Review of Unifying Hinduism by Andrew Nicholson: Errors in Reasoning

Although I’d like to praise this work, as I largely liked Nicholson’s analyses and enjoyed reading some of them, I’m compelled by my own academic standards to give Unifying Hinduism a negative review. First, let me just say that for the average reader that this book will possibly satisfy interest in examining interesting parts about Hindu philosophy that can be parsed through this text, but its largely with opinion pieces presented with an academic veneer. I read this book in conjunction with Oxford’s handbook of Indian philosophy in the hopes of better understanding the ancient Indian theology and its differences with Modern Hinduism since it was argued by Western academia that modern Hinduism can’t be called anything but a modern invention in reaction to oppressors. Nevertheless, I’ve since concluded these people don’t even bother following the clear references in the text, or understanding the legacy of inclusivity within Hinduism, or look into India’s history for a fuller understanding, or well . . . anything resembling what is typical in academia. Religious Studies is known as the least academic of all disciplines since it doesn’t use actual history, archaeology, or any type of credible research; the Oxford handbook is rife with paranoid conspiracy theories taken as fact, as an example. Religious Studies seems to try to purport some privileged understanding, but they seem to hold no real knowledge of Western analytical philosophy and seem to just be glorified translators with mistaken perceptions on their knowledge.

I was initially discouraged because reading the arguments of Edward Said, and the fact Indology takes them seriously, was very disconcerting. Nicholson prefaces the book by detailing how an entire school of Indology is based on Edward Said’s views on indigenous people. Said seems to be considered a pillar of Indology, and his assertion is that indigenous people were formed into their way of thinking by imperialism and therefore have no right to any opinion regarding their own ancient texts. Said argues none of an indigenous person’s views are credible, because they’ve been brought up as a result of imperialism. Allusions to the idea that indigenous people were merely savages before Western colonization abound as implications for this reasoning. However, Edward Said’s entire argument is a fallacy of Circular Reasoning; he asserts the premise with the conclusion. That is, he argues that indigenous people are products of Western imperialism and therefore can be dismissed because their opinions are products of Western imperialism. This is very flawed reasoning and the fact it’s a respected opinion in Indology seemed asinine to me since I could easily pick apart the flaws using analytical philosophy. In fact, this is even more bizarre than at first glance, since Indology seems to parade analytical philosophy in many of its texts . . . but don’t even have a basic understanding of it. There’s simply no logical or reasonable basis to respect Edward Said’s assertions; he’s homogenizing billions of people based on their ethnic background and literally devaluing the very idea they have any say based on their race. Moreover, the premise is false; it was the literal opposite of what Said espoused. Schools from Ireland to India were shut down or demolished, people were repeatedly starved, and mass genocides in internment camps due to cholera or starvation or both ensued under imperialism. As a direct result, religious fanaticism increased to a fever-pitch in response to such brutality. Pre-modern India, with mathematicians like Aryabhata and Brahmagupta, were more focused on logical reasoning than the sadly illiterate India that followed after British colonial rule. Nevertheless, I thought it couldn’t be comprised of all what Nicholson had to say, so I bought the book and eagerly began reading.

Some arguments are just teeming with arrogance. In one such argument in favor of a unified Hinduism, Nicholson argues in support of a Hindu identity and contends the assertions of his Indologist colleague Paul Hacker who tries to assert some bizarre generalization that a billion Hindus feel inferior and his even more bizarre re-contextualization of Modern Hinduism and pre-modern Hinduism into some neo-terms that have no basis. I held a favorable disposition for Nicholson and an unfavorable one for Hacker, I readily admit this and I found Nicholson provided a better argument . . . but by the end, Nicholson diverges into ad hominem and implies Hacker has no right to an opinion because he’s a Christian. I sort of just stared at that as it took me a moment to process that a Western scholar could be so blatantly bigoted and provide such a ridiculous error in reasoning. Nicholson attempts to argue a middle approach that rejects what he sees as Hacker’s presumable extremism. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s using the logical fallacy of ad hominem against Hacker. He’s also committing the middle-ground fallacy. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s given ample cause to dismiss this entire branch of Western academia as worthless; if even his fellow Indologists are considered to have valueless opinions, based on a bigoted notion against their religious beliefs, then how on earth is one suppose to make any progress in this discipline? What does progress even look like? What viewpoints can even be called worthwhile? Also, Indology admits it makes random guesses and will never actually progress with anything meaningful. What even is this? How can an entire department of academia lack so much in its credibility?

Sadly, this isn’t the first time Nicholson has done this. Andrew Nicholson, the translator of Siva Song and author of this book Unifying Hinduism, seems to lack the critical thinking faculties of the much-loved Analytical Philosophy that his colleagues repeatedly harp about when he adamantly defends his thesis advisor. He made a response to Rajiv Malhotra, claiming on twitter that Malhotra had plagiarized him, yet he never took Malhotra to court. In his criticism of Rajiv Malhotra, he actually argues that Malhotra has no right to an opinion because he doesn’t understand Sanskrit; Nicholson proceeds to completely destroy his own argument against Malhotra’s assertions that Western academia is making spurious assertions against Hinduism by attributing his own personal guesses on ancient Hinduism to the influence of his thesis advisor Pollock. Why is this self-refuting? Because it means that both Nicholson and Pollock’s ideas have absolutely nothing to do with Hinduism and are their own personal opinions on the religion. If Pollock’s ideas are original, which I don’t dispute, then he isn’t actually doing research since that means he isn’t trying to uncover an ancient philosophy of a religion analogous to an archaeologist, but rather just making things up without sufficient evidence. Evidently, Malhotra has no right to an opinion because he isn’t a translator and Hacker has no right to an opinion because he is a Christian.

In what could have been an interesting final analysis, Nicholson consistently asserts his confusion about why Islam wasn’t integrated into Hinduism and tries to use the Rama re-tellings of replacing Asuras with terms identifying Muslims as proof of Hindu bigotry. He poorly asserts that arguments about Islam being nihilistic is proof Hindus were ignorant since it was the same assertion against Buddhists. He seems entirely unaware of the genocide of approximately 8 million people that Islam committed in Northwestern India, he seems to fail to understand that the re-tellings are parallels to the religion of Zoroastrianism which also forbids the usage of interest rates and believes in sinfulness, and it’s made abundantly clear that he has absolutely no understanding of Islamic theology at all when trying to figure out why Hinduism never tried to adapt it. He consistently asserts Hindu bigotry, but makes no attempt at actually comparing the religions. How hard would it have been to simply seek advice and information from a fellow colleague within his own Religious Studies department? Failing that, how hard would it have been to google search a local Mosque or Islamic center and go ask about Islam there? How hard would it have been to simply research Islamic theology through google or go on the multitude of Islam learning websites to gain a better understanding in order to compare and contrast the religions? Yet, he doesn’t even bother to put even that much effort into this chapter that supposedly tries to compare the religions. This is just laziness on his part and it really repudiates his credibility. Even a ten minute google search of the basic facets of Islam would have answered this question; Islamic jurisprudence is specifically designed to prevent such attempts since any outsider’s views on the theology is considered worthless unless they follow Sharia, Jihad against non-believers of the Abrahamic God is a religious doctrine among the four forms of Jihad that a Muslim must commit to, and any Hindu that did compare them would have been brutally murdered similar to the massacres that made the Hindu Kush (Hindu Murder/Hindu Slaughter) mountains that the Islamic invaders named in their triumphant massacre of approximately 8 million people. Something these Indologists evidently refuse to even engage within any discussion. Never mind the silent destruction and cultural genocide of Zoroastrianism in Iran, Zoroastrianists and Jews of Iran are still persecuted to this very day in modern-day Iran.

