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Bhim

A Hindu Converts To Christianity And Recognizes His Error

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Hi all, I'm new to ExC.  I left Christianity three years ago, and have since then spent a great deal of time thinking about my experience.  I don't know anyone who's experience was quite like mine, so I recently figured I should start looking online.  I've been reading many of your posts here, and I must say there are some inspirational and encouraging stories to be heard.  I'm interested in joining the conversation, and I'd like to start by introducing myself.

 

I'm 28 years old, and I was born and raised in the midwestern United States.  As far as profession goes I'm an astrophysicist.  I'm probably a somewhat "non-traditional" deconvert by the standards of this place, in that I wasn't raised Christian.  I'm an Indian American; both my parents are from India, and they raised me Hindu.  My belief in God has waxed and waned over time, but I've always been fascinated by religion itself and why people believe what they believe.  I've also always enjoyed doing religious activities, regardless of whether there is a supernatural being who finds meaning in what I'm doing.

 

When I was growing up my parents used to do monthly pujas at home, take us to the temple a few times a year, and so forth.  We had pictures of Hindu Gods around the house, and we were all vegetarians.  Other than that we were pretty indistinguishable from most Americans, and I lived pretty much like any other American male.  Given my fascination with religion, you can probably tell that I would always ask why we did various rituals and what their significance was.  The answers I got from my parents were usually not all that in-depth, and I found myself always desiring a more substantive explanation.  When I asked about other religions, they took the universalist approach and told me that all religions were pathways to God.  Since I was growing up in a Christian culture, I saw people going to church and other religious activities all the time.  I didn't have any desire to be a Christian specifically, but in a way I envied that they spent more time practicing their religion than I did mine.  I also knew that Christianity was the only religion claiming that non-adherants go to hell.  While I didn't spend every waking hour afraid of the prospect of hell, this did make me think about Christianity a fair bit.  I suppose that all of this made me an excellent candidate for proselytization by evangelicals.

 

Surprisingly I made it all the way through high school without any serious conversion attempts.  I can't recall anyone ever trying to "share the good news" with me.  And then I went to college, where ideas and information flow freely, and I encountered Christianity.  There were numerous campus ministries at the university, and Christians would regularly come to various dorms and preach Jesus to their fellow students.  One of them gave me a Bible, and since I figured that all religions were equally valid anyway I started reading.  I very quickly found Christianity appealing.  It had a set of religious activities that I could "do," such as go to church, read scripture, meet with other Christians, and so forth.  So infatuated was I with Christianity that I bought into the Bible's claims that I am sinful and in need of salvation.  I believed in Jesus, started going to a local church, and met a group of Christian college students.  I still spent a good deal of time with non-Christian friends, especially my friends from the physics department, but Christianity was now a major part of my life.  I read the entire Bible and very quickly became fluent in Christian theology.  I fully bought into it, and even believed that all non-Christians were going to hell, as my church taught.  I also started eating meat, since my religious motivations for vegetarianism were gone.  My church was fundamentalist, but not in same way as a stereotypical hellfire and brimstone church from rural Alabama.  Most people here were college educated, and they at least feigned humility (to be fair, most did have a truly humble posture).  We were told that we are not any better than non-Christians, but that all who don't confess Jesus are nonetheless condemned to hell, and that it was therefore important for us to preach Christianity to others.  And so I did.

 

After college I went to another university for grad school, and my faith was as strong as ever.  By this point I'd been a Christian for four years.  I of course found a new church, and a new group of Christian friends.  These people were the same age as me, but most of them were already married, and a few had children.  And unlike my friends from undergrad, all of these people grew up in Christian families.  I got an apartment with the only other two single males there, and that was the beginning of the end of my faith in Jesus.  Since I lived with these people, I saw how they interacted with their families.  Our married friends would also come over all the time, and sometimes bring their parents who were visiting from out of town.  Everyone there talked about how they respected their parents and kept the faith of their families.  I, however, would never have gotten away with speaking well of my parents, since they were "heathen" Hindus (my words, to their credit the Christians would have put it far more diplomatically).  I started thinking about the obvious disparity: these people got to honor their families traditions whereas I had to disregard mine, as if they were some kind of poison.  I was fairly Americanized, but if I had ever tried to reconnect with my Indian culture I would have to deal with the fact that it is fundamentally Hindu, and I would not be able to embrace it as a Christian.  This didn't sit well with me.  I started thinking about this after living with these people for just a couple months.  A week after I'd first considered it, I realized I couldn't be a Christian any more.

