445: Rabbi Yonatan Neril, part 2: Religion, Interpreting the Torah, and Nature

March 13, 2021 by Joshua
in Podcast

We got into territory I’d wanted to talk to a religious scholar about. I would have expected being recorded would make us more tentative, but I found the opposite. I didn’t keep track, but several times I said feel free not to answer. Instead he answered more, sharing what he’d thought and researched about in depth.

We cover Joseph, Isaac, the Arch Bishop of Burundi, population, contraception, consumption, and more, both in principle and in our
personal lives. We also cover his personal experience in the woods near his home, his family, his work, and how they all interplayed.

Family is the number one reason people give about not being able to act. “Josh, you don’t have kids, you don’t understand how it’s impossible.” Well, take it up with yet another family man who found nature and stewardship bringing his family closer.

This conversation, along with ones with religious guests like Bob Inglis, Brent Suter, and Eric Metaxas, as well as unrecorded ones with friends, make me evaluate the approach of many environmentalists, including myself often. Too often their message comes from a place of “I’m right, you’re wrong, let me explain how.” I’m not excepting myself.

What works? I’m sure I’ve mentioned the root of convince — vince as in vanquish. When was the last time someone vanquished you and you responded, “You beat me, now I agree with you.”?

I find it more interesting to learn from people I disagree with, more fun, more engaging, and I learn more too. I don’t want to imply I’m a paragon of humility or even remotely like that ideal, but I’ve come a long way and am glad for the distance I’ve traversed.

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