless damned and the virtuous non-Christians, people who were never baptized
or died before the time of Christ. A lot of pop culture mixes this up with Purgatory,
but no, that’s a separate place. There is no punishment here, this is just
a holding area for good people who didn’t or couldn’t choose Christ. And this is where Virgil lives since he died
20 years too early. Dante also meets a few of his other favorites
here, like Aristotle, Socrates, and Plato. Virgil tells Dante about the Harrowing of
Hell, the one and only time anyone was taken from Limbo, when Jesus died and came to hell
to save a select few. Including Adam, Noah, Moses, and Abraham – all
the biblical greats. Everyone else was left to just sulk over their
non-choice, which is actually kinda sad when you think about it… The second circle of hell is where the fun
begins. First, you’re greeted by Minos, who wraps
his tail around you to judge your sins, the number of times his tail circles around you
is what circle you’re damned to for eternity. Makes sense that he’s here instead of at
circle zero because how would-? Yeah. People are sentenced to the second circle
for sexual lust, specifically consensual mutual indulgence, not rape – that’s violence
and they go somewhere else. So this is for people like Helen of Troy and
Paris, who started the mythical Trojan war. Their punishment is to be forever blown over
by hurricane force winds, symbolic of how they let their sexual desire hold sway over
them in life. No, they can’t just lay down, they’re
tortured if they do, they have to stand up and be blown over forever. Dante also meets his first Florentine political
figure here; he does this several times and we won’t talk about all of them. But it does turn hell into a real place for
his readers. Then they come to the third circle of hell,
which is guarded by Cerberus. You know, the three headed dog that guards
the Underworld for Hades… you know, from Greek mythology. This circle is for the gluttonous, people
who gave into their desire for food or drink, or even drugs – all addictions really. They’re constantly bombarded with an icy
rain… or sleet? I don’t actually know what sleet is. Anyway, this turns into an icy muddy slush
and the people are so ravenous to feed their addiction that they eat it by the handful. The fourth circle is for people whose attitude
towards wealth was well outside the norm. Both hoarders and squanderers, which he calls
spendthrifts, which is a word we should definitely bring back. These two groups push giant boulders back
and forth while yelling at each other – why do you hoard? And why do you waste? They’re so busy with their punishment they
don’t stop to talk to Dante, which is good because we need to hurry this along. The fifth circle is the River Styx. Probably the only river from the Greek Underworld
you’re aware of. Every time you see this depiction, it’s
the fifth circle of hell, reserved for the wrathful. They just fight each other in the river forever,
it’s not that exciting. The Styx serves as a moat around the walls
of Dis… Dis is the City of Hell… and dis is a ferret,
dis is two ferrets. The walls of Dis are guarded by fallen angels,
those who chose Lucifer’s side during the rebellion against God. Dante also encounters Medusa here, because…
why not? Everything within the walls of Dis is known
as Lower Hell and contains all the crimes of malice, including violence and fraud. Heretics are put in the sixth circle of hell. You see, agnostics are out there in the zeroth
circle with the uncommitted, but atheists? They’re here in flaming tombs. Anyone who doubts or denies church doctrine
ends up here. He talks to a few more people he knows and
discovers that in this circle, they can see the distant future back on Earth, but not
the present. So at the end of time, they won’t be able
to see anything at all. The seventh circle is for violence and contains
within it three separate rings for different types of violence. It also happens to be guarded by a minotaur. The first ring is the River Phlegethon, which
is apparently made of boiling blood. People are put here for violence against others
and are submerged depending on how much of that they caused. Alexander the Great and Atilla the Hun are
completely underwater, or under blood I guess. Dante allows for different degrees of punishment
based on the offense, warmongers are completely submerged while people guilty of manslaughter
or punching a kid on the playground are not… Kevin… with that smug smile. You know what you did. They’re just up to their shins or ankles
in boiling blood forever. They’re guarded by centaurs who punish anyone
who attempts to rise out of the blood more than what their guilt will allow. This is also the first time anyone notices
that Dante is the only one affected by gravity, he leaves footprints whereas everyone else
is apparently weightless. The second ring is the Wood of the Suicides. People guilty of violence against themselves
are forever turned into trees and feasted on by harpies. Since they took their bodies for granted in
life, they are deprived of human form for eternity. Dante puts a rather interesting Florentine
politician here: someone who killed himself after he was convicted of a crime that would
have put him in a much worst circle, implying that Dante doesn’t really think he was actually
guilty. Imagine if he put OJ in the thieves’ circle
rather than the murderers’ circle, what message would that be sending? People who wasted their lives rather than
their bodies, run through the suicide forest being chased by vicious female hellhounds. I wish for health, happiness, and hella bitches. That’s fitting. You don’t have to censor it if you’re
actually talking about dogs! The third ring of the seventh circle is just
a desert plain that rains fire, and there are three different groups of people who are
punished here for unnatural and sterile actions. Violence against God, against Nature, and
against Art. Blasphemers just lay on the burning sand,
forever singed by the raining fire. They’re different from heretics who just
doubt or deny, these people actively spoke out against God. Sodomites run in circles under the burning
rain forever… like that one music festival in the desert. Yes, Dante includes that one group you’re
thinking of here. Money lenders and loan sharks are simply huddled
and weeping in the middle of the burning plain. Dante was a big fan of the Crusades. So he was offended by anyone charging interest
to those who went to the Holy Land to defend the Faith. Which Dante considers to be a form of art,
in its own way. They hitch a ride on a giant wyvern-scorpion
hybrid to the eighth circle which is… just a mess. This is the circle of Fraud and there are
ten circles, or bolgia, within it. The panderers and seducers play tug of war
across a giant ravine. Mind the gap. The flatterers, who abused language to play
on fears and desires are submerged up to their necks in excrement. As they spewed it in life, they are now up
to their necks in literal bulls**t. I mean that’s gotta be the most fitting
punishment right there. People who sold ecclesiastical favors, holy
relics, and indulgences are buried upside down with their feet set on fire. There are several popes here, and remember,
this is 200 years before Martin Luther. The sorcerers, magicians, fortune tellers,
and astrologers are a bunch of bad bunnies who had their spines broken and their heads
put on backwards. They’re forced to walk in circles, unable
to see what’s in front of them for all eternity. Corrupt politicians are next, anyone who made
money by granting political favors, and as you might have guessed, Dante puts a lot of
his contemporaries here. But the best part of this circle are the guards,
the Malebranche. They serve as a weird comedic relief, with
names like scumbag, dogbreath, and snotnose, and when they set out to march, their trumpet
was a literal fart. The sixth bolgia of the eighth circle belongs
to the hypocrites. They walk around wearing a robe that looks
pretty nice from the outside but on the inside, is actually extremely heavy and weighted down. Again, Dante recognizes more friars and priests
here. This shows that Dante was already well aware
of the abuses of the church and disgusted by the idea of buying your way into heaven
or purgatory well before Protestant Reformation. In fact, it’s entirely possible that through
this political satire, Dante inspired Martin Luther. Thieves are chased around by snakes and large
lizards that occasionally bite them and cause them to turn into inanimate objects or burst
into flame. As they stole in life, their identities are
repeatedly stolen here. The next bolgia is for people who counselled
others to do fraud rather than doing it themselves and they’re encased in a pillar of fire. Ulysses is here for that Trojan Horse idea. This next one is kind of brutal, sowers of
discord are torn apart by demons, forced to drag their bodies around the circle as they
slowly heal, and then the process is repeated all over again, for all eternity. People responsible for family breakups, civil
strife, and religious schism. I’m going to pull an OSP here and not tell
you the most prominent figure that Dante recognizes… or the fact that his son is also here for
causing a schism in that religion, the affects of which we’re still seeing in the Middle
East today. The Catholic Church was basically the only
game in town at the time, but I’m sure Dante would have put Martin Luther in there too. The final group in the eighth circle are the
falsifiers: the alchemists, counterfeiters, imposters, even those guilty of perjury. As they were a disease on society, they are
now diseased… with all of them, all the diseases. The Ninth and final circle of hell is the
frozen River Cocytus, guarded by giants embedded in the ice up to their waist – including
Nimrod, who built the Tower of Babel. He talks a bunch of nonsense and no one can
understand him. Traitors to their family are frozen up to
their neck, traitors to their country are frozen up to their head, and traitors to their
guests lay on top of the ice, all while enduring a freezing wind… the north remembers. It’s here that Dante meets someone who is
still alive on Earth, apparently, when you commit treachery, your soul goes to hell immediately
while your body remains alive on Earth, possessed by an imp. This was back when they still thought disease
was caused by evil spirits, so… Dante and Virgil pass by the traitors to their
lords, who are completely frozen in various contorted positions, and finally arrive at
the center of hell. The traitors to God. Lucifer is frozen up to his waist and he still
has his wings, six of them in fact, though rather than angelic, they’re more bat-like. Most modern pop-culture depicts him without
his wings. He also has three faces, each a different
color, symbolic of the three races of man. Yellow for Asian, black for African, and red
for… European. In each mouth, he is chowing down on a different
traitor, Judas, of forty pieces of silver fame, Brutus, of et tu brute? fame, and Cassius of… apparently he was
part of the Caesar thing too. These are the three worst people in history
according to Dante, well, four if you include Lucifer. Which leaves me with a lot of questions, what
was Lucifer doing before Julius Caesar? Did he always have three faces? Has he grown more faces since then? What color are they? To continue on with the tour, Dante and Virgil
climb down Lucifer’s legs, and then about halfway down, they have to reverse direction
and start climbing up… towards his toes. Because that’s how gravity works! This is the world according to Dante, there
are only three continents, Europe, Asia, and Africa, everything else is just open ocean. Yes, they knew the world was round. But, they didn’t orient the world like this,
with north on top, they typically used east. I’m serious, here are two different maps,
note the Earthly Paradise on top. So Dante gets lost in the woods somewhere
in Italy and ends up underground in the various circles of hell, with Lucifer in the middle. When God cast him down after the Rebellion
of the Angels, he crashed into Earth and became the center. All of the land displaced by his fall pushed
out the other end of the Earth and became Mount Purgatory, a protuberance on the other
side of the world with the Earthly Paradise, better known as the Garden of Eden, on top. This is what Columbus poetically wrote that
he was sailing towards that one time… this is where that pear-shaped thing comes from,
Dante, not Columbus. Anyway, Dante and Virgil travel up the River
Lethe and reach… Purgatory is never mentioned in the bible
and didn’t even exist as a concept until about the year 1100. The idea of prayer for the dead and indulgences
rose out of the invention of Purgatory. You see, the Church oversaw the storehouse
of righteousness, and for a small clerical fee, could help you transfer that to a soul
stuck in Purgatory. Which then led to the Protestant Reformation,
even Martin Luther was against the idea of religious microtransactions. Today, the Catholic Church is a little iffy
as to whether Purgatory is an actual place or just a state of mind. But for several centuries, they accepted Dante’s
version. Which looks like a mountain in the middle
of the ocean, rather than the white nothingness which you see in popular media. This isn’t bad… it’s not that good,
but it’s not that bad. It’s so-so. Where the hell am I? You’re dead, Cody. I’m sorry. This depiction is sometimes referred to as
the “afterlife antechamber” and appears in a lot of movies and tv shows with religious
undertones. We know that Purgatory is in the Eastern hemisphere
rather than the South pole because here, the sun travels directly overhead. If that ever happens at the South pole, something
has gone terribly wrong. Because of that, Dante notices that he casts
a shadow, while everybody else does not. There’s also a strange rule in Purgatory
that you can only make your way up the mountain in sunlight, the sun being symbolic of God’s
divine grace. Purgatory is where souls go to be purged of
the vices and inclinations that cause sin. Hell is more for actions rather than thoughts,
but thoughts can still be sinful, so Purgatory is like a temporary Hell, or Heaven’s waiting
room. Depending on whether you’re a glass half
full or half empty type of person. Purgatory has seven terraces corresponding
to each of the Seven Deadly Sins, with the summit being the Earthly Paradise and the
bottom level being somewhat of a holding area. So nine levels total, Dante has a thing for
the number nine. The first area is known as Ante-Purgatory
and it’s where late-repentants and excommunicates sit around and wait to get into Purgatory
proper. Late-repentants have to wait a lifetime, whereas
excommunicates have to wait thirty lifetimes. Though their sentences can be reduced through
prayers and offerings from the living – so light a candle and get your wallet out. Late-repentants are people who, for one reason
or another, weren’t able to repent before they died or weren’t read their last rites. Excommunicates on the other hand are a bit
tricky. In the Catholic church, excommunication can
vary from just a finger wag to we’ve decided that you’re not going to Heaven… and we’ve
told God about our decision. Dante putting excommunicates here rather than
Hell might be in preparation for what he thinks is coming his way. Dante arrives at the gate to Purgatory and
has 7 P’s carved into his forehead, symbolizing the seven sins he must cleanse himself of
during his trek up the mountain. Peccatum is the latin word for sin. The first terrace is where people purge themselves
of pride, they have to carry large stones around while looking at statues of people
being humble, all while reciting a prayer. Each terrace has their own incantations and
we’re not going to talk about all of them. Like in Hell, he talks to a bunch of people
who want updates on real life and even ask him to deliver messages when he gets back
home. The Angel of Humility comes along and removes
one of the Ps from his forehead so that he can continue up the mountain. The second terrace is for envy, people walk
around in boring grayish cloaks and have their eyes sewn shut so they can’t covet. They have nothing and they learn to want nothing. This terrace is watched over by the Angel
of Charity, presumably so nobody stumbles off the edge, who then removes a P from Dante’s
forehead. Every level, an angel removes a P so he can
move on, I hope that’s established now. Wrath is purged on the third terrace by having
everyone walk through a blinding smoke, symbolic of how they let rage blind them in life. The Angel of Peace comes along and removes
a- The fourth terrace is for sloth, the people
here are so busy running that nobody stops to talk to Dante, because ain’t nobody got
time for that. I don’t know how they’re able to go all
day, I can only make it like twenty or thirty minutes. It’s by far the shortest terrace of the
book, which is fitting, the Angel of Zeal does their thing and Dante moves on. Are you catching on yet? I’ve got things to do, let’s go! Avarice or greed is cleansed in the next terrace
with everyone laying on the ground with their backs to the sky, symbolic of how they turned
their backs on God in life. There’s another pope here, along with a
poet who tells Virgil what a big fan he is. There’s an earthquake while they’re on
this terrace, which lets everybody know that a soul has successfully purged themselves
of sin and is ready for heaven. This terrace is protected by the Angel of
Moderation, which sounds like the most boring angel to be. The sixth terrace is designed to cleanse gluttony,
but to me, just sounds like another circle of hell. People walk around starving with delicious
fruit just out of reach. Dante notices that the shades are starving
and asks Virgil how it’s even possible for shades to be starving… which is an interesting
philosophical question. That Virgil doesn’t have an answer for. The Angel of Temperance is likewise stumped
and urges them on to the next terrace which is for lust. Again, Purgatory is for lustful thoughts,
not actions, acting on lust will send you to the second circle of Hell. People purge themselves of their burning sexual
desires by running back and forth through a wall of fire while being watched over by