 

I find it strange that this, of all things, cured me of my faith in Jesus.  And so quickly!  None of the arguments I'd heard from non-Christians ever convinced me.  I knew all about the historical inaccuracies of the Bible, but I'd somehow let myself believe that these historical analyses were erroneous.  I was well aware of the creationism debates, but I had bought into a concise creation model in which evolution was false, and the days described in Genesis 1 were symbolic of longer periods (I'm no expert on biology, but you can't know as much physics as I do and still believe in a six-day creation).  Yet somehow, when I was faced with the long term implications of my abandoning my culture and religion for Christianity, I was able to see the error of my ways.  I suppose I'm convinced by the implications of a belief more than the belief itself.  I started thinking about the doctrine of eternal hell, and how truly horrible this is.  My Christian friends claimed to love unbelievers, but unlike me they had no non-Christian friends.  I came to realize that you can't believe someone is going to eternal hell without having an accompanying disdain for that person.

 

Obviously I didn't tell my Christian roommates about any of this.  I continued living with these people until our lease expired a year later - going to church and Bible study the whole time - and then left.  Most of my Christian friends moved out of town the following year for various other reasons.  As for the ones who remain, I didn't tell them anything because I know it wouldn't do them (or me) any good.  I now only socialize with non-Christians, and I stay as far away from Christians as possible.  It's not that I hate these people, but I don't want to get sucked back into that community.  I'll soon be obtaining my PhD and leaving for a new job.  Needless to say I don't plan to find a church at my new location.

 

So what do I believe now?  Well like I said, I left Christianity because I realized it meant abandoning my entire culture.  So I call myself Hindu once again.  My time with Christianity was the only time I prayed regularly to God, so I'm not sure at the moment whether I believe in God or not.  But I've always thought that a person can have religion without believing in God, since religion is so strongly tied to culture.  So nowadays I go to Hindu temples, celebrate the major holidays, and so forth.  And I'm back to being vegetarian.  I'd certainly like to believe in God.  But I'm comfortable enough with saying "I don't know" and leaving it at that.  I intend to be a practicing Hindu for the rest of my life.  If God exists, then he'll be pleased.  If he doesn't exist, at least I had an opportunity to explore Indian culture.  What I am fairly sure of is that the Bible does not accurately portray God, and that God will not send me to hell for failing to abandon Indian culture to practice a Western European religion.

 

Anyway, thank you for reading this far, and I welcome any comments.

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Welcome and Namaste! I went the other way. I went from Christian to polytheist, and now I'm no longer any religion. It's best to keep the good parts of your indian culture, Diwali is beautiful, I've seen a celebration before. I'm kinda agnostic/pantheist now. I celebrate the old Christian holidays I grew up with, simply out of tradition because its fun and christmas trees are aesthetically pleasing to have. XD

 

Even when I was barely holding onto christianity, I thought it depressing when a korean convert came here and talked about how he was trying to get rid of his "pagan culture". Its depressing to lose culture, we're becoming way too uniform in this world today. It's not a good thing to lose that sense of individual cultures nor individuality.

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Hi! Welcome to Ex-c!

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Welcome!  Glad to hear that Christianity only snared you for a short time.

 

The destruction that Christianity can do to the family unit cannot be minimized.  It's good that you chose your family over a bunch of ancient lies.

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Wow, Bhim, your story is amazing!  I can relate to so much of what you recount.  I HAVE to get more done today on an article (were you feeling guilty about not doing physics when you were typing your story on here?  heh heh), so I won't write much, but I appreciate hearing your journey so far.  I was raised by parents who themselves had been Methodist but who took up Self Realization Fellowship in their own twenties.  You may have heard of it - a California-based group founded by Paramhansa Yogananda, who sought to "package" Vedanta teachings and practices for westerners.  As white Americans we didn't celebrate Hindu rituals or worship Hindu gods, but we did have a family altar, on which were pictures of Jesus, Yogananda, Y's guru and paramguru (I think that's the word), and of one other yogi.  My father did and still does practice kriya yoga.  In college I fell in with a group of Christian friends, and like you, I was sucked in, adopting all the theology, incl. hell and everything else (full blown Calvinism for a while until I realized how the reformation was unbiblical and violated history, and I became Catholic).  I'm glad I'm out for some decades now.  I made a lot of intense friendships at the time, but very few lasted, most being "ideological" friendships.

