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Bhim last won the day on April 11

Bhim had the most liked content!

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About Bhim

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    Jesus-hating idol worshiper

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    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.

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

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  1. Hah! You've appealed to a rather obscure text, for which you have my utmost respect. Most Christians are loathed to acknowledge that the more popular Age of Reason by Thomas Paine even exists. At a fundamental level it is clear that while the founders were steeped in a Christian society and spoke the language of Christianity (e.g. Paine referred to the Jewish faith as a "church" despite that Jews would reject that label), they were rather evolved for their time and rejected, to some extent or another, the teachings of the Christian faith. Note that George Washington abstained from communion at the church he attended with Martha, since he did not fully adhere to the church's teachings. Note also that Thomas Jefferson famously excised portions of the Gospels referring to any supernatural acts on the part of Jesus. As for Benjamin Franklin...well, some claim that he was a Satanist. To be sure, among the framers was a fair share of Bible-believing Christians. But keep in mind that this was a time when modern archeology had not yet elucidated the Bible as a fraud, and when scientific disciplines such as cosmology and evolutionary biology were not yet available so as to provide evidence-based answers to questions about the origins of life. That even a handful of the framers dared to question the Biblical narrative is remarkable. Christians would have us believe that we owe America our allegiance due to the higher authority of Jesus, as well as to Paul's dictum that we submit ourselves to the powers that be. On the contrary, I would consider America to be the greatest nation on earth - worthy of allegiance - partially because it was founded by men who had the wisdom to see beyond the myopic Christian orthodoxy of their day. Thomas Jefferson believed that our rights were derived from God, but theh God to which he appealed was "Nature and Nature's God," not specifically Jesus. That one would make this claim in a context where literally everyone professes Christianity is astounding, and opens the door for anyone who believes in the principles of America to pledge allegiance to this nation without suffering the ridicule of baptism in Jesus' name. Ironically, when I was a Bible-believing evangelical Christian, I had great moral difficulty adhering to a nation that was supposedly founded on the backs of slaves and on stolen Native American lands (note that I believed this despite attending fundamentalist, Reformed Baptist churches). It was only after discarding Jesus that I could recognize the genius of America. I would contend that at a philosophical level, one cannot be a patriotic American while being an evangelical Christian. The problem of dual loyalty to the Constitution and to Jesus will always exist, until one makes a definitive choice between the two.
  2. That's a fair point. If we don't agree on the facts, there's no basis upon which to proceed with any further discussion. What I would therefore ask is if the Bible is really your axiomatic standard? The New Testament itself says that if Jesus Christ is not truly raised from the dead then your faith is in vain. So clearly recorded history is a greater standard that exists outside the Bible. Would you therefore not agree that there is a common set of facts to which we, as Christian and non-Christian, can both agree?
  3. This, I think, is a very important question. When I first deconverted and joined ex-C, I believed (and stated on this forum) that Chritianity should be actively eliminated. I still think that at a governmental level it should be discouraged. But banning it altogether, while desirable to me, entails a lot of problems that I didn't previously consider. In theory I have no problem with burning down all the churches and publicly ostracizing those who profess belief in Jesus. The problem is that religion is an evolutionary adaptation, and those who choose to reject Christianity will usually find another channel by which to express their irrational zealotry. We need look no further than the climate justice movement. I will state at the outset that anthropogenic climate change is a real phenomenon supported by current observation and analysis. That said, consider the large number of scientifically illiterate people who are currently admonishing us to "believe scientists" who say the world is ending in twelve years (as a scientist I can attest that this is not supported by any rigorous study whatsoever). Consider the flamboyant displays by "climate protestors" yelling at the wind and making demands that they themselves cannot clearly articulate. Consider all those who change their diets and avoid beef on the basis that doing so will marginally reduce their contribution to global carbon emissions. My goodness, it usually takes religion to compel someone to change their diet, publicly proselytize, and believe in apocalyptic delusions. It is time for us to admit that what we have here is a new religious movement which has filled the power vacuum left by the decline of Christianity. I am happy that Christianity is waning in influence. But I am not so sure that I like the pseudoscientific movement that is taking its place. Climate justice seems no more desirable to me, as a scientist, than creationism does. I'm not saying any of this to turn this into a political or social debate. But I bring this up because what I have described above has left me more convinced that humans have an innate, self-destructive desire to practice religion of some sort. What is the point of eliminating Christianity only to end up with something that is as bad? Are we to play a social version of whack-a-mole? It would seem to me that religion is a social version of a vestigial organ. Some of us exhibit this trait less than others. I myself am perhaps in the middle, since I choose to identify by my cultural religion of Hinduism, even though I don't believe in God. However it seems to be a rare gift to be able to live happily without any belief in a contrived higher purpose. Were we to eliminate freedom of religion, religion would likewise persist under an alternate guise such as climate justice or a similar movement.