He harps about the Hindu extremism, yet seems to be utterly ignorant of the fact India took in Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan, Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Kashmir that were being persecuted with kidnappings, mass murder, and organized rape campaigns by Muslims in all three countries and rebellious Indian State. Evidently, Pakistan is happy to protest against extrajudicial killings by their police on Pashtun groups that support Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but don’t concern themselves with the sprees of murder, rape, and torture of Hindu and Sikh minorities that have all but left for India for their own safety. Nor does Nicholson seem to think over Intra-Abrahamic violence that could also pose a substantial problem to his own confusion of why Hinduism never adapted to anything of Islam’s theology, he seems blissfully unaware of the outright genocide of Christian Iraqis by ISIS. Both of these events are contemporary and happened only a couple of years ago as of this writing. This shouldn’t be perceived as an attempt to deflect Hindutva or Indian army human rights crimes. The deaths of journalists throughout India and the Indian army’s rapes and murders should absolutely be held accountable with punishable jail time, but these horrible crimes cannot be the only issues highlighted regarding controversial topics for the sake of intellectual honesty. I don’t support the anti-intellectual stupidity of Hindutva or would ever condone what unsavory people in the Indian army have done to civilians, but the refugee crises that Islamic militia groups caused cannot be ignored. Hundreds of thousands of Hindu and Sikh men, women, and children were being gang raped and/or murdered by Islamist groups in Pakistan, Bangladesh, and Afghanistan. This is not limited to just them as victims; reports of Christian minorities being gang raped and mass murdered have also abounded but gain less notoriety in the West for whatever reason; evidently, forced conversions in safer countries like India of Hindus who respect Christians is more important to US Christian missionaries than helping their fellow Christians who suffer in the absolute worst offenses to human rights and human dignity under Sharia (Islamic Divine Law) in three separate countries. Not surprising, since helping their fellow Christians would cause them great personal risk and would actually be an act of compassion; instead of their forced conversions and unvarnished hatred of Hindus who respect their beliefs.

He and fellow Indologists argue about theories on how to unify Hinduism or why it’s impossible to unify Hinduism, but after reading several chapters of this book and the Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy, I no longer believe they have honest intentions. In fact, I suspect this entire academic discipline never had any honest intentions and never focused on explicit texts or social customs. It should come as no surprise considering its imperialistic background. Nicholson admits that various forms of belief were accepted under the inclusiveness of Ancient India, he uses one example of Rama’s belief and how people who believed in Rama were free to practice belief when placed under as a component of Vishnu, but he actually seems to argue that this doesn’t prove any unified form of Hinduism. After that, he goes on the most vapid of arguments saying it doesn’t prove inclusiveness just because Hindus were inclusive by nature… What is even being argued anymore? He tries to argue the word Hindu not being used constitutes there being no unified Hinduism, but that’s an argument of semantics. Sanatana Dharma could easily qualify and we’d know what was being referred to. Overall, the fact they try to ignore the inclusiveness or denigrate Hinduism as not unified when not even looking at any historical accounts, denigrating the inclusivity they themselves find in their Sanskrit translations, and the fact they pick and choose such as when Nicholson ignores the parts of the Bhagavad Gita (in which Krishna says all ways, even those that don’t believe in him are acceptable and can lead to Moksha (self-liberation) so long as someone is selfless and helps others) in order to argue that Samkhya isn’t atheistic when their previous research asserts it had theistic and atheistic followers and that by the time of medieval translations the entirety of India had recognized Samkhya as atheistic school of Vedic theology.

It seems peculiar to me how so many Indologists can translate texts in which deities of various Gitas explain repeatedly that all other Gods and Goddesses are unified with them and that Brahman is an aspect of them; but somehow, even despite Nicholson himself translating the Ishvara Gita which has 2 whole chapters devoted to Shiva explaining how all the other deities and him are unified, they somehow conclude there is no unified Hinduism . . . despite the explicit, blatant, and repeated assertions on this unity in the texts themselves. In Siva Song (Ishvara Gita), Great Goddess Song (Devi Gita), and the Song of God (Bhagavad Gita), they all detail this unity with Brahman and the voluminous amount of other deities. If they had argued denominational differences, that would have been valid based on the evidence, but instead they argue different religions even when religions like Rama grow out of Vishnu. It no longer makes any sense. Hinduism has been based on inclusiveness, the belief in Brahman, and even acceptance of Atheism since ancient times; in fact, myself and even the average Westerner who’ve asked questions or been curious about researching Hinduism come to believe – based on Hindu theology – that it’s just separate interpretations and denominations of a unified belief and that people can take whatever interpretation they like from the Upanishads, Gitas, Vedas, and Mahabharata to form our own interpretation. The philosophical aspects of selfless service or doing good based on intrinsic desire in the Upanishads is just as paramount in understanding Hinduism as a philosophy too. Truth seeking and selflessness are paramount teachings. That’s how my family has seen it, how I’ve seen it, how the average US citizen who takes an interest sees it, and even how historically pre-modern India saw itself – the last one is according to Nicholson himself. The belief that they’re different religions seems largely unfounded and the Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy repeatedly references a paranoid conspiracy theory of an Aryan invasion, doesn’t use actual history or archaeology, and doesn’t present any credible evidence for its assertions beyond guesswork; Nicholson’s book also follows suit in this meaningless and trite guesswork presented as “academic” but lacking any actual substance or evidence-based reasoning. Therefore, this book by Nicholson, and possibly everything Indology does from Pollock’s racist and Nazi-friendly assertions (since the Aryan Race Theory is a debunked Western conspiracy only asserted by Neo-Nazis outside of Indology) to Doinger and Larson’s poorly reasoned and poorly argued books, and essentially this entire attempt by translators to act in the most pretentious manner possible should be rebuked and identified as the poorly reasoned trash that it is.

None of these people display any firm understanding of Analytical Philosophy, Nicholson’s book repeatedly uses several logical fallacies, his reasoning of Hindu bigotry largely lacks any historical or reasoned basis and he clearly never bothered to look into Islam before positing possibilities of why Hinduism never adapted it (in fact, I provided a more valid reasoning in this one review then he did in his entire chapter about the subject in his book), and like with the Oxford handbook, Larson’s books, and the actual texts of Hindu theology; I’m simply given more reasons to believe Hinduism was a unified theology and that Nicholson and his ilk are simply acting in bad faith since they never bring any valid evidence for their assertions. In fact, Nicholson’s very book gives ample evidence to this; from his ridiculous ad hominems, to the fact that he pointed out a medieval Marathi text that proves awareness of Islam was very well known at the time of its conquest in India. However, this example of the Marathi texts only gives me further credence to doubt the veracity and validity of Indology as an academic discipline since an entire department claiming to do religious studies was too lazy or too stupid to look into other language translations of a country with approximately 3000 different languages to verify any of their guesswork on evidence. These Indologists instead chose to make assertions strictly based on their fabricated ideas of Sanskrit teachings with no attempt at evidence-based research at all.