 

A friend of mine is the Indian son of a physicist.  he's a philosopher and works on Greek and Indian philosophy, named Vishwa Adluri.  You can find some of his writings if you google him.  Vishwa says that he thinks "henotheism" (he doesn't like the term monotheism) is very destructive.  He also thinks polytheism is more rational and more in line with the world as we experience it -after all, there are all sorts of different forces interacting to make up a cosmos.

 

I urge you to take part in other threads on here.  There are some going on in which the insights of a trained astrophysicist will contribute much!!

 

Hope to see more of you and interact more.  Best, Ficino

 

edited to add:  doesn't Islam preach hell for unbelievers? or at least, for the wicked?

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Welcome!   I am glad to hear you were only sucked in for a short time.  Kudos for getting out before your mind became poisoned.  

 

I studied religion in college from a secular perspective.   From what I understand, the beauty of Hinduism is that you don't have to believe in a god or spirits in some forms of the religion, much like Buddhism.  I've always been attracted to it and I find the rituals of the more devotional sects beautiful.

 

Again, welcome, and I look forward to hearing your perspective!

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Bhim: Welcome. I'm glad you found us. It's interesting, I had doubts about christianity for a long time before I deconverted. After I did I realized how brainwashed I had been. I can now pick a number of things, any one of which is sufficient to show that christianity is a myth. You hit on one of the strongest: The very idea that a benevolent god would condemn an entire nation of over one billion people, such as India, to hell because the "right" belief was not taught there is so off base and ridiculous that I can't believe I was so stupid as to be a christian. But I was. And stupidity had nothing to do with it. It is the power of brainwashing or indoctrination, whichever you wish to call it. And the brainwashing keeps going despite the total absence of any basis in reason. bill

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Hi again, glad to meet all of you.  Thanks for the welcome.

Welcome and Namaste! I went the other way. I went from Christian to polytheist, and now I'm no longer any religion. It's best to keep the good parts of your indian culture, Diwali is beautiful, I've seen a celebration before. I'm kinda agnostic/pantheist now. I celebrate the old Christian holidays I grew up with, simply out of tradition because its fun and christmas trees are aesthetically pleasing to have. XD

 

Even when I was barely holding onto christianity, I thought it depressing when a korean convert came here and talked about how he was trying to get rid of his "pagan culture". Its depressing to lose culture, we're becoming way too uniform in this world today. It's not a good thing to lose that sense of individual cultures nor individuality.

 

I've noticed similar behavior among Christian converts from Eastern religions.  Whatever Christians may claim, their's is a Western European religion, and the rest of us have to adopt to Western culture.  If I may borrow from recent news, I've always found it strange that Christians are so attached to guns when firearms (well, other arms anyway) are not a topic that the Bible directly addresses.  It makes sense though; guns are a part of white American culture, and the protection of gun ownership has effectively become a church doctrine.  You really can't become a Christian without also becoming a Westerner.  I suppose the reason I was comfortable with Christianity for even as long as I was is simply that I'm already very Americanized myself (e.g. the only times I've ever even been outside the United States is for scientific conferences and such).  In a way though, Christian attachment to European culture is a good thing.  After over a thousand years of proselytizing and persecution in India (yes, there was even an Inquisition in India), the Christian population remains a steady 2%.  It's never taken root in Japan either.  I guess they don't get very far when they're trying to convince you that Mom and Dad are burning in hell.

 

Welcome!  Glad to hear that Christianity only snared you for a short time.

 

The destruction that Christianity can do to the family unit cannot be minimized.  It's good that you chose your family over a bunch of ancient lies.

 

Indeed!  And this was really my motivation for leaving.  I find it grossly hypocritical that Christians in America utter political rhetoric about "family values," but would have no problem grabbing a Hindu kid from his family and converting him to Christianity.  I've likewise seen a lot of unfortunate stories on this forum about Christian parents cutting ties with children who leave Christianity.  Even when I was a Christian, my parents never even thought of doing this.  Christianity is antithetical to family values.