  4. In comes the Trump-supporting PoC (and whatever other intersectional labels I can "appropriate") Jesus-hating ex-Christian. All right, I think Trump is the greatest thing to happen to this nation since we invented the nuclear bomb. Oh yeah, I also support banning Muslims (no, really, I actually think we should prevent Muslims from entering the United States and I am not joking or trolling). Well, with my unnecessary and socially awkward mention of personal politics out of the way, let's get back to the far more important topic at hand... LF brought up the issue of the contradictory nature of the synoptic Gospels. One of the first Biblical contradictions that I noticed without the assistance of the Internet was the a-chronological nature of the gospels. Within the synoptic gospels, even a casual reader will notice that Matthew often reports Jesus' various sermons and miracles in a dfferent order than Mark. The Bible commentaries I consulted dismissed this by suggesting that the Gospels are not written in a purely chronological fashion. This explanation, in my opinion, is blatent sophistry. Modern apologists in the vein of Lee Strobel suggest that we apply the same standards to the Gospels that we would to a criminal court case, suggesting that the Gospels meet the standard of "beyond reasonable doubt." If one witness in a murder trial said that Matthew expressed a desire to kill Mark's wife after they had watched the football game, while Luke, who was in the room, testified that this conversation took place before the football game, then no rational jury would ever convict Matthew of murder since the accounts of his confession do not have consistent details. Yet we are expected to believe, on the basis of similarly shoddy evidence, that Jesus will send us to eternal hell unless we renounce our false gods and follow him. I'm not even sure that the Gospels meet the standard of preponderance of the evidence. One of the most cavalier claims made by modern apologists is that Jesus cleansed the temple at the beginning and the end of his ministry. They arrive at this conclusion by noting that in the synoptic Gospels, Jesus performs this act at the end of his ministry, while in the synoptic Gospels it occurs at the beginning. Occam's razor would dictate that this discrepancy originates from the four Gospels being written by separate authors who borrowed from a common legend, with Matthew, Luke, and much later John "colluding" with Mark by referencing his much earlier Gospel. We needn't even apply a modern standard to the Gospels. The Old Testament provides us with an analogous dilemma, in that the books of 1 and 2 Kings were written prior to the Israelite exile, whereas 1 and 2 Chronicles were written after the fact. The discrepancies between these two accounts consist of the ages and reigns of certain kings, and the question of the impetus for King David's ordering of a census to be taken of Israel (specifically whether it was his own choice, or was inspired by Satan). These Biblical accounts don't match perfectly, but from my time as a devout Christian I don't recall encountering such glaring discrepancies as what we find in the New Testament. It is noteworthy that Christians cannot provide a consistent answer on how many times the cock crowed before Peter denied Jesus three times. It is because they are working with contradictory eyewitness acounts. The Gospels are a mess, and cannot withstand the scrutiny of critical observers, either ancient or modern. And yet these people would have us give over our souls to Jesus on the basis of such poor evidence.
  5. Totally understood. I'm one of those (rare?) ex-Christians who is politically very conservative. The climate change debacle is part of what led me to this position. Mind you, I am far from scientifically illiterate. I have a PhD in astrophysics and have read a small fraction of the climate science literature (which is far more than the general public has done). I believe the science, of course. But the claims that "the world is ending in 12 years" are not only laughable and childish, but akin to the apocalpytic fears of my former fellow Christians. The claim that climate change is an expression of white supremacy is likewise worthy of ridicule. You can likely infer from my choice of non-Christian religion that I do not possess any Western European heritage whatsoever, and I am claiming that racism in the Western world does not exist in a significant measure. To even discuss racism in the context of climate change negates the very notion of so-called "climate justice" which is promulgated by the political left. This is merely an atheistic version of the Christian persecution complex. Climate justice advocates are effectively evangelical Christians who want us to repent of our sins and believe that the world is persecuting us. "Take heart, for climate activists have overcome the world." I believe in climate science. I do not believe in climate justice. The latter is a religion, and I did not leave Jesus just to join another faith: one with far worse theology and worship music, at that. Avoid anyone who tells you that the Sun Monster is going to kill you. This is simply another version of the Beast.
  6. Whomever does the deed, you have my best wishes!
  7. Heh, am I the only ex-evangelical who didn't listen to any CCM? I was an assiduous follower of musicians who reproduced ancient hymns. But dang, I don't know anything about the musicians to which you guys are referencing.
  8. I understand your perspective, but mine is somewhat different. I was not raised in a Christian household, but converted in college. I was a fundamentalist evangelical for six years, and have been out for nine years now. So I've been an ex-Christian for longer than I was a Christian. And yet, given how much effort I put into this faith, I have been unable to separate myself from it completely. Of course I don't attend a church, believe in Jesus, or practice the Christian religion in any way, shape or form. But I do recognize the profoundly negative effect that Christianity has had on me. For better or worse, Jesus is part of my way of thinking and will continue to be so in perpetuity, even if he remains an example of how I ought not to think. I'm glad you are able to leave this horrible deity behind. In some sense, I don't think I ever could. I am fairly certain that I will - for better or worse - always identify as an ex-Christian.
