A conversation with Todd Stiefel - S11.E11 | WORLD
Sound journalism, grounded in facts and Biblical truth | Donate

A conversation with Todd Stiefel - S11.E11


WORLD Radio - A conversation with Todd Stiefel - S11.E11

A Christian journalist and atheist philanthropist talk truth

Photo credit: CNN.com

WS: Well, Todd Stiefel, welcome to the program. I really appreciate you taking a few minutes with me. And, you know, this is the first time we're sort of face to face. We're via zoom, but I originally spoke to you probably 10 or 15 years ago for a story I was working on at that time. You were very accessible and very generous with your time then. And I'm grateful that you're willing to come on now. So thanks.

TS: Oh, absolutely. Looking forward to it. This should be a lot of fun.

WS: Yeah, so Todd, let me start off with just kind of some basics here. Number one is what is the Stiefel Freethought Foundation?

TS: It's my private foundation that I run and used to make donations to a variety of causes, primarily, I would say, at this point is mostly science, democracy, separation of church and state and fighting, particularly against white Christian nationalism, actually.

WS: And how would you define white Christian nationalism?

TS: Well, that's a good question. I don't know what the official academic definition is. But I would say the fusing, particularly among white people in America, the fusing of religion and politics, and often militancy and gun culture, for that matter is a frequent part of it. But in particular, it's this mythology that Christian, it was founded as a Christian nation, instead of a secular nation, and continues to be a Christian nation where a Christian should get privileges that other people do not get, and where everyone else is a second hand citizen.

WS: So where do you draw the line on this, Todd? For example, I think I would agree with you that there is an establishment clause in the Constitution and that the government cannot establish a religion of any kind. On the other hand, I don't think you would well, I don't want to put words in your mouth. Would you think it's okay for Christians or Muslims or Hindus to run for political office?

TS: Of course, definitely. Yeah, we wouldn't. This wouldn't be a free country if Christians couldn't hold office. And I'm not one of those who are like, Oh, all religions are evil, it poisons everything and stuff like that? No, I actually think religion for the most part is a good thing at an individual level. And even at a even at a church kind of individual community level, it's often a good thing for people. I have a problem when it politicizes and starts, you know, becoming well, taking control of one particular political party. And for a long time, that was the Democratic Party, we've kind of had a switch of roles, and now it's the Republican Party. But I don't like it when it becomes either militarized or overly politicized for, you know, particular power over others. Yeah, I'm for equality for across the board, regardless of your religion.

WS: Right. Right. Well, and I want to drill down into some of these issues that we've already talked about a little bit more later. But I want to back up if I could, Todd, and just get you to tell your story. You were raised in a religious household, more or less, is that accurate?

TS: Yeah, I was raised a Catholic, my parents thought it was a good thing for me to learn values and from the Catholic Church. So I even went to Sunday school and I went to a Catholic all boys Catholic high school, I wore a cross around my neck until college. And I found my way out of faith, mostly through asking a lot of questions. But then when I took an Old Testament history class in college, that was, that was kind of it because that really provided a lot of answers that made sense for the historical settings of the creation of the Bible. And a lot of how, especially the Old Testament really comes originally from older myths. And it was also really surprising to discover as a Catholic that the Bible does not just have one God in it, there's other gods in it as well.

WS: Yeah, you've written a good bit about that. So I will not sort of unpack that other than to just stipulate for the record that not, that narrative, too, has a counter narratives and disputing narratives. But let me just say that you encountered these ideas at Duke University, which ostensibly is a Methodist school, I'm just wondering if you see any irony in that as I do that a Catholic going to a Methodist school will end up becoming a an agnostic or an atheist. In fact, I did want to ask you a second sort of a related question is, what do you consider yourself? An agnostic or an atheist?