I can only conclude that the assertions of this book, and frankly all of Indology, are a worthless failure. These people are translators and they don’t have any special or privileged knowledge. Their books are nothing more than wild speculation and are of no value to understanding Hinduism / Sanatana Dharma.

Indology Is A Worthless Academic Discipline

Research and Book Update

Indology is a Worthless Academic Course: Why Hindutva Needn’t Fear Western Academia and How My Research Has Disappointed Me

After having finished writing my chapter on Islam, I proceeded to conduct further research into Buddhist and Hindu history that I had began before even finishing the chapters on Christianity and Islam. To this end, I decided to research more into Indology departments in Western Academia since I was under the assumption they could provide me with the most accurate and well-researched information. Indology is a branch of Religious Studies that focuses on the religions indigenous to India so I had no doubts when beginning to read into the studies. Indology has made bold claims about Hinduism being a modern invention and that Indians have largely deluded themselves into believing a unified Hinduism existed. I was apprehensive, but completely willing to accept historic facts and any theological contradictions brought up should they be present. I resigned myself to such possibilities and I knew of the Hindutva outcry that made me worry about an increasing anti-intellectual streak in India. I had wiki’d the Religious Studies course in order to gain a better basic understanding, but the terms seemed overly broad. Undeterred, since a wiki being unable to provide accurate or useful information was nothing new to me, I decided to look up research by Indologists and skimmed through some passages about one such book by a Indologist named Gerald J. Larson. Unfortunately, what I found was a broad generalization based on nothing more than one subset of Hindus singing a Christian song in unity with Christians in a local village in India. The man used one event to paint a broad generalization, but never submitted any other evidence for the claim that Hinduism was a modern theological invention with an unfounded religious history. This was one anecdote of a village trying to have inter-religious unity with Christians and the man took it as proof that Hinduism was some sort of deluded copout of modernity. I checked his other book on a specific Hindu Atheist philosophy, and found that he listed a bunch of people making assertions without any archaeological or historical evidence about how the Hindu atheist system existed in India and then claiming they were wrong based on his own baseless assertions. These weren’t expert opinions with historic facts present in any arguments, although they seem to believe their own views as more credible than the random guesses that they were. All I saw was just a listing of random guesses on how the belief structure worked based on insufficient evidence. I looked up Andrew Nicholson’s sample beginning in Unifying Hinduism before purchasing it as this seemed to be the most interesting and recent book, and he outright admits that pre-modern India had overlap with branching beliefs and that Indologists evidently know this . . . so why aren’t these schools and their overlap seen as denominations by Indologists? Why aren’t the re-contextualized axioms seen as denominational differences within Hinduism similar to other religions? I investigated further . . . .

After reading more translated Hindu texts and comparing them with the opinion pieces, I was thoroughly confused by how these people could argue inclusiveness in Hinduism as proof that they were different religions and not a unified religion. In fact, they ignore the explicit texts of each Gita (Song) favoring unity with Brahman under a specific God or Goddess to argue that it’s not “unified” and even argue that such arguments are proof they’re different religions and not denominational differences. I thought perhaps I didn’t understand something crucial, but in my mind, I was already comparing Hinduism to the history of Christianity that I knew. I decided that I had to look into the veracity of these claims made by the Indologists and so I took the time to purchase the Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy. I eagerly began reading to try to ascertain why my personal views were so diametrically opposed to the texts that these Indologists have read and translated themselves. The first chapter explains that this entire enterprise of Religious Studies of Indian Philosophy has no true understanding of Indian philosophy at all and are simply making guesswork. This is not a strawman or an attempt at some character assassination; this is literally what their explanation is for their so-called theorizing. Evidently, all they do is make a bunch of empty guesses and nothing else. They don’t do archaeology or read into Indian history, despite noting changing trends in Hinduism . . . which they take as proof that Hinduism isn’t a unified religion. I sifted through other chapters relevant for my research and to try to satisfy this confusion I felt. A chapter explaining how they don’t know the history of India and don’t bother researching it. To my surprise, they repeatedly reference a paranoid conspiracy theory about an Aryan Invasion which has been debunked by other departments of Western Academia and is now recognized as a paranoid conspiracy theory celebrated by Nazis and formed from Western racism. I’m sorry to say this pervasive usage of a paranoid conspiracy theory tarnishes the content of their research; the Four Noble Truths are interpreted as racialized categories instead of the philosophical precepts since the term “4 Arya Truths” is repeatedly presumed to be a racialized concept — which they compare to an even more fictitious pre-Aryan civilization (since Aryan and Pre-Aryan are both fictions as there is no such thing as an Aryan race). The Aryan race paranoid conspiracy thereby causes massive failures in historical accuracy and reasoning throughout this book. This is supposed to be teaching eager young minds the basics of Indology and it completely fails. I’m genuinely surprised they were too lazy to check themselves and instead repeatedly reference a paranoid conspiracy theory as their cited evidence.

Even if I were to be generous about this massive failure, there’s even worse failures in historical accuracy. The Oxford Handbook implies that Indian civilization never had contact with the West and never once seems to have any reference to or knowledge of Alexander the Great’s failed conquest and the direct result of that failure: the cultural trade, Greek immigration, and eventual creation of a Greco-Buddhist empire in which the Greco-Romans and indigenous Indians joined together in what is historically seen as one of the most peaceful unifications of culture in all of world history. There’s no mention of this at all. It incorporated such an important component of Northern Indian history and there’s no indication that any of these so-called scholars have ever even researched this important cultural and transnational milestone. In fact, they celebrate keeping Indian and so-called “Western” culture separate and see them as opposed; they largely homogenize and generalize Hinduism as something that supposedly failed to be consistent . . . from 300 BCE to around 1700 AD. I don’t understand how or why anyone could or should believe any culture could remain in some static state for that long or why the changing times would be seen as proof that Hinduism is a modern invention, but it’s clear these Indologists don’t understand how math and history are interrelated. They don’t have any clear concept or theory, it’s just random guesswork. I’m sorry, but their reasoning simply lacks any critical faculties; they repeatedly harp on about Analytical philosophy of the West being so different from Hindu philosophy, but apart from one person using Hobbes as some go-to to understand the diverse literature of philosophy as a basic comparison (and even this is putting it mildly, as the person using Hobbes doesn’t actually appear to understand Hobbes, but rather generalizes his philosophy for a miniscule comparison), there seems to be no deep comparison of philosophy between Hinduism and the Western traditions. They don’t even seem to be aware of the progress in mathematics that India can rightly be proud of like the mathematical formulas of Brahmagupta and Aryabhhata.