  9. Very interesting. As you know, in the past few years I've become politically and socially very conservative, and I defintely align with the conservative movement at a social level.Pretty much everyone I know is an atheist, a secular Jew, or very weakly Christian. I know that Christians of the sort described here do exist; I just don't encounter them very often. In fact I'm very open about being an anti-Christian and a Hindu-American nationalist, but no one seems to care since we all support Donald Trump and hate (illegal) immigrants. Still, always good to learn about alternative perspectives.
  10. Thank you @disillusioned for pointing me to this thread. @Karna, you've picked an excellent user name which honors one of the great anti-heroes of Hindu mythology. And that really gets to a fundamental difference between Hinduism and Christianity, doesn't it? Even Hindu "villains" such as Karna, Duryodhana, and Bhishma were well regarded for their devotion to God. This can be contrasted with the Christian Satan, who is more a caricature of evil than true evil. Christianity recognizes the reality of good and evil, but fails to acknowledge the nuance of life. It is a truly unsophisticated religion if ever there were one. Regarding the proselytism that takes place in India, this is an issue that troubles me deeply. When I first left Christianity, I felt that the Indian government needed to take steps to ban Christianity within India's borders and to give Christians the persecution they so earnestly desire. I still do not object to a policy of literally burning down churches (with the parishioners outside their walls, of course), but I've come to realize that this won't cure the disease that is Christianity. Over the past few years, as I have become more politically and socially conservative, I've come to recognize the free agency of all men (gendered language intentional), and I now recognize that if India simply enacts anti-Christian policies, it will merely embolden Christians and confirm their belief that it is appointed to every follower of Jesus to be persecuted in his name. Again, I am not opposed to Indian anti-conversion laws, but I am saying that I now realize they are impotent to stop the spread of Christianity in India. What is necessary is for the Hindu majority in India to exert cultural rather than political influence. I don't generally watch Bollywood movies, because they are awful, low-budget abominations that pale in comparison to American cinema. But when I do make the mistake of watching an Indian movie, I notice that Christianity and Islam are normalized as legitimate components of Indian culture, when they are in fact foreign innovations. Likewise, Indian university professors grant legitimacy to Christianity in academia. Hindus in India must do what liberals in the United States did to Hollywood and academia, and take control of Indian culture so that we can portray Christianity as the foreign religion that it is, and Jesus as the Western European deity whom he is. I mean no offense to Western Europeans, who have done much good in the world. But Jesus is their burden, not ours, and he deserves to be portrayed as antithetical to Indian culture and values. Hinduism is a religion which is pro-family and which emphasizes the family structure. Ask yourself: is it pro-family to convert a child to Christianity and create division in the new convert's family? Of course it isn't, and this is the message that Indian Hindus should promulgate with regard to Christianity. To put this all more succinctly, I would say that when I first deconverted, I felt that the institution of Hinduism bore a responsibility for collectively opposing Christianity, but now I feel that the onus lies with the individual Hindu and that it is his responsibility to oppose this horrible religion at a social level rather than a governmental one. That said, I support anti-conversion laws.
  11. The Christian religion is definitely a transmogrified version of what you see in the gospels. But it is - in my opinion - to ascribe pure motives to Jesus. Among other things, the Jesus of the gospels tells you that you go to eternal hell for the slightest of infractions of the rules he invented on the spot, he engages in the cult-like behavior of stealing young men from their families so that they can join his rogue group of followers, and he lives off the generosity of wealthy women. Even if the church were faithful to the Bible, it would be just as bad of a religion. Maybe worse.
  12. More or less my thoughts on the issue. But hey, I offer my full respect to anyone who wants to write to them. I'm morbidly curious what they do with these stories.
  13. Haha, dude that's mean. But seriously, you gave some good financial advice. These days I'm raking in the big bucks in the private sector (also, dual income no kids). But I remember the grad school days when I was making poverty wages, and what you say is absolutely true. 47 is not too late to start saving up for retirement. It's not ideal, but still doable. I've only been contributing to a 401(k) for five years, and I've got about 20% of what I'm going to need for a healthy retirement. Thank God I stopped wasting money on Jesus!
  14. Every time a Christian comes here to hear our deconversion stories and engage us in either friendly discussion or debate, the result is consistent. They'll ignore our points and throw out ad hominems and non sequiturs, and then disappear without addressing any of the legitimate points we raise. Call me a reductionist, but I wonder why a Christian publication would be any different than the individual Christians we encounter here.
  15. Well, this is an interesting thread. I clearly don't spend enough time in the Lion's Den these days. I applaud all of my fellow apostates for defending the non-faith. Just wanted to point out an amusing irony here. With the exception of abortion I probably agree with this guy on all of the above. I wanted to thank LuthAMF personally for voting for the same adulterous, hedonistic blasphemer that I did (and plan to also support in the future). Can we count on you to make it to the polls in 2020?
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