 

Wow, Bhim, your story is amazing!  I can relate to so much of what you recount.  I HAVE to get more done today on an article (were you feeling guilty about not doing physics when you were typing your story on here?  heh heh), so I won't write much, but I appreciate hearing your journey so far.  I was raised by parents who themselves had been Methodist but who took up Self Realization Fellowship in their own twenties.  You may have heard of it - a California-based group founded by Paramhansa Yogananda, who sought to "package" Vedanta teachings and practices for westerners.  As white Americans we didn't celebrate Hindu rituals or worship Hindu gods, but we did have a family altar, on which were pictures of Jesus, Yogananda, Y's guru and paramguru (I think that's the word), and of one other yogi.  My father did and still does practice kriya yoga.  In college I fell in with a group of Christian friends, and like you, I was sucked in, adopting all the theology, incl. hell and everything else (full blown Calvinism for a while until I realized how the reformation was unbiblical and violated history, and I became Catholic).  I'm glad I'm out for some decades now.  I made a lot of intense friendships at the time, but very few lasted, most being "ideological" friendships.

 

A friend of mine is the Indian son of a physicist.  he's a philosopher and works on Greek and Indian philosophy, named Vishwa Adluri.  You can find some of his writings if you google him.  Vishwa says that he thinks "henotheism" (he doesn't like the term monotheism) is very destructive.  He also thinks polytheism is more rational and more in line with the world as we experience it -after all, there are all sorts of different forces interacting to make up a cosmos.

 

I urge you to take part in other threads on here.  There are some going on in which the insights of a trained astrophysicist will contribute much!!

 

Hope to see more of you and interact more.  Best, Ficino

 

edited to add:  doesn't Islam preach hell for unbelievers? or at least, for the wicked?

 

Ficino, your story is pretty interesting, particularly the part about your adopting Calivinist beliefs.  I too was a Calvinist.  I think for those of us with a philosophical predisposition, Calvinism is particularly attractive.  Not to be too arrogant, but I'm well aware that I'm a couple standard deviations more intelligent than the average American, and I think that if I initially fell in with typical megachurch evangelicals, Christianity would never have taken root in my mind.  If you start thinking about Christianity too much, you start asking the typical questions like "why does God let bad things happen to good people?" and "why do Christians do evil deeds?"  If you start reading the Bible you may even wonder why he commands genocides.  But I must say that Calvinism has some pretty satisfying explanations.  Bad things happen to good people because God uses both good and bad people to foreshadow the eternal hell that awaits sinners who don't repent (a la Luke 13, which even says that experiencing suffering doesn't make you a worse sinner than others).  Christians do evil deeds because they are no better than non-Christians, but saved by the decree of God.  In every way, Calvinists invoke the sovereignty of God to give satisfying explanations concerning any question about his morality.  My ultimate problem with it was that Calvinism proposed a God whose effects on the human heart were undetectable, i.e. even on average, Christians didn't seem to behave any differently than non-Christians.  I'd say more on this, but it would take up a whole new thread.

 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to participating in more discussions here.  You guys touch on some subjects that are of great interest to me.

 

Oh, about Islam.  It's true that Islam also preaches eternal hellfire, but I wasn't very well versed on Islam at the time.  Also, as you say this hellfire is reserved for people who do evil deeds, and not necessarily for anyone who's a non-Muslim.  Of course as a Hindu, they'd likely regard me as a polytheist and consign me to eternal hellfire in any case, so whatever. :)

 

Welcome!   I am glad to hear you were only sucked in for a short time.  Kudos for getting out before your mind became poisoned.  

 

I studied religion in college from a secular perspective.   From what I understand, the beauty of Hinduism is that you don't have to believe in a god or spirits in some forms of the religion, much like Buddhism.  I've always been attracted to it and I find the rituals of the more devotional sects beautiful.

 

Again, welcome, and I look forward to hearing your perspective!

 

Yeah, I am immensely grateful that I left Christianity after only six years.  I am amazed that so many here were born and raised in Christianity, and left after decades.  That's a very hard thing to do, especially when you have a Christian spouse and children.

 

But you're right that in Hinduism one doesn't need to hold to a specific creed.  There are many schools of thought: the advaita branch downplays the existence of a personal deity, and the nastika denies it altogether.  After my time in Christianity, it's quite relieving to be able to figure things out on my own without being branded a heretic for expressing disagreement.  It's not that I believe truth is relative, but the atheists are pretty much spot on when they say there's no evidence for a God.  God can only be observed through personal experiences which are almost never communicable to others.  How then can anyone hold to a belief about God and, in the absence of any evidence, force others to conform to it?

