A few months ago, a man named Dave Rubin reached out to us at Word on Fire to ask if Bishop Barron would be open to an interview. (Apparently lots of Dave’s Twitter followers suggested the idea.)
To be honest, we didn’t know much about Dave at the time. But after some Googling, we discovered he’s a well-known comedian and host of the super popular “Rubin Report”, a show that airs directly through YouTube. “The Rubin Report” has over 350,000 subscribers and 100 million views. It’s one of the most popular YouTube channels in the world.
Dave mostly shares cultural commentary and interviews with leading thinkers, scientists, politicians, and celebrities. He’s a fair and balanced host, but from the videos and comments, it’s clear his audience skews very secular and fairly liberal.
Dave is an interesting guy. One website describes him as a “rising media star” and “the voice of liberals who were mugged by progressives.” It says he’s “a 39-year-old pro-choice, pro-pot, recently gay-married atheist with a strong allergy to organized religion.”
In other words, the anti-Bishop Barron.
We wondered how Dave and the Bishop would do together since they’re almost polar opposites. But after sampling some of Dave’s videos, we noted that even when Dave disagreed with his guests, he was still fair and engaging. He’s a big champion of free speech and welcomes all sorts of people on his show. Instead of hammering them or tossing “gotcha” questions, Dave sincerely tries to understand the guest’s point of view, giving them free rein to articulate it.
So, with all that in mind, Bishop Barron decided to do the interview. He figured while some Catholics might wonder why a bishop would appear on such a show, the net effect would be overwhelmingly positive. His main hope was that it would put the Catholic Faith on the radar of thousands of people—especially young people—who would otherwise never consider God or religion.
And wow, did that happen!
Dave recently posted the full interview on YouTube (in two parts, watch them below) and immediately the comment boxes and social media lit up as hundreds of atheists, agnostics, and non-Catholics expressed admiration and interest.
(The videos already have over 100,000 combined views.)
Honestly, I’ve never seen anything like it. I run the #4 most popular blog for atheists and I’ve chatted with hundreds of skeptics over the years.
Yet I’ve never seen a such a stream of genuine respect and appreciation for a Catholic cleric.
My job at Word on Fire involves keeping tabs on the different reactions, so I picked out some of my favorites to share below. I’m pretty sure all of them are from atheists.
(Neither Bishop Barron nor anyone at Word on Fire asked me to share these comments; I’m doing it just because I’m so excited by them. Also, there were many, many more encouraging comments. This was just a sampling.)
I encourage you to watch both parts of the interview. Bishop Barron did such a marvelous job. He was smart and eloquent, even when Dave pushed the discussion toward hot-button issues.
In fact, I think the interview offers a sort of masterclass in apologetics and evangelization. The answers weren’t perfect, and like any guest, I’m sure Bishop would love to go back and rephrase one or two of them (always the case with any unscripted, wide-ranging, hour-long interview.) But his responses are the best I’ve seen on several prickly issues. They’re sharp, clear, funny, and winsome, and confirm Bishop Barron’s intuitive grasp of expressing the Faith in the right way, with the right words, with the right sensitivities.
So watch, learn, and enjoy!
NOTE: All these comments were either on the original YouTube videos or in response to them on Twitter.
