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Bhim

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Bhim last won the day on April 11

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About Bhim

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    Jesus-hating idol worshiper

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    Male
  • Interests
    Religion (of course), Hindu/Christian interactions, Christian proselytism, astrophysics.
  • More About Me
    I suppose I'm somewhat unorthodox as far as ex-Christians go. I was raised Hindu. In college, specifically in 2004, I gave up my "heathen" ways and converted to evangelical Christianity. Six years later, in 2010 I realized the extent of my foolishness in being a Christian, and returned to Hinduism.

    I am a scientist with a PhD in astrophysics, but have defected from academia to industry. I am also a Trump voter.

Previous Fields

  • Still have any Gods? If so, who or what?
    Hindu God/gods

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  1. Regarding Deism more generally, I feel that this "faith" is somewhat obsolete in our time. I haven't familiarized myself sufficiently with the writings of the founders or their contemporaries on religion (save for Thomas Paine), so I can't speak to their individual motivations. But it seems that a person might be a Deist if they disagree with the moral teachings of the Christian religion. However, it is still necessary to explain the origin of the universe and human life. As I mentioned earlier, people living in the late 18th century were unaware of modern cosmology, geology, or biological evolution, which provide these explanations. Without a specific alternative, it would be hard for a human mind, raised in a wholly Christian context, to independently come to the conclusion that there is no God. Deism provides this explanation without requiring one to believe in Jesus. Imagine if someone like Thomas Paine had lived in an era when knowledge of the geologic record and of biological evolution was more readily available. Would such a person bother with Deism, when a purely atheistic explanation of human origins is available?
  2. Well Thomas Paine wasn't even a politician, as far as I'm aware. But he was pretty influencial as a thought leader. Two important thoughts here: 1.) I wouldn't stipulate that the Constitutional Convention wholly encompasses "the founding," or that it even plays the majority role. Clearly a more general enlightenment thinking was responsible for the revolution and the various state/colony-level institutions of representative democracy which culminated in the Constitution. Also, the original Constitution prior to the Bill of Rights was merely a set of rules concerning governance. The philosophy of invididual liberty that the Constitution presumes clearly predates the document itself. 2.) It would be intellectually dishonest for us to deny that the founders lived in a wholly Christian cultural context. Again, this is why I cite Thomas Paine referring to "churches" despite clearly not believing in the Christian god. I would love for several of the founders to explicitly profess belief in deism, but this is far too strict a criterion. I believe it is sufficient to demonstrate that the philosophy espoused by the founders is something that cannot be logically deduced from orthodox, Biblical Christianity.
  3. Snubbing your employer's religious Christmas party? That is a rather courageous act. You have my respect, I don't think I would do this. I suppose I'm just lucky that pretty much everyone in my office is an atheist.
  4. Fair point, I neglected that criterion. If you don't mind me invoking a second Virginian, I would point to James Madison. He penned a good deal of the Constitution and argued for it in the Federalist Papers. I'm sure a quick search for the relevant literature will give you a balanced perspective here, but he seemed to be fairly quiet on the matter of Christianity. Your wish to read a founding father say "I'm a deist" points to a fundamental problem here. The only contemporary of these people whom I know to make such a forceful pronouncement is Thomas Paine in Age of Reason. In the first chapter he said: "I do not believe in the creed professed by the Jewish church, by the Roman church, by the Greek church, by the Turkish church, by the Protestant church, nor by any church that I know of. My own mind is my own church." And I'm sure you see the problem. While clearly espousing a rejection of the Christian religion, he uses explicitly Christian language, going so far as to incorrectly refer to Judaism and Islam as churches. This statement read in a vacuum (or maybe even in the context of the whole pamphlet) could reasonably be taken to mean that Paine was a Christian freethinker, despite that we can be fairly confident that this was not a person who believed in Jesus. First, these are people who grew up in a thoroughly Christian cultural context so I doubt that they would explicitly reject every philosophical assumption of the religion. Secondly, they were not aware of modern cosmology or biological evolution, and therefore the Christian cosmogony/cosmology was sort of a necessity in order to make sense of the universe. I suppose that's why we hear of deists existing in this time, and not atheists. What I'm trying to say here is that we have to be careful in parsing the language of the time. Case in point: Article VII of the Constutution (the last bit on ratification, before the signatures) refers to the "Year of our Lord 1787." But I'm guessing we can agree this isn't a profession of faith in Jesus as the means of escaping eternal conscious torment in hell, right?
  5. Agreed and fully understood. I'm glad the aforementioned people have a place to vent to their fellow ex-Christians. We are the only ones who can understand their perspective, after all. That said, being in the minority who wasn't raised as a Christian, this Thanksgiving was a "blessing" as well as a reminder of how thankful I am to have left Christianity nine years ago. I spent this Thanksgiving as a Hindu, spending time with my Hindu family, bringing along my arranged-married Hindu wife, eating a Hindu-friendly vegetarian meal with no meat whatsoever, and not making my family feel awkward by paying any homage to Jesus. I feel awful that in years past, the holiday tension was entirely of my own making, and that is one tradition I am happy to have abandoned for many years now. Also my entire family supports Trump, so there was none of the political drama I keep hearing about. God bless America and God damn Jesus.