the Angel of Chastity which… I take back what I said, that sounds like
the most boring angel to be. And finally, they reach the summit, the Earthly
Paradise or the Garden of Eden, they see a bunch of allegorical representations of things
from the bible, but whatever, that’s not important. What is important is that Virgil can’t go
any further, aww. Being condemned to Limbo for all eternity,
he lacks the divine grace to accompany Dante to Heaven, so instead, Beatrice shows up. Who’s Beatrice? Hah, you don’t know? She’s just some girl that Dante creeped
on a few decades before he wrote this, she’s not an angel, she’s not his wife. Just some girl married to a banker across
the street. It’s somewhat less romantic when you find
that out, but anyway, with his new companion, this painfully slow escort quest continues
towards… The first thing to understand about Dante’s
Heaven is that he actually makes it pretty realistic. Rather than being some other dimension in
the clouds, it’s rooted in science… Well, the accepted science at the time. They travel through nine different spheres,
which could be interpreted as shells around the Earth, or more commonly, the planets. Though, not the planets as you know them,
this is the year 1300 after all. The first three spheres are referred to as
“lesser heaven” and are for people who are deficient in certain righteous qualities. The Moon is first and belongs to the Inconstant. People who, for one reason or another, wavered
in their vows to God, or in some cases, abandoned them completely. The Moon waxes and wanes just as their faith
waxed and waned in life. These people were deficient in fortitude,
but not enough that they don’t get to be in Heaven. It’s still pretty awesome, it’s just not
as awesome. The second sphere is Mercury, for the ambitious,
people deficient in justice, who did good deeds out of a desire for fame rather than
altruism. Just as their glory pales next to God, Mercury
pales in the light of the Sun. Venus is for the lovers, for people who enjoyed
sex just a little too much. They lack discipline… and temperance. I don’t know where the line is between heaven
lust, purgatory lust, and hell lust… is there an acceptable decibel level? A question for the philosophers I suppose. It’s also for people who loved anything
else more than God, like their country… or learning things on Skillshare… what,
too early? Now we move on to actual Heaven, for people
with positive virtues. The fourth sphere houses the exemplars of
prudence, the wise, the philosophers and theologians, the scientists and mathematicians. And they reside on the Sun. Copernicus hadn’t come along yet, so people
still believed in the geo-centric model, the fourth sphere out from the center isn’t
Mars, it’s the Sun. Just as the Sun illuminates the Earth with
light, the wise illuminate the living with knowledge. Mars is the fifth sphere and also happens
to be the Roman god of war, as a result it’s home to the warriors, exemplars of fortitude. Specifically crusaders, granted special passage
by the Pope. So all the Christian soldiers and martyrs
live here, along with a lot of Dante’s family members. That explains why Dante was such a fan. I know I’m not saying much about what these
places are like, because there just isn’t much to say, everyone just dances around or
turns into a ball of light and spells things out in the sky. There’s no punishments, everyone is just
happy. By the way, our modern depictions of angels
in the clouds didn’t come about until the Renaissance. Painters just started putting wings on babies
and then that was it. The next sphere is Jupiter, the Roman king
of the gods and some would say the king of the planets. It also happens to be the home of the rulers,
exemplars of justice. The seventh sphere, Saturn, is home to the
contemplatives, monks and other thinky people who serve as examples of temperance. And that’s it, those were the only known
planets at the time. Once they get here, Beatrice becomes so beautiful
that if she were to smile, Dante’s very soul would be consumed. Apparently, the closer to God she gets, the
more angelic and innocent she becomes. The eighth sphere is where things finally
get interesting and Dante starts to meet some legit celebs. This is for the Church Triumphant, shining
examples of faith, hope, and love. This sphere is made up of all the fixed stars
which rotate around the Earth, all of the constellations and everything. This is reserved for people with beatific
vision, direct communication with God. Here he comes across the Virgin Mary, who
actually plays a huge role in the prayers in Purgatory and the Catholic Church in general. She is the immaculate conception, not Jesus,
because she was the only person born without sin. He also meets Saint Peter, who questions him
on faith and then denounces the current pope, saying that as far as he’s concerned, the
Papal See stands empty. Don’t blame Dante, he’s not the one who
said it. But by far the most interesting person he
speaks to is Adam, the first human ever. He starts to ask him questions, but Adam has
been asked them so many times that Dante doesn’t even have to say them out loud, he just runs
through the FAQ. Like, why did he get kicked out of Eden? Apparently, the original sin wasn’t physically
eating the apple or taking the knowledge it granted, it was trespassing a boundary created
by God. How old is Adam? He was 930 when he died, he spent 4302 years
in Limbo, and at that point, 1266 years in Heaven, so, 6498 years old. So according to Dante, creation was 7217 years
ago in 2019. Dante also asks what language he spoke, which
must have been a big deal at the time. If I only had a limited number of questions
to ask the first human ever, that wouldn’t even make it in the top ten. The answer was Hebrew, but languages change
and die over centuries, his version of Hebrew was dead long before the Tower of Babel, so
just don’t worry about it. Adam really does say that, don’t worry about
it. The ninth sphere is somewhat difficult to
explain, even Dante struggles to find the words. So, here’s the Earth as Dante knew it. Dang, that is a sweet Earth you might say
– Wrong. Because it’s the center of the universe
instead of the Sun and has a weird protuberance coming off the side. But then we pass the lower Heavens – the
Moon, Mercury, and Venus. Followed by the Sun… sigh… then Mars,
Jupiter, and Saturn. Then we pass through the Fixed Stars, which
looks kind of like a celestial globe. And here we are at the ninth sphere – the
Primum Mobile, which is basically the black sphere encasing the entire universe, this
is the event horizon, the border where time and space cease to exist. Once outside, we are in the proper, other-dimensional
Heaven, known as the Empyrean. Things get somewhat abstract here and Dante
sees a giant white rose, which is home to all the souls in Heaven. Including Eve, just in case you were worried,
she’s safe. Beatrice leaves Dante to go pollinate the
rose or whatever and he’s now escorted by Saint Bernard. I would make a dog joke here, but OSP beat
me to it. In the Empyrean Rose, along with all the souls
of heaven, Dante notices millions and millions of babies. Any unbaptized baby from before Jesus and
any baptized and circumcised baby from after Jesus. Dante goes on a rant about how unfair it is
that these innocent babies are given a free ticket to the highest sphere of Heaven, while
virtuous pagans like Virgil sit in Limbo forever. How is that fair to all of the Indians and
Ethiopians who’ve never even heard of Jesus? It’s not like these babies have earned their
place! … to which St. Bernard says: Yeah, sometimes it be like that. And that’s it, there’s no further discussion! Dante goes on a rant about this rule that
he just made up being unfair and then settles it with a one liner about God always being
right. Dante is then enveloped in light so he can
go see God. Who appears as three bright lights in one,
surrounded by nine rings of angels. Each ring representing a different level of
the angelic hierarchy, which again is a story for another time. But just to be clear, people don’t turn
into angels, angels are their own thing. Dante then meets God and struggles to understand
what it is he’s seeing or even put it into words… But you don’t have to struggle to understand
what you’re looking at if you go to skl.sh/knowingbetter6. Skillshare is an online learning community
with over 25,000 courses taught by contemplatives in their sphere. Take this course in creative writing so you
can learn how to structure your own adventures through mythological planes of existence. Who knows, your work might even get canonized
someday. Or this course in backpacking – Dante might
never have gotten lost in the woods if he knew what to bring along. You can learn this, and much more for less
than $10 a month. But if you head over to skl.sh/knowingbetter6,
you can get 2 months of unlimited access to all of Skillshare’s courses for free, you’ll
also be supporting the channel when you do. Dante does eventually figure out what it is
he’s looking at and describes it as best as he can. But your mortal soul isn’t prepared to hear
it. The Divine Comedy is one of the most important
written works in history, so if you want to know how it ends, I guess you’ll just have
to check it out for yourself. Links in the description, for those of you
who are interested. This work of political satire helped sparked
the Protestant Reformation by putting a spotlight on the many abuses and hypocrisies of the
Catholic Church. But over time, the satirical element faded
into the background and we were left with an adventure through Heaven and Hell. It’s worth noting that many Protestants
don’t believe in hell as a physical place and almost none of them believe in Purgatory
at all. But the people who do believe in these places
are heavily influenced by Dante. Dante took Christian doctrine, mixed it with
Greek and Roman mythology, and created his own world in order to criticize the Church. Which eventually became doctrine itself. So the next time somebody tells you that you’re
going to hell, you’ll know exactly which circle and what to expect, because now, you
know better. So what circle or sphere are you headed to? Let me know down in the comments. Would you like to add your name to this list
of lost souls? Head on over to patreon.com/knowingbetter. Don’t forget to canonize that subscribe
button, follow me on twitter and facebook, and join us on the subreddit.

Martin Luther’s Evangelical Breakthrough


Luther later in his life would look back and
say, “I came to this evangelical breakthrough.” And now the psychologist love it that he says,
“I came to the evangelical breakthrough while sitting on the toilet.” Freudians have had a ball with that. What serious historians have noted is that
actually there was no toilet where he said he was sitting and that in the idiom of that
day, “Sitting on the toilet” meant being depressed, being melancholy, being down, down
in the dumps. It’s not about a location. It’s about a spiritual state and Luther says,
“I was really depressed about the state of my soul,” not depressed in a technical,
psychological way. “I was sad. I was distressed about the state of my soul
and in that state I began to think. If God is alive, I am dead.” He said, “I came to hate God because all
I saw was a God of judgment.” He said especially the phrase “The righteousness
of God filled me with fear and hatred. How could I ever measure up to a righteous
God?” But now, his mind filled with Scripture. It suddenly all fell into place. He said, “It was like the gates of Paradise
had open to me and I realized that what God’s talking about in the Bible is not the righteousness
He demands of me but the righteousness He gives to me in Jesus Christ” and that’s
what changed Luther’s whole world. That’s what made him a Protestant and I think
that happened probably early in 1518 and turned Luther’s whole life around.

How My Crisis Can Help You Find Meaning In Your Life | Ravi Zacharias | SPIRITUALITY | Rubin Report


– The single greatest pursuit
of every young person today is the pursuit of meaning. – I’m Dave Rubin, and
before we get to it today, here’s my weekly reminder
to subscribe to our channel and click the bell so that
you actually see our videos. A crazy concept indeed. All right, joining me today
is the founder and president of the Ravi Zacharias
International Ministries, and the author of several
bestselling books on Christianity. Ravi Zacharias, welcome
to the Rubin Report. – David, thanks so much for having me. I’ve looked forward to this for a while. I’m honored to be with you. – It’s an honor to have you here. I’m looking forward to it as well. This is one of those that the internet sort of forced to happen, over the last– – [Ravi] Yes, that’s right. – Over the last two years,
you’ve been on the list of when people just start
assaulting me on Twitter. And I mean assault in the best sense. Sit down with Ravi, sit down with Ravi. So we finally were able to work it out. – Nice to hear that. So both of my friends
went to work, I guess. (laughs) – There you go, all right. So first, when I Google your name, it says that you’re a Christian Apologist. Now we all hear this phrase, and it sounds a little strange to me. Christian Apologist,
as if to do what you do you have to either
apologize for something, or feel guilty about it,
or something like that. Can you tell me about the
phrase, “Christian Apologist.” – It’s one of those
words that have evolved over the last few years, and contoured with different
meanings now, David. But it has a rich history
when it goes back to the likes of Justin Martyr and Augustine and so on. Apologetics was part of the
curriculum and the discipline of theological philosophical training. It comes from the Greek word,
actually, to give an answer. Apostle Peter says, for example, Set apart Christ in your hearts as Lord, and always be prepared to give a reason for the hope that is within you and to do it with gentleness and respect. So this an ordinary
fisherman talking about how to answer people with
gentleness and respect. So the word really
means to give an answer. I think it has two senses,
making your truth claims clear, and giving the answer to
the legitimate questioner. But you know, it sounds like apologizing. And then it has taken on
negative connotations. If I hear you’re an
apologist for something, it’s immediately, oh wow. I’m gonna really be dumped on right here. So we ourselves are thinking whether that term is a good
description of what we do. Historically it was accurate, but in current usage I’m not
quite sure it’s the best word. – Do you have a better phrase then? So the next time I bring you
on I don’t have to say it. Because I do think that that connotation, there’s something that in
a modern sense it’s like, oh, he’s going to come here and explain his view on Christianity, but it will have a but that
will lead to something else. – Well, we pondered it. There’s not a catch phrase
that has come into our mind. But we as a team, I’ve got 93 speakers who
work with me in 15 countries. And so we’re thinking of, you know. Many of them are legitimate philosophers. I find that a bit of a
glorifying term for myself. I’m not a philosopher
in an academic sense, but I do some very serious thinking on matters that deal with culture
values, ethics, and so on. It’s probably, the best description is that of a Christian thinker, and a contextual representative of values and the substrata of culture,
so we’ll find a term. – Thinker, I mean that works. Christian thinker, that works for me. Okay, so before we get into the meat of what your ideas are
and things like that. I thought that because
so many people on Twitter were asking me to have this conversation. Are you amazed at the way
information and ideas, both good and bad, can travel so fast now? That you can get your ideas
out across the world, you know, with a click of a button. Where years ago, and you
know, 30 some odd years ago when you started doing
this, and before that even. That it could take a lifetime
to get those ideas across. – Well, I really am. In fact, when I was with our
mutual friend Ben Shapiro, he surprised me by saying, You’re the most requested guest to be brought on this program. That also quite shocked me. Flattering and encouraging. But yes, I think it– – [Dave] You don’t do a
Ben Shapiro impression? (laughs) – My brain doesn’t work as fast as his. I don’t know that. That guy is sort of a rap
artist and pros, you know. He just moves. I’ve watched your dialogue with him, it was brilliant by the way. Yeah, and you know David,
I’ll be honest with you. I’m wondering if time will tell whether this was a good
thing or a bad thing. And the reason is, good
is naturally attractive, but evil is naturally seducing, seductive. And whether the wrong side
of this will triumph someday, because all you’ve got to do
is get one idea out there, and you get a following for it. And destruction comes
easier than construction. So I, I sort of holding out on
whether this is good or bad. I love the fact that if I’m sitting in my hotel room in Delhi, away from my home in Atlanta, I can Google and find out information on almost anything
that’s going on out here. I love the fact that
I can call my children instantly, like that. But at the same time,
all the farcical stuff, all the hollow stuff,
all the negative stuff, all the destructive stuff that goes on. We’re building a culture of
hate, and that troubles me. – Do you think that
that concept right there is sort of everything
that a religious thinker, regardless of what religion,
is really dealing with? The sort of battle between, you know, a certain set of ideas, versus modernity. And you don’t know, like we’re
in the internet right now. We don’t know which way this is gonna go, because you can spread the bad just as, I would say more easily
you can spread the bad than to spread the good, so to speak. – I think sort of some,
rebellion finds it easier to find souls that have got nothing
else to do, you know. They’re sort of, Shakespeare
would talk of them. The rattle of a vacant soul. Someone who’s just not got
enough to keep them busy. The Tower of Babel is a
good example, you know. Why did God step down to
confuse the languages? Because unanimity and
destruction can wreak havoc. However, it’s here to stay. And this is only the beginning. You are an author, I’m an author. The value of having access to