To my genuine surprise, this entire so-called discipline seems to be largely incurious of doing any actual research into Indian history. The Oxford book complains about the lack of comparative religious and philosophical studies, but no Indologist seems to genuinely want to attempt such an enterprise. I asked two friends, one who has a degree in History and another in philosophy, and both informed me that Religious Studies really lacks in actual historical research and accuracy. They simply don’t bother doing it before making any assertions about other people’s religions. Out of all of Western academia, Religious Studies lacks in critical examination of actual history, archaeology, and understanding of cultural diversity. I can presume then, that all these people really know how to do is translate texts. If that’s the case, then they don’t have any unique knowledge or special privilege. Their research is bogus and based on bad evidence. From my own research, I can personally attest that they use paranoid conspiracy theories liberally. Even the arguments from some of these so-called scholars don’t make any sense and are teeming with arrogance. Andrew Nicholson, the translator of Siva Song and author of Unifying Hinduism, seems to lack the critical thinking faculties of the much-loved Analytical Philosophy that his colleagues repeatedly harp about and whom he adamantly defends. He made a response to Rajiv Malhotra, claiming on twitter that Malhotra had plagiarized him, yet he never took Malhotra to court. In his criticism of Rajiv Malhotra, he actually argues that Malhotra has no right to an opinion because he doesn’t understand Sanskrit; Nicholson proceeds to completely destroy his own argument against Malhotra’s assertions that Western academia is making spurious assertions against Hinduism by attributing his own personal guesses on ancient Hinduism to the influence of his thesis advisor Pollock. Why is this self-refuting? Because it means that both Nicholson and Pollock’s ideas have absolutely nothing to do with Hinduism and are their own personal opinions on the religion. If Pollock’s ideas are original, which I don’t dispute, then he isn’t actually doing research since that means he isn’t trying to uncover an ancient philosophy of a religion analogous to an archaeologist, but rather just making things up without sufficient evidence. Now, Nicholson does this in his own book, Unifying Hinduism. In one such argument in favor of a unified Hinduism, Nicholson argues in support of a Hindu identity and contends the assertions of his Indologist colleague Paul Hacker who tries to assert some bizarre generalization that a billion Hindus feel inferior and his even more bizarre re-contextualization of Modern Hinduism and pre-modern Hinduism into some neo-terms that have no basis. I held a favorable disposition for Nicholson and an unfavorable one for Hacker, I readily admit this and I found Nicholson provided a better argument . . . but by the end, Nicholson diverges into ad hominen and implies Hacker has no right to an opinion because he’s a Christian. I sort of just stared at that as it took me a moment to process that a Western scholar could be so blatantly bigoted and provide such a ridiculous error in reasoning. Nicholson attempts to argue a middle approach that rejects what he sees as Hacker’s presumable extremism. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s using the logical fallacy of ad hominen against both Hacker and Malhotra. He’s also committing the middle-ground fallacy. He doesn’t seem to understand that he’s given ample cause to dismiss this entire branch of Western academia as worthless; if even his fellow Indologists are considered to have valueless opinions, based on a bigoted notion against their religious beliefs, then how on earth is one suppose to make any progress in this discipline? What does progress even look like? What viewpoints can even be called worthwhile? Evidently, Malhotra has no right to an opinion because he isn’t a translator and Hacker has no right to an opinion because he is a Christian. Also, Indology admits it makes random guesses and will never actually progress with anything meaningful. What even is this? How can an entire department of academia lack so much in its credibility? Why has this ridiculous department not been shut down yet?

In what could have been an interesting final analysis, Nicholson consistently asserts his confusion about why Islam wasn’t integrated into Hinduism and tries to use the Rama re-tellings of replacing Asuras with terms identifying Muslims as proof of Hindu bigotry. He poorly asserts that arguments about Islam being nihilistic is proof Hindus were ignorant since it was the same assertion against Buddhists. He seems entirely unaware of the genocide of 8 million people that Islam committed in Northwestern India, he seems to fail to understand that the re-tellings are parallels to the religion of Zoroastrianism which also forbids the usage of interest rates and believes in sinfulness, and it’s made abundantly clear that he has absolutely no understanding of Islamic theology at all when trying to figure out why Hinduism never tried to adapt it. He consistently asserts Hindu bigotry, but makes no attempt at actually comparing the religions. How hard would it have been to simply seek advice and information from a fellow colleague within his own Religious Studies department? Failing that, how hard would it have been to google search a local Mosque or Islamic center and go ask about Islam there? How hard would it have been to simply research Islamic theology through google or go on the multitude of Islam learning websites to gain a better understanding in order to compare and contrast the religions? Yet, he doesn’t even bother to put even that much effort into this chapter that supposedly tries to compare the religions. This is just laziness on his part and it really repudiates his credibility. Even a ten minute google search of the basic facets of Islam would have answered this question; Islamic jurisprudence is specifically designed to prevent such attempts since any outsider’s views on the theology is considered worthless unless they follow Sharia, Jihad against non-believers of the Abrahamic God is a religious doctrine among the five forms of Jihad that a Muslim must commit to, and any Hindu that did compare them would have been brutally murdered similar to the massacres that made the Hindu Kush (Hindu Murder/Hindu Slaughter) mountains that the Islamic invaders named in their triumphant massacre of 8 million people. Something these Indologists evidently refuse to even engage within any discussion. He harps about the Hindu extremism, yet seems to be utterly ignorant of the fact India took in Hindu and Sikh refugees from Pakistan and Kashmir that were being persecuted with kidnappings, mass murder, and organized rape campaigns by Muslims in both areas. Evidently, Pakistan is happy to protest against extrajudicial killings by their police on Pashtun groups that support Al Qaeda and the Taliban, but don’t concern themselves with the sprees of murder, rape, and torture of Hindu and Sikh minorities that have all but left for India for their own safety. Nor does Nicholson seem to think over Intra-Abrahamic violence that could also pose a substantial problem to his own confusion of why Hinduism never adapted to anything of Islam’s theology, he seems blissfully unaware of the outright genocide of Christian Iraqis by ISIS. Both of these events are contemporary and happened only a couple of years ago as of this writing. This shouldn’t be perceived as an attempt to deflect Hindutva or Indian army human rights crimes. The deaths of journalists throughout India and the Indian army’s rapes and murders should absolutely be held accountable with punishable jail time, but these horrible crimes cannot be the only issues highlighted regarding controversial topics for the sake of intellectual honesty. I don’t support the anti-intellectual stupidity of Hindutva or would ever condone what unsavory people in the Indian army have done to civilians, but the refugee crises that Islamic militia groups caused cannot be ignored.

As a final note of contention, I have to say that I’ve never been so disappointed in researching an academic discipline to gain a greater understanding. I love academia, I’m a proud product of US academia, but I’m sorry to say that Religious Studies has no value to its claims within Indology and far too often relies of paranoid conspiracy theories and outright ignorance of history. It’s the only discipline I’ve seen that is so thoroughly incurious with researching its own baseless assumptions to see if there’s any veracity to them. I’m sorry, but if you’re an Indologist, then your views aren’t more credible than others and you clearly have nothing but guesswork to offer; you have no right to parade it as somehow more studious or truthful than any random person’s opinion on religions. At no point have I seen any attempt to even look at Hinduism on the basis of doctrinal beliefs or holy texts as signs of unity, and after looking more into the controversy of Pollock, who placed himself into political controversy by signing a demand to break-up India even further by recognizing Kashmir and Jammu as independent without any thought to the ramifications of his decision, I’m forced to conclude that too much narcissism and downright ignorance exists in this discipline for it to be recognized as equal to other academic departments. Based on interviews, Pollock simply comes off as narcissistic and fueled by animosity and revenge towards an entire racial group. Yes, I’m calling Pollock a racist. He tries to present himself as blameless after signing an incendiary petition over a controversial political topic and then makes deliberate threats about waiting until all the Sanskrit texts are destroyed in order to blame an entire nation-state for being too vindictive, racist, and narcissistic to translate them. This man doesn’t deserve a position in academia and Nicholson acting as his lapdog and providing excuses by asserting that Pollock’s opinion pieces are his unique copyright – and thereby refuting that Indology has any credibility whatsoever – leads me to believe there’s no point even trying to meaningfully discuss these issues. This so-called academic discipline doesn’t even correct itself with regards to paranoid conspiracy theories and actively refuses to engage in historic and archaeological research. I’m sorry, but after analyzing and researching, these are my conclusions on these sensitive matters.