 

Bhim: Welcome. I'm glad you found us. It's interesting, I had doubts about christianity for a long time before I deconverted. After I did I realized how brainwashed I had been. I can now pick a number of things, any one of which is sufficient to show that christianity is a myth. You hit on one of the strongest: The very idea that a benevolent god would condemn an entire nation of over one billion people, such as India, to hell because the "right" belief was not taught there is so off base and ridiculous that I can't believe I was so stupid as to be a christian. But I was. And stupidity had nothing to do with it. It is the power of brainwashing or indoctrination, whichever you wish to call it. And the brainwashing keeps going despite the total absence of any basis in reason. bill

 

Heh, yeah I too am amazed that I believed some of these things for so long and didn't notice all the obvious contradictions between Christianity and basic human conscience.  For this, I actually have to thank the book of Romans, where it is suggested that our conscience comes from God.  This idea makes sense to me.  And if it is so, then I have to judge any written revelation about God against the revelation I have (conscience) which I already know to be from God.  This becomes problematic when I'm asked to believe in a God who tortures people for eternity.  I know this is one of the more basic objections to Christianity, but what sort of a God would create a place like hell?

 

Anyway, I'm looking forward to some good discussions with all of you.

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Hello, Bhim, and welcome!

I'm glad you got out, and are feeling free. Even if you "only" spent six years in, it still takes courage. It's nice to have people from all sorts of perspectives around here!

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Hello Bhim!  smile.png

 

Welcome to Ex-Christian.net.

 

I see that you're an astrophysicist.  Excellent! 

 

Quite a few of us here are really into looking at the BIG questions.  You know, stuff like...What was there 'before' the Big Bang? Is there intelligent extraterrestrial life?  How did complex, self-aware life arise from dead matter? 

 

I'm sure you'll be interested to participate... and to keep us honest, when we goof up!  wink.png

 

Anyway, please feel free to ask anything and I hope we can provide satisfactory answers.

 

Thanks,

 

BAA.

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Welcome Bhim! I am sure you will havel lots of interesting information to add to the Science and Religion section

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Welcome...and namasté

 

you have an amazing story, thank you for sharing. I am really surprised that christianity never took hold in India (only 2%? wow) and I never thought about it that way but with British colonialism you would think there would be more converts, interesting.

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Welcome, Bhim!  Thanks for sharing your ex-timony. smile.png

 

Your Christian college group sounds very similar to the kind I was involved with. My experience in Christianity is similar to yours in that I found it possible to explain away many of the same things (evolution vs. creationism, Biblical contradictions, inaccuracies) by reading the text symbolically or whatever, but could not find a way to reconcile the condemnation of unbelievers -- many of whom were simply born into a different religion/culture -- with the idea of a loving God. I absolutely agree with you that the doctrine of eternal hell is one of the most horrible ideas out there.

 

My Christian friends claimed to love unbelievers, but unlike me they had no non-Christian friends.  I came to realize that you can't believe someone is going to eternal hell without having an accompanying disdain for that person.

I realized this, also, and it seemed contrary to everything I had been taught... everything about loving other people regardless of who they were.

 

The breaking point for me came when my best friend from high school -- who was Jewish and studying to become a rabbi -- was shot and killed during our college spring break. The question of "who went to hell" was no longer theoretical or a problem I could hold at arm's length and try to ignore.

I'd certainly like to believe in God.  But I'm comfortable enough with saying "I don't know" and leaving it at that.  I intend to be a practicing Hindu for the rest of my life.

I'm pretty much in the same place WRT belief and practice... in my case Paganism ("Neopaganism," mostly the Greek pantheon). I also have an interest in the "cross-fertilization" of ancient Greek religions with those of other cultures.

 

A friend of mine is the Indian son of a physicist.  he's a philosopher and works on Greek and Indian philosophy, named Vishwa Adluri.  You can find some of his writings if you google him.  Vishwa says that he thinks "henotheism" (he doesn't like the term monotheism) is very destructive.  He also thinks polytheism is more rational and more in line with the world as we experience it -after all, there are all sorts of different forces interacting to make up a cosmos.

 

Ficino, thanks for mentioning this.  I'm interested in the topics your friend writes about, too! I found his "presocratics.org" website.

I didn't see anything there about his views on henotheism, but would be especially interested in reading about that. My guess is it would have something to do with demonizing non-sanctioned Gods and religious beliefs.

