What Is More Important: Truth or Well Being?



hey everybody I'm Adam and this is think club what is more important truth or well-being that is the question that I am going to attempt to answer I guess I'm not really gonna answer it in this video I'm going to muse on this question because it's such a difficult question and it's something that I go back to a lot in my dealings with the antitheist community I have a clip here that is relatively disturbing to me it was actually shared with me by a friend of mine on Twitter and I know that religious people Christians in particular will probably find this clip immensely disturbing the atheist community loves this clip just from looking at it there's 200,000 views it is a recent clip so it amassed those views in a short period of time ten thousand likes and just to summarize before I get into the clip this is basically a dispute between Matt Dillahunty and his parents over their belief their Christianity and Matt Dillahunty just it goes very very hard at his parents and I want to look at this because there are some premises that the antitheist community has that I think are factually incorrect scientifically incorrect and it creates this kind of difficulty because it it takes two of their highest values and it puts them into conflict as you can see here I've got the values in conflict in this situation is objective truth and human well-being and happiness that's a difficult choice that is a difficult choice if you if you can only choose one and a lot of people will say well why can't we have both and I'm gonna go into that because I think this clip perfectly illustrates why in many cases you you can't have both so the ante premise here is that believing untruths causes harm and obviously you can argue with me on that in the comments below but I'm relatively certain that this is a a steal man of their position but just synthesize down to two one belief the central belief I'm often set in videos that the goal of the community is to rid the world of religion that they believe the world would be a better place without religion but I think the root of that belief is believing that believing in supernatural things things that are untrue things that cannot be evidentially corroborated causes harm causes harm to the individuals and it causes harm to society and fair enough I think we should investigate this premise further there's a book that I cite many times in many of my videos called sacred and secular that provides a lot of evidence that religiosity is causally correlated with existential security in environments where existential security is high religiosity will be low because they're getting existential security from things like wealth stable social structures you know peace things like that in conflict ridden areas with unstable institutions existential security is often low and in those situations people get more religious because religion provides a feeling of existential security that they may not be getting tangibly now I think I agree with the anti theist in that we would like a world where everybody has existential security over a feeling of existential security from religion and and where I want to get into this with the Matt Dillahunty clip is even if you have wealth we're all going to die and the older people get and they've studied this the older people get that more religious they tend to get because the existential security that they have in youth is fading over time they're they're running out of life and even if you are wealthy death is is a very scary thing so it makes perfect sense that people would use religion to gain existential security in an afterlife type situation and to know that this is not the end so even in cases of wealthy nations where the younger people gain existential security just from the wealth the nation possesses from the stable institutions older people will tend to get more religious if existential security creates well-being and happiness these two values are very much in conflict they are in conflict and this also forces a conflict between the anti-theists central press that believing untruths causes harm if we know that believing in religion which from the anti Deus perspective the Atheist perspective is untrue but it doesn't actually cause harm it causes well-being then the central premise of antitheism in incorrect that the mission of anti theist to rid the world of religion because it causes harm is a incorrect mission it is a pointless mission now I bring this stuff up to set up this clip with Matt Dillahunty because it's very relevant here Matt Dillahunty is a person I don't want to disparage Matt Dillahunty because this clip is is just I mean it's heart-wrenching it is really heart-wrenching as someone who has a good relationship with my family and cherishes that and just I feel for people who have bad relationships with their family I know many people who do have bad relationships with their family and it it is torturous your family should be there for you so this this dispute between Matt Dillahunty and his family it's heart-wrenching it's completely heartwrenching but it's a dispute that's wrapped up in this anti-theist mission this this mission this belief that believing untrue things causes harm so I'll play the clip and I'm gonna stop to make commentary as I go and we'll go from there and the door that I'm closing now is not the door to conversation I literally said in the text I am happy to though this set up here really simply is that Matt Dillahunty was turning 50 and he got a birthday card from his parents that had some religious context to it his parents obviously want him to become religious again they want him to buy into their religious beliefs and this does seem a bit selfish on their part but they are Matt Dillahunty is turning 50 I'm sure his parents are probably in their 70s they're going to shuffle off this mortal coil soon and they would like to know they would like the existential security of knowing that in the future they will all be together for eternity in heaven now I know that is fiction to the anti theist that is fiction to the atheist I know that this belief they believe causes harm I'm sure you can generate tons of reasons why you think this would cause harm but in the context of this situation this idea if Matt Dillahunty went along with it would theoretically make them feel very good so I realize and I realize this I'm not taking sides here okay I think truth is the highest value when you take that side of the argument it is a bitter pill to swallow because it's impossible to make these people feel better because in order to do that you have to betray your value of truth and I commend Matt Dillahunty in this clip for not betraying his value of truth it's just the clip perfectly illustrates the conflict the conflict between these two values the value of objective truth scientific truth and human well-being both things that we want to strive for have conversations info on the phone and in person I just don't want these written one-way communications so she doesn't remotely understand because she thinks I'm closing the door to conversation entirely and I'm just closing the door to passive aggressive cowardly bullshit one-way preaching because that's not a fucking conversation that's not how you engage with people that's not how you show your love and while they're convinced that I'm coming back to Jesus while they're convinced that this is the message that the Lord wanted them to send I'm now going to take it and flip it on its head and broadcast it to the entire fucking world that this is the exact opposite of what you should do if you're trying to convince somebody that yours is a true religion about love that you care about people this is not it this threatening passive-aggressive nonsense is not what it is and so this is going to have the exact opposite