Works Cited

Ahmed, Manan. “Why Hindutva Groups Have for Long Had Sheldon Pollock in Their Sights.” Scroll.in, Https://Scroll.in, 3 Jan. 2017, scroll.in/article/804517/why-hindutva-forces-have-for-long-had-sheldon-pollock-in-their-sights.

Sanujit. “Cultural Links between India & the Greco-Roman World.” Ancient History Encyclopedia, Ancient History Encyclopedia, 23 June 2018, http://www.ancient.eu/article/208/cultural-links-between-india–the-greco-roman-worl/.

Ganeri, Jonardon. The Oxford Handbook of Indian Philosophy. Oxford University Press, 2017.

Ghosh, Tanushree. “I’m a Target Because I’m an Outsider: Sanskrit Scholar Sheldon Pollock.” The Indian Express, Thursday, May 03, 2018, 4 June 2018, indianexpress.com/article/express-sunday-eye/im-a-target-because-im-an-outsider-sanskrit-scholar-sheldon-pollock-5191995/.

Larson, Gerald James. Indias Agony over Religion. State Univ. of New York Press, 1995.

Larson, Gerald James., and Īśvarakr̥ṣṇa . Classical sāṃkhya: an Interpretation of Its History and Meaning. Motilal Banarsidass Publishers, 2014.

Nicholson, Andrew J. Unifying Hinduism Philosophy and Identity in Indian Intellectual History. Permanent Black, 2015.

Nicholson, Andrew J. Lord Śivas Song: the Īśvara Gītā. Munshiram Manoharlal Publishers Pvt. Ltd., 2016.

Nicholson, Andrew J. “’Upset about Rajiv Malhotra’s Plagiarism, Even More Upset about Distortions of My Work’.” Scroll.in, Https://Scroll.in, 3 Jan. 2017, scroll.in/article/742022/upset-about-rajiv-malhotras-plagiarism-even-more-upset-about-distortions-of-my-work.

chandraiitk. “Rajiv Malhotra’s Hard-Hitting Response to False Charges of Plagiarism.” YouTube, YouTube, 23 July 2016, http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yGpB0ITyNVQ.

In Support of Ex-Muslims of North America: Promoting Secular Values and Challenging Islam

Their Website: https://www.exmna.org

Some Ex-Muslims have formed an organization to challenge the faith of Islam and argue against apostasy, the idea of Islamaphobia, and safe spaces to challenge the narrative and reframe the discourse so that more Ex-Muslims will come out to challenge the religious faith. At the moment, they can only focus on North America; their chief aim is to get more ex-Muslims to come out and to form a social community for them after they’ve (likely) been abandoned by their loved ones. Ex-Muslim panels also help detail facts that need to be made clear: i.e. that most Muslim terrorists converted to Islam. There’s this attempt by Liberal circles to try to downplay the harmful aspects because they don’t want to further promote violence and discrimination against Muslims themselves by the Right-wing; unfortunately, Ex-Muslims argue that this merely hushes up the domestic violence and discrimination within Muslim communities themselves. Perhaps more importantly, Ex-Muslims solely focus on trying to change the minds of liberals; they’ve long since held that Right-wing groups are too hateful and don’t treat any Muslims or Ex-Muslims as if they’re human beings worthy of equal respect.

A First Draft Sample of My Next Book, Faith in Doubt

The following is the first draft of my book’s chapter on Original Sin, which is given a thorough critique. I’ve since changed some elements, but I thought this would be valuable to know what to expect when reading my book. Unfortunately, the line spacing doesn’t come out properly when posting it on a blog, so please try to ignore the messiness. If you have any detailed analysis or criticisms then please share them. My book will be critiquing religion broadly in the first part, then going into specific criticisms pertaining to the major world religions in the second part, and then the third part will be detailing some historic and contemporary consequences as a result of religious faith.

I am criticizing them on the basis of human psychology and philosophy, the potential failings of faith axioms based on logical fallacies, and my own personal perspective on religious faiths themselves. The following is a detailed examination on the failings of Original Sin as a moral compass, please let me know what you think in the comments below.

Chapter 6: Original Sin, the failure of all Abrahamic morality

If you truly believe in morality, then you should honestly consider Original Sin to be the ultimate mockery and subversion of morality. Cloaked under the veneer of religious piety and goodness, this belief allows for all forms of savagery: genocide, war rape, child rape, torture, mass bombing campaigns, and every other horrific atrocity to be viewed as an inevitable part of the human experience. Humans who observe such occurrences from the outset through television or through the internet use such anecdotes as a justification that violence is an inevitable and inescapable part of humanity. Thus, people use such events as “proof” to believe that our biology is evil and that evil is merely a fact of life because we observe stories of street violence, rapes, wars, and genocide on social media. People may believe that without religious morals that they will go into sprees of murder, rape, and other forms of violence. They might be led to believe that sinfulness and the capacity for absolute evil is just waiting to be acted upon but strictly controlled through the guidance of an absolute good from religious teachings. Original sin teaches them to believe humans are imperfect and so falter into sinfulness. As a consequence, we observe atrocities around the world through the lens of apathy or indifference while believing the victims are in heaven for our own comfort. Yet, on any given day, it is impossible to know why each specific tragedy happened unless we individually fact-check them; it is easier to simply believe that all people have some evil in them since it gives a quick and coherent worldview of such events. Yet, if the perpetrator was raised as a Christian, Muslim, or Jew – or was taught Abrahamic value of sinfulness in the Muslim or Christian schools that help to teach children such values around the world – then what stops them from believing that their actions were simply inevitable because of their humanity? In fact, why wouldn’t the perpetrator just perceive their acts as an unavoidable aspect of being human after committing such atrocities? The human body would be like a cage where carnal pleasure was misunderstood to be evil intent and thus acts of rape and murder would be viewed by the perpetrators as simply a product of their humanity. Relying strongly upon the religious precept of sinfulness would mean that you must believe that you are capable of child murder, child rape, the torture of children, and you are likely to believe that these are aspects of humanity that can never be changed because murder, rape, and torture are intrinsically part of human nature. It is unalterable and all humans; you, your spouse, your children, your friends, your caretakers, and every human on the planet is simply born with a deep malice that predisposes them for crimes such as murder, rape, torture, and genocide. God created conditions that allowed everyone to be capable of these horrors. Thus, the belief in original sin provides a convenient excuse to ignore morality because acts of evil are somehow intrinsically part of human nature. The following is an examination and repudiation of this self-harming belief system.

Sin is an Entity Theory
Sin is an entity theory; it is a concept about ourselves that we believe to be intrinsically part of our behavior. That is dangerous and it has consequences for how we act towards others. Sin is an unsubstantiated entity theory. It has no scientific and psychological basis to be considered true about our species. The apologists for sin primarily use tragic events or horrible human actions to argue in favor of sin being an objective truth about human existence. However, utilizing tragic events to prove the objectivity of sinfulness anchors too much focus upon events that aren’t the norm of the majority of the human species. Moreover, any terrible deed conducted by people who grew up within Abrahamic cultures or Abrahamic communities could justify their violence through the belief in sinfulness. Sinfulness could become circular reasoning because the perpetrators believe that an intrinsic part of their humanity, the concept of sinfulness, allows them to conduct horrific crimes and the observers of terrible crimes use those specific events as proof of sinfulness.