information is a good thing. That’s why it is important what we do in training the souls and
the thinking of people. That’s what I’m committed to. – Okay, so now let’s talk
about your journey here, because it’s been an interesting one. You were born in India,
and you were an atheist until you were 17, is that right? – Again, sometimes these
terms became floated around in stronger ways than
I would like to have. I was indifferent to religious claims. India is probably he most
religion manufacturing culture on the face of the earth. Most of the major isms, Hinduism, Buddhism, Sikhism, Jainism. All of these isms were
spawned and raised in India. And India and Pakistan are not separated, they’re the biggest Islamic nation, too. So actually religion had
no attraction for me, that’s the best way to put it. I felt it was believing the incredible and it was creating more havoc. – Was that a strange position to hold as a young person in a place
that all those isms came from? – I think so, but you know,
we never, ever discussed it. I don’t, I played cricket
and I played tennis. So I was a sportsman in school. That’s where you really talk,
after a game or whatever. I don’t ever remember getting
into these discussions. It flows with the culture. But the notion of God as a real entity never entered my mind. Yeah, maybe during examinations. You know, God if you’re up
there, could you help me? And so on. I never took interest, certainly
not in the Christian faith. Even though my ancestors
came from the highest cast of the Hindu priesthood in the deep south. They were called (speaking
foreign language). Then somewhere along the
way there was a conversion that took place into the Christian faith. And that was lost. It became very nominal. So I was really raised, I didn’t have a single Christian friend. They were all either Hindu,
Muslims or Buddhists. So we never talked about these things. And then having had a crisis
experience in my life, that changed everything. – So, let’s talk about that. – Yes. India is a culture of academic excellence. If you’re not doing well
there, you’re in trouble. And it’s also a culture of shame when you’re not succeeding academically. So I did the horrific thing, it ’til this day embarrasses me, because I don’t like talking about it. It took me a long while to talk about it. I attempted suicide when I was 17. And it was not out of any
neurological disorder, it was not any biochemical thing. It was the fact that I
just didn’t have meaning. There was no purpose
in life for me, David. I was moving towards failure,
after failure, after failure, in contrast to my brothers
and sisters, and to my father. And so, tried to poison my system, I thought it was going to be successful. I just didn’t like the way life felt, and I wanted to kill that feeling. And to me, the only way
to do that was, you know, what they in Belgium now, there’s such a high rate of suicides, they don’t call it suicide anymore. They call it opting out of life. That would have been a
good description for me. But it was on that hospital
bed, a Bible was brought to me. My body was dehydrated,
I couldn’t hold it. But the man who brought it to me, and gave it to my mother. And Scripture passages were read to me. And you know, when you’re desperate, when you’re lying like that, words become very important to you. And when the words of
Jesus were read to me, “Because I live, you also shall live.” That lit up within my heart. – What passage is that again? – John chapter 14 and verse 19. Jesus told Thomas, of all things, because Thomas was the
apostle who went to India. And the irony of it, is
in that same passage, Jesus says, “I’m the way,
the truth and the life,” “No one comes to the
Father except through me.” It’s a very exclusive
claim, dramatic claim. And he went to a land
of 330 million deities, and he paid with his life to present the gospel message of Jesus. So that, that verse. Jesus said, “Because I
live, you also shall live.” I latched on the word live. I said, I don’t know
what this really means. But if God has a different
definition of this than I have, I want to know what that is. And in a simple prayer,
I began my pilgrimage to faith and Christ. – What was that shift like? I mean, if we were
writing a movie right now. So there’s the young man who,
you know, attempts suicide. The Bible comes to him
in the hospital bed, he has the wake up. I mean, it sounds like a movie, sort of. What was the next shift in that? Because it doesn’t all just
happen immediately, like. – Well, I appreciate you
asking these questions, because you know, they are pretty pointed and pretty real to me. The problem, we often think Jesus Christ came into this world to
make bad people good. That’s wrong. It’s not got anything to do
with making bad people good. He’s coming to the world
to make dead people live. I was dead to the claims
of God upon my life. I had no purpose. How do you find purpose without a transcendent moral first cause? You can only lift yourself up by your own existential bootstraps, and
assign your own meaning. The fact that I was created for a purpose. That I had an individual distinctiveness that nobody else had. That God had a purpose for me in life. These were strange concepts. Now of course, I’m looking in retrospect. When you go back, at that
point my biggest hope was like looking for a
lifeguard or a life jacket. But over the process, I found
out, and I say this, David. I travel, I’ve gone to about 70 countries. I speak hundreds of times a year. The single greatest pursuit
of every young person today is the pursuit of meaning. What does my life really mean? Even as I’m talking to you. I was talking to a young
man yesterday, 18 years old, who got hooked onto
pornography when he was eight. And he says, “And I’ve hated
everything that I have become.” “And now all I want to
do is make an exit.” You see, you take something and
warp it into something else. You empty it. So, you empty the reality
with something that’s hollow. So that’s what I’d done with life. So to me, the biggest change, and my father said this on his deathbed. Actually, before he went into
the hospital for a bypass and when he lost life. He said to me, What happened in your life, is the most incredible thing
I have watched happening. From being a failure, to the different hungers
and desires you have. So what Jesus, I believe, did for me, was change not only what I did, but changed what I wanted to do. I never left the top three
in the class after that. I always used to be in the bottom three. So my hunger has changed,
my desire has changed. And I think that is the biggest
transformation I noticed. – That’s an incredible statement
for your father to make right before passing. Did he have a similar awakening? Or once you had an awakening,
did it go across your family? – Actually, my brother and my
sister was amongst the first to latch onto this, and then me. You know, when Jesus talked to Nicodemus, he made a fascinating statement. He said, “You can’t change on your own.” “You have to experience the new birth.” Now, I know that takes on a
pejorative term in our ways. But the fact of the matter is, new desires, new hungers,
a new breathing, a new air. And when he watched my life
change, and what happened, yes, he followed it. Which is very unusual
in the Indian culture. There you all follow your parents. Very rare for a parent
to follow the children. But he asked me to take
him to the hospital, he was gonna have bypass. I’m talking about 1979, so you know, you’re talking about 40 years ago. It was relatively new. My dad was overweight, he was asthmatic, and things had gone wrong physically. But he elected to have surgery. But he had this premonition. He said, “I don’t think
I’m gonna make it.” He was closer to my older brother. I was number two, more like my
older brother in temperament. But he phoned me, I lived in
Niagara falls during that time, 90 miles away, 75 miles away. He asked me to come and
take him to the hospital. And on our drive to the hospital,
that was the conversation. And he said, “What God
has done in your life.” And he also had had that transformation through the work of God in his heart. – You said the phrase,
“Existential bootstraps.” Which I, I like that. That’s kind of interesting. Do you think some people
can do it by themselves? Do you think some people can
grab the existential bootstraps and not have a religious belief, or something beyond themselves, and still live a good
and moral life at all? And a meaningful life, let’s say. – I think so, I think they can. But it does not have ultimate grounding in a rationally compelling way. It has only that, an
existential transformation. So yes, of course they can. And I have many of my
friends who are like that. They are good people,
they are decent people. And I enjoy those friendships, because we have great conversations. But the question has to be, David, is what you believe ultimately true? Or only individualistically
true, for you and for me. And if that is the case, then
you cannot absolutize it. You can only recommend it as pragmatically workable for the now. And then how do you dissuade somebody who by their own existential bootstraps have come to the opposite conclusions? There’s no ontic referent. There’s no point of
reference to find a solution to what is true, and good, and beautiful. – So this has come up
with many of the people that I’ve had on the show. From a religious perspective,
from a atheist perspective, sort of this micro versus
macro argument, where every, all of the religious
people that I’ve on here have said what you said there. Which is that yes, of course
at the micro individual level you can have atheists. I’ve got plenty of their books right here, who are friends, who are
good, moral, decent people. But almost that you can’t
organize a society around that, which is sort of. Loosely, that’s the Jordan
Peterson perspective on this, which I think you probably prescribe to. – Yes. I think Jordan Peterson’s
conclusions are terrific. His foundation is weak. I think that, the edifice he has built on his presuppositions. I would love to get
together with him one day, because I love his– – I will see if I can make it happen. – Could you do that?
– That’d be my pleasure. It would be an honor, because I. I mean, the way he was treated
at Cambridge, you know, and his plan to go there
is totally unlikable. What exact, I mean an
educational institution to do that to a man of his
repute and his capability. – You know, just briefly. The saddest part about that is, you probably know, I was on
tour with him for the year. So I was with him when he
found out he was getting the fellowship at Cambridge. It was the happiest I’ve ever seen him. And the idea that, putting
aside why they did it. He has spread, the ideas that
you’re talking about here, even if you don’t agree
with his methods completely. He has done more to spread
these ideas across the world in the last two years than
anyone on earth, I would argue. And they decided no, no. You can’t stay– – And I think he’s outstanding, you know. I couldn’t stand up to
his intellectual prowess. He’s a man of incredible
ability and courage. And he’s from Toronto, you know. I’m from Toronto, actually. From Delhi, I moved to Toronto. My family’s all in Toronto. My wife’s from Toronto. I have a very great respect
for Jordan Peterson. But let me give you an illustration. In Ohio, Columbus, Ohio, there’s a building called the
Wexner Center for the Arts. Supposedly the first postmodern building. And I asked the person, “What
is a postmodern building?” I know what postmodern philosophy is, what’s a postmodern build? He said, “Well, the architect said if
life itself has no purpose,” “Why should our buildings
have any purpose?” And so he built it with no
particular purpose in mind. You know, there are
stairways that go nowhere. – (laughs) Where does the elevator go? – And so I say. He said, “What do you think of it?” I said, “I have one question.” “Did you do the same with the foundation?” You cannot fool with the foundation. You can fool with the infrastructure. And so to me, when Peterson
talks of absolutes, when Peterson talks of right and wrong, not so much right and
left, but right and wrong. His conclusions are very good, but the only reason I think
those conclusions stand. If there is an ultimate eternal
purpose for life itself, otherwise it’s just one
ideology against other. Especially, dare I suggest, because of a pluralistic
society in which we live. People start from different points in the beginning of the argument. And that to me is where I
think there is the weakness. But his conclusions and his arguments I find very persuasive and very likable. – If ultimately the conclusions
are right, let’s say. And you know, you can argue about the little methods to get there, do you think that can be
enough in and of itself? – Had you not used the word
enough, I would have said yes. Do you think that’s valuable? Do think that’s a good way
to at least have a culture? – I can see why you’re
not gonna go with enough, – Yeah.
– okay, I get. – But the foundation part of
it is to me, indispensable, because that’s what you
have built your theory on. However, for co-existence,
for a respectability, for civility, I think it’s good. And I think that’s why I enjoy talking with somebody like you. Even disagreement can be allowed provided you don’t get
disagreeable in the process. And I think Peterson is
very impressive that way. I’d love to talk to him on why he has not moved in that one step. See, Dennis Prager, for example. Dennis Prager and I have
had several dialogues. – You’re going through my
greatest hits over here. – Great man. Funny, articulate, intellectual. But we do agree on one
thing as a starting point, that the ultimate pursuit of
life for Prager and for me was communion with God. And the starting point is
that God has a moral law at work in this universe. When you start from that, even if you come up with
some divergent discussions on who this God this. You can have intelligent debate. But if you start purely from
an autocracy of good and bad, then you run into a problem
and pluralistic culture. – So you basically, you
can’t start from the position that we all can have our thoughts and that they’re all sort of equal, because the conversation can
sort of never get anywhere. Versus that there is some
moral authority beyond us, and then what you may
believe related to Jesus is obviously different than, say, what Dennis Prager believes. But you relish in that
conversation, basically. – Yeah, and you know, this
is really what I’d said. And that wonderful
conversation with Ben Shapiro whom I admire so much. A great, great thinker. And you know, I said to Ben, there’s a struggle going on right now. It’s between the two words,
egalitarianism and elitism. And I said to him, we are
meant to be equal as people, but not all ideas are equal. We have reversed it. We have made an elitism of people and an egalitarianism of ideas, and that is flawed as a starting point. So if I respect all of
my fellow human beings, regardless of what their view is and see them of intrinsic worth. Not worth given by the
government or state, but an intrinsic, valuable entity. We can converse and dialogue, and ultimately truth
will triumph in the end. And so I think it is
important to have civility which is lost in America. What is what America
is witnessing right now is the destruction of sensible dialogue. – Do you think that’s
happening across the west? It seems to me the amount of emails I get and what I’m reading, and from the countries I
visited in the last year. It’s not just the US, but it’s starting to happen
everywhere in different degrees. That the west is grappling with something. – I think so. But you know, it’s also
happening in the east. The only difference is, in the east, it squelched right from the beginning. There’s no free expression in China. I mean, China is making
huge strides in this world, I think in a demagogic way globally, while we’re trying to worry about each other’s tax returns out there. They are building a global empire, and we’re not taking note
of what it is their doing. It’s happening even in
my home land, in India. There’s a lot of trouble
beneath the surface in the invasion of the
private belief and so on. The thing is, in America,
America’s a commercial culture. Everything spreads faster,
so we notice it more here. And I’ve now lived here for many years, and I’m saddened to see what
we’re doing to ourselves. Because this is a great nation. This is a great foundation. So I came in here as a stranger, and God gave me the
blessing of coming here, and my raising my family
and enjoying success. I don’t think I’d have
enjoyed this back where I, from whence I came. But now what we’re doing is,
the vitriol, the invective, the poisonous barbs and statements. We can’t seem to disagree
without bringing the person down. Stay with the, you know
as a debater, you know. We don’t go with ad hominem arguments, that’s a sign of weakness. Anybody who attacks you personally, David, it’s telling me they can’t
deal with your argument, so they’re dealing with you. – So I actually wasn’t
planning on going here, but I think this is
pretty rich place to move. So what then do the people that are trying to do
what you’re trying to do, trying to do what I’m trying to do, that are trying to have conversations. What do you do in the midst of a world that is about ad hominem attacks, personal attacks, you know. What people now are calling cancel culture and mob outrage to silence everyone. What do you do? Because I sense that it may not just be enough to talk
about the right ideas. That at some point you hit
the end of the road with that. – You’re doing it well, David. You’re doing it well. You know, I commend you for it. You’re not a provocateur, you are not stirring
up people to be angry. – I’m a little worse on Twitter. (laughs) In this room I’m very good. (laughs) – But you are intelligently engaging, and that’s what we’re doing. You know, I’m 73 now. I’ve been in this work since I was 26. I’ve done it for nearly half a century, as long as I’ve been married. I’ve been on numerous campuses globally. Islamic campuses, Hindu
campuses, Buddhist campuses, atheistic campuses. And I was given an honorary doctorate from an Marxist university in Peru. You know.