effect of what they intended because they're going to be thousands of atheists who see this who are going to say wow that's the same crap I've dealt with with my family and it's breaking my heart well because it breaks my heart too and so instead of being something that uplifts their religion in the Lord it's going to be used to deliver more people from religious oppression from being the sidelined individual that gets stuck in a corner at Christmas and other holidays because everybody else is talking about religion and talking about them while they're still in the room Oh see hee-hee conceptualizes religion as religious religious oppression like I understand that the institution felt oppressive to Matt Dillahunty the institution felt oppressive to me as well other people don't perceive it that way so I have the utmost respect for the people who leave religion but I still as a scientifically minded person as someone who does value truth I understand the human motivation that people have for embracing religion and I just feel like a lot of this conflict could be reduced if the antitheist understood this conflict as well but I don't know that it's possible for them to understand this conflict because it dis confirms their belief here it dis confirms their belief that believing untrue things causes harm it dis confirms that belief if it's true that believing untrue things causes human well-being in the context of religion if if religiosity is causally correlated to existential security and our religious belief system increases existential security increases well-being then this premises is untrue completely untrue and that's a that is it a bitter pill to swallow it is a bitter pill to swallow it is it some grave irony that that is the case but I think as as scientifically minded people we we have to be willing to accept that reality if that isn't in fact how the world really is oh well Matt's still an atheist you bet he is this didn't do anything but break my heart and cement the fact that I am on the side of righteousness that of the three of us I'm the only one who has a good understanding of love of civility about how to act interact with people and it's gonna let a lot of other atheists know that you are not alone and one of the best things you can do is draw boundaries around your life I had to make a decision the other day before I sent that text message if this ends my relationship with my parents am i okay with that and the answer was yes that's Dutch just terrifying to me that's completely terrifying to me their religious beliefs are in conflict with his mission his mission is to create more atheists it's obvious that he believes this with every fiber as being he believes that believing these untrue things is is dangerous is is harmful to people and I'm sure there are plenty of contexts where it is harmful to people but there are other contact where it is very much not harmful to people where it's actually helpful to people so I just I think that you have to weigh those those two competing values and and this is really a situation where you have to choose between the two obviously Matt Dillahunty has chosen truth over the well-being of the relationship with his parents and fair enough that's his decision to make but I don't know that it's based on the actual facts of the situation and I think that is what is so disheartening to me here it's not going to end the relationship with my parents they're gonna write it off and dismiss it and go back to not talking about religion and we'll talk about all these other things and interact right up until the point where one of us dies it just means that we can't have those conversations anymore it seems like they would feel better knowing that there were that this wasn't the end that seems like a completely natural human instinct to want the security of knowing that your family is going to be intact forever forever I had to be okay with the possibility and that's the message to the other atheists out there who are trying to figure out how to draw these boundaries whether whether they should come out whether they should cut people out of their life those are decisions that only you can make you get to decide your boundaries and if they're people that are toxic in your life but that's still a valuable relationship to where you're willing to put up with it then go right ahead and when you reach the breaking point you got to put your foot down today I'm 50 years old and I let them get away with this stuff for years and today or yesterday actually I decided no more if we only have to talk about the weather for the rest of our lives okay that's fine I'm alright with that I'd like to talk about deeper things on occasion but don't pretend that I closed the door to conversation because I didn't what I did was I said you don't get to keep doing this to me because this is my life and it's good for my life and I hope that everybody out there is having to deal with this stuff makes the decision that is in the best interest of them living a productive life without poisonous individuals trying to pollute it at every turn if religions are true I want to know that and that's why we have to have the conversations and if they're not true I want to know that too so so he's talking about truth and I just I want to jump in here because I my highest value is truth I I'm comfortable with that and there's going to be some pain along the way obviously Matt Dillahunty highest value is truth here too the only reason that I bring this up is because it so tangibly comes into conflict with the highest well-being of secular humanism and and Matt Dillahunty defines himself as a secular humanist they define the highest the highest value in secular humanism as human well-being but if these values are in conflict which is the highest value I think it's important for people to realize and a lot of people throughout the the the noble lie they call this the noble lie and they're against it because it is in effect a lie and that's fine if your highest value is truth that's fine my only goal here is to explain that if your highest value is truth then you have to accept the fact that the truth is that people use the noble lie to increase their well-being their human flourishing you have to accept that truth because it is the truth it is a scientific truth and if your highest value is truth then you have to accept that but if they're true and fucking terrible they need to get out of my life out of your life out of politics out of everything that happens in this world because that is not the way to progress to love to cherish to interact with anybody yeah a guy telling off his parents and people are applauding that just seems man very dystopian to me very dystopian to me i man I I'm curious your thoughts on this I obviously feel differently than people that are applauding here but I think this is a tough conversation I think people are drawing audiological lines without getting to the deeper conversation that we need to have and that's why I make these videos so I'll leave it there you leave your feedback in the comments below and we'll see in the next video everybody thanks for watching my video I'm going to be posting daily content here on my personal channel my main channel think club is still demonetised and I am working on getting that fixed if you have suggestions for topics you can leave those in the comments below the amazing artwork that you're seeing here was done by Steph she is a fantastic artist and she's working on a graphic novel that I wrote and we will both the crowdfunding soon so thank you for watching and we'll see you in the next video first of all it isn't that your life becomes neutral in a meaningless sense it's that your life becomes characterized by unbearable suffering because the baseline condition of life is something like unbearably suffered