 
That may seem silly, but it is psychologically true that what we believe about ourselves and what we believe that we’re capable of has consequences on the actions that we choose to pursue. A mundane example is a society’s attitude towards mathematics. If you believe that you’re just not good at math after struggling with the subject during your schooling, then you will be disinclined to pursue the subject matter and may believe yourself to be incapable of learning the advanced mathematical topics. This is actually a self-delusion and results in a self-fulfilling prophecy, people who believe that they’re “not a math person” or “not good at math” have overemphasized the difficulty and closed off a possible academic future for themselves as a result. These people can improve their math skills by emphasizing efficacy and incremental effort in attaining math skills from their studies but they sincerely believe that they are incapable of achieving mastery in mathematics because of an intrinsic flaw. The belief has a lifelong consequence on their future and they don’t realize it.

 
Now, consider the concept of sin and what the concept of sin encourages people to intrinsically believe about themselves and the actions that they’re capable of committing. Do you see the problem?

Sinful Thoughts or Intrusive Thoughts?
A principal reason for the belief in sinfulness may derive from the concept of sinful thoughts. Certain personal thoughts and beliefs are categorically labeled evil to even think about and such a distinction leads to constant self-blame and weariness with ourselves for having the “evil” thoughts. The belief that being good means you must have good thoughts isn’t healthy or rational because it’s a misunderstanding of how thoughts actually function. Believing that being good means that you must only have “good” thoughts is mental self-torture because you would constantly need to try to “expunge” the “evil thoughts” from your mind. Under the distinction between good and evil thoughts, violent thoughts aren’t what good people should have. It may not seem normal to you to have thoughts of throwing people down a flight of stairs, jumping out of a moving car, shouting something blasphemous during religious ceremonies, or other deplorable activities. These offensive thoughts would instill people with unease or anxiety because people may worry why such thoughts even entered their mind. We would be looking for some deep “cause” for why these thoughts were circulating in our minds. It may seem reasonable to view these thoughts as sinful and believe that you must constantly fight against such thoughts to maintain purity and moral goodness. These terrible thoughts become a “proof” of sinfulness because people don’t know why they have them and fear that there is something evil or criminal within them that are the cause. Many people begin to avoid situations that trigger violent thoughts and feel too ashamed to speak of them with loved ones.

 
There is an important element in this subject matter that most people don’t seem to be aware of: violent or blasphemous thoughts aren’t a reflection of you or your inner desires. Unless these thoughts make you feel pleasure or happiness, they aren’t what you would want to do to your loved ones or others. Assuming you have such unsettling thoughts, which you do because every human being has them, your feelings of unease and anxiety are your personal reflections on any violent or blasphemous thoughts that you may have. You are not crazy and it doesn’t mean that you have the capacity of inflicting violence upon others. The thoughts themselves are just ideas that you gain from your environment or your imagination; ironically, monitoring your thoughts to make sure the bad thoughts will go away will only cause them to become more frequent thus increasing the unease and anxiety. Prayer sessions could become a self-fulfilling prophecy in which the frequency of attempts to remove the bad thoughts from your mind could increase the frequency of the thoughts returning. This is because our minds need to check on the unsettling image when we try to monitor our progress of not thinking about the bad thoughts. Psychological studies have shown that trying to ban ourselves from thinking certain thoughts will only increase the frequency of the thoughts occurring in our mind. They were never a reflection of you as a person or what you may think you’re capable of committing upon others. They’re just thoughts that come to your mind. The increased fear and anxiety from the violent ideas or images probably comes from our honest dread of harming our own loved ones because we don’t understand why these thoughts are occurring. The increased frequency and misunderstanding can lead to self-hate, a deep fear of ourselves, self-blame, shame, and depression because of an overemphasis on trying to understand some deeper meaning behind why we have these bad thoughts and fear of what others will think of us. Rest assured, it is entirely normal to have these thoughts. They’re labeled intrusive thoughts by modern psychology, they’re not a sign of mental illness (unless you feel pleasure from the idea of committing them, which is probably the opposite of what you feel), and everyone has them. They’re not a reflection of you and they’re not a desire of what you secretly want to do to others. They’re thoughts that come and go in your mind; similar to thinking about breakfast or thinking about another route to work. Having intrusive thoughts isn’t a reflection of how good or evil you are as a person.

 
What are more important are your feelings towards these thoughts than the thoughts themselves. It is also possible to obsessively think about such intrusive thoughts but that isn’t a reflection of you, it just means that you have an obsessive compulsive disorder regarding your thoughts. That doesn’t mean you’re crazy; it means that you have an OCD regarding your thoughts and it’s possible that it developed because human behavior is habit forming. What people believe to be “normal” is really just people going through various forms of mild psychological issues every day through the habits that they form. It only truly becomes an issue when habitual behavior becomes excessive or it is a behavior that is objectively self-harming such as smoking or physically harming one’s body. If you have had anxiety because you misunderstood what intrusive thoughts meant, then please learn to relax. Let them come and go, and recognize they’re not a deep personal reflection of you as a human being.

Sin is Nihilism
The belief in sinfulness is the belief in ubiquitous nihilism. I am not referring to nihilism that is defined by lack of belief in a God or Gods. Nihilism as defined by the belief that existence is senseless and useless, a belief that destroys all forms of objective morality from the basis that humanity is insufficient to ever create everlasting objective morality, that all forms of human progress are arrogant and useless in the end, and the implicit belief that all human constructions of morality will lead to total failure because humanity isn’t intelligent enough to know God’s will. The argument by the pious in favor of objective moral values implodes under the belief in sinfulness; it’s a complete self-contradiction that Abrahamic believers seem to have cognitive dissonance towards. Human progress itself is seen as futile and self-depreciating despite people having modern conveniences like cars, surgeries, cell phones, the internet, and educational institutions. The nihilism is disguised as morally necessary to make people concede to religious doctrines; all human expression, all human inventions, and all forms of human happiness are to be under constant suspicion because humans are always prone to sinfulness everywhere. If you truly believe in sinfulness then you must always feel regret for the crime of your existence to God, you must always feel regret for failing to curtail your biological desires of reproduction because you find others attractive and God judges that to be sinful, you must feel regret for the mutual act of lovemaking if it isn’t specifically under the terms of marriage that God defined as the only acceptable form, you must feel ashamed of lovemaking because it’s a sinful act regardless of if it’s under marriage because God deemed sex to be sinful, and people who don’t make these concessions are arrogant because they insult God by not believing in Him. There are obvious detriments to this belief that create a harmful standard: you may believe that everyone around you is predisposed to acting evil because they’re born sinful, you may believe that anyone who doesn’t go through these concessions for the one true God is immoral, you may view the failure to uphold the moral code as a form of humility in accepting that you’re an imperfect human being compared to the perfect creator deity, and yet you may not see the circular reasoning in believing that your failure is a humility but that others who fail, who aren’t part of your in-group of Abrahamic religions, are perceived as evil by the precepts of your religious faith. People outside of your religious faith are automatically assumed to be more evil because they don’t seek redemption and forgiveness from God like you and your community. People who commit atrocities but have the same religious faith as you are assumed to have either misinterpreted the faith, used reasoning that is completely different from the tenants of your faith, or are imperfect human beings who are sinful. In the case of non-violent offenses such as adultery, the people of the same religious faith as you are simply assumed to have been an imperfect human being and their failure is seen as an admittance of humility. A non-believer or person of another religious faith is perceived to be conducting similar behavior out of evil or self-delusion in believing a false religion that led them astray because they lack your exact religious faith. Yet, no matter what they do, they’re viewed as repulsive because they refuse to accept the one true God as the irrefutable truth, they don’t seek redemption for their sinfulness as you probably do, and they should be awaiting the end of the world as prescribed in all the Abrahamic holy books. No matter what, your view of them is antagonistic to a certain degree because that is what the belief in sinfulness requires you to believe. You aren’t allowed to perceive outsiders as anything but less significant than your in-group under the belief system of sinfulness.