– [David] Wow. – And the San Marcos, an
honorary doctorate was. I was shocked, and they. The first time one of my
colleagues went there, they blocked them. They didn’t wanna hear them,
and I said, “What happened?” “How come?” And they said, you know, you’re getting us thinking
noble thoughts, good thoughts. You’re getting us thinking in ways that we ought to be thinking. We’ve not reached there yet. So I believe ultimately,
God gave us a book. Which means the word is very important. And I just speaking nearby, the night before I’m speaking to you. The number of young kids, young kids, who said, “I’ve watched you on YouTube.” “I’ve listened to this,
I’ve listened to that.” I think our only hope without corrosion is to put the ideas out there and hope that hearts will change, and that truth and beauty
will win out in the end, rather than that which is
hideous, and that which is false. – Do you think part of this is that the secular world has sort of handed us so much meaningless crap? I mean you that, now there’s a sort of
renaissance in television But that so many of the movies. Everything seems to be infected with some sort of postmodern
view of the world. And that then causes a young person that maybe wouldn’t have listened to a 73 year old a couple of years ago, now go, “Well wait a minute,
I saw this on YouTube.” And that actually doesn’t
sound nearly as crazy as the stuff that Hollywood’s handed me. – You know, one of the nicest things. I don’t like to talk about what people say and their compliments. One of the nicest things
a young man said to me. He walked over to my
colleague and he said to him, “When I’m 73, I hope I can be like that.” You know, that tells me that when they look at what
is an ideal to them, they want to emulate, they
want to be in that way. But you’re right. Secularism lead us to
a bankruptcy of values. It lead us not only to
a bankruptcy of values, it lead us to an impoverished
way of conversing with each other. What do we see on the news? People fighting, people arguing. That’s not what the news is all about. Give me the news. I have the intelligence to
figure out what is true, and what is right, and what is wrong here. – So is that, though, purely
the result of secularism? Or is that the result of just a little bit of human nature, also? That isn’t just a secular thing, but just that people
click things that are. You see something bad, you click it. You see something good and it
just sort of, you let it go. That’s the battle between religion and
secularism constantly. – You’re right to point
that out, but I think. If we take the term secularism,
or secularization, okay? It’s a process by which
religious ideas, institutions and interpretations have lost
their social significance. That’s the classic
definition secularization. The very word “secular”
means “this worldly.” And so if I don’t respect
you as a fellow human being, I’m going to fight you to the bone. But if I said, this man has
every right to his belief and the integrity of his
belief and to defend it, then I’m not fighting you. I’m discussing ideas. But what happens, I think David,
is we put faces to beliefs. And if we don’t like that
face, we attack the person. You know, let me give you an illustration. I’m a great lover of hockey. Follow the NHL. In Canada, you have no choice. It’s hockey night in Canada, you know. – So that’s your other religion? (laughs) – Part so, yeah. Except I don’t give
any offerings in there. The thing is, what does
a sports writer do? He doesn’t just say, in the
days that I was watching it, you know, that Boston
Bruins are coming into town. It’s Bobby Orr and Johnny
McKenzie, and Phil Esposito. They make it a personal thing,
because we follow persons. As soon as you watch a sport, they like to identify an individual who would be the face
of that particular team. Because then you get the adrenalin going. If you’re just talking about two great hockey teams playing each other, the way I think it used to be. When the Montreal Canadians came to play the Toronto Maple Leaves,
it was hockey at its best. So I think the personification of an idea and the embodiment of an idea has created this spirit
of negativism, and so. Even in politics. – Yes, I was just gonna say, I mean. You’re talking about cult of personality, which is exactly what politics has become. – So they don’t tell you what so and so, what law has been passed. Who passed it? Who did this? Who said that? And the moment you show
the picture of the person, the anguish gets induced. So you’re gonna fight it whether
you like the idea or not. So I think this personal
attack in our culture, the day of personal assassination, that is what has happened
in the way we discuss ideas. And I’m not giving in to that. When I’m invited to places where they really want to get
into a fight, or something, I say no thank you, I’m the wrong person. I wanna have an intelligent conversation and trust the audience
to make up their minds. – So as someone who lives
in The United States now that originally from
India, went to Canada. A couple of things that
you’ve referenced here have sound very in line
with the constitution of The United States, and the declaration of the United States. That we have God given rights. And yet at the same
time, these were the men who were guaranteeing your
freedom from religion. That’s very much in line with what you’re talking about, actually. – Well, the freedom of religion, yeah. And yeah. And when you take that very statement, that we hold these truths
to be self-evident, what do we mean by that? There are no self-evident truths anymore in our postmodern mindset. Postmodernity ultimately does away with truth, meaning and certainty. So what do we talk about as self-evident, and then what are the self-evident truths that we are endowed by our creator with these unalienable
rights of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Here’s what I wanna say, David. No other worldview would have generated
a statement like that, except the Judeo-Christian worldview. Because you break it
down phrase by phrase, and so many worldviews would say, “No, I don’t agree with that.” I think the framers of the constitution, and the writers of the
Declaration of Independence. And said, you know, we put our
names with our sacred honor. The sacredness of life, and
the sacredness of your word. This had the potential
to be a great nation. But in the last 50 years, we are seeing this
dismantled and falling apart, just by the volume of words
that often times are incoherent. – So how do we reverse some of that? Because it’s very obvious that
people are waking up to this, people don’t want the chaos. It’s why people are paying attention to all of these things on YouTube. – I think so much has
changed globally, David. You know, it’s now as you said earlier, not just The United States. I could name four or five countries to you where there is more radical
type of politicization of ideas that have made the
people shocked and surprised with how the particular elections went. We don’t like what we have, so
we like to try something new. It’s not so much that the
politician produces the culture, as much as the culture
produces the politician. So where do we change? My own honest opinion in this, I think it’s going to get a lot more worse before it gets better. But if there is a change, it is gonna have to change
in the academic world. What we are teaching our students is bringing itself out into the open. Our faculty members have to learn to have intelligent
disagreement and dialogue. Not so program the students into thinking in one particular way. And I think the academy
has failed America. – Do you think it can come back? Because this is being
debated constantly now, that academia now is so rotten, that the systems and the
gatekeeping is so infected. There’s a lot of people that I think are making a sound argument that it basically just
all has to collapse. Of course, what can come on
the other side of a collapse could be a lot worse, and
that’s why we have to– – I don’t know you’ve read Paul Johnson’s book on intellectuals. It’s a very powerful book. The closing paragraph itself is. He’s a historian. And he talks about how intellectuals have so shaped and programmed culture, and very often their own private lives are in complete disarray and
falling apart, and imploding. I think the answer to your question is, is there hope? Is there gonna be change? I think so. Let me give you an illustration of this. I’m pretty sure this is correct, but I’ve not verified it. But a congressman wrote
to me, and he said, when Ronald Reagan was shot, Tip O’Neill went to the
hospital and sat by his bedside and prayed for him, for Ronald Reagan. They were opponents on a
platform of political debate, but when one of them was
wounded with a bullet, the other man came and sat by his bedside, and prayed for him. That would never happen today. What has changed? So my way of thinking, what did it take to change
the scourge of slavery? What did it take to move
the scourge of racism in a different direction? Often times it took a handful of people. It didn’t take mighty armies. You can just about name
the individuals, you know. Whether it was Wilberforce out there, or people like Doctor
Martin Luther King out here, and so on. They changed history. I look at my grandkids, and I hear statements
coming out of some of them which are amazing to me
at ages seven and eight. They’ll say things, and I’ll say, “Wow, where did that come from?” I’ll give you an example. My grandson on Good Friday had his teacher wash the feet of the
children, first graders. She washed their feet. So this little guy,
Jude, who is now eight. Was seven then. Asked her, “Can we wash your feet today?” So they brought a basin of
water, these little kids. Put her feet in the basin of
water, and watched her feet. And then he says. The teacher wrote this to my daughter. You’ll never believe what
your son, Jude, did today. They washed my feet. And then he looked at her and said, “Your feet are now clean, but
your heart is even purer.” “And our hearts are purer,
because we have met you.” When a little one. – Seven years old. – Yeah, can make a comment like that, the right time, the right person will rise and change the course of history. – Is there a way to make
that happen, sort of? On a global scale like, is there? Or do you think it also. That’s just basically your view, is that it’s a bottom-up
thing, ironically, right? – Yeah, I think so. – Is that an odd place for a religious perspective to come from? – That’s what I was gonna qualify that. I said it’s a bottom-up, and that it has to start
from the foundation. But it’s a top-down, it has to have, begin with the transcendent worldview of who we are in our essence. So, and that’s why I
think it’s consistent. God doesn’t just change what we do. He changes what we want to do. And so the transformation
will have to come from a transcendent, eternal purpose. But the transcendent purpose
changes us foundationally. So it’s a top-down, bottom-up,
and neither is excluded. – So if there was a,
say a healthy society, that was incorporating all of the ideas that you’re talking about. How would it deal with
the forces of modernity? How would it deal with stem cell research? And we don’t have to get
into a specific thing, but all of the things
that science brings us, and the good and the bad
that comes with the internet. How would it actually negotiate that modernity and secularism, really? – It’s a great question. Because our instruments are
getting more sophisticated as our capacity is
getting more multiplied. But if our character
doesn’t keep up with it, we will just have a more sophisticated way of self-immolation
and self-destruction. You know, I had a guy at, in Canada stand up in the audience. And he said to me, “I can’t buy in to this
kind of worldview.” He said, “I think empirical
science all the time.” “That’s my worldview,
the empirical sciences.” So I said to him, I agree with you that empirical science is a very vital discipline in our times. Whether it’s for health, whether it’s for understanding
the cosmos, all of these. I said, but let me ask you this way. The empirical scientist in the lab is working away at research. Why should he or she tell us the truth when the research is done? What of the empirical sciences
gives you that imperative to be honest, and tell you the truth? I said, “Now you’re into metaphysics.” So it’s not just physics. So I think the value structure and the character has to start, so. – Did he have a response to that? ‘Cause I assume his response
would be something like, well. His code, his internal code of ethics would force him to tell the truth. Even if it was against is premise or– – Actually, he just sat down. He said, “I have to
give that some thought.” (laughs) Because, you know, in a
cross-cultural setting, that doesn’t necessarily follow. For example, this great
thing of identifying a particular gene that they were removing in China, you know. I think you followed that.
– [Dave] Yeah. – And all of a sudden
the Chinese government is slapping this doctor
with all kinds of fines, because he never got permission for it. And now they’re finding out that the implications of manufacturing that kind of genetic code is fraught with all kinds of dangers. So, the old adage holds true. Knowledge is a deadly friend
when no one sets the rules, the fate of all mankind, I see, is in the hands of fools. The rock musicians told us that. And musicians are often more logical than those who just do
ordinary philosophy. So I think what it has to start with is, this bottom line question to me, David. What does it mean to be human? If we don’t answer that question, everything else is footnotes without a body of the substance. So to me, I often times
speak on that subject. What does it really mean to be human? Why do I have to respect
your essential worth? Regardless of our disagreements. Why am I sitting across you
if you’re actually thinking, I like this guy, he’s a good man, he’s a man who is thinking clearly. Even if we have our
fundamental disagreements, I have to respect your
right to your thinking. And hopefully in the end as we dialogue, the truth will have its way. – Yeah, you know it’s
funny, because I always say to Ben Shapiro who you referenced before, That whatever our political
disagreements are, I supposed if we can remain friends for another 50 years, then maybe one of us will concede a point here or there, which I think we’ve actually both done over just the course of a couple of years. But then at the end it’s like, well then. What’s the worst that happened? You know, we agree to disagree
when I’m 94 and he’s 87? – And the truth of the matter is, we can disagree on the law of gravity, but there is the law of gravity, you know? We can disagree on the human essence, but there’s only one explanation
of that human essence. So you know, fascinatingly, Jesus didn’t persuade
everybody whom He spoke to. There was some that walked away. And he looked at some of them and said, “Will you also leave Me at this point?” He looked at his disciples. The cost of truth is huge, but conviction with
compassion is indispensable. – So you mentioned Judeo-Christian values. And since we’ve talked about
Shapiro and Dennis Prager, who come at this, obviously,
from a Jewish perspective. And you can agree to
disagree on whatever those, those outside issues are. But when you walk away from a conversation with someone like the two of them, or someone from a different, from not a protestant
outlook on life, et cetera. Do you feel that they’re
missing something that is an invaluable point to your worldview? – Well, if truth by
definition is exclusive, and one disagrees with the other. There is still the necessity
of the truth, you know? Prager, I thought, had a wonderful answer when we were talking. And he’s very respectful
to me as I am of him. And Prager looked at me and said, “When Messiah comes, I will
have only one question for Him.” “Have You been here before?” And you know, I think that is. That tells me how the man is thinking. But let you give you another illustration. There’s a very great Hebrew
scholar in Jerusalem. I was writing a book on
comparative worldviews, and I spent some hours with him. Brilliant guy, Moshe Sharon. He has written more on the
inscriptions in the Middle East than anybody else, multiple volumes. If I’m not mistaken, 20 or 30 volumes. And he looked at me at one
point and he said this, he said, Mister Zacharias, you and
I may have our differences, but we have one very
essential thing in common. I said, “What is that, Sir?” He said, “Our goal in life is
to have communion with God.” I said, “I agree with you.” And then he went on to
say something fascinating about how he differed from
other religious worldviews on that matter, but not with
the Christian worldview. And that’s why I think the
Judeo-Christian worldivew. And Ben Shapiro said to me, you know, what was missing in the Old Testament? What was wrong? I said, no, it was not wrong. It was the gradual unfolding
of that relationship with God that we were offered, and that the grace that
is given to you and me, right from the beginning,
has hints of this. And the mirror of the law
told me my face was dirty. But the mirror couldn’t clean my face. I had to go to the faucet
to find that cleansing. I said, so it’s a
complimentary-ness and a completion. But to get to the heart
of your question, yes. I would go back and say, there’s one link here
that is not as strong. He may think the same of me. So the way I come at it is this. There are tests for truth, and there are objects of those tests. And I say it’s this. There are really four
questions of life, David. Origan, meaning, morality and destiny. That forms our worldview. Where did I come from? What does life actually mean? How do I differentiate good and evil? What happens to a human
being when he or she dies? And therefore, you put
the two tests of truth. Correspondence and coherence. Are my answers corresponding to reality? And when my answers are put together, is there a coherence to them? And to me in that
Judeo-Christian worldview, it meets the due tests of
coherence or correspondence with the four questions of life. – So then from there, without getting too lost
in the politics of the day. When I watch these debates or just sort of anything
that’s happening politically. I always am thinking, well
why would I want these people to have any power over my life? They don’t seem to be addressing anything that really matters, right? They’re not gonna really have an honest. You know, they’ll maybe ask
them a quick question on faith, and they give you some, some glib answer or something like that. But I think part of the issue
right now is that they feel. Politicians feel they can
solve all of man’s problems. But you would basically argue, these are not even for man
to solve in the first place, or something like that. – I think politics is a
necessary evil in our time. But a good politician is the
most difficult job in our time, and there are good people out there. I’ve met them, I know them. And they are the ones who grieve most as to what is happen. Somebody told me in, from
the State Department, “I’ve been here 30 years.” “I’ve never seen the mood
so toxic as it is now.” We need it, we need these structures. But I think we need examples to model it, not just to speak it. And most of the time, as I said. I’m very troubled about
what’s happening globally. I see it. I see two of the major
atheistic religions, or the atheistic countries of the world, demagogues in charge of that there, not giving their people
the freedom to believe or to disbelieve, while they are increasing
their footprint all over. America– – Wait, what’s this, you’re
talking about China and– – China and Russia.