Bishop Barron’s Top 5 YouTube Videos of the Decade
I think that it was a good instinct to perform this experiment. You know that we didn't know and I remember in the early days like well, maybe we'll do a couple of these and they're not gonna be very popular and then we'll move on to something else. So I think certainly the fact that as you say 67000000 views later, uh they've appealed to people they've they've had the effect We wanted them to have. they proved to be an efficacious way to announce. The faith to those maybe outside the churches, you know, are we didn't use the word none in those days, but the nuns the dissociate. we're our target audience. So II think you know, I learned that to my satisfaction that these really are a good way to reach out to the culture. Welcome back to the word on fire show. I'm Brandon the senior content director here at Word on Fire, Got a great episode with you for you. We're gonna be discussing with Bishop Barron. His YouTube ministry, which a lot of people first came to know Bishop Barron through these videos it started in 2013. We're also gonna look at his top five videos of the past decades. so as we finish up twenty, we're gonna look back over the past 10 years and talk through some of his most popular videos. But before we get there, Bishop good to see you and uh how's the new year treating you so far. We're just a few days into it. Hey Brandon so far so good. It's uh we're still going through this strange time you know and uh lock downs and things are not you know back to normal but uh do the best we can. I wanted to ask you about that. what's been parish life? Uh what's parish life been like what's your regional area been like given all the coveted stuff I know California has more stringent policies and the rest of the country. So what's it been like there? I go around every weekend to different parishes in my region and my region is big. It's about 145 miles wide, two counties and um you know. They're they're making and do all the parishes have mass outdoors in different settings. Some you know get still quite a few people. Some just a handful of people, but um you know they're doing the best they can not ideal. Uh I always tell the folks it reminds me in a way of the earliest days of the church when they probably gathered outdoors. think of that famous text from Justin, the martyr you know from like 160 or 150 ad and he's describing how the Christians gathered and you can see it's. I mean what he's describing is the mass at least in a kind of primitive form, so I tell the people in a way we're in solidarity with our earliest of converse in the faith. Alright. Well, I mentioned at the beginning What I'd like to do here is take a glance through the past 10 years of your YouTube ministry and look at some of the most popular videos, the ones that have gotten the most views most common most attention uh but before we get to those videos in particular, I wanna go all the way back to the beginning the beginning of your first YouTube video. Uh it was in February of 2007 2007 that you uploaded your very first YouTube video. It was a commentary on the Martin. Stacey film the departed right, What were you expecting When you first uploaded this video? Well, I don't know it was an experiment. uh YouTube would just come into being. I think YouTube came into existence in 2006. so by very early 2007, we decided to experiment with it. I remember the time I got a uh a donation and it was a good substantial donation and the donor said. Do something kinda creative with this. So I thought well. Alright this. Thing where you can just put your own video up and then we had the idea very clearly from the beginning and it's part of the ethos of word on fire that they wouldn't be churchy videos primarily they'd be reaching out to the culture beginning with something in the culture and trying to show a link to the faith. and so hence the departed would have been just out of that time. I would have just seen it of course, a famously Catholic uh filmmaker. I should say he's a he's a catholic background. They are. Catholic elements I would say in a lot of his movies, so I use that as a basis, but the idea was to do something short uh punchy Theologically informed but based upon something in the culture that was the idea and we thought let's try it and I think that first one uh I did in a in a theater and it was the older folks. Remember the Cisco and Ebert. you know, show these two movie reviewers and they would sit in a movie theater and they would talk about films. So we kinda had that vibe in mind. I suppose there. I was in a movie theater, but I was talking about. The religious dimension of this movie that's how we started and um I forget Brandon if or how we advertise it. II don't know, but it was published on YouTube and as I've often said, I was delighted when it got. I think a couple of hundred views um and we thought well, okay, let's just keep doing it. so we continued in that vein and then it's probably the fact that people could comment and they began to comment on these videos again usually negatively which I've learned is the standard you know uh social media uh. Stuff but um that got and I think the ethos of it has remained in place over these years. That was your first video in February 2007. So here we are nearly 14 years later. 