 

I find it grossly hypocritical that Christians in America utter political rhetoric about "family values," but would have no problem grabbing a Hindu kid from his family and converting him to Christianity.  I've likewise seen a lot of unfortunate stories on this forum about Christian parents cutting ties with children who leave Christianity.  Even when I was a Christian, my parents never even thought of doing this.  Christianity is antithetical to family values.

I agree completely. It's so sad when religion gets in the way of relationships. This is a big problem with fundamentalism, especially.

(I've met a lot of people with more liberal Christian beliefs who would not do this -- religious difference is much less of a problem for them.)

After my time in Christianity, it's quite relieving to be able to figure things out on my own without being branded a heretic for expressing disagreement.  It's not that I believe truth is relative, but the atheists are pretty much spot on when they say there's no evidence for a God.  God can only be observed through personal experiences which are almost never communicable to others.  How then can anyone hold to a belief about God and, in the absence of any evidence, force others to conform to it?

I've come to the same conclusions that you did on these issues, too.

 

I'm looking forward to reading more from you. smile.png

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Guest Babylonian Dream

Yeah, I hope it gets harder and harder for them to spread the cult. They're destroying alot of beautiful cultures. If you study native cultures of Papua New Guinea before and after conversion, you'll see a pattern where they lose their identity and ways of life, and convert into a life of poverty. Whereas before, they didn't need money, they knew how to survive in the woods they grew up in. All that knowledge then gets lost. They tried and are trying to do the same in India. It's not likely they'll win though. Alot has changed since the days of the british empire, its gotten harder. You can't force it the same way.

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Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your story! I believe one of our other members here called Noggy is a graduate student in physics so you might have someone here to have a stimulating conversation with :)

 

Reading your story made me realize how much of a sacrifice Christianity can be for some people. Interestingly, I came to Christianity as a somewhat open agnostic who didn't view the world in terms of morality/immorality, saved/unsaved, orthodox/heterodox and when I became a Christian I had to jam everything I knew into those categories. Though my parent's culture is still western (though an eastern european flavor) there were things that I could no longer view as harmless such as the various rituals they perform of which I paid no mind prior to it. I can only imagine how much more the same issue confronted you.

 

Anyways, best of luck to you and enjoy your stay here.

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Yeah, my personal, highly speculative, guess is that conversion rates are directly proportional to cultural "okayness with human sacrifice." In order to convert, especially whole cultures, people have to accept that there can be such a thing as sin, and that sacrificing a human-(god)-being is a way to absolve it. If none of these ideas exist before the missionaries show up, or there's any strong objection to any of them, especially human sacrifice, Christianity is, by definition, a no-go. Christianity is, at it's heart, a sacrifice religion. You can believe that Christ was a teacher (Islam, among others), but to be Christian, specifically, you have to believe that he died on the cross for your sins.

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Yeah, I hope it gets harder and harder for them to spread the cult. They're destroying alot of beautiful cultures. If you study native cultures of Papua New Guinea before and after conversion, you'll see a pattern where they lose their identity and ways of life, and convert into a life of poverty. Whereas before, they didn't need money, they knew how to survive in the woods they grew up in. All that knowledge then gets lost. They tried and are trying to do the same in India. It's not likely they'll win though. Alot has changed since the days of the british empire, its gotten harder. You can't force it the same way.

 

Watching the documentaries on Papua New Guinea (Netflix) was major reason for my deconversion.   

 

Years before I had a friend from work go there on a vacation(go figure).   In reviewing his photos with me he showed me a shot of a "Mission Station".   There were hundreds of folks crowded around the station in dirty old US tshirts.   He explained they were waiting for food.   Their tribal culture had been destroyed upsetting the balance that worked for them for thousands of years.   Even back then as a believer I knew something about that was not right.   

 

 

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Welcome, Bhim.

 

While watching one of the programs in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series from 1980-81, I saw some information about the Hindu outlook on the universe and it was fascinating. He talked about how unlike in western culture, the Hindus believe in an endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. He also talked about how some Hindus teach that we are but the dreams of gods, while others correct that to say the the gods are merely the dreams of humanity. Fascinating perspective.

 

As a fellow refugee from christianity, I'm always glad to see people escape from that false, poisonous and very discriminatory dogma.