TS: Well, there was a lot there. So yes, first, I do find it very ironic that I lost my faith in Divinity School. I wasn't studying for that, but that's where the class was held was in the Divinity School. And I consider myself an atheist and an agnostic. I am both atheist in that I don't believe in an agnostic and that I do not know. I mean, I think the concept of a non intervening God is unknowable.

WS: Yeah, so you hold intention together the idea of not knowing and not believing, an atheist is someone who believes there is no God. an agnostic is someone who is not sure?

TS: Correct.

WS: Okay. And you hold both of those?

TS: It's really just the difference between like, a theist is belief in God. Gnostic is knowledge of, so it really just going back to the roots of the word? Yeah, I hold both? I don't believe and I don't know that said I would say I would. I don't know whether there is a God or not. But I would go so far as to say, I know there is not the Christian God.

WS: So have you, I'm gonna push on that just a little bit, just to kind of get what you're thinking. Have you? Have everybody? Have you ever heard of what's called Pascal's Wager?

TS: Definitely, of course.

WS: So Pascal's Wager, for the benefit of maybe our listeners who have not heard, it basically says that, you know, if you believe in God, and you're wrong, no harm, no foul. But if you don't believe in God, and you're wrong, you got big problems. So Pascal's wager is that it's better to bet on that there is a God. So you've heard of Pascal's Wager, I'm sure you've thought about it. Tell me what's wrong with Pascal's Wager.

TS: The costs and benefits are heavily flawed. And the argument can be used for any religion. So you could easily, just as easily say, Well, you know, there's, there's a cost to not believing in Vishnu. I mean, what if you're wrong, you'll burn in Hindu hell forever? Oh, no. So I mean, it can be applied to every single religion in the history of the world. So that's the first major flaw with it. But the second one is the costs. There's, you know, the believing in God and being wrong and saying, oh, there's no cost. There's an enormous cost. First of all, religion is one of the greatest ways in which humans have created artificial tribalism that divides us as people, instead of unites us as people. And additionally, for the individual, there's, there's a huge cost for religion costs a lot of time, it costs a lot of effort, it costs, it and for many people, if they tie that costs a lot of money. I think that that costs are actually very high to be a religious believer. And the cost to the world are very high as well, so yeah, I think the wager is under estimating the costs dramatically. And also, frankly, it over estimates the value of the benefits, because the benefits are mostly given after you're dead. So there's no way to actually prove it's giving you any of these benefits.

WS: Right. Todd, let me drill down a little bit, just ask your opinion about some some distinctively Christian ideas. First of all, do you accept that there was a historical Jesus? And do you? If you do, I don't want to assume that you do. But if you do, who was he?

TS: I would say I think there is a very good chance there was a historical Jesus, I do not know for certain, I don't know if any of us really know for certain, historical records are pretty poor. But I would say there's a pretty good chance there there was. And I don't know who he was. I don't think any of us know almost anything about him. I mean, pretty much all the materials written about him were written now, nearly 100 years after his death in a country he never visited in a language he didn't speak. So. Who knows? I'm guessing he was a particularly charismatic and fascinating person, I would have, I've been asked that question: If you could have dinner with one historical figure, who would it be? And I've said Jesus before, I mean, because I mean, there'll be many people but Jesus would be really interesting. Like, Who are you man? Like, we really, we have very poor source material about it. For example, if it was, let's give a comparison if it was JFK, imagine if we knew literally zero, the entire world knew nothing at all about JFK. And then all sudden we started getting gospels written about JFK, coming from France. Some purporting to know about him through, you know, word of mouth over the years, we'd be like, there wouldn't be not a reliable source of information, and neither, frankly, are the Gospels.

WS: So you don't you do not trust any of the contemporary accounts of who Jesus was, or Jesus, like, for example, Josephus or the gospels that were written in the early, you know, first century by eyewitness accounts, you just don't accept those as historically accurate at all.