32 thoughts on “What Is More Important: Truth or Well Being?

  1. Imagine if you were a christian, and your atheist parents were always sending you cards about how Christianity is immoral and illogical

  2. IMO, Matt is vulgar, irrational and the equivalent of a religious preacher. He's dogmatic and obsessed. Even when I disagreed with my parents, I was never vulgar and obscene about it. When a self-professed intellectual resorts to these tactics in making their argument, then I don't take them serious. IMO, if he was the political leader of a nation, I'd say that nation would be a dangerous place to live.

  3. I think truth is more important. The truth can be a bitter pill to swallow. However, if your acting out of view point which is false, you could wind up hurting yourself more gravely further down the line.
    I used to be a anti theist. However, religion for the most part isn’t an important part of many people’s lives. You can tell by there actions. However, I wasn’t so…repulsed by religion that I would cut off ties from my parents and family. Maybe I’m being somewhat of a coward, but they’re all I kinda have. We can get along despite believing different things. It’s sad people would aloud something so dark.

  4. Matt is a literal asshole. Screaming at your 80 year old parents because they sent a fucking birthday card with religious connotations? I'm an atheist and this is just the perfect example of the ridiculous atheist "community" AND WHY ARE THEY SO ANGRY ALL THE TIME JESUS.

  5. Enjoyed this one. Though wouldn't you say a Cypher values well-being over the truth? How do you reconcile that in your mind?

  6. He’s not the role model he thinks he is.

    Edit : he could have just respectfully accepted his parents gifts, understand that they are worried for him, and politely address them. But no. He decides to go on a public show and share what is supposed to be private, tell his audience to cut ties with their family if necessary. This was sad to watch.

    I really hope atheist don’t take him as a role model.

  7. Great vid Adam, love your content. I would love if you made a video about the power of myth. Can myth provide something that truth can't?