67000000 views later at last count. What are some of the lessons that you've learned over the years? And maybe what are some of the surprises that you've seen in your YouTube ministry? Yeah, It's good. I douse on that once in a while, I think that it was. Good instinct to perform this experiment. You know that we didn't know and I remember in the early days like well, maybe we'll do a couple of these and they're not gonna be very popular and then we'll move on to something else. So I think certainly the fact that as you say 67000000 views later, uh they've appealed to people they've they've had the effect We wanted them to have. they proved to be an efficacious way to announce the faith to those maybe. But a lot of done it sins and that too is a sign. It's like if you're an entrepreneur and you start a business and then a lot of other people jump in you realize yeah, that really was a worthwhile enterprise. that was a real need in the in the economy. So I think in a similar way to prove that there was a need for this kind of uh outreach and you know it's God's Providence, too. Brandon uh how strange that God provides for his church and just when we needed some way to. Reach the unaffiliated. We got this new media. It didn't exist. You know prior to what the 2000 maybe um, but now we have them and I'm now in the studio in Santa Barbara. I never dreamed I'd be in Santa Barbara by the way in 2007 um and we're still doing it with the means that God has provided and I think that's another wonderful surprise. In July 2012 has almost a million views 942000 views in this video you emphasize that the devil is a real person. Uh you say the greatest trick the devil has ever pulled was convincing the world that he didn't exist and you also explained how to defeat the devil and his dark powers. Why do you think there was so much interest in a video about the devil? Yeah, probably Brandon under the rubric of why we like to watch train wrecks and what I mean here is the devil a spiritual. Whose spiritual life is utterly a shipwreck, and that's who the devil would be the devil who a scatter the accuser the one living in radical um distance from God. So it's what the spiritual order looks like when it's come undone and so I go back to that. image. We always stop and look at a car wreck by the side of the road. If there's uh a video of uh of a ship going down and we're probably gonna watch that you know so in a way I can. Regret it, I suppose it's not a positive showing of the spiritual life. We've done plenty of that, but the devil is looking at it from the other side from the side of the shipwreck. Now that's not all together bad because that's a way to learn what the spiritual life ought to be like so you say well look. here's what it looks like in its shadow form and it's dysfunctional form. So don't do that do the opposite of that you know, but then the second point uh which I think is a very important one is to get away from. Put the word gay in the title of anything you've got views that there's a there's a fascination in our culture with homosexuality. If I said, homosexuality and the ant argument, I get 100000 views. you know what I'm saying. so there's. Of that, I think just sort of the knee jerk fascinated reaction to it, but you're putting your finger on exactly what I was getting at in that video. What I was complaining about was the way people were engaging the issue of gay marriage. Both pro and con was more emotional than rational and it was you know because my son is gay and I feel this way or because I've had this experience or whatever and my point was this is a dangerous path to go down because it. Blocks out real argument that no one's actually making an argument a morally and intellectually coherent argument for or against so in that video, I don't actually make the argument and I say that I say I haven't formulated it. I'm just observing that hardly anyone now on either side of this debate is actually making an argument now the next step cuz you say well, Alright, I mean, but people have strong feelings but when you. Documentation What you end up with is now the clash of wills or the clash of strong feelings and what do you do when arguments been set aside, Violence tends to be the answer and you're exactly right. My little book, arguing religion came up out of this kind of concern. so that book isn't about gay marriage at all, but it's about this broader issue of emotionalism versus intellectual if. And the fruits of the spirit and how to develop those fruits of the spirit. I think it was just a couple episodes back. We talked about a lot of these fruits. love joy, patience, patience, kindness etcetera. uh why are these fruits so important and what advice? do you give people on? Cultivate them in their lives, You know first, I'll say Brandon as I the most popular videos on the devil and that's about shipwreck. That's about the car crash on the side of the road. That's looking at the opposite of what we want. I'm I'm gratified and I must say when II saw your list, I was most surprised by this one that video was as popular. I didn't realize that this video got such a strong response, but I'm pleased because this shows now the positive side, what's it like when the Holy. That's not the car wreck by the side of the road. That's the car zipping down the freeway. so uh if you're looking for is my life on track, go to Galatians five. Does your life exhibit These fruits of the Holy Spirit and Galatians five also lays out the opposite right the fruits of the less than Holy spirit. So look at your life honestly and you