I Debate My Friend, an Openly Gay Benedictine Monk, about the Catholic Church and its Views on Gays

Earlier today, I wrote posts about what it was like when my best friend from college came out to me and how his struggles with suicidal depression, exacerbated by his torment over being gay, played a pivotal role in leading me to become an atheist.

At the end of the latter post, I embedded our discussion from this morning about his personal history trying to reconcile his sexuality in the context of his faith. In the video at the top of this post, I start getting confrontational and raising numerous controversial issues for us to debate about. Towards the end, Bede also frankly discusses his clinical depression and how that too has interacted with this faith.

Please put timestamps of parts you want to highlight for other readers in the comments.

Your Thoughts?

About Daniel Fincke

Dr. Daniel Fincke  has his PhD in philosophy from Fordham University and spent 11 years teaching in college classrooms. He wrote his dissertation on Ethics and the philosophy of Friedrich Nietzsche. On Camels With Hammers, the careful philosophy blog he writes for a popular audience, Dan argues for atheism and develops a humanistic ethical theory he calls “Empowerment Ethics”. Dan also teaches affordable, non-matriculated, video-conferencing philosophy classes on ethics, Nietzsche, historical philosophy, and philosophy for atheists that anyone around the world can sign up for. (You can learn more about Dan’s online classes here.) Dan is an APPA  (American Philosophical Practitioners Association) certified philosophical counselor who offers philosophical advice services to help people work through the philosophical aspects of their practical problems or to work out their views on philosophical issues. (You can read examples of Dan’s advice here.) Through his blogging, his online teaching, and his philosophical advice services each, Dan specializes in helping people who have recently left a religious tradition work out their constructive answers to questions of ethics, metaphysics, the meaning of life, etc. as part of their process of radical worldview change.

  • Envy Burger

    I watched this 1 1/2 times (the first time I was doing chores and not paying close attention). I get the sense that your friend is an amazing person, so I’m not trying to slam him at all. However, he didn’t really answer any of the questions you had, and even he admitted that multiple times. Perhaps the things he said would be satisfying to a believer, but as somebody now sitting on the other side, I was sorely disappointed in his end of the discussion, particularly when trying to justify his hope that the church would change its positions on certain things while still believing in the Pope’s authority as a “Vicar of Christ” as you say :).

    I am happy that he has found solace in his life as a monk, though. That’s a wonderful thing to hear.

  • Steve Schuler

    Thanks very much to both of you for having these discussions and making these videos available for viewing. I really enjoy watching two intelligent and thoughtful people of differing perspectives engage each other civilly and probe difficult issues in an atmoshere of mutual respect. I hope to see more of Bede in future episodes of the CWH show!