  8. "I don't care about my birthday."

    "How dare you send this on my birthday?!"

    People are starting to grow wise to Matt's childishness. He and other career atheists are losing their audience to figures like Peterson because it's becoming glaringly obvious they have nothing to offer but bitterness and resentment.

  9. Matt Dillahunty: "My parents sent me a Jesus loves you card for my birthday, and I'm mad about it, because Jesus is stupid. This isn't how you show love, if they really loved me they wouldn't have sent me a Jesus card. I'm not closing the door on conversation by being willing to end my 50 year relationship with my parents in a text. I'm the bigger person that's why I'm gonna air my dirty laundry to all of YouTube."
    Matt, you won't like it, but I'm praying for you to get your head out of rear end and start acting like 50 year old. This guy was willing to throw away his parents over a piece of paper, and goes on about how he's on the side of righteousness.

  10. Matt is angry that people are waking up to the beauty and utility of Christianity and his atheist project is faltering. Thanks Peterson

  11. I do not know how many Christians are suffering. Say, 20% to 50% of Christians between 10 and 60 years suffer from fear, shame, anger, poverty, divorce, doubts, illness, etc. They also harbor or may harbor hatred/intolerance for other Christians and unbelievers. Scribes of the Jewish word [NT] command them to rejoice and be glad for it because the Jewish god will reward them with eternal life.
    So, the question is, How many of them love all that suffering?
    Clergy, of course, shun this topic.

  12. God, this really shows Matt Dillahunty's abrasiveness. When my mother passed away in 2016 my aunt who is a Mormon sent these Mormon missionaries to check up and converse with me (they came largely to try and convert me I know). I was an atheist-agnostic at the time too. And they came every other week for about a two months, but when they did come I didn't tell them or my aunt off (let alone on a public space like the internet) because I was triggered by the fact I don't believe in their religion (and that I don't particularly like Mormonism). And what exactly was the religious context he is gripping about? If it was something like "God loves you" or a Bible verse that should be met more with a shug and a "Oh, parents. Can't live with them, can't live without 'em…" remark in your home than telling them off on YouTube in front of over 200,000 people (is that really the last thing he wants his parents to see of him before they kick-off?!).

  13. Morality is objective (science of good or bad) so it relies on facts i.e truth. Therefore, truth is more important. Because we need it to define the very consept of well-being.

  14. Well being/ cause harm is the only argument. Happiness is just a feels, but is already included in well being

  15. Matt receives birthday card

    "GAWD MOM I'M TRYING TO CONVERT RELIGIOUS FOLK! WHY YOU GOTTA BE SO RELIGIOUS, MOM!?!"

  16. Well…. i can at least find the polar opposite of what i strive to reach in terms of relationship to my parents and overall family. Most of the time i disagree with Matt's arguments/stance, but i can somewhat sympathise with him in this case. I sometimes feel alienated by my family, also in terms of belief, and can end up feeling the way Matt does in this clip. But in the end i need to be humble, for the sake of my relationship to my parents (especially my mother who is more religious), and also not be overcome with arrogance that my stance is objectively true. Even whether or not i am right or wrong is not the issue, to me at least, when it comes to my love for my family.

    tl;dr i can somewhat sympathise with Matt in the clip… But in the end i feel i need to keep my arrogance for my intellect in check in favor of my love for my parents.

  17. So when presented with the "passive aggressive" Christmas card, that's an abuse against Dilhaunty because it violates his sensibilities… but when he makes a career out of trying to delegitimize Christianity, that's just fine and his parents should accept it…

    Plus if you're already entertaining nonsense by celebrating Christmas for the betterment of your family, why not just entertain your parents for the little time they have left as a means of bettering your family life? You arent forced to believe it.

    This seems like a grotesque over-reaction by Matt.

  18. For all hating Matt Dillahunty's reaction try to understand that from his point of view when translated in reverse direction, the card would have read something like this: "We are focusing all our intentions and thoughts that you will stop being religious and join us in the scientific understanding of reality instead of you spending time worrying about fantastic stories that are not true because we love you. Happy 50th."
    What would your instinct tell you about the writers?