know what do I exhibit? It's a really good way to. How you're doing or I've often told people you're facing a decision. Do I go down this path or that path? Okay. As best you can figure which path will give rise to love joy patience. You know the generosity the gifts of the Holy Spirit and which path gives rise to the opposite that helps you discern uh which decision to take so uh I'm happy that one's a very popular video and I would urge people galatia. A kind of you know finding of a middle ground where we may hope for the salvation of all, but we don't know it to me that all seemed rather common sensible and tell you the truth. so it was very much within the Catholic space, though uh a lot of people on the I'd say extreme Catholic right that got very animated about this issue and we've been over as they say, but the basic charges that in making this argument, I'm about evangelization. It results in well who cares everyone's gonna be saved anyway, so everything's fine. It's just the you know, Namby Pam Church of the post concealer years and all that, and I think that's of course nonsense and my argument is look at my own life look at my own ministry, which has been radically dedicated to evangelization. If I thought, Oh, who cares everyone say why worry it would just make mockery of everything I've been doing for the past 20 years or so. So I mean on the face of it, it's absurd. that's the position I'm holding um the very fact that I've got a video. the number one video I've done. I'm the devil and I talk about a spiritual shipwreck. of course, I believe in the possibility of falling away from God. In fact, I've argued another video or maybe it's even in this one I forget now right, I say hell is a is a coral of two more fundamental beliefs that God is love and that we are free and so we. Can freely choose against the divine love which results in this fire. It's a metaphor this enormous suffering that comes from resisting God. Of course, I believe that you know now dare we hope given God's great mercy dare we hope given what Christ accomplished on the cross that all might be saved. Yeah. I think that's an altogether valid position and as far as I'm concerned it animates evangelization, it doesn't undermine it animates it. I've if I'm hopeful that I can reach in principle everybody well, of course, I wanna do all I can because maybe it's precisely these little talks or videos or this sermon of mine or whatever that's the means by which God is endeavoring to bring someone to salvation. So I've I've never been persuaded by the argument that somehow sping this is our position means you're you're indifferent to evangelization. I'm the contrary seems to me anyway. We've covered a lot. Rubric too, you know so looking at the devil uh thinking about hell well, that's the spiritual life having gone off the rails um okay. if that helps you to think about it more positively fine but to remain obsessed with either the devil or hell is not where you wanna be. you know what I'm saying. That's not. I can say that very confidently. That's not a good spiritual position. If you're preoccupied with the devil and with hell, then you're you're you're focused on the ship. No focus on on the ship sailing through the waters focus on what the lord is trying to accomplish in you and cooperate with the Holy Spirit and focus should be well. Bishop mentioned a couple times this Faq page that we put together at word on fire to clarify what Bishop Barron believes what are believe the distinctions and how both of these views are compatible with Catholic orthodoxy. So I encourage listeners to find it. you'll you'll go to the website. Word on fire.org slash hope it's really easy to remember word on fire.org slash hope and And to obtain the joy of heaven as God's eternal reward for the good works accomplished with the grace of Christ and then here's the final sentence in hope the church prays for all men to be saved. Thank you everyone listening with any doubt in your mind. That's my position that's my position. So if you disagree with that, you are intentional with the catechism of the Catholic Church, but that is my position. Alright, let's keep moving. this is number five the final video. We're gonna look at the most popular videos of the past decade. It's bishop Barron on the. Vision in the wake of the new atheist movement, that's what I found so interesting so especially among young people after Hitchens Dawkins, Sam Harris and company have done their work. A lot of young people follow them the church. You know this is another uh video we could do, but the church's response I thought was very anemic to the new atheist Peterson. You know who's it's not even clear to me if he believes in God certainly in the in the in the most robust sense of the term, but yet he began to. From the Bible and from the spiritual tradition in a way that a lot of young people and the fact that he gets millions of views on YouTube, tens of thousands come to see him is a sign of it. He began to speak to young people in a compelling way, and I thought that was worth paying attention to. I thought we as religious leaders and speakers should pay attention to that phenomenon and along with uh my friend Chris who's written a lot on Peterson, I find a lot of the stuff on the Bible really good. That's really a good thing talk about a bridge. you know to younger people. so I think that's probably what I talked about in that video on Peterson. um he's