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Welcome to the forum and thank you for sharing your story! I believe one of our other members here called Noggy is a graduate student in physics so you might have someone here to have a stimulating conversation with smile.png

 

Reading your story made me realize how much of a sacrifice Christianity can be for some people. Interestingly, I came to Christianity as a somewhat open agnostic who didn't view the world in terms of morality/immorality, saved/unsaved, orthodox/heterodox and when I became a Christian I had to jam everything I knew into those categories. Though my parent's culture is still western (though an eastern european flavor) there were things that I could no longer view as harmless such as the various rituals they perform of which I paid no mind prior to it. I can only imagine how much more the same issue confronted you.

 

Anyways, best of luck to you and enjoy your stay here.

 

This was definitely my experience.  Dealing with my family definitely became awkward when I had to regard their religious practice as "pagan."  Seems a bit unfair, doesn't it?  The Western, American Christian who grows up in the religion gets to continue the family tradition, and the rest of us are supposed to discard ours.  I'm quite pleased to have realized the Bible's teachings are ultimately false.

 

Welcome, Bhim.

 

While watching one of the programs in Carl Sagan's "Cosmos" series from 1980-81, I saw some information about the Hindu outlook on the universe and it was fascinating. He talked about how unlike in western culture, the Hindus believe in an endless cycle of birth, death and rebirth. He also talked about how some Hindus teach that we are but the dreams of gods, while others correct that to say the the gods are merely the dreams of humanity. Fascinating perspective.

 

As a fellow refugee from christianity, I'm always glad to see people escape from that false, poisonous and very discriminatory dogma.

 

Yes, Hinduism does teach a cyclic view of creation, and also places the age of the universe at the order of billions of years.  Of course it also teaches (incorrectly) that humans have existed for this long.  Fortunately Scriptural literalism isn't common in Hinduism, and the idea of a relatively old universe in the mythology probably makes people more accepting of science to begin with.

 

Yeah, my personal, highly speculative, guess is that conversion rates are directly proportional to cultural "okayness with human sacrifice." In order to convert, especially whole cultures, people have to accept that there can be such a thing as sin, and that sacrificing a human-(god)-being is a way to absolve it. If none of these ideas exist before the missionaries show up, or there's any strong objection to any of them, especially human sacrifice, Christianity is, by definition, a no-go. Christianity is, at it's heart, a sacrifice religion. You can believe that Christ was a teacher (Islam, among others), but to be Christian, specifically, you have to believe that he died on the cross for your sins.

 

That's an excellent point, and I wonder if it explains why cultures in Europe and Central America, where the theme of human and animal sacrifice already exist, were so easily converted to Christianity.  On the other hand it could be Christian militarism, I'm not really sure.

 

It is true, though, that the propitiatory sacrifice of life isn't as common a theme in Eastern religions.  I'm pretty sure it doesn't exist in Japan.  And among Hindus, human sacrifice is only practiced in Nepal, whereas Indian Hindus tend to condemn the practice.  I suppose it's hard for the idea of Christ's sacrifice to take hold in one's mind unless the concept of human sacrifice exists to begin with.

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welcome Bhim.

 

Varied experiences always make this site more interesting.

 

I myself find Hinduism fascinating. I have prayed to Shiva occasionally. I've often felt that Eastern faiths have more to offer this world than Western faiths.

 

Anyway, welcome and hope to see more of you on other threadsyellow.gif

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Guest Babylonian Dream

 

Yeah, I hope it gets harder and harder for them to spread the cult. They're destroying alot of beautiful cultures. If you study native cultures of Papua New Guinea before and after conversion, you'll see a pattern where they lose their identity and ways of life, and convert into a life of poverty. Whereas before, they didn't need money, they knew how to survive in the woods they grew up in. All that knowledge then gets lost. They tried and are trying to do the same in India. It's not likely they'll win though. Alot has changed since the days of the british empire, its gotten harder. You can't force it the same way.

 

Watching the documentaries on Papua New Guinea (Netflix) was major reason for my deconversion.   

 

Years before I had a friend from work go there on a vacation(go figure).   In reviewing his photos with me he showed me a shot of a "Mission Station".   There were hundreds of folks crowded around the station in dirty old US tshirts.   He explained they were waiting for food.   Their tribal culture had been destroyed upsetting the balance that worked for them for thousands of years.   Even back then as a believer I knew something about that was not right.   

 

 

Me too. That's why I wanted to "do it right" when I grew up. Though I grew to realize what was wrong, was the core of what was being done to them.

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