TS: Well, the Gospels weren't written by first hand accounts, they're written in Greece, you know, 70 years after he died roughly, or 30 years after he died so

WS: well, so again, I don't want to turn this into a into a dispute because you know, that these are matters of fact, rather than opinion. But let me just say that some historians, many biblical historians, in fact, believe that the earliest gospels, probably the gospel of Mark was written possibly as early as 45, a D, which, you know, barely 10 years after Jesus died by someone who was an eyewitness to the events that he was describing. Again, this is the Christian narrative, I will admit that - you don't accept that.

TS: And I don't actually accept that necessarily that it was written by a firsthand witness either. But that I mean, because there's also the 'Q document,' I believe, is that I believe that's what it's called, which is the hypothesized earlier version of the gospels that mark and others were inspired by. But no, I don't accept that as fact, I don't...

WS: You just don't accept that the gospels were written in the first century by eyewitnesses. You don't accept that at all?

TS: I don't accept that they're written by eyewitnesses, so.

WS: Okay. Understood.

TS: They weren't from Armenia, and they didn't speak Armenian. So it's pretty unlikely. They may have known, now, they may have met eyewitnesses, and been told the narrative by eyewitnesses, but it's also entirely possible it was just the phone game. Five people, five eyewitnesses tell people one after the next and next thing, you know, somebody writes down the Gospels later on.

WS: Yeah. Hey, let me ask you, Todd, how did you arrive at that conclusion? Because, you know, again, I don't want to turn this into a dispute, because these are factual matters, and there have been lot, not just books, but libraries written about these topics. And you and I are not going to really unpack that. But you know, I was just wondering, have you read people like CS Lewis, or you know, Norman Geisler, or JP Moreland, or Thomas Aquinas or Augustine, and just rejected their accounts out of hand. Just you've got alternative sources that you have turned to that dispute all of those, or not, I'm just trying to get at where you arrived at the place where you could reject a body of literature, some of it not even Christian literature, like Josephus's early accounts were, you know, not they were not really necessarily Christian accounts, and z
accept this other narrative, what got you to that point?

TS: Well, I've read a ton of stuff. I've read contemporary stuff, I've read older stuff, I was required to read all sorts of stuff in Catholic school. I've read a ton of different storage sources, but no, I haven't specifically read CS Lewis, for example, CS Lewis was alive 1900 years after the fact - he's just relying on the same things the rest of us are, we can form opinions almost as well as he can about you know, the Old Testament and they'll or other the New Testament, the Gospels speak for themselves. I've read a fair bit of Bart Ehrman's work and Bart Ehrman's work aligns pretty closely with a lot of what I believe in, except is the reality of the situation. And even Josephus is not like a very detailed work. I don't remember exactly what it said. I read it at one point in time, but...

WS: Yeah, no, you're right about that. Since you brought up Bart Ehrman, let me pivot just a little bit. I want to ask you, I've interviewed Bart Ehrman before on this program. And you know, one of the questions that I asked him, a couple of questions asked him I'd like to pose to you as well. You believe in rational thought, The Freethought Foundation and so on? One of the things I think would be that would be a hallmark of a rationalist point of view is skepticism. And obviously you have applied the you know, that skepticism towards Christianity and toward religion in general. But have have you applied it to your own thought? In other words, are you open to considering the possibility that you might be wrong and, of course, when you described yourself as an agnostic A while ago, you You think you did sort of answer that question? You know, you don't know, you might, you know, but can you say more about that? How do you evaluate your own thought process? How were you honest about your own thought process? opening yourself up to the possibility that you might be wrong?

TS: No, of course, I'm sure I'm wrong about lots of stuff. Humans are notoriously filled with various biases and flaws in their logical thinking. So,

WS: But you don't think you're wrong about this? You, you acknowledge that humans can be wrong about a whole lot of things. But you're not wrong about this? You're sure? No, I'm not. Am I misstating your position?