another. you just say Jordan Peterson. you'll probably get you know 500000 views because his name is so uh magical online. but I think he's worth paying attention to you know now. I've got critics on the as I pull my arms defensively. I've got critics on the left. You know you just mentioned Jordan Peterson. They think you're advocating you know something horrific but I.. That's crazy, I think um we would be as religious leaders if we didn't take that phenomenon uh seriously, I think moving into the next decade. Bishop your next video needs to be Bishop Aaron on the devil. Gay marriage, the Holy Spirit and you'll get 90000000 views. Yeah. well, let's close with this. Um you started off on YouTube that was sort of the colonel of your evangelization ministry. You would uploaded homies and create a rudimentary website, but YouTube was kind of the main launching point since then, you've you know branched out to Facebook and Insta. Graham and Twitter the institute, You know future films all sorts of stuff. Do you still see YouTube as an important evangelistic tool for word on fire, and maybe you could talk about some of the new things we have planned for the next decade and I'm thinking specifically of the new studio there and some of the plans for what we're gonna film there. Yeah. The answer to your first question is yes S emphatically. Yes. I think it's has been will continue to be a very important uh evangelical tool. Uh you know one thing. Brandon. This is a change. As far as I'm concerned when we first got going, everyone and his brother said to me, Oh, you know short keep them really short cuz people got this little attention span that you know the poor millennials and their younger colleagues that they can't concentrate very long so give him a short chart chart. So we always went on that. But in recent years, it's been proven the opposite that in fact, this really long form um videos and podcasts are more popular and you know I remember my eyes were open when I learned that Joe Rogan who's got one of the most popular podcast in the universe right and he's out there with his guest. Open to doing that kind of video Now we got the Bishop Bishop Barron presents programs where I'm on with the You know someone who's who's a mover and shaker in the world of ideas. Uh those are longer form hour or longer. So I'm very happy with that. Um we used to be the fact you don't remember this brand you're too young, but uh William F Buckley junior had the famous show firing line back in the 60s and 70s, and I used to watch that as a kid, Buckley this very learning fellow and with one other person. Talking at a very elevated level for an hour about serious matters to black background and handful of young people in the audience and it was it was on for 35 years that show you know. um most people in the YouTube era would say, Oh, you know that never happen again. I mean the millennials can't handle that kind of uh you know demand, but I don't know I think the opposite now maybe is this form is maturing and people are getting more accustomed to it. They like these longer forms. So I think uh you know full speed ahead to go back to my nautical image. I mean full speed ahead with this uh outreach through YouTube. We have lots of great stuff plan for the next decade. We've mentioned a few times this new studio that we've built out in the Santa Barbara area. Our older one was difficult because it could change the sets. Basically every time we filmed so it limited the number of videos we could produce. but this new one has multiple sets multiple areas multiple series that are gonna be coming out. so uh look forward to that. Be lots lots more Bishop Barron videos coming your way in the next decade. Hi Bishop Barron. My name is Maria and I'm calling from the upper Peninsula of Michigan. My question is this if Jesus already did what he came to do a suma body and death to destroy it restore humanity to grace and Satan realized he was beat Why wasn't that the end of the story? What are we still doing here? That's a good question. uh following nt right, I've talked about the five act drama of Salvation History Creation Act one. The Fall Act two the formation of a People Israel Act, three the culmination of that in the coming of the Messiah Act, four and then act five. That's the act. We're in which is the age of the church. Look at it this way uh Jesus with his dying and rising represents um D Day. It's the victory of the allies on the beaches of Normandy in June of 1944. So in less than a year right uh Germany was defeated anyone who is. Uh you know, politically and militarily um plugged in new on June, the seventh let's say 1944 that the war was over that we had won the war that the enemy been defeated even though there was still kind of a tough slog ahead, including the famous battle of the bulge, you know, which was one of the most deadly battles of the war, and it took place that winter of 1944. My point is the dying rising of Jesus represents as you said correctly the great victory. The definitive victory the war is in principle over, but now there's a mop up operation and that's called the age of the church. When we now the mystical body of Jesus, the prolonged of the incarnation across basin time continue under the Egypt of the Holy Spirit to do what Jesus did so we're still engaged in the mop up struggle against the powers of sin and death. Now, why did God intended that way? maybe? To give us the privilege of