 
If the argument seems extreme, you should consider that many religious believers within Judaism, Islam, and Christianity still believe and advocate these positions when acting as missionaries in foreign countries and many Christians and Muslims are conducting forced conversions. Even in a first world country like the United States, there are over 50 million people who believe in this interpretation of their religion and proudly believe in the literal truth of their religious books. However, even if you don’t agree with the extremist version of sinfulness, through open interpretation you may believe in degrees of sinfulness and you may still believe the teaching of sinfulness has worthwhile merits for instilling moral values. Yet, does it truly have moral value? If anything, sin is a belief that promotes the destruction of all morality under a fatalistic concept that morality will be destroyed because of human nature. There is a pernicious presumption that humans will always harm each other because it is human to destroy each other with no regard for the wellbeing of other humans. It allows for a circular reasoning that makes humanity synonymous with rampant destruction, rampant brutality, and rampant cruelty upon our own species and everything else in the world. It is a self-fulfilling prophecy that uses sin as a justification for violence: when we justify bombing campaigns that slaughter foreign civilians, when we see people riot in our streets, and when we act out of anger upon others. These acts are justified by sinfulness from both observers and perpetrators through a rash generalization that all humans are capable of horrors because of innate human imperfection. Sinfulness is a self-fulfilling prophecy because it’s also a coping mechanism to understand violence: when we see news of sectarian wars in foreign countries, when we learn of cruel criminal behavior conducted upon children by pedophiles and rapists reported in the news, gang rapes in third world countries, beheadings, genocide, child slavery, and indoctrinated child soldiers. Sinfulness means it is all unalterable because that is the expected outcome of human nature. It is always the expected standard of human interaction within our own communities and outside of it to view wars, bombings, genocide, the torture of children, and less offensive wrongdoings to be common occurrences because of an innate faultiness in humanity. We just expect people to fail in keeping up with the tenants of their faith and the failure of keeping with the tenants is just a form of humility for our group and evil for the outside group. We give violence a total pass because horrific atrocities are an expected norm of sinfulness; violent events in the news serve as anecdotal “proof” of sinfulness.

 
These attitudes and expectations of sinfulness in humanity are dangerous. It creates apathy towards horrific atrocities, indifference towards our own country bombing civilians in a foreign country, and presumes evil intent from the victims before they have actually done anything against us. There is an insidious and disgusting implication that the innocent victims killed would kill us because it’s the due course of human nature so we need to harm them before they can hurt us – a pathological form of self-delusion and circular reasoning to justify mass murder. Consider this: if sinfulness is true, then humanity is simply expecting failures and catastrophes to be the norm throughout the world because of an unalterable and intrinsic defect within human nature. If all forms of good actions eventually lead to failure, then why should any wealthy person donate to charity? If they sincerely believe everything will eventually fall apart, then why bother doing anything to help other people? They would be predisposed to believe that their charity will fail, they would be inclined to believe that their own success would eventually turn to ruin, and that everything in life is just waiting to fall into ruination because of an intrinsic and unalterable aspect of their humanity. In terms of nation-states, we should just expect a nuclear catastrophe to occur and to wipe out the human race because sinfulness means that we’re predisposed to evil actions and that we will falter in keeping to the tenants of the faith because of our intrinsic defectiveness. For all the so-called goodness of the Abrahamic traditions, each of them believe that the world will end and that the world ending is the expected outcome of human actions; such a belief justifies nuclear catastrophe as the conclusion of our species. Islam and Christianity convert non-believers for the explicit purpose of awaiting the end of the world. Pointing the theological basis for conversion usually causes embarrassment, denial, and attempts to avert the inquiry but it remains the theological underpinnings of the Abrahamic traditions. They can be verified in the holy books and the reason it’s embarrassing to discuss in public is because of how untenable the belief is and how delusional people appear when voicing their beliefs.

Sin is Misanthropy
Sin is sanctified hatred for the human race. Two of western culture’s most noteworthy philosophers, Immanuel Kant and Friedrich Nietzsche, pointed out that if you believe there is an innate defectiveness with humanity that causes evil actions then you are more predisposed to committing evil actions because you may feel it is the unavoidable norm of your humanity. If evil is ingrained within you, if it is an unalterable part of human habit and you perceive your failures with humility, you might be justifying your wrongful acts by using sin as a coping mechanism instead of accepting responsibility. Moreover, you may emphasize events when people hurt your feelings or disappoint you because you expect negative actions to be a natural consequence of your daily interactions with other human beings. You may perceive your own love for your friends and family as a constant struggle because you have implicitly overemphasized the idea that evil actions are natural occurrences within humanity as a result of sinfulness. As such, you may have a biased focus on their negative actions and less focus on their positive qualities. Humans already have a negativity bias ingrained within our psychology to defend from life-threatening danger and the belief in sinfulness may increase the emphasis on negative events in our lives.

 
Is sinfulness healthy to believe in? Please consider the following: if you have a child, do you truly consider your own child to be born sinful? Do you truly believe that, in some deep level of our humanity, that your child will go murdering, raping, and torturing other people? Do you believe that, within you, there is a sinful part that will cause you to murder, rape, and torture your own family, friends, and strangers? As stated before, having thoughts of such actions doesn’t mean that you want to do them; thoughts just come and go in your mind and that is normal. It should be considered an utterly absurd belief about our loved ones but the ubiquitous concept of sinfulness in all forms of human interaction may cause such negative beliefs about our behavior and the behavior of our loved ones. As a result, you may be predisposed to despise or see evil in your own children’s actions when they act out and may find it easier to discipline them with force. You may see forgiveness and passiveness as a constant struggle while harboring the expectation that everyone else in the world and you yourself will always partake in evil actions during moments of weakness. This is a pernicious view of other human beings; sin has the constant expectation of disappointment, failure, and evil as the only truism of life itself. How can such a belief be either healthy or rational for your mental health?

