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An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One)

October 15, 2018

Interviewer: Scott Douglas Jacobsen

Numbering: Issue 18.A, Idea: Outliers & Outsiders (Part Fourteen)

Place of Publication: Langley, British Columbia, Canada

Title: In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal

Web Domain: http://www.in-sightjournal.com

Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2018

Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019

Name of Publisher: In-Sight Publishing

Frequency: Three Times Per Year

Words: 1,391

ISSN 2369-6885

Abstract 

Tim Moen is the President of the Libertarian Party of Canada. He discusses: family background, culture, family, geography, language, and religion/irreligion; religion and God; and arguments for God.

Keywords: Libertarianism, Libertarian Party of Canada, Tim Moen.

An Interview with Tim Moen: Leader, Libertarian Party of Canada (Part One)[1],[2]

*Please see the footnotes, bibliography, and citation style listing after the interview.*

1. Scott Douglas Jacobsen: In terms of culture, family, geography, language, and religion/irreligion, what is your background?

I grew up on a farm in Northern Alberta about 80 km NE of Grande Prairie with my mom and dad and younger brother. My grandparents were Mennonite Brethren who were branded Kulaks and fled Stalinist Russia and settled in Southern Alberta around Lethbridge. They worked hard to build a life in Canada and I’m grateful for their legacy of hard work, responsibility and sense of connection to something greater than one’s self.

Our family went to a non-denominational Church and I was a very involved and earnest evangelical Christian and truth seeker. I spent a year in Bible College immediately after high school studying theology with an eye towards serving as a pastor. That year left me with the impression that there were no real answers to be found and I realized I’d have a difficult time being a pastor selling any kind of certainty so I moved on to a career in Emergency Services.

I’ve spent over 22 years working in Emergency Services in various roles and still work today as a Firefighter/Paramedic. I love helping people and I consider my primary purpose in life to protect people from destructive forces whether its acute illness, fire, trauma, authoritarian force, or unclear thinking.

2. Jacobsen: At the time, what images of religion and God were in mind for you?

My image of God at the time was one of an omnipotent, omniscient, mostly compassionate celestial dictator. A God that knew my every thought and desire and had a plan for me. Religion to me was the institution where one became educated in order to obtain salvation and more closely align one’s beliefs with a very real spiritual realm.

3. What argument and evidence seemed the strongest in favour of the God of evangelical Christianity to you? This can include traditional arguments such as the Cosmological Argument (from contingency), Kalam Cosmological Argument
(based on the beginning of the universe), Moral Argument (based upon
moral values and duties), Teleological Argument (from fine-tuning), and the Ontological Argument (from the possibility of God’s existence to His actuality).

The most compelling argument I’ve heard for a God is probably the Unmoved Mover argument. The way Tom Woods explained it here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJ2oY7nvM-M is very compelling to me. I’d always thought of the Unmoved Mover as a way of saying that there must be a beginning to the universe ergo God most have started it, which seems fairly easy to dismiss, but Woods explains that it that this view of the Unmoved Mover is a straw man and further explains that bringing potentiality into actuality is an ongoing process and demands a God. In other words; for reality to continue to exist requires a supreme being. If one then takes a layman’s interpretation of the quantum realm and how strange and difficult to explain the substrate of reality becomes it becomes compelling to imagine a supreme being there. It satisfies a deep psychological longing to explain reality in a way that is easier to understand and also a longing to never cease existing. In fairness I haven’t thought very deeply on these issues for years so I haven’t delved into the arguments for or against the Unmoved Mover in any depth.

Once you have a compelling argument for the existence of a supreme being you still have all your work ahead of you to argue for the “God of evangelical Christianity”. There are as many interpretations and conceptions of God as there are believers so its difficult to know how one would go about proving the existence of a particular conception. For example, what is the null hypothesis for a Young Earth Creationists argument that the Earth is only 10,000 years old? What about Evangelicals that believe in an old Earth and evolution? Are we expected to believe that God ignored humanity for its first 100,000 years, essentially sentencing them to eternal torment, and then suddenly showed up with a bunch of rules and then sent his son to die and offered everyone in the past 2000 years another path to salvation that didn’t exist before? These types of questions are ones that vexed me in the past and essentially turned me into an anti-theist for a period of time, but I now think this is probably not helpful to try and demand a literal description of material reality from scripture in the same way it is not helpful to propagate the idea that the scripture is a literal description of material reality.

I have considerably softened my view of Christianity over the years. My mind started to change towards Christianity after reading the writing of Michael Dowd who is a Christian pastor and author of the book “Thank God for Evolution” has a completely different conception of evangelical Christianity that doesn’t require belief in the sort of supernatural person in the sky I believed in as a child. It was further softened as I went through grad-school and read research on optimal mind states and started practicing some forms of meditation, based on peer reviewed research, that looked very similar to how I was taught to pray. Expressing gratitude is peer reviewed and is also happens to be how many religious practices teach to begin prayer. So when I’ve attended religious ceremonies and church over the last few years I’ve come to view them through a different lens. There are likely good evolutionary reasons these institutions emerge and there are very good things going on here and they fill a deep human need.

In summary, I think there are some compelling reasons to believe in a supreme being although I remain unconvinced. I think that Evangelical Christianity can comport with these compelling reasons to believe in a supreme being if it isn’t taken as a literal description of material reality.

Appendix I: Footnotes

[1] Leader, Libertarian Party of Canada.

[2] Individual Publication Date: October 15, 2018: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one; Full Issue Publication Date: January 1, 2019: https://in-sightjournal.com/insight-issues/.

Appendix II: Citation Style Listing

American Medical Association (AMA): Jacobsen S. An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One) [Online].October 2018; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one.

American Psychological Association (APA, 6th Edition, 2010): Jacobsen, S.D. (2018, October 15). An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One)Retrieved from http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one.

Brazilian National Standards (ABNT): JACOBSEN, S. An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One). In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A, October. 2018. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one>.

Chicago/Turabian, Author-Date (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott. 2018. “An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A. http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one.

Chicago/Turabian, Humanities (16th Edition): Jacobsen, Scott “An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal. 18.A (October 2018). http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one.

Harvard: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A. Available from: <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one>.

Harvard, Australian: Jacobsen, S. 2018, ‘An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One)In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal, vol. 18.A., http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one.

Modern Language Association (MLA, 7th Edition, 2009): Scott D. Jacobsen. “An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One).” In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 18.A (2018):October. 2018. Web. <http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one>.

Vancouver/ICMJE: Jacobsen S. An Interview with Tim Moen (Part One) [Internet]. (2018, October; 18(A). Available from: http://www.in-sightjournal.com/moen-one.

License and Copyright

License

In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal by Scott Douglas Jacobsen is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
Based on a work at www.in-sightjournal.com.

Copyright

© Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal 2012-2018. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Scott Douglas Jacobsen, and In-Sight Publishing and In-Sight: Independent Interview-Based Journal with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.  All interviewees co-copyright their interview material and may disseminate for their independent purposes.

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