participating in the work of Jesus so that, as Paul says we might fill up in our own bodies, what was still lacking in the sufferings of Christ. You know the mysterious line from Paul. It doesn't mean Oh Christ didn't you know get the job. I think it means he wants to give us the privilege of participating through our own suffering through our own engagement with the powers of evil participating in his saving work. So why. We still here well, it's cuz that's it's our. It's our act. now we're in the fifth act of the drama the age of the church. um the battle has been won. The war has been won in principle, but now we still got work to do. Well, thanks for the question Maria I've mentioned in the last few episodes that now is a great time to sign up for the word on Fire Institute, especially as we're moving into the new year. if you're looking for some way to supercharge your faith and to become a better evangelist, the word on Fire Institute is where you want to be besides getting access to all sorts of great courses, you get the evangelization of Culture Journal, which will mailed to you get a copy of Bishop Aaron's book centered. We also just started a new course by Father Paul Murray, who's one of the great spiritual. In today's uh world, he's teaching a course on prayer beauty mission, the hidden Springs of the new evangelization bishop You wanna maybe just say a quick word about Father Paul and recommend him to our listeners. Yeah. I've known him for a long time and as you say, I think one of the great spiritual figures uh in the church today, he's written a number of books over the years on Dominican spirituality. He's a great poet very fine poet. If you like poetry, get his books uh of poetry uh but I was just delighted we got him for the institute. And uh very engaging teacher lovely a person uh whenever I go to Rome. That's where he's based. I always one of the highlights for me is is with Father Paul. We always go to a restaurant somewhere in Rome and we just talk for hours and he's been a great friend and a great inspiration to me for many years. So if you wanna get his course and it's great, uh you gotta sign up for the institute so you can do that at word on Fire dot Institute. That's the website Word on Fire dot Institute well, thanks so much for. watching and listening. Here's to another decade of videos here through the word on fire show. Thanks for watching if you enjoyed that video, I encourage you to share it and be sure to subscribe to my YouTube channel.
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A prominent Catholic theologian is sharing Christ’s message with a global audience of millions by combining his preaching skills with the latest technology of the modern world. BISHOP ROBERT BARRON, an evangelist and former rector of Mundelein Seminary in Mundelein, Illinois, posts his “Word on Fire” videos on the YouTube website with resounding success.
YouTube is a free website where users can upload, view, and share video clips. All a viewer has to do is go to www.youtube.com and type “Bishop Barron” into the search engine. Through the website, you can then access a variety of Bishop Barron’s videos on popular culture topics ranging from “The Jesus Tomb Controversy” and “Planned Parenthood” to television, movies, and music. He also has another series, “Faith Clips,” which explains the basics of the Catholic faith. According to Bishop Barron, “From the time of St. Paul, Christian evangelists have gone into the most public and popular arenas in order to spread the Good News. YouTube is a place where the whole culture – the good, bad, ugly, and the sublime – can be engaged. That’s why I wanted to bring my preaching there.”
Bishop Barron’s “Word on Fire” sermons are broadcast every Thursday at 9:00 a.m., Saturday at 1:30 p.m., and Sunday at 8:30 a.m. on Relevant Radio 820-AM. His “Word on Fire” videos, DVDs, and books are also available through the www.wordonfire.org website. If you would like more information, please telephone NANCY ROSS at (847) 204-7754.
Uh-huh, yes. I dont even want to ask, she said with a fake touchy note.He manages to drink with you with everyone and wallow without feelings, in clothes, the words were clearer. And clearer.
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She squinted her eyes from the strong wind, and when tears flowed down her eyelashes, Lera again hid in the stuffy salon, straightening her hair. Her soul was restless and even a little gloomy, since her husband was silent all the way. The novel constantly chewed her goodbye at a cafe, a karaoke bar, and wished that this road would go on and on, delaying the meeting of his beloved with.
That person. Before his eyes stood Lerochka with her big, lascivious eyes, dimples on her cheeks pink with embarrassment, all so fine, slender, and a young man kissing a hand.Word on Fire Institute Scholarship Program
Now Kostya saw that the hair had been neatly cut, and somewhere else completely removed. The tip of this triangle pointed to a pink crack between Masha's legs. Running home, I immediately went to the basement. The basement, of course, was disguised and no one but me knew about it.
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The texture is also good. I think you will suit us. I portray genuine joy on my face. In response, the director, with a habitual gesture, sends a used fingertip into the trash can and nods his head approvingly. However, a slight doubt remains on his face.