– And Russia. – Yeah. And what are we doing out here? We are fighting each other, you know. There’s an old adage, how horses fight, and how donkeys fight. When horses fight, they face
each other, form a circle, and the attacker comes and
they kick against the attacker. When donkeys fight, they form a circle with their backs to each
other, and face the attacker. And what do they do? End up kicking each other to death. And so that’s the way are doing politics. Not all, by the way. There are good politicians there. But throwing the oil into the flames, one after another. Think of what the last two years have been spent by politicians. Doing peripheral stuff
while we’re fiddling, while Rome is burning. Here I am talking to you in Las Angeles. It grieved me this morning, to be sitting, having my
breakfast in a restaurant with a bowl of cereal, and looking at the number
of homeless walking by. It just crushed me, you know. What has brought all this about? Let’s sit down and find
a solution to this. Think of the number of people dying because of the opioid crisis. Think of our young people who are battling destruction in the family,
and the home, and all of this. We’re not addressing any of those things. Instead, what were your tax returns? It looks like we are only
following the money trail. We are not following
the trail of conscience and cultural wellbeing. – Well, we seem to be
following the shiny object that’s ever moving. – And it provokes those who
are with you on your side. You know, I’ve got to
punch that guy in the face. Really? And then what? My professor used to say, some people are better
at smelling rotten eggs than laying good ones. And that’s really what we’re doing. To go back, I think what we
need is a test of character. Not uniform in our beliefs, but a character that will hold integrity as a primary method of discourse. If you lose that, you lose the discourse. – Doesn’t it seem though, that that would be almost
impossible right now to break through the ether? Which is maybe why you said you think it’s gonna get worse
before it’s gonna get better? – And I think some great
tragedy will hit us, and then we will awaken. – Is that it? I mean that, I’ve said that once or twice, and I don’t like thinking it. You know what I mean? You don’t wanna think that. That something horrific
would have to happen so that it would be the
only way we could reset. Which of course, nobody wants to happen. And yet we find ourselves
in this weird thing. It’s like, what else? What else would do it? – That’s a good question, and
a worthy question, you know. I don’t think there’s a simplistic answer. But I just go with people
whom I know in my own heart. If everything is going well, okay, and then you start worrying
about your car, you know, that you bought a lemon, and
it’s not running properly. But all of a sudden you found out one of your children of grandchildren has just been hit in a car wreck. And their body is shattered. It changes everything of
importance right then. And I know people to whom it’s happened. They could be arguing, and
all of a sudden they found out they’ve got cancer of the
pancreas, or something. And the whole demeanor of life changes. So that’s the way, sometimes, our attention is brought
to what really matters. I’m hoping what happens individually, and relationally with our friends. It seems to be an intimation
of how we ultimately wake up to what’s happening. Think of the nuclear threat today. Who in their right mind would
want to see a nuclear war? You know, even just seeing pictures of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, and you say they’re hell on earth. But we’ve got regimes, but people who are willing
to do things like that. So, is it going to take
some awful cataclysmic event for us to say, “Stop,
everything has to stop.” “We have to sit down and talk.” I don’t know. The only other possibility,
David, is this. And that as a man who loves Christ, and loves the spiritual world as reality. Some great revival breaks out somewhere, and hearts get changed,
and we find a sympathy towards things that really matter. Not towards peripheral issues. That’s always a possibility. It’s happened in history. A dramatic change of
heart of an individual. I see it happening in prisons, I see it happening in arenas. And if that happens on a massive scale. Which is what a Christian
would call a revival, then that would be the only hope. – What do think the, this is a tough one. What do you think the sort of general state of happiness is? Say, across the world. In that, you know, we can look at. We constantly complain
about everything, and yes. Just in the six years that
I’ve lived in Las Angeles, are there way more homeless people there? Absolutely. And you know, they can talk about climate, and all of these things. And yet there’s so much counter to that. That infant mortality is
the lowest it’s ever been, that actually there’s more
green on earth than we can find. All of these different studies. We’ve eradicated most diseases, there’s less war right now
than at almost any time in human history. All of these things, not to
say there aren’t bad things. But is there a way to
sort of measure happiness across time? – Happiness is treated
as a thing to be pursued. To me it’s a byproduct. It is not. You know, there’s an old Hebrew parable. God is like the light. Happiness and prosperity
is like the shadow. If you walk towards the light,
a shadow will follow you. You turn your back upon the
light and chase the shadow, you will never, ever catch up to it. We have found means of administering temporary happiness that
have actually cost us more in the long run. And therefore, I think happiness
pursued is seldom attained. The good pursuit produces
the peaceful heart. It is really a question
of, “Are you at peace?” You know, Thomas Martin used to say, Man is not at peace with his fellow man, because he’s not at peace with himself. He’s not at peace with himself, because he’s not at peace with God. So let me take that middle part. If I am creating misery
for people around me, and I’m roughing people’s lives up. You know what that tells people? I am the one who’s messed up inside. It tells me more about myself
than about that person. That’s what I see in our world today. People are distributing
curses and displeasure, because they themselves have no peace within their own heart. If I’m at peace in my heart, David, I’m not gonna be coming and taking you out to spread some kind of
unhappiness, or whatever. You’ll see the overflow. We’ve got to get to
what it really matters. And that begins with our children. If we can impart to our
children a peaceful heart, a good and a decent
heart, think of what is. For example, a few weeks
ago I was speaking, at our own institute in Atlanta, okay? And there was a line. I had just had surgery
two days before that, so I was very uncomfortable. And I’d come off an incubation,
my voice was still raspy. But there was a lineup of people who wanted to say hello. And I knew I couldn’t stay any longer, I had already been on my feet for so long. So I looked down the line,
and I saw a young boy. And he looked very disconsolate. So I just waved him over. I said I’m leaving soon, but
you look like a troubled man. What’s going on, can I help you? He said, Mister Zacharias,
I’m 13 years old. In 11 days I’ll be 14. And in 11 days I have to go to court and choose between my
father and my mother. – [Dave] Wow. – Yeah. That’s exactly what I felt,
like a stab in my heart. And no wonder his face showed it. Now, that’s an issue, that’s a problem. But we don’t address
how to build safe places for our children to grow up, and feel un-intimidated
with their honest questions and their struggles. But if you’re falling apart
in your own relationships, how do you impart it to the children? So I just say, if we have nothing to give from within the peace in our own heart, we’re only distributing more
displeasure and unhappiness. Unhappiness is also not gained. It’s a symptom of what is going
on inside the person’s life. – I think that’s the
right way to end a chat. That felt right to me. Did that feel right to you? – Yes, sir. Provide we flip it and say, you can find happiness and peace by doing that which God
has called us to do. So rather than end on
the note of unhappiness, on the note of happiness,
that it can be gained, because the gift of God. But thanks so much. You’ve made me feel very comfortable here, and I hope we can do it again. – It was an absolute pleasure,
I would love to do it again. Maybe we’ll do it either
with Ben, or with Dennis, or we can get some of the atheists. We can maybe try Sam
Harris or Micheal Shermer. And have that conversation. – We’ll do it. – Yeah, and actually I’m gonna
be in Atlanta in October, so I’d love to come by and– – Can we do that, David?
– Yeah. – I think I’d like. Let us know the dates. If we’re in town, I’d be
honored to host you there, and even maybe speak to our
staff and our people there. It will be an honor. – It will be a pleasure. Well, thank you so much for coming in. We you see, internet. We made it happen, there you go. For more on Ravi, you can
follow him on Twitter. He’s got good branding. It’s @ravizacharias. If you’re looking for more honest and thoughtful
conversations about spirituality instead of non-stop yelling, check out our spirituality playlist. And if you wanna watch full interviews on a variety of topics, check out our full episode playlist. They’re all right over here. And to get notified of all future videos, be sure to subscribe and
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Clearing the Planet | Scientology


Watching Knowing Better, when you see a PragerU
video, it’s not like anyone else, because you see it, you know you have to do something
about it, because you know you’re the only one who can really help. Someone who watches Knowing Better is someone
who can look at the world and really see what it is, and not only look at it and see it,
but be able to go pew and be effective and do something about it. Haha and uhh… they said “so like, have
you seen a 4KTV?” Hahaha! And I looked at them, and you know, and I
thought what a beautiful thing because one day, it’ll be like that, you know what I’m
saying? Maybe one day it’ll be like “wow 4KTVs,
like, they’ll just read about those in the history books,” you know? I do what I can and I do it the way I do everything. Haha. There’s nothing part of the way for me,
haha it’s just pew! The story of Scientology is really the story
of its founder, L Ron Hubbard, which his followers abbreviate to LRH. We’re going to be hearing a lot of Scientology
lingo here and much of it is just initials. L Ron Hubbard was a navy brat and his father
was stationed in Guam, he failed out of university and tried to join the military once or twice. Then he became a science fiction writer. During the Great Depression, he became the
most prolific writer in history using twenty different pseudonyms. He still holds several Guinness World Records. He was paid a penny a word for his pulp fiction
novels and would top out at 100,000 words a month. This script is just shy of 6000 words. His science fiction books actually contain
a lot of concepts and names that later come up in Scientology. But that’s not really the point of giving
you his background. The reason I went through that is because
of his father’s military service, his short university attendance, and his seemingly constant
book publishing… We pretty much always know where he was and
what he was doing. Yes, I’ve slept with bandits in Mongolia
and I’ve hunted with pygmies in the Philippines, as a matter of fact I’ve studied 21 different
primitive races – including the white race. No he didn’t, he’s lying. Pretty much his entire life is accounted for
and he never went on any adventures to the far reaches of the world. But then World War 2 happened and the standards
for entry were lowered. This is probably the most important event
in his life – as it was for many others I suppose – he was a Lieutenant put in charge
of a subchaser patrol boat. And by all accounts was a major soup sandwich. He once dropped all of his ordnance on what
he thought were two Japanese submarines but turned out to be a floating log and a month
later he accidentally shelled a Mexican island. His evaluations from superior officers aren’t
very kind. Consider this officer lacking in the essential
qualities of judgment, leadership, and cooperation. He acts without forethought as to probable
results. This officer is not satisfactory for independent
duty assignment. He is garrulous and tries to give impressions
of his importance. Not temperamentally fitted for independent
command. Those were three different people across three
different years. After the war he rejoined his writing buddies
Hollywood and got involved in a black magic sex cult. Trying to summon the literal anti-christ. Now, I tell you all of this not to make fun,
although it is pretty funny, but to tell you the foundational myth of Scientology. Think of it like the crucifixion of Jesus
or the parting of the Red Sea. LRH claims that he was crippled and blinded
by the war – the story shifts depending on when he’s telling it, sometimes he’s
the sole survivor of his downed destroyer and was blinded by the sun while adrift at
sea, other times it was shrapnel and muzzle flashes. The important part is that L Ron Hubbard claims
he healed himself using the methods that later became Dianetics. Proving this wrong would be akin to finding
Jesus’ body, it would shake everything. Military records are pretty solid and easily
accessible. He never earned a Purple Heart or any of the
medals that he claims, at the end of the war he was hospitalized for a stomach ulcer and
pink eye. After treatment, the Naval Board stated that
he was… Considered physically qualified to perform
duty ashore, preferably within the continental United States. He also wrote to the VA several times requesting
psychiatric treatment for “long periods of moroseness” and “suicidal inclinations.” The Church of Scientology claims that these
records have been falsified in order to cover up the truth. They also claim that his involvement in the
occult was part of a Naval Intelligence assignment… so… you know. After World War 2 there was an explosion of
religious fervor in the west. Not only was there an increased interest in
established religions, which gave rise to evangelicals like Billy Graham, but an interest
in previously unknown eastern religions, like Buddhism. This was also when alternative medicine, and
acupuncture, and yoga became popular. People were hungry for new ways to improve
their lives and expand their mind… which is why drugs also became more popular. The point is that the stage was set for someone
like L Ron Hubbard to come along. In 1950, he wrote Dianetics: The Modern Science
of Mental Health, and middle class white people ate it up. It spent 28 weeks on the New York Times Bestseller
list. In this book, LRH claims that these are the
methods he used to cure himself of his war injuries, and that using these methods, you
can cure yourself of all sorts of mental and physical ailments. He also claims that for every hour of Dianetics,
your IQ will rise by one point. I tested people before Scientology processing
and after Scientology processing and uniformly found that their IQ has rised,
He once claimed that he raised a boy’s IQ from 83 to 212. Now, for those of you who don’t know, IQ
is a standard distribution where the average person – and the majority of people – are
at 100. The majority of tests really only place people
between 30 and 170, but technically the whole scale goes from 0 to 200. It’s just not possible to have an IQ over
two hundred. Surely you’ve only got as much brain as
you’re born with. Oh no, brain has nothing to do with it. Brain is a sort of… well I don’t know,
brain is brain. What it does I’m never quite sure and I
don’t think anybody else is. In Dianetics, Hubbard theorizes that there
are two parts to the human mind. The analytical, which is just stimulus and
response, a completely rational machine, like a computer that perfectly processes and records
everything. And the unconscious reactive mind. This is where all of your emotions, fears,
and psychological ailments come from. It’s also the source of physical ailments
like asthma. Your memories and thoughts are recorded into
what he calls engrams, and its these engrams that cause all of your problems. As anyone who’s ever talked to the cryptarch
would know. You can get rid of these engrams through a
Dianetic Reverie, which was basically self-hypnosis, where you would think about a thing until
it no longer had any effect on you. Kind of like exposure therapy for PTSD or
a phobia. You would continue to do this until all of
your engrams had been erased and your reactive mind was completely eliminated. This is what he called the state of “clear.” That means that the individual has erased
what the Freudian said was his basic illness, which is his reactive mind, his unconscious
mind is gone. And he is totally alert and totally capable. In August 1950, three months after Dianetics
was published, Hubbard produced the first clear, a physics student named Sonya Bianca,
and presented her to an audience to show off her abilities. She couldn’t remember basic formulas or
even what color tie LRH was wearing. It would be another 16 years before he produced
any others and of course, not publicly, but that didn’t stop him from continuing to
sell and practice Dianetics. LRH thought that his book was going to be
a breakthrough in the field of psychology and mental health. But it was rejected by the APA and described
as neither science, nor science fiction, but fictional science. Dianetics was the homeopathy of psychology. It rose at the same time as other new religious
movements, alternative medicine, and self-help, and as people started to realize that they
weren’t getting the gains that he had promised, it fell apart. Hubbard was hit with numerous lawsuits for
false claims and even criminal action for practicing medicine without a license. By 1952, Dianetics clubs around the country
had shut down and Hubbard was bankrupt, even losing the rights to the name Dianetics. Because of these legal issues, LRH went to
great lengths to distance his next project from psychology and psychiatry, even branding
them as the enemy. Is this a form of psychoanalysis? No, psychoanalysis they lay back and… don’t
associate Scientology with such people. In 1952, he incorporated a number of different
churches under different names but the ultimate winner of the branding war was the Church
of Scientology. Scient, coming from the latin Scientia for
knowledge, and ology meaning the study of… the study of knowledge. He replaced the idea of self-guided Dianetic
reveries by introducing an auditor who would use an e-meter to “process” people through
eliminating their reactive mind. According to Scientology, an e-meter locates
an engram and measures its charge. In truth, an e-meter measures the galvanic
skin response, or skin conductivity, it’s one of the measurements used in a lie detector. It just measures how sweaty your fingers are. Years later, the FDA required e-meters to
carry a label stating that is does not diagnose or treat any illnesses and is instead just
a religious artifact. Because of the two handles, Scientologists
refer to using an e-meter as being “on the cans.” Scientology uses a number of different symbols,
but perhaps its most recognizable is the eight-pointed cross. Which seems a little bit like plagiarism,
but is also somewhat intentional. I discovered that the common denominator of
existence was survive. Whatever else man was trying to do, whether
he was cultured or primitive and so on, he was attempting to survive. Survive. The eight-pointed cross represents the eight
dynamics of survival. The first dynamic is the survival of the self. The second is the survival of sex and children,
which they usually sum up to mean family in order to sound a little less weird. Then the survival of the group, whether that’s
a country or a race. The fourth dynamic is the survival of all
mankind. Then all of life, including all animals. The sixth dynamic is the survival of the physical
universe, made up of matter, energy, space, and time, or MEST, this becomes important
later, so remember that. The seventh dynamic is the survival of the
spirit. And the final eighth dynamic is the survival
of infinity, which is sometimes viewed as the Supreme Being or a Higher Power. Hubbard and therefore Scientology, views individual
humans as three entities, the mind, the body, and the spirit. Not exactly groundbreaking, most religions
have a similar view. The key difference here is that the spirit,
known as a thetan, is an immortal being that has lived and will live many lives. Again, reincarnation isn’t exactly a new
idea either. Hubbard had initially rejected the idea of
past lives during Dianetics, but as people continued to report engrams from Napoleonic
or Elizabethan times during auditing sessions… in order to explain that, it was incorporated
into Scientology. Scientology wasn’t just written and then
handed down to the masses, it was developed as he was getting feedback from his followers. As part of this development, L Ron Hubbard
created the Bridge to Total Freedom, it’s kind of like a course list for Scientology. Buddhism has the Noble Eight-fold Path, Scientology
has the Bridge to Total Freedom. It’s fairly complicated looking, the left
side, known as Training is for auditors, and the right side, known as Processing is for