  6. Would you say that no form or extent of taxation amounts to intolerable seizure? This was, after all, one basis of the revolution. Also, I would be interested on your thoughts regarding socially enforced Christian-style altruism.
  7. What you're discussing here is largely political theory concerning the proper role of government. And I'm happy to have that discussion. In particular, "you certainly have no control over it" is precisely the grievance of conservatives which leads us to wish to minimize the role of the federal government. But first it's important to settle the issue of enforced Christian-style altruism. Case in point: you argue that the government's role includes social investment. I would argue for a more limited role: namely protecting people from each other, and from external threats. Now, I would not take a libertarian standpoint here; I think there is plenty of room for public goods such as clean water, functioning roads, consumer protections, etc. So while we would probably disagree on the topic of social structure, I think we agree on what you say about well-being for the benefit of society. Which leads us back to the question of what to do about the South American who's daughter died in a puddle while they attempted to illegally cross the border (or any of the other emotional appeals the left raises during these discussions). I don't know this man or his daughter, I don't care that either of them died, and I don't want the government to expend any resources to prevent it from happening again. (As an aside, I don't think most liberals care either, but the question of liberal sincerity is also a separate topic.) Presumably you disagree with me on this. And if so, we've returned once again to the moral question of whether or not we are obligated to help our fellow man. In any debate about whether a government's resources should be used to help non-citizens of that government's country (i.e. refugees and illegal immigrants), I think this question is going to be inescapable, and has to be addressed.
  8. I certainly can. Without even Googling, two examples that come to mind are Washington and Jefferson. Jefferson's views on Christianity can be fairly clearly inferred from the Jefferson Bible. In the case of Washington we know almost exactly where he stood, since he attended church (Episcopal, I believe) with his wife, and declined to receive communion since this would be inconsistent with his lack of belief. I'm sure that quite a few of the delegates, including most from the Southern states, were explicitly Christian. It seems remarkable to me that their belief did not translate into any explicit statement of belief in Jesus in the final product of the Constitutional Convention.
  9. Sure. But as I often say during political discussions among fellow ex-Christians: I am not my brother's keeper. If I were a Christian, I would be required to engage in selfless behavior in order to store up treasure for myself in heaven. As a non-Christian, I am under zero obligation to witness the suffering of a fellow human being, and lift a finger to help that person. I choose to exercise this freedom. If the hypothetical poor person in question is not a relative or friend of mine, then that person is not my concern and I can say with honesty that I am happy to walk away from that person even as he dies without healthcare. Call me cruel, heartless, sociopathic, or anything else. But please don't seize my money in order to help someone whom I have opted not to help. Traditional conservatives often state that socialists are generous with other peoples' money rather than their own. I believe this is true, but I'm not willing to even concede the premise that I am somehow required to care for other humans. To borrow from the Jerusalem Council, why are you willing to place a yoke around other citizens' necks that we ex-Christians ourselves could not bear? When you ask me to provide free healthcare for poor people with whom I have no prior relationship, you might as well be asking me to tithe to the Christian church.
  10. I will certainly grant that it's somewhat presuptuous of me to state that "the founders were deists." That said I would argue that subsuming the entire population of the country at the time of the founding as being integral to the formation of a new nation is likewise far too inclusive. As we all know, only a third of the country supported the revolution. If we refer to the entire population as founders, then there are almost no general statements we can make about them. Clearly those who supported the revolution were motivated by a certain set of consistent ideas, just as those who supported the new Constitution were likewise motivated by clearly codified ideas both official (e.g. the Declaration) and unofficial (e.g. the Federalist Papers). You seem to implicitly agree with me that there was a diversity of thought at the time of the founding. That alone speaks to my point that American nationalism does not require a belief in or allegiance to the Christian religion.