TS: So how about this? I mean, I have definitely applied a ton of thought to this in other areas. I don't think I'm wrong. I could be wrong. But you know, the same applies for everyone and their religious belief or lack of religious belief. I've probably done a lot more reading about it than most Christians, frankly.

WS: Sure. Yeah. I'm willing to believe that.

TS: So yeah, I don't I don't think I'm wrong here. I don't think it, you know, like, gospel specifically, I think it or let's just go broader, just kind of Christian God, I don't think a all knowing, all loving God makes any sense at all based on what we see around us. But based on what we see every day with, you know, war and amputees and torture, I think that it's pretty clear, either God doesn't love us, or he doesn't have full power. And I think that it's also pretty clear historically that the notion of the Jewish God is basically earlier myths and fables that were pulled into the earlier parts of the Bible. And here we are.

WS: Yeah, well, I've got some questions related to that. But let me go back to the second question that I asked Bart Ehrman. And I was just, you know, be curious about your reaction, as well. You know, the first question was, is, you know, is it possible that you could, I mean, could you entertain the notion that you could be wrong, and you were willing to admit that you, you know, that you could entertain that notion, and I respect that. The second question is, do you ever, you know, kind of wake up at two o'clock in the morning, and, and say, What if I'm wrong?

TS: No.

WS: You don't?

TS: As a matter of fact, as a believer, I always had nagging doubts, like parts of this just don't make sense. Like, parts of this. There's self contradiction. There's strange things. This doesn't jive with even what I'm seeing in the world around me. And once I accepted that my Catholic beliefs were just a belief in one set of mythology instead of any other set of mythology. Honestly, the world made a whole lot more sense.

WS: Yeah, yeah. Understood. Let me pivot in our conversation, Todd, if I could, because, you know, I went on to the website, I can't remember now, whether I went onto the website of the Stiefel Freethought Foundation, or one of the other organizations that you're a part of, but at one point, I read this line that it's committed to a world based on love and reason. We've already talked about reason. I want to, and you've mentioned love already once in this conversation, how do you define love?

TS: Hmm. I would say, I'm just gonna make make it up on the spot. I don't know what the dictionary definition is. But to me, love has a lot of meanings - there's self love, there's love your neighbor, there's,

WS: well let me be specific whenever you say on your website that you are committed to a world based on love. What kind of a world are you committed to? What kind of a world are you trying to create?

TS: A world where we are attempting to increase wellbeing and decrease suffering and trying to maximize wellbeing for people as a whole globally.

WS: How, I mean it how would you define, I guess what I'm trying to get at Todd is without some sort of a moral center that you know, most cultures would place, religion would provide that moral center for most cultures. If you are rejecting that moral center, what is your plumb line to determine whether something is loving or unloving and or what is contributing to well being or the opposite, whatever the opposite of well being is?

TS: The same exact way as religious people do: myself in my head, we all have our own individual opinions, and virtually no religious person I know follows every aspect of the Bible. Almost everyone I know that's Christian completely rejects certain parts of the Bible, specifically, the verse allowing slavery for example, not just allowing, like specifically saying you may buy and hold male and female slaves. Christians pretty much universally reject that passage. So we all use our own minds to determine what we think is moral and not moral. And I actually think for the most part, most Americans agree, and I would guess if we went through a whole list of things we thought were moral, you and I would agree on 95% of things.

WS: That could be true. I'm not disagreeing with that statement, except to say that while we might agree on certain things that are moral and certain things that are immoral, I would base that that decision, whether something was moral or immoral, based on a religious worldview based on a Christian worldview, and what I'm trying to get you to articulate for me if you can, is based on what do you make that determination?