everyone else. Most everything up to the state of Clear is
just repackaged Dianetics – and that is where most people see the most benefit. Scientology recruits people through small
courses that maybe only cost 50 to 100 dollars. It starts by taking a personality test they
call the Oxford Capacity Analysis and is not at all affiliated with Oxford University. The purpose of that test is to find your “ruin”
– in marketing they would call it a pain point, something that bothers you personally
that they can then sell you the solution to. Scientology is for an able guy like you, or
like me, able to function in life, able to make his own way, does his work and so forth. Alright, that’s the man that should be helped,
that’s the man you should help out, because that fellow is having a hard time. Yeah, I’m afraid that you are completely
miserable and totally depressed. I am?! I didn’t know that! Well there’s certainly no question that
you are a perfect candidate for Scientology. Are you having trouble with your marriage? Personal finances? Do you have a hard time studying or focusing
in class? What about drugs, do you have a problem with
drugs? Scientology has the solution… for a nominal
fee. That last one is particularly dangerous, they
market it as the Purification Rundown and it’s the first step on the bridge. They also call it Narconon, not to be confused
with the actual Narcotics Anonymous, a twelve-step program similar to Alcoholics Anonymous. There’s nothing new or even wrong about
having a religious element in a detox or rehab program. But Narconon and the Purification Rundown
have no medical or psychological aspect. Scientology teaches that the only way to get
this out of your system is through hard manual labor, exercise, and sweating it out in a
sauna. This is extremely dangerous, depending on
what you’re withdrawing from. But now you’re on the bridge and you’re
taking classes that guarantee the ability to communicate freely with anyone on any subject
or the ability to recognize the source of problems and make them vanish. And relief from the hostilities and sufferings
of life… nice. It’s also vague enough that you can get
these things from most self-help, therapy, or even just practice. And if you don’t, that’s because there
is something wrong with you, not Scientology. If despite all that trouble and care, the
case did not gain — or if the case simply didn’t gain despite auditing no matter how
many years or intensives, then you’ve caught your Suppressive Person. A Suppressive Person or SP is the label given
to someone who doesn’t see any gains from Scientology, leaves Scientology, or speaks
out against Scientology. It’s quite possible that I’m going to
be labelled an SP, or at least a Potential Trouble Source. Many of the people who went through the beginnings
of Scientology in the 50s and 60s were kicked out and labelled as SPs, which then opened
them up to the Fair Game policy. Fair Game means that Scientology can use whatever
means necessary to discredit and destroy that person – which I am not looking forward
to. The Church of Scientology claims that the
practice is no longer in effect, but back then, LRH would write letters to the FBI and
the CIA talking about how these people, including his ex-wives, were secret communists. This was during the Red Scare and McCarthyism,
remember. Likewise, all of that information you gave
them during your auditing sessions is put into what they call a Preclear or PC Folder
and can and will be used against you in Fair Game. An auditor isn’t a doctor or priest, there
is no promise of confidentiality. As Scientology’s presence grew and they
became the subject of several lawsuits, the government found that LRH was using church
funds for personal gain. As a result, in 1967, the IRS stripped the
Church of Scientology of their tax-exempt status. To avoid any government action, Hubbard took
to the high seas, founding the Sea Organization, or simply Sea Org, the most important element
of the church which basically functions as its clergy and members sign a billion-year
contract. The Sea Org was LRH’s personal navy and
he even appointed himself commodore. It’s even marketed much like the navy and
their stated mission is to clear the planet. Roll Credits. They spent several years bouncing around the
Mediterranean looking for lost treasure, getting kicked out and banned from several countries
and even allegedly participated in an attempted coup in Morocco in 1971. It was during this time that LRH developed
the Operating Thetan levels. These are the levels on the Bridge beyond
the state of Clear, they are cause over matter, energy, space, and time. This is also where things go from self-help
and therapy to religion. Look is this a religion, because my family
is like Catholic or something. You could be a Christian and be a Scientologist,
okay? That you can be a not only Scientologist but
a Roman Catholic and an Anglican as well? Oh yes, as a matter of sober fact, we have
many many denominations in Scientology. Then how come that sign says Church of Scientology? It is a religion because it’s dealing with
the spirit, you as a spiritual being. Scientology could be called… well, you can
call it a religion of religions. They say that as a hook. If they came out of the gate saying it was
a religion, most people who already have a religion would just walk away. But make no mistake, the further along you
get in Scientology, the more of a religion it becomes. It starts out helping you with drugs or marital
issues, then you’re going through auditing to clear your unconscious reactive mind, and
so far, it’s probably helping. And once you’re in for seven or eight years
and a quarter million dollars, it becomes a religion. If you’re a Catholic, or any other sort
of Christian, or let’s be honest, even if you’re not a Christian, you know what the
first few sentences of this book are. Or at the very least you can paraphrase it. You can find this book everywhere, likely
for free, you’ve probably turned down someone handing these out on the street. The point is, you probably know the creation
story and can look it up anywhere. Scientology is different, you have to go through
all the stages up to clear and buy all of Hubbard’s books and lectures for well over
4000 dollars before you find it out. It costs a fortune if you’re a regular Scientologist,
but – and it’s a huge but – everything is free if you join the Sea Org. Which is the primary recruitment tool by the
way, I mean, how else are they going to get you to sign over your life for the next billion
years? This is cognitive dissonance in action. By the time you hear Scientology’s creation
myth, you are so invested, both in time and money, that you almost have to believe it. Hubbard wrote this story in 1967 for Operating
Thetan level three, which he calls the Wall of Fire. Scientologists believe that hearing this story
before you’re mentally prepared will cause you to go insane so… Surgeon General’s warning. But in all fairness, you’ve probably already
heard this story, most famously from South Park in 2005. It all began 75 million years ago, back then
there was a galactic federation of planets which was ruled over by the evil lord Xenu. I’m not going to show the entire thing because,
you know, copyright. Oddly enough, this information had gotten
out before South Park, and the Church of Scientology tried to take it down on copyright grounds. The weird thing about filing a copyright claim
Is that in order to make the claim, you have to prove that its yours. So when South Park put this little disclaimer
on the screen… The frozen alien bodies were loaded onto Xenu’s
galactic cruisers, which look like DC8s, except with rocket engines. They’re telling the truth. There’s even a recording of L Ron Hubbard
telling this story. The DC8 airplane is the exact copy of the
space plane of that day. It’s easy to make fun of this, right? So that’s not necessarily what I want to
do here, except to explain how these beliefs shape Scientology. The OT3 materials state that the universe
was created 4 quadrillion years ago. 75 million years ago, which was before the
dinosaurs were wiped out, Xenu was facing an overpopulation problem. He selected people to be killed by… and
I wish I was joking… one of the mechanisms they used was to tell them to come in for
an income tax investigation. Remember, this was the same year that the
Church of Scientology was stripped of its tax-exempt status, so yet again, the enemies
of the church were folded into the doctrine. These aliens were then disposed of by throwing
them into volcanoes on Teegeeack, which was Earth. The disembodied thetan spirits were then captured
and forced to view what LRH calls R6 Implants, which are false memories that we later acted
out and became our religions and histories. These thetans aimlessly roamed the Earth and
eventually attached themselves to humans. You can have hundreds of them in, on, and
near your body. They can be up to sixty feet away and still
influence you. And these brainwashed, confused, lost alien
souls are the source of all of man’s problems. Does your elbow hurt? That’s a body thetan. Are you afraid of spiders? Body thetan. So not only do you have your own engrams to
have to work on eliminating, but OT3 to OT7 is dedicated to eliminating these body thetans. At this point in Scientology you’re also
auditing yourself, so you know… honor system. You see how you can’t believe this and that
god created the world in seven days? As a practical matter, Scientologists are
expected to and do become fully devoted to Scientology to the exclusion of other faiths. In fact, that whole Adam and Eve and Noah’s
Ark story are just R6 Implants from Lord Xenu 75 million years ago. Why do you think man was put on this planet? Well he was put here he was put here and he
was supposed to make his own way out of it. Who put him here? Well call it… Ha ha ha. Again, it’s easy to laugh at this story. But you have to put yourself back in the mind
of someone experiencing this in the 60s. We hadn’t landed on the moon yet. So when you’ve signed over your life for
the next billion years and everyone around you also believes this – because anyone
who doesn’t is kicked out – it’s fairly easy to see why you’d buy into it. Especially if you were experiencing legitimate
gains from all the previous courses. If you do waiver in your beliefs but don’t
want to get kicked out, or you’re considered out-ethics, you’re sent to the Rehabilitation
Project Force, or RPF. He was a science fiction writer, get used
to the silly names. The RPF is like an extreme boot camp, or prison,
for Sea Org members where many alleged abuses and inhumane practices occur. The Sea Org has also participated in many,
not-alleged, proven in court clandestine operations. In 1973 Operation Snow White involved infiltrating
over a hundred government agencies, the American Medical Association, the American Psychological
Association, and numerous news agencies around the world with the goal of finding and destroying
any information they had on the Church of Scientology. It is still the largest domestic espionage
operation to ever take place, with over 5000 Sea Org members participating. Operation Freakout was one of the first major
uses of the Fair Game policy, with the goal of destroying Paullette Cooper, a journalist
who wrote a book about Scientology. They tried to frame her for various bomb threats
and sued her in numerous countries. They even imported her book to other countries
specifically so they could sue her from that country. It almost worked too, she was about to go
to prison. But in 1977 the FBI raided church offices
and uncovered all of this information, which led to several high-ranking church officials
going to prison instead, including LRH’s wife Mary Sue. They also discovered files related to Project
Normandy, a plot to take over the city of Clearwater, Florida. Clearwater is the spiritual headquarters for
Scientology, think of it like their Vatican. It’s known as Flag Land Base, or simply
Flag. It’s the only place you can get OT6 and
above and is also the headquarters for the Flag Service Organization, also known as Staff
by Sea Org members. All of LRH’s policies and directives are
known as Flag Orders. If you visit a hotel in Clearwater, it’s
almost guaranteed to be owned by the Church of Scientology. And they don’t pay any property tax on it,
which I’ll get to later. The Hollywood headquarters, the big blue building
you all recognize, is known as the Pacific Area Command base or PAC base. It’s also pretty close to the Celebrity
Centre International, and yes it it spelled that way. Scientology has a long history of recruiting
celebrities in order to increase their popularity, they use celebrities to sell shoes and car
insurance, so why not a religion? Celebrities have come and gone over the years,
but by far the highest profile member is Tom Cruise. Ha ha ha ha ha! Sea Org members basically wait on him hand
and foot when he’s staying in Clearwater or Gold Base, near Riverside, California. I told you to get used to the silly names. This is the infamous compound with bladed
fences that not only keep people out, but keep people in. While Clearwater is the spiritual headquarters,
Gold Base is the corporate headquarters. Scientology also operates a number of bases
around the world like Trementina Base, where L Ron Hubbard’s writings are kept on steel
tablets in an underground vault. Could you imagine being so important that
your accomplishments are put on a steel tablet? The goal of Trementina is to preserve LRH’s
works for the next 10,000 years because – oh yeah, he died in 1986, did I forget to mention
that? At 2000 hours Friday, the 24th of January
AD 36, L Ron Hubbard discarded the body. The body he had used to facilitate his existence
in this MEST universe had ceased to be useful, and in fact had become an impediment to the
work he now must do outside of its confines. LRH died of a stroke… unless the coroner’s
report was also falsified. But of course, the new leader of the church,
David Miscavige, known as COB for Chairman of the Board, had to tell people that he voluntarily
discarded the body to continue researching further levels of OT. Operating Thetans are supposed to be inpervious
to illness or injury, so if he can’t survive, how can anyone else? The several bases the Sea Org operates around
the world all have this large infinity symbol somewhere, so that LRH’s thetan can find
its way back home. Because, like many messiahs, there will be
a second coming. The reason you sign a billion year contract
when you join the Sea Org is because you are an immortal spirit, a thetan, and when you
die you’re given a 21 year leave of absence to find your way back. L Ron Hubbard’s thetan has been AWOL for
over 12 years. The fact that you’re an immortal spirit
really changes the family dynamic in Scientology. In that there is no family in Scientology. Now, celebrities and public Scientologists
get to have families sure, but Sea Org members are expected to either not have children or
turn them over at a certain age because they’re a distraction. They believe that children are immortal thetans
in tiny bodies. As a result, they are treated like adults,
disciplined like adults, and expected to work like adults. As you might have guessed, there are rampant
accusations of abuse… alleged abuse. Most Scientologists right now are second or
third generation, they really aren’t getting any new members. And they’re losing members at quite an amazing
pace. OT7 will take someone 15 to 20 years to complete
and costs almost a million dollars. OT8 was released a few years after LRH died
and is only given aboard the Sea Org’s flagship the Freewinds. Remember that one game that was super hyped
a few years ago and then once it came out and people played it for a while they really
hated it? You know the game. OT8 is known as the Truth Revealed and teaches
that everything you’ve worked on up to this point was a construct of your reactive mind
and various body thetans. So now, we can get to work on you. It’s basically a fade to black and start
over at the beginning. It’s No Man’s Sky, I was talking about
No Man’s Sky… I’m still mad about that. OT9 through 15, which COB said LRH had completed,
haven’t been released and it’s been 30 years. As you might imagine, many OT8s ragequit. Many of them had preordered OT9, 10, and 11,
and have just lost that money since the church doesn’t really do refunds. Never preorder the season pass. The International Association of Scientologists,
or IAS, is the required membership club for Scientologists. It costs 5000 dollars to be a lifetime member
and 50,000 to be a patron. It only costs like a dollar to be a Knowing
Better patron! They meet several times a year in order to
give out freedom medals and bang the drum about how much great work they’re doing. They claim that they have 8 million members. But because they were given back their tax-exempt
status in 1993, they have to provide certain information to the government. They have maybe 30,000 members worldwide…
if even that. The videos claiming that they reach millions
of people each year are produced by one of Scientology’s many propaganda arms, Golden
Era Productions. They also operate a number of other organizations
that pretend they’re not Scientologists, but totally are. We’ve already talked about Narconon, but
they operate another group known as the Citizen’s Commission on Human Rights which tries to
destroy the Psychiatry profession. They’re the ones who run the Psychiatry
Museum of Death. They also operate the STAND League, Scientologists
taking action against discrimination… I don’t know where the N comes from. It’s supposed to fight for religious freedom
and they run a number of Twitter bots. Scientology has a history of inflating their
numbers and attacking the enemy, whether they be psychiatrists, suppressive people, or the
IRS. As I mentioned, in 1993, the IRS re-instated
the Church’s tax-exempt status. It came after years of lawsuits not only being
filed against the IRS, but individual employees of the IRS, in every jurisdiction imaginable. They would send people to BFE Alaska just
to file a lawsuit from there that the IRS was then required to respond to. All in all, there were 2400 active lawsuits
by 1993 that suddenly disappeared when they were recognized as a religion. It’s strange, but when you think about it,
there really is no agency or organization with the authority to decide who is and isn’t
a religion. Except the IRS when deciding which 501(c)(3)
applications are approved. Is Scientology a cult? Well… you could ask the Cult Awareness Network,
they sound like a group that would have the answer to that. Except they’re run by Scientology too. Many countries have labelled them as one,
but the United States hasn’t necessarily. I certainly wouldn’t call them one. But there are models we can look at and questions
we can ask to determine if it fits that label. A dead giveaway of a cult is that you can’t
leave. A Scientologist who leaves is said to have
“blown” and they’re ostracized by their friends and family who are still in, in a
practice is known as disconnection. The church denies that this practice exists
and that members freely choose not to talk to ex-members. It’s important to remember that Scientology
wasn’t necessarily designed to be manipulative and controlling. It was born during the 50s and 60s, along
with dozens, if not hundreds of other similar movements. Scientology is just one of the few to have
passed through the filter of time, maybe that’s because it works for some people, maybe that’s
because of its cult-like practices. It’s easy to laugh at many of its ideas. But this was before brain imaging like the
MRI, back when the government was legitimately testing mind control drugs, and before we
started to explore our solar system. Scientology was founded five years before
Sputnik was launched. So you can’t blame his followers for buying
into his science fiction stories, because they didn’t have access to Brilliant.org/knowingbetter. Brilliant is a problem-solving website where
you can learn about Math, Science, and Astronomy. Brilliant breaks down these concepts into
bite sized engrams so you can understand them before moving on and saying something like
“The length of time from the planet Coltis to the planet Teegeeack, which was the name
of this planet, was nine weeks. And you’ll see that it’s many lightyears.” How can someone travel faster than the speed
of light? Brush up on your Einstein in this course on
Special Relativity. “In view of the fact that Einstein was absolutely
right, that no man can travel faster than the speed of light, which is a bunch of baldersdash.” Don’t sound like this guy, head on over
to brilliant.org/knowingbetter and get 20% off, you’ll also be supporting the channel
when you do. Scientology is referred to as a UFO religion
because of their incorporation of aliens and other science fiction elements and it was
born during a time when people were curious about space and hungry new ways to improve
their lives. The people who joined Scientology weren’t
stupid, they just wanted to believe. And the next time someone offers to give you
a stress test or tells you they can provide you with the secret to happiness for a nominal
fee, kifflom! I’d like to give a shout out to my newest
legendary patron, Richard. If you’d like to add your name to this list
of operating thetans, head on over to patreon.com/knowingbetter. In the meantime don’t forget to audit that
subscribe button, follow me on twitter and facebook, and join us on the subreddit.