  11. @Christopherhays you've made some interesting comments in this thread. When I deconverted over nine years ago, I became politically very liberal (just search my old posts on this forum), and slowly transitioned into conservativism over the past four years. Now you mentioned two important terms: atheism, and the Republican party. My relationship with atheism is "it's complicated," and I do call myself Hindu since I was born in that religion before converting. But for the purposes of this discussion I can say that I don't accept the objective existence of God. As for the Republican party, I would say that I am a conservative and I find the Republican party a useful vehicle for those philosophies at the political level. Based on what you say in your original post, it sounds like you are also a conservative at a philosophical level, and that this philosophy is what leads you to vote Republican. Correct me if I'm incorrect in that assumption, of course. As to why more atheists aren't conservative or Republican, I have been thinking about this for awhile and have a few complete thoughts on the matter. First, it's important to note that atheism isn't a positive category or set of beliefs; it is simply a lack of belief in God or gods. So a priori we can't say very much about what philosophies an atheist would be predisposed to support. I think we can say though that atheism by itself doesn't lend itself to conservative thinking. Religions provide an established social framework, complete with a set of moral virtues and vices. Conservativism, at its core, is about preserving the status quo, and this is a value that religions also tend to hold. So I can see why an atheist would be less likely to be conservative than a theist. Secondly, atheists can and do hold to specific philosophies beyond mere atheism. One of the interesting things about America (and a contributor to its status as greatest nation on earth) is that America is built on a set of ideas rather than on a specific race or ethnicity. The nation's founders were deists, and the fact that our founding documents make reference to "Nature and Nature's God" allow for the inclusion of a wide variety of religious philosophies. I would argue that this statement is even inclusive of atheism. If America were a Christian nation, it would be almost impossible for an ex-Christian to be a conservative or a patriot. But our founding on a set of ideas other than Christianity makes non-Christian and ex-Christian conservativism possible in this country. Finally, I have recently realized that religion seems to be an evolutionary adaptation among humans. There is indeed a "God-shaped hole" in the human heart. Given that moths have an evolutionarily-imparted attraction to candle flames, I don't think the human predisposition to religion is necessarily a good thing, and it certainly doesnt suggest the existence of God. But the predisposition is there nonetheless. What I have noticed among the mainstream progressive movement in the West in recent years is a tendancy towards authoritarianism. The left has moved from equal rights for gays to mandatory celebration of the most arcane and absurd sexual predilections (and now the right supports equal rights for gays). The Left used to portray climate change as a purely scientific issue, but it has now transmogrified into the pseudoscientific climate justice movement involving children who are taught to believe that civilization will end in twelve years. Leftists seem to be the only ones silencing free speech on pain of loss of employment, and now outright threats of violence. Leftists also support illegal immigration, and use emotional photos of dead children to convince us that we are morally obligated to surrender our possessions and finances to people who have no right to use the nation's social services. I could go on, but from these examples we have: Enforcement of specific sexual values Pseudoscience taught to children Fear of an imminent end of the world, as well as instillment of that fear in children Thought policing and socially-enforced punishment for blasphemy A commandment to sell our worldly possessions and give to the poor Intimation to associate with the degenerates of society (taxpayers/prostitutes -> illegal immigrants) Leftism is not a philosophy at this point, it is a religion. Specifically it is Christianity, except without the 2,000 year history of rigorous philosophy and classical music. I believe many skeptics of Christianity are becoming aware of this. I have noticed an interesting phenomenon. When I publicly state that I am a conservative and a Trump supporter, I am generally referred to as a white supremacist (not sure why an Indian would be a white supremacist, but that's another thread altogether). Clearly that charge is meant to suppress open discourse. When I state the same here on ex-C, I will get a wide range of opinions ranging from agreement to disagreement. But no one has called me a white supremacist or other absurd monikers yet. One person here called me a misogynist, but that was about the furthest it went. Clearly, the skeptical nature of this community causes it to question far left ideology. Even most of the liberals here are reasonable. What I'm trying to say is that I think as Western progressivism coaleses into an organized and religious movement with a specific and cohesive philosophy, it will become less attractive to atheists, and we may in fact see more atheist conservatives in the future. Hopefully that will happen before the Left imports a critical mass of Muslims.
  12. Bhim

    14 years

    @Wertbag, wow, you are indeed an old hand here. You inspired me to check my own join date. In about a month and a half it will have been 7 years for me. Back when you joined this site I was still a believing Christian. I deconverted in the summer of 2009, and joined this site about 3 and a half years later. I feel like it's been forever, which I consider a good thing. At this point I can scarcely remember what it was like to be a Christian. Yet I still strongly identify as an ex-Christian and detest Jesus as much as I did when I left the faith. I'm glad to have this communit of ex-Christians. We may be a philosophically diverse mix of people. Yet I feel that our common attribute of having escaped the influence of Jesus lends us a common trait that is very rare in the general population.
  13. Wow this is an old John Oliver episode. When I saw this show live, I was still a liberal! ...don't tell anyone but I still watch John Oliver every week despite now disagreeing with him on, well, everything. Glad to see his fake church is still up and running.
  14. Bhim

    Delusion

    Not that I'm complaining, but notice how there are no Indians?
  15. Bhim

    Delusion

    So much for Jesus' retort to the Saducees that people will neither marry nor be given in marriage, but will be like the angels. This clearly shows that the artists want familial relations to be preserved. That's a nice sentiment, but it isn't Biblical. Now if you're Mormon...
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