TS: Again, the exact same way you do most likely so you say you're pulling it from a religious worldview, you're you're really probably more likely pulling it from a religious upbringing, or religious heritage or a predominantly religious culture around us. But you're pulling from other sources, I'm sure you've read non religious work, seen non religious movies, learn morals from, you know, learn things and been enlightened by walking through nature, through a sunset or seeing a really fascinating movie with or like that really made you feel for your people let's say,

WS: First of all, you're absolutely right, I do. I do read non religious books, and I do, you know, benefit from it and instructed by beauty and a sunset. However, I evaluate those based on, it within a lot of times, the way Christian theologians talk about that is that there is common grace or general revelation that comes from just living in the world and seeing what's, you know, the the beauty in the world. But for the Christian, we do evaluate what we see in the world, behaviors in the world, based on another kind of Revelation, not general revelation, but special revelation, which says, specifically, the life of Jesus Himself, who we believe to be God, and scripture that we believe to be the word of God. So while I don't disagree with you, that we might agree on, on many things, and that while we might even get some of our beliefs from common sources, like for example, you and I have both have a belief in gravity, probably we. But you know, as a friend of mine once said, There are no post modern airplane pilots, because you can't, you can't deny the reality of gravity. I would also suggest that Christians do evaluate the learnings from the world based on the special revelation of Jesus' teaching in Scripture. And what I'm trying to get at is, if you don't accept those two things, and I get that you don't, how do you determine that this feeling that you have about a sunset, this conclusion that you draw, that it is beautiful or inspiring? Where? How do you draw that conclusion? What is the basis for arriving at that conclusion?

TS: That sunsets are beautiful?

WS: Well, yeah, I mean, are that any notion of beauty? In other words, I, as a Christian, we have a concept of beauty that is described in Scripture, that God defines beauty, he made the world he made it good, he made it beautiful. And that that's, at least in part, it's a broken world, Christians would also acknowledge that it's a broken world, but that it was made beautiful because we have a God who loves beauty. How do you determine that a sunset is beautiful, and a toxic waste dump is ugly, for example?

TS: Well, I definitely don't buy the sunset's beautiful because God said so. I would say that beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Beauty is subjective. How you can one person can look at one painting and think it's beautiful. And you can look at the same painting and think it's hideous. It's subjective, but if you're looking for where are my basis for these things?

WS: Yeah.

TS: It's genetic, it's how I was its nature and nurture both the genetics we have, and how we were raised. It's cultural. I was raised in American culture, I was raised in a Catholic culture. So I'm taking from those. It's educational, it's from Catholic, high school and Duke, it's through a lifetime of living. So, you know, a combination of nature and nurture, and all those factors. That's where I'm drawing this from, it's from reading lots of books, and seeing lots of documentaries and movies, and just living a lifetime and experience with others. I think a lot of this, frankly, is instinct. I mean, elephants, you know, will save their young, where does that come from? This instinct to, to save a member of their group. They're not getting it from the Bible, but they certainly know it's, you know, they prefer to save their young than to let them drown.

WS: So what I'm hearing is that if you had read different books and been raised, you know, in different schools, and a different part of the country, you might have a very different conception of what beauty is, is that what you're saying?

TS: Yeah, of course, if you were born in India, you'd probably be a Hindu.

WS: Yeah, but we would have probably similar conceptions of beauty. Wouldn't you agree?

TS: Yeah, Hindus and American Christians and atheists, we probably all have pretty similar conceptions of beauty.

WS: So I guess what I'm asking you is that it seems that there is something sort of beyond the cultural norms that determine certain things about the human experience, like love, like beauty, like truth. And I'm just, you know, again, trying to plumb from you. I can, I think I can explain where that comes from for me as a Christian, that I accept the reality of a God, I accept that the efficacious ability of God to create a knowable creation that we can study. But if you don't accept God, and don't even really accept that the environment in which we live, is reliable in terms of teaching us notions of truth and beauty. Where did where did those notions come from for you?

TS: I'm not sure I understand the question. What do you mean, the world is not reliable?

WS: Well, in other words, you said that it was you, that your understanding of these things were products of a culture, a product of an environment and setting that other people that had different cultural inputs might have arrived at different conclusions. And I'm just trying to understand if beauty is truly in the eye of the beholder, and not some objective reality. What gives you confidence that your understanding of truth and beauty are the right ones?