The Meaning of Holiness: The Holiness of God with R.C. Sproul


We’re now about to begin our fifth session
in our study on the holiness of God, and what is ironic about this, and perhaps
even maddening to you, is that all the way up until this point in our study I have
not begun to define the meaning of the word “holy.” I’ve used it, I’ve tried to
stress the importance of it, we’ve seen the traumatic influence it communicates,
we’ve seen how it relates to justice and to the potential insanity of a man like
Martin Luther, but what exactly does the Bible mean by the word “holy”? I notice in
our own language and in our own vocabulary the term “holy” seems to be used among us,
particularly among Christians, as a synonym for moral purity or for
righteousness, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but it may be a little bit
misleading because in the Scriptures there are two primary or basic meanings to the
word “holy”; and I really shouldn’t say two primary. There’s one primary and one
secondary — two major meanings, if you will, of the term “holy.” The secondary
meaning of this word in Scripture is that which refers to personal righteousness and
purity, but the primary meaning of the word “holy” means separate, or if you
will, theologicalThat which is holy is that which is other — O-T-H-E-R — that
which is different from something else. And so when the Bible speaks about God’s
holiness, the primary thrust of those statements is to refer to God’s
transcendence, to refer to His magnificence, to refer to that sense in
which God is higher and superior to anything that there is in the creaturely
realm. Again, the simplest way to discuss this is that that which is holy is that
which is different. Look through your Bible sometime and see how the term “holy”
is used as an adjective. Not only is God described as holy, we hear about the Holy
Spirit, the Holy One of Israel. We hear about holy ground, holy vessels, holy
moments. In fact, the anthropologists and sociologists have studied human experience
and noticed that all people have some sense of holy time and holy space. Think
back to your childhood, to that special place where you wanted to go when your
life was troubled — maybe it was to your room, maybe it was to a little cozy
section in the woods or in the lawn under your favorite tree. Whenever you were
depressed or distressed or your parents hollered at you, and you wanted to go grab
the kitty-cat and go sit and cry, you went to a certain place, and that place took on
special significance to you. Every year there’s one day in the year that is
special in your life. It’s your birthday, where you celebrate a moment in time that
has a special importance to you; and during the course of the year, we as
people celebrate what we call what? Holidays. Now holiday means a holy day, a
day that is different from the ordinary days, that is special. It’s set apart for
a particular kind of remembrance. Sacred space, sacred time, sacred things are all
a part of our lives. I remember when I was teaching a course in seminary many, many
years ago where I committed the unpardonable sin of a seminary professor.
I lost my temper with a student. I mean I …let me be candid with you. Sometimes
you know your students say, “I don’t want to ask a dumb question,” and I — I say,
“Now look, don’t ever be embarrassed to ask me a question. The only dumb question
is the one you’re really afraid to ask. I mean any question that you have that’s
important to you, it’s important to me.” And I really believed that — that I
should take seriously any question that a student raises, but every now and then,
ladies and gentlemen, you really do get a dumb question. And it is my task as a
professor to, again, treat the student with dignity. Well I had a student once
that made me lose it. I was lecturing on the Lord’s Supper, and his question was
not so much a question as an expression of unbridled cynicism. He put his hand up,
and I acknowledged him. He said, “What’s the big deal about bread and wine? Why do
we have to do that? Why can’t we just have peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and
coca-cola?” That’s when I lost it. I just felt this rage just flowing up out of my
soul. He grated my sensitivity when he said that, and instead of giving a polite,
genteel, professorial response to him, I said, “You want to know why we don’t have
peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and coca-cola at Holy Communion? Because Jesus
never consecrated peanut butter and jelly or coca-cola.” I just wanted to kill him.
Why? Because he had just profaned with his question something that was precious and
holy in my experience. But what is it that makes the bread and the wine so special?
What is it that makes any moment in history so special? What is it that makes
a piece of real estate holy ground? Why is it that Noah marked the spot where he
landed with a — built an altar? And Abraham built an altar to God. Why is it
that we are drawn to take something that is common and make it extraordinary
because of its significance? It’s not because of the intrinsic value of these
objects, but what makes something sacred, what makes something holy is the touch of
God upon it. When the one who himself is other and different touches that which is
ordinary, it becomes extraordinary. When He touches you, you become uncommon, and
so the difference between the profane and the holy is the difference between the
common and the uncommon, between the earthly and the heavenly. Not too long ago
I saw a study of phobias in the United States where the ten most common phobias
were listed — the things that people are most frightened about. You know fear of
cats and fear of — you know claustrophobia — fear of crowded spaces,
and so on. Fear of death. Do you know what the number one fear of was, incidentally,
of American people — the number one phobia? The fear of standing in front of a
group and giving a talk, like I’m doing right now. It’s awful, but there is a
phobia called xenophobia. How many of you have never heard that word before —
xenophobia? Okay, those of you who don’t have your hands up, I’m going to call to
ask you to give a — well, I got a whole lot more hands up in the air. Xenophobia
is the fear of strangers or foreigners. We have a tendency to be frightened by people
whose customs are different from ours, and the supreme form of xenophobia that we
have is our fear of the living God because He is so different from us. He is high and
exalted. One of the most fascinating studies that I’ve ever read and I would
commend to you for your careful attention is a book that appeared early in the
Twentieth Century by a German theologian who was also an anthropologist. His name
was Rudolf Otto, and he wrote a very little book, but a book that many
theologians consider one of the most important books of the Twentieth Century.
It’s a very skinny little book, and the original title was called simply “Das
Heilige,” translated into the English under the title “The Idea of the Holy.”
And what Otto did was this, that I found so interesting, was that he went around,
and he examined people from different cultures — Aborigines, Europeans,
different people — and tried to find out what they regarded as holy or sacred in
their culture. And then he did studies phenomenologically to see what the normal
human reactions are to the holy, and then after making this study he tried to
distill the essence of human experience of the holy and come up with some
conclusions. And one of the conclusions — he used to do this by inventing phrases to
describe these things, and when — if you would ask Rudolf Otto, “Dr. Otto, what is
the holy?” the answer he gave was this: “That the holy is the Mysterium
Tremendum.” I have a Latin phrase for everything — Mysterium Tremendum. Now what does he mean by that?
He said that the experience that we have of the holy is an experience of
something very strange and impossible to penetrate and to fathom. It is mysterious,
but it is also powerful, and this awesome, mysterious power provokes a sense of fear
within us. Listen to how Otto describes it this — what he calls the awful
mystery. He says this: “The feeling of it may at times come sweeping like a gentle
tide, pervading the mind with the tranquil mood of deepest worship; or it may pass
over into a more set and lasting attitude of the soul, continuing as it were,
thrillingly vibrant and resonant until at last it dies away, and the soul resumes
its profane, non-religious mood of everyday experience.” Can you relate to
that? Everybody in this room has had those pregnant moments of awareness of the
presence of God, haven’t you? They’re not part of our ordinary, daily experience.
Ordinary experience even for the most devout Christian is basically profane.
We’re not flooded every second in our soul with this acute sense of the presence of
God, and yet every Christian knows what it means to have the precious moment of
awareness of the presence of God. “But it’s fleeting, as if it may burst in
sudden eruption up from the depths of the soul with spasms and convulsions, or lead
to the strangest excitements to intoxicated frenzy and to transport into
ecstasy. It has its wild and demonic forms and can sink to an almost grisly horror
and shuddering and so on.” He describes the fact that not everybody responds in
the same way to an awareness of the holy. “Some people become whirling dervishes in
all kinds of flamboyant activity. Other people are moved to absolute silence and
contemplation.” But what he detected in this study of the holy is this: that
across the board, throughout varying civilizations the basic response of human
beings to whatever they consider holy — to be holy — is a response of
ambivalence. Ambivalence meaning this: that we have conflicting feelings about
the holy, that there is something about the holiness of God that attracts us, but
there’s also something about the holiness of God that repels us and frightens us. On
the one hand it fascinates, and on the other it terrifies. Have you ever wondered
about the way in which we sometimes like to scare ourselves — little kids wanting
to get together and tell ghost stories? Have you seen them do that? I remember
when my son was a little boy he wanted to sleep out in the woods behind our place in
Ligonier, so one of the college students said, “I’ll take you up there in the
woods.” And they went up, and they pitched a tent. And they got their
sandwiches and flashlights and canteens and went up there about midnight. And at
midnight, you know, they got their bedrolls out, and my son says to the
college student, “Joe?” He said, “Yeah?” He said, “Tell me a ghost story,” so Joe
started telling him about the guy who lost his liver, you know, and went around, “I
want my liver back.” And everybody’s heard that ghost story and so my son
listens to this, and he’s fascinated by it. And when Joe finished the story, my
son looked at him and said, “Joe?” He said, “You know maybe sleeping out here
tonight isn’t such a good idea.” Joe said, “That’s all right. You just go to
sleep.” And so they were quiet for a few minutes, and my son had the opportunity to
concentrate his mind on the ghost story, on the noises of the woods and the things
that go BUMP in the night, and he lasted about ten more minutes until they were
down knocking at our back door, asking if they could come in. Do you know that
people go to Disney World in Orlando and pay money to be frightened? Isn’t that
strange, that we have this dualistic attitude toward the holy? I like to
remember the old radio program — some of you with snow on the roof will remember
those wonderful days of yesteryear when the Lone Ranger, you know, would come
riding down the road; or we listened to the soap operas in the afternoon. Do you
remember them ladies? Young Dr. Malone and Ma Perkins and Helen Trent and Argyle
Sunday and backstage wife — Larry said to Mary, “Mary,” and Mary said to Larry,
“Larry.” That’s what we listened to. Do you remember? Pepper Young’s family — how
many of you remember them? They were terrific. Well at nighttime you had the
adventure stories, like Superman and so on, and through the week we would have
Cops and Robbers, Gangbusters, Mr. King, Tracer of Lost Persons, and there was a
movie that was particularly scary — or a program particularly scary — called
“Suspense.” But the scariest program of all scary programs on the radio in the
forties, ladies and gentlemen, came on Sunday nights; and the lead-in to this
radio program featured the sound of this creaky vault door opening in an echo
chamber, and it opens up, and you know your hair is standing on end before the
thing starts. And the voice overcomes with the announcer’s baritone voice saying,
“Inner Sanctum,” huh? How many of you remember that, okay? I mean they didn’t
even have to start the story, and everybody was scared already. What does
inner sanctum mean? Inner sanctum means, literally within the holy. You see the
marketing geniuses of the entertainments world discovered somehow that the most
terrifying thing that they could come up with for people would be to expose them to
a program about the holy. See that’s why we have a tendency to keep our distance, a
safe distance, from the character of God because even though we’re attracted to it
on the one hand, on the other we are repelled by it. And I’m going to talk in
our next session about how that manifested itself concretely and specifically in the
work of Jesus, where people were both drawn to Him and terrified of Him. And yet
it is this element that we fear that is at the very core of the character of God, and
for us to understand it, beloved, is set forth for us in the New Testament as the
priority of learning. I asked my students in the seminary a simple question from the
Bible. I said, “Everybody’s aware of the Lord’s Prayer, and the Lord’s Prayer can
be divided up according to literary categories from the formal address to the
petitions to the closing.” And I ask my students, “What is the first petition of
the Lord’s Prayer?” Do you know it? Don’t answer it out loud, but answer it in our
mind? Do you know what the first petition is of the Lord’s Prayer? Remember the
scene: The disciples have observed Jesus in His astonishing power, and they come to
Him. And they notice this link between His power and His devotion to prayer; and so
they come to Him, and they say, “Jesus, teach us how to pray.” He said, “Okay,
I’ll teach you how to pray. When you pray, I want you to pray like this: Our Father,
which art — who art — in heaven.” Then what? “Hallowed be thy name.” Now here’s
the question. Is the “hallowed be thy name” part of the formal address, or is
the “hallowed be thy name” the first petition? See if it were part of the
formal address, Jesus would have said this: He would have said, “When you pray
say this: Our Father who art in heaven, hallowed is your name.” But that’s not
what He said. He said, “When you pray, I want you to pray this: The first thing I
want you to pray for when you get on your knees is that the name of God would be
treated as sacred, as holy.” Repeatedly the Bible says of God, “Holy is His name.”