  19. Oh man…I couldn't watch the whole clip. Family stuff is just family stuff..keep it private matt. Spitefully using your parents in public so you can get cheap points is really low. He feels he has thousands of anti-theist viewers supporting his victim mentality.
    Now I don't know the people involved. For all I know his parents might be more agressive than him and he is in a sense a victim….but part of me suspects they could be humble and that he is the difficult person.
    Imagine a family conversation with Matt, with him acting like he does in this clip..you'd probably end up preferring to communicate via card instead of having another experience with this unpleasant person.
    Matt using this card on the show was vengefully behavior with intent to injure the other person, which in biblical Christian philosophy is classed as self-righteous unrighteousness.

    Perhaps at home his parents are more powerful than him and he can't freely express these feeling's.
    I suspect he is unwittingly exposing his true original motivations here, for being an athiest -his family disputes with religious parents when he was a lad,and rebellion against his mother/father.
    Perhaps Jordan Peterson can take him on as a patient in psychotherapy.
    Punch that pillow matt, pretend it's your father and smash his face in…..

    Does he channel all that "angry family argument energy", to his athiesm? unconsciously linking them together. To him, any interaction with thiesm represents to him that fight with his parents that he just has to win.
    Every caller on athiest experience becomes his father, who he can then destroy and win before the whole world.

  20. I used to really like that guy during the Bush years, but now I realize his angst and atheism isn't about religion, it's about a shitty relationship with his family. He's using God as a surrogate for his anger towards his family and his bitterness towards life for not having the childhood he thought he should have had.

  21. 13:20 "There are other contexts where [believing these untrue things] is very much not harmful to people". Sure, but then that's what we also say about how to not expose children to the vicissitudes of life. We are talking about grown up members of society. If we are to survive we need to be mature enough to accept reality as is not wrap it up in nice little bundles of stories that are meant to mostly protect our feeble feelings. That is what being mature means, isn't it.

    13:27 "Obviously Matt Dillahunty has chosen Truth over the well being of the relationship with his parents." Well, that's Jesus' story: you have to sacrifice something of value in order to obtain something else more valuable. And here JBP is correct that even the atheists do present christian behavior but not because Christianity is embedded in our culture but rather because Christianity tries to encode universal human behavior formulas. But then there's different definitions of what Christianity means.

    18:06 Adam, would you sacrifice your relation with your parents if they were to always come between you and your wife? I don't know what is Matt's context but it seems he values more his belief system than his relationship with is parents. But that is nothing different than the vow Eastern Orthodox monks take when they go into the monasteries. If you listen to him he doesn't hate his parents but he hates their religious approach to their relationship. Relationships are complex but do not project the way you feel about your parents on how to judge his relationship with his.

  22. Adam, Truth that Serves Well being is better than anything proposed so far. There is no difference between Untruth that serves Well Being and Lies that serve Well Being. Sometimes we confuse having good feelings with well being but that's not a long term stable scenario to run societies on. So Matt is talking about Truth being more important than having good feelings. We can't modulate what is actually Truth because it becomes a lie but we can modulate our feelings about it even if the truth is ugly.

  23. Great video. A few points:

    – The conflict between “well-being” and “truth” is based on a poor definition of “truth”. If “truth” is limited to mean “things that are observable in the physical universe and empirically provable” then the conflict exists. But that’s simply not the case. The most important things in life are outside that category (love, all emotions, reason itself, etc).

    – It’s clear that Matt has deep family issues that make it impossible for him to engage dispassionately with religion. His conscience is pricked by that card from his parents, and that is what his anger is aimed at.

    – You night find “Faith of the Fatherless: The psychology of Atheism” an interesting read. It’s by Dr. Paul Vitz

  24. The hypothesis is reversed. It isn’t that prosperity and relative economic security is the natural state, and only when we lose that do we back our way into religious belief. It’s that our natural state of life is fraught with illness, mishaps, malice and the like, and keeps death in our minds which leads to pondering the hereafter, and only massive wealth and physical comfort that removes us from that ultimate reality enough for us to forget about those existential realities.

  25. I think he has exposed himself as just as passive aggressive as his parents by public 'ending' his relationship with his parents. Didn't he call them out for 'one way, passive aggressive communication' as one of the major reasons for the rift?

  26. I realy like your analysis. Im ciepły religious, and The clip you show only strengthens my opinion than most ateist are simply egocentrist, who dont like somethink judge Then.

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