TS: I guess I have the modesty to admit they might not be right, whereas a each individual religion has essentially no modesty - they own since they're the right ones. And every one, every single other one is wrong.

WS: Right, right.So if in your study of the world, your study of truth and beauty, and reason, and I'm not saying that this is going to happen, Todd, but I'm just saying if it did happen, that you arrived at the conclusion that the most rational, reasonable explanation of the phenomena that you observe in the world, and those phenomena, not just being natural phenomenon, but altruism, beauty. truth, goodness, that the most rational explanation of these ideas was religion, or specifically was the Christian religion, would you accept it? If you if you in other words, if you rationally came to a place where you believed it was true? Would you accept it?

TS: Yes.

WS: You would?

TS: Mm-hmm.

WS: But you're not even close to that place, it doesn't sound like?

TS: Not even ballpark.

WS: Yep, got it. Let me pivot a little bit with you if I could talk and just ask you. You said you were raised in a Catholic home, I've read online that your wife still sort of subscribes to at least sort of a religious worldview. Is that still accurate? Was I reading old?

TS: That's old, she doesn't believe anymore, either.

WS: She doesn't believe it. So how are you guys raising your kids?

TS: Well, we raised them. I mean, they're almost adults, that one is an adult. The other is almost there. We raised them and we each taught them our own thing, and we let the kids figure it out for themselves. We exposed them to Christian ideas and atheist ideas, I read the Bible. No, that breaks probably breaks the brains of many Christians, but I read the Bible to them.

WS: I would say good for you. My response to that is good for you, Todd.

TS: Yeah. So I mean, I would like you have we had a, had a Children's Bible with the, you know, animations. And we'd read that and we'd read other. We've read, you know, various creation stories to them and ask them, you know, their thoughts on the various different creation stories from around the world. They went to, they went to Sunday school until my son came home and told me I was gonna burn in hell. And when he told me that we have to die for Jesus. And I was like, that's funny, actually, because it's Jesus died for us. But in reality, a lot of us have died for Jesus. But yeah, once he started, once they started getting kind of indoctrinating to like, hateful of their own father, if you will, that would pull the plug on Sunday school, but, yeah, they were exposed to a whole bunch of it. But when the question is left open, most kids I know, who are raised in mixed households end up atheists and mine did as well.

WS: Yep. And so how it again, I generally view someone's kids as off limits, but you've written some online about, you know, your your family situation. I'm just wondering, How has that worked out for them? How has that worked out for you all as a family and I'm curious, too, about your your parents are, you know, they raised you in a Catholic home? I'm assuming that meant that they were pretty devout in their own Catholic faith? Is that accurate? Or if they come around to your way of thinking as well?

TS: They're pretty liberal Catholics. But me, my family is very, you know, a lot of members of my family are still Catholic. And, you know, all right here. Here's another fun one to trip you up. Like my son, he's an atheist. He goes to Notre Dame. It's a Catholic University. Right? Choice. So I mean, there you go. He's up there now being taught by the fathers.

WS: Well, that is a truly fascinating. Well, listen, Todd, I appreciate so much the time, you've been very generous with some sometimes obnoxious and tough questions. And I really appreciate your being willingness to engage those. I before I go, I just wanted to ask two things, really? Maybe three things if you'll indulge me. Number one is? Do you have any questions for me?

TS: Oh, I didn't prep questions for you. I thought I was being interviewed.

WS: Well, let me just let me put it more more broadly. What what is it about Christians that bugs you the most? Let's put it that way?

TS: Nothing. Christians don't bother me. Why would they?

WS: Alright, very good. And what is there some question that you wished I had asked you, something you wanted to say? If you you know, if you've got 30 seconds, or a minute or a minute and a half, to speak to my largely evangelical audience, what is it that you would say to them?