Another little quiz I have with my students. I said, “Suppose in this day and
age in the United States of America, where we’ve had such a flood and proliferation
of legislation in the land, and nobody can keep up with all the new laws that are
being added to the law books every year. Suppose somebody came along and said,
‘Hey, we’re going to start all over again. We’re going to just throw out all the
lawyers, all the laws, even the Constitution and start fresh. But your job
it to write the new Constitution. Your job is to write the new Bill of Rights, and
the game plan is this: that all future laws in this nation’s history will be
judged by their conformity to ten laws that you draw up.’ So you only have ten
laws to put down on the books. What ten would you write? How many of you would
waste one of your ten by making a law against coveting? How many of you would
include in your top ten a law that children ought to respect and obey their
parents. Most of you would probably include a law prohibiting murder and
theft, but would anybody use up one of their top ten laws by saying that it’s an
absolute law of the land that no one ever, ever, ever takes the name of God in vain?
Ladies and gentlemen, when God wrote a constitution for a national government
that made His top ten. Isn’t it incredible? A few years ago I read a
astonishing article in “Time” magazine about an incident that took place in
Maryland. A truck driver had been arrested for drunken and disorderly conduct, and
when the police officers came to arrest him, this truck driver was so abusive that
they were furious by the time they got the guy to the station house, and they wanted
to throw the books — book — at him. So they got him up before the magistrate, and
they talked about all of the unkind things that this truck driver said about the
policeman on the way down. Now for the misdemeanor of disorderly conduct, the
severest penalty that the magistrate could impose was $100 fine and thirty days in
jail, but he wanted to nail this guy, to throw the book at him; and so he
resurrected an antiquated law that had never been repealed and was still on the
books in the statutes of Maryland that prohibited public blasphemy, and the
penalty for public blasphemy had been another thirty days in jail and another
$100 fine. So the judge imposed upon the truck driver $200 fine, sixty days in
jail, and this made “Time” magazine’s editorial because the editor of “Time” was
outraged that in this day and age somebody could suffer the cruel and unusual
punishment of paying $100 fine and spending thirty days in jail merely for
publicly blaspheming the holy name of God. We’ve come a long way. Twenty-two years
ago the word “virgin” was not permitted to be uttered on the television because it
was too provocative and suggestive. Censorship has changed so much in our day
that movies may freely use erotic language, scatological language, and
blasphemous language, and that’s okay. But still there are rules and regulations for
broadcast television that prohibits the use of certain prurient and obscene sexual
language, but it is still permitted on the television set to use the name of God as a
common curse word. Jesus said, “You know what I want you to pray for? I want you to
pray that my Father’s name would be regarded as holy. You see, then I want you
to say, ‘Thy kingdom come; thy will be done on earth even as it is in heaven.’
So what I want my people to be praying for is that my reign, my sovereignty, my
authority as King will be honored and recognized in this world and that people
will do my will on this planet even as the angels in heaven right now obey my will.”
You know Jesus doesn’t say so, but I’m convinced there’s a logical progression
here. I don’t think that the kingdom of God will ever come on this earth or that
the will of God will ever be done on this earth until or unless the name of God is
revered by His people. How is it possible for people to honor a king and at the same
time desecrate his name? You know it’s not like the Jewish people had some name
fetish or that they believed that there was some magic associated with the
utterance of the word, but they understood this, as God understood it: that if we
have a cavalier, casual attitude toward the name of God, that reveals more deeply
than anything else we say about our deepest attitude toward the God of the
name. Let me tell it like it is. If you use the name of God as a common curse
word, you are at root a profane person. You have no respect for the holiness of
God, and I urge you to think before you let that word pass over your lips again in
a frivolous manner because God will not tolerate the desecration of His name. He
made it in the top ten, and so Jesus says that you would pray that the name of God
would be holy, that it would be treated as different, as special, as extraordinary,
as exalted because He is different and special and exalted. When we are called to
be holy, we are called to be different. We are called to bear witness to the style
that one finds in God, a style that is driven by the second meaning of holiness,
which is righteousness. When God says, “Be holy for I am holy,” He is saying, “Be
different than the normal standards of this world. I want you to express and to
show what righteousness is in this land.” That’s the task of the Christian: to
mirror and to reflect the character of God to a dying world. Let’s pray. Our Father,
again we ask your pardon for the way in which we have profaned your name in word
and in deed and in thought, and we pray that you would give us a holy respect for
you, that in our land, to some degree and by some measure, we may see the
manifestation of your kingship and your will being done. For we ask it in the name
of Christ, amen.

Stamped from the Beginning: Ibram X. Kendi on the History of Racist Ideas in U.S.


AMY GOODMAN: This is Democracy Now!, democracynow.org,
The War and Peace Report. I’m Amy Goodman. We’re joined today by historian Ibram X.
Kendi, professor of history and international relations, founding director of the Anti-Racist
Research and Policy Center at American University. He just left the University of Florida at
Gainesville. He is the author of the National Book Award-winning
Stamped from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. If you could take us through your thesis,
Professor Kendi, as you raise the profile of five figures through history, right through
today, Angela Davis, and talk about their role in our history? IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. And so, the thesis for the book actually came
about through researching for the book, which I think is a good thing. And that was, I ended up entering into this
history of racist ideas believing this common idea that, really, the sort of origins, the
cradle, of racist ideas is ignorance—are ignorance and hate, and that ignorance and
hate leads to racist ideas, and it’s these people who have these racist ideas who are
the people who institute racist policies, like slavery, segregation and even massive
incarceration. And so, the more I sort of studied this history,
the more I contextualized the development of these ideas in their historical moment,
and, more importantly, the more I distinguished between the producers of racist ideas and
the consumers, and decided to study the producers, the more I found that people were producing
racist ideas to justify existing racist policies. In other words, racist policies were becoming
before racist ideas. And those racist policies were emerging out
of self-interest. And so, you had economic, political and even
cultural self-interest driving the creation of racially discriminatory policies, and then
the need to justify those policies led to the development of racist ideas, and then
those racist ideas and their circulation—or, more so, consumption—led to our ignorance
and hate. And so I chronicle this history through five
major characters. And the first character is Cotton Mather,
who was a Boston theologian, who, at the time—he lived from the 1660s to the 1720s—race or
racial ideas were largely theological ideas, because theological ideas were largely scientific
ideas. And so, he was involved in popularizing many
of the early theological ideas justifying or making the case for black inferiority. By the emergence of the United States, the
racial discourse became more secular, and particularly through the role of Thomas Jefferson. And Thomas Jefferson died on the eve of the
abolitionist movement—Thomas Jefferson being the second major character in the text—and
that abolitionist movement was largely spearheaded by William Lloyd Garrison, who of course was
the third major character. And W.E.B. Du Bois was the fourth major character. He, of course, was one of the sort of fathers
of civil rights and black power. And the last major character, that covers
the last 50 years, where mass incarceration, in particular, became front and center, was
Angela Davis. AMY GOODMAN: And so, talk about, from Cotton
Mather to Angela Davis, how they embodied your idea of how racist policies and ideas
develop. IBRAM X. KENDI: So, in the case of Cotton
Mather, Cotton Mather was involved in probably the first great American debate over race,
which was whether black people could become Christians. And slaveholders who were also Christian made
the case that black people were too barbaric. Cotton Mather, being a major Boston theologian,
being a major minister wanting to have a new group of people to proselytize to, made the
case that they can be Christianized, because their souls have the capacity to be white,
even though their bodies are black and inferior and worthy of enslavement. And so, this debate, he made this case for
this debate because he wanted to open up the sort of reins on the church to be able—particularly
the Puritan church, to be able to proselytize to black people. So he had this sort of hidden self-interest,
this hidden cultural self-interest, that led to his idea. And, you know, Thomas Jefferson, as many of
you would understand, I mean, he was a slaveholder who, of course, wanted to create ideas that
allowed him to continue slaveholding. And, you know, all the way up to sort of Angela
Davis. Angela Davis, I chronicle as, you know, this
major anti-racist theorist, because I really sort of show the debate, really, between racist
and anti-racist ideas. And I show, particularly within the realm
of criminal justice, that, you know, all of these ideas justifying law and order, justifying
the war on drugs, justifying tough on crime, and now justifying police being exonerated
for killing black lives, that Angela Davis was long at the forefront of challenging those
ideas by challenging the racist ideas that were underlying them. AMY GOODMAN: You write very poignantly in
the prologue to Stamped from the Beginning, “I somehow managed to write this book between
the heartbreaks of Trayvon Martin and Rekia Boyd and Michael Brown and Freddie Gray and
the Charleston 9 and Sandra Bland, heartbreaks that are a product of America’s history
of racist ideas as much as this history book of racist ideas is a product of these heartbreaks. Young Black males were twenty-one times more
likely to be killed by police than their white counterparts between 2010 and 2012, according
to federal statistics.” And you go on to say, “The under-recorded,
under-analyzed racial disparities between female victims of lethal police force may
be even greater. Federal data show [that] the median wealth
of White households is a staggering thirteen times the median wealth of Black households—and
Black people are five times more likely to be incarcerated than Whites.” Talk more about this. IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. Well, Amy, this is—I mean, since the beginning
of the United States, since the beginning of colonial America, there has been what’s
called racial disparities, as you just outlined, racial disparities where black people were
more likely to be poor, black people were more likely to be killed by the police, black
people were more likely to be imprisoned. And so the question becomes: Why? Why is it that black people are on the lower
end of these racial disparities? Why does racial inequality exist in this country? And really, the racial debate has largely
been trying to answer that question. And really, Stamped from the Beginning chronicles
that long racial debate trying to answer that question. And really, there’s been three positions,
and those positions still persist to this day. The first position states that it’s because
black people are inferior. The reason why so many more black people are
being killed by the police is because black people keep acting recklessly before the police. If black people would act better, then this
would not be a problem. So they principally state that there’s something
wrong and inferior about black people. This is what I call the segregationist position. On the other side of the debate has been the
anti-racist position. The anti-racist position states that the racial
groups are equal. There’s nothing wrong or right about black
people or any other racial group of people. So, because the racial groups are equal, it
must—these disparities, these inequities must be the result of racial discrimination. So they spend their time challenging racial
discrimination. And then the third position, which is called
the assimilationist position, actually argues both. Typically and historically, they’ve stated
that, yes, there is racial discrimination, but there’s also something wrong and inferior
about black people. And so, they’ve sought to civilize and develop
black people at the same time they were challenging racial discrimination. AMY GOODMAN: So talk about where Black Lives
Matter fits into this picture, the organizing from the grassroots up, and where you see
it going. IBRAM X. KENDI: Yeah, I think it fits precisely
into this picture, because I think Black Lives Matter activists have made the case that the
problem is the criminal justice system, that the problem is racist policing, that the problem
is the laws that are being created that make the case that there’s something wrong with
the people as opposed to the environment that these people—the lack of jobs and resources
these people are being faced with. And so, I’m hoping, and I’m sure many
people are hoping, that Black Lives Matter and many other activists, anti-racist activists,
who have been inspired by Black Lives Matter, and other types of activists will recognize
the anti-racist position, which is that either the racial groups are equal or they’re not. And if you believe that the racial groups
are not equal, that there’s something wrong or inferior about black people, that that’s
a racist idea. And so you cannot continue to imagine that
this nation is post-racial at the same time that you don’t believe that the racial groups
are equal, that you’re championing policies that actually discriminate against black people. AMY GOODMAN: Talking to historian Ibram X.
Kendi. His book won the National Book Award, Stamped
from the Beginning: The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America. And you talk about overall racial inequities,
from everything from wealth to health. Certainly, when we look at what’s happening
right now in the Senate, though the healthcare bill has been put off for the moment, now
opposed by nine Republicans, who run the political spectrum, feeling that regulations—like,
what, Senator Paul of Kentucky—have to be stricter, that Medicaid and other healthcare
policies and safety nets have to be dismantled, to those who feel that this is way too stringent. But always at the bottom of this you have
the most vulnerable in society. So talk about from wealth to health, Professor
Kendi. IBRAM X. KENDI: So, I mean, from wealth, I
mean, the Great Recession, some have made the case, was one of the largest losses of
black wealth in American history, one of the largest losses of Latino wealth in American
history, that when we have these major economic catastrophes, you know, those people who are
the most sort of underprivileged are most likely to lose out. But I think the healthcare debate and, really,
argument, I think, is even more indicative, you know, of what we’re talking about. I mean, the Affordable Care Act led to 11
percent more black and Latino people becoming insured, which is a dramatic sort of development
within black America, within Latino America. And so, more—it eliminated these massive
disparities—or, I mean, eliminated—reduced these disparities between racial groups that
are uninsured. And so, you know, to think about a new healthcare
bill that’s going to reduce the number of people who—I’m sorry, increase the number
of people who are uninsured, I mean, many of those people are probably going to be black
or Latino, and then, therefore, we’re going to have an increase in these disparities. And then what racist ideas will say is, “Well,
it’s those black people’s fault. It’s those Latinos’ fault. You know, they should be working harder. There’s something wrong with them.” And so, they’ll create racist ideas to justify
those disparities. And I should also say that, you know, I think
one of the most consequential manifestations in this country that black life does not matter
is the disparity between how long black people live. I mean, white people are more like three-and-a-half—have
a lifespan of three-and-a-half years in this country. And I think, you know, many of these things
sort of result in that, including people having access to healthcare. AMY GOODMAN: You’re writing a new book on
how to be an anti-racist, which will be released next year. Can you give us a little preview? IBRAM X. KENDI: So, you asked about the—Amy,
ask the question again? I’m sorry. AMY GOODMAN: I was just saying, you’re writing
a new book, How to Be an Anti-Racist. IBRAM X. KENDI: Oh, yes. AMY GOODMAN: Give us a preview. IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. So, I mention in the prologue of Stamped from
the Beginning that, you know, before I could chronicle anyone else’s racist ideas, I
first had to come to grips with my own. And so, really, in How to Be an Anti-Racist,
I want to sort of chronicle my journey, my personal journey, of really, you know, being
raised and consuming many racist ideas to seeking to become somebody who is an anti-racist. And so I begin the book with a speech that
I gave in high school, in which I uttered all of these racist ideas, all of these things
stating that there’s something wrong with black people. And I take readers through my own personal
journey, while simultaneously revealing many of the concepts of what it means to be an
anti-racist. AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Ibram X. Kendi, can
you tell us the origins of your name? IBRAM X. KENDI: Sure. So, Ibram is—was given to me by my parents. It means “exalted father.” It’s a derivative of Abraham. Came up in a Christian church—I mean, a
Christian family. My parents were part of the black theology
movement in the early ’70s. And my last name, Kendi, my wife and I, when
we wed in 2003, we decided to choose a name together. And so, Kendi is a Meru, in Kenya, name that
means “loved one.” AMY GOODMAN: And you unveiled this at your
wedding to your family and friends? IBRAM X. KENDI: Yes. Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Well, Ibram X. Kendi, I want
to thank for you being with us, professor of history and international relations and
founding director of the Anti-Racist Research and Policy Center at American University. He’s just leaving the University of Florida
at [Gainesville]. He’s the author of Stamped from the Beginning:
The Definitive History of Racist Ideas in America, which is winner of the 2016 National
Book Award. This is Democracy Now! When we come back, we look at a lawsuit in
Washington against the Washington, D.C., police for their treatment of protesters at the inauguration
of President Trump. Stay with us.