TS: Well, first, I mean, I would say to some of the discussions earlier, I mean, I didn't brush up on my, you know, gospel histories before coming on the show. So I would say go do your own reading and go read some evangelical sources, but also go read non evangelical sources, go see what non evangelicals have to say about the writers of the gospel, and see what they have to say about where they were from, when they were written, who wrote them. Go do your own research. And I mean, you know, look at multiple sources don't go look at one thing go actually read up on it. Go read fairly detailed, spend a half. I mean, this is a core belief of any evangelical, go do your own reading, and, and learn a bit about it. It'll be interesting for you, I'm sure.

WS: Yeah, yeah. No, I appreciate that advice. That's good feedback. And I guess the final the truly the final questions is a question Todd that I often ask my guests on the program and you know, that is, how do you want to be remembered? I assume that as a agnostic, slash atheist, rationalist, someone who believes in free thought, that you believe that there will be, you know, ashes to ashes and dust to dust, that whenever you die? At best, you can't know what's going to happen, but probably the only thing that will be left of you would be your memory, according to what I'm assuming would be your worldview and correct me if I'm wrong on that. How do you want people to remember you?

TS: Well, as far as, I'll answer two things there first, what do I think's gonna happen after I die? Yeah, I think it'll be exactly like it was before I was born - exactly the same. And I'm not afraid of that at all. I am afraid of dying just because dying sounds painful. Hope it's really quick and sudden, actually, I hope I live to be a really old man and then just get blown up or something instantaneously. That sounds like a good way to go. But I want people to remember me as a, as a kind person, a nice person, a funny person, an interesting person, someone who is there for them, someone who tried his best to be a good father and good citizen and a good neighbor and a good American, somebody who tried to make this country a better place.

WS: And I guess you would also have to hope that their vision of what is good and what is kind and what is a good American aligns completely with your vision, because otherwise, they wouldn't be able to draw those conclusions right.

TS: Now, I don't think it has to align completely not a single person, the world has exactly the same view on these issues. Even among evangelicals, it would be very different individual to individual. I think, in general, we all have a pretty good idea of what it means to be kind and nice to one another. I can be kind of nice to evangelicals, and I can be kind of nice to atheists. And so can y'all, so...

WS: Yeah, right. You know, there was a you may you may know, the comedian, team, magicians, Penn and Teller. And Penn Jillette was once asked whether he was offended by - Penn Jillette pretty famously an atheist.

TS: I know Penn.

WS: And yeah, and he was asked one time, whether he was offended by Christians who, you know, tried to share their faith with him, and his answer, and I'm gonna paraphrase it is that No, he wasn't offended, because if a Christian sincerely believed that he was going to hell for not rejecting Jesus, he would consider it an act of cruelty not to at least try to keep that person from going to hell. So he viewed that sharing of a Christian's faith with him as an act of kindness and an act of love. I'm just wondering, Is that the way you view it as well?

TS: as share sharing faith as an act of kindness? I mean, it's a good question. It doesn't, it doesn't bother me, unless it's an inappropriate setting, I guess. But I'm sure to somebody who's professing their faith, they are attempting to be kind and share something they think is of value, and fine.

WS: Very good. Well, Todd, listen, thanks so much for your time. I am grateful. And I know. I'm not exactly sure how you will receive this benediction. But God bless you. I'll hope our trails cross again soon.

TS: I appreciate it. I guess one thing I want to leave with is I feel like we tended to talk a lot about how we differ and how to define things and where our ideas come from. And I think the world as a whole would be a lot better if people focused more on their common ground and rather than where they're coming up with their ideas and definitions and the like, just try to be nice to each other.

WS: Got it. Understood. Listen, Todd, thank you for that word. And yeah, blessings, take care.

TS: Bless you, too.

WORLD Radio transcripts are created on a rush deadline. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of WORLD Radio programming is the audio record.


Please wait while we load the latest comments...