 
Sinfulness, in combination with the binary ideology of good and evil, makes it easier to convince us to hate others. The belief that all humans are sinful would fundamentally promote the dehumanization, otherness, and disgust for people perceived as out-groups. When the news media gives you anecdotal examples of violence from the out-group, you’ll more likely to feel disgust, anger, and superiority toward the out-group because you would be inclined to believe that your society has proudly kept their sinful impulses in check compared to the out-group. The repeated exposure to negative events from the specific out-group would make people more inclined to judge the out-group more strictly and harshly than usual through pattern recognition and grouping people by race, religion, social class, or country as the same. From anecdotal events quickly mentioned in the news media, people’s minds would be framing a coherent and negative view of the out-group. This type of thinking is self-centered and delusional because it frames a binary worldview in which we compare doing our menial tasks everyday as a success and proof of our superiority over the perceived out-group. Sinfulness helps ignore the actual conditions that caused horrible events: famine, oppressive governments, mass poverty, certain first world countries selling weapons to governments that sell to terrorist groups (terrorist groups throughout Africa, the Middle East, and South America get weapons manufactured from Western countries), unsafe working conditions, and the political reality that first world countries need third world countries to stay in poverty to keep manufacturing cheap commodities. Crimes such as rape and murder are misconstrued to be the values that foreign cultures or that peoples perceived as out-groups somehow ubiquitously enjoy without thinking deeply about the other societies diverse peoples, crime-ridden areas, and other social conditions.

 
An example would be the rape crimes in the US, while it’s true that Native American women living within reservations had no legal right to sue their rapists until 2012 thanks to federal laws that circumvented their rights and that violent rapes upon Native American women were so terrible that mothers had to teach their children what to expect when an American citizen raped them because they had no legal rights to send the child rapists to jail, it is untrue that these conditions are normal for the average US citizen. Although there are cases in poor counties of South Carolina in which the police don’t arrest men who beat and rape their wives, because of the counties strong Christian convictions that men are in charge of the household, and that very little legal action has been undertaken even in situations where men chased after and murdered their ex-spouses or ex-girlfriends; it is untrue that these situations are a reflection of US culture and US citizens. The same should be noted for rape crimes in India, despite being more common, the United Nations has found that in terms of per capita crime rates, the rape crimes in India are actually far lower than what would normally be expected for one of the largest population sizes in the world. Mass poverty, lack of adequate police protection (police exist only to protect the wealthy in India), lack of police training in forensics, communalism, lack of judicial institutions to handle legal proceedings, lack of education, discrimination against women, and extremely sluggish court system create conditions of enmity, despair, hatred, and violence. Wealthy and middle class Indians would probably perceive the violence as happening in poverty zones and would desire to keep such violence out of their communities. It is a widespread issue but it isn’t socially different from views of crime-ridden areas such as Camden, New Jersey in the United States or the apathy towards Native American rape victims in US courts. Awful people, opportunists, and deplorable social conditions create these situations and the mass protest movements that follow to create legal changes show that they are not tolerated in any culture or democratic nation-state. Yet, sinfulness and the availability heuristic give us an automatic and negative generalization of US culture and India’s culture without learning more deeply about each country’s social issues and the contexts in which these crimes occur.

 
The belief in sinfulness is intrinsically dangerous to us and others. If we accept that sinfulness is ubiquitous part of life, if we accept that we can pick and choose the teachings of the Abrahamic holy books, and that we should view our failure with humility because we’re only human; we create mental conditioning that allows us to kill others who are different from us. That may seem ridiculous, but the belief in sinfulness itself presupposes that we’re capable of murder, rape, and torture deep within ourselves. It wouldn’t be a stretch to say that those three beliefs, combined and inculcated for warfare, could create social conditioning that sent people to kill others who are different from them. The belief that they’re more prone to acting evil, our suspicion toward their behavior, and patronizing superiority towards people deemed different from us makes it easier to dehumanize them. The dehumanization campaign of perceiving foreigners within the connotations of evildoers would make it easier for those with simplistic moral sensibilities to kill foreigners. The overlap of sinfulness and good versus evil makes violence easier to conduct for people who believe in these concepts. Sinfulness along with good and evil explicitly ignores and obfuscates attempts at understanding different people. Perhaps more dangerously, it explicitly obstructs us from viewing their opinions and lives as meaningful like we do for people within our in-group of friends, family, and community. Wars occur, not just because of racist and other types of discriminatory caricatures of opposing sides, but also because people ignore and demonize other people’s culture, lives, and human rights. We view their lives as less important than the emotional issues of ourselves and our in-group. Absolute good and absolute evil are concepts that would create a catalyst for egregious human rights crimes. For the foreigners, reciprocity and the desire for justice for the fallen victims soon create conditions of enmity and more warfare because people will seek justice for any civilians wrongfully killed through our bombings or war campaigns. Religious extremism and justice for innocent civilians killed blend together to create prolonged warfare against us because we don’t recognize their lives as meaningful or having equal value to our in-group. Religious extremism and sometimes increased terrorist activity occur as a consequence of war-torn people seeking meaning for the horrible deaths of their loved ones.

 
Yet, when we observe violence in their communities (usually because of increased religious extremism as a way to cope with the loss of their loved ones and the West’s attempts at creating violence between two groups to distract from the West’s own interests in taking natural resources as per the realist theory of international relations), it makes it easier to have patronizing attitudes in support of our own society under the veneer of humility. We celebrate ourselves as having calmed our sinfulness and view outsiders as being ignorant, crazed, or believe in a radical version of a false faith. We ignore the fact that Western governments sell weapons to many of the terrorist groups including African war lords, al Qaeda, and ISIS. We ignore the fact Western governments place extreme political leaders in power who close off hospitals, schools, political participation, and jobs from a specific subset of their own community in their countries; political realities that the Western nation-states believes to be for their own self-interest only to deal with worsening problems in the future that jeopardize the safety of Western civilians and national interests.

Sin and the World
Sin can overlap with fatalism, jingoism, racism, xenophobia, Otherness, and any other form of human belief and human interaction. It’s probably why rationality is predicated upon the concept of doing evil upon others because that is what original sin makes people believe about themselves, about other human beings, and about morality itself. Sin preaches physical and mental fatigue against our own humanity as a form of eternal goodness, teaches that every great human creation is utterly meaningless, and that the most important part of life is awaiting the coming of a Messiah, or the coming of Jesus, or the coming of Jesus and Mohammed together to bring about mass world genocide and global annihilation so the true believers move on to the perfect world. Sin has had an enormous impact and history upon politics, philosophy, psychology, human biology, and people’s conceptions of human interaction. It has utterly poisoned and caused misapplications on all of these subject matters such as the denunciation of sex taught throughout the world by Christian missionaries. When combined with different forms of in-group/out-group dynamics, sin promotes the worst human atrocities. Sin is an extremist concept because it makes people believe that they’re only capable of abject evil from their own human desires. Thus, sin is the most egregious form of mental self-torture.

 
Among the specific contentions to particular religions, I’ve added accounts and numerical figures of the true scope of the genocidal results of the belief in sin intermixed with politics. The belief in sin, above all, seems to be the true cause for economic destruction, political folly, and human genocide. It overlays every human act with the idea that we inevitably have an impulse to do evil upon others. Expunging the belief in sin and the theories of political realism in international relations would mean less human violence, a less dangerous world, and less mental self-torture for humanity.
The arguments about how freedom from the idea of sin will only lead to massive violence, mass rapes, and death seems to be a form of self-delusion. The veneration of sin is often patronizing because Abrahamic believers truly think that some sacred warning from God would be destroyed and that acts of savagery would happen without them. An important issue to highlight: it was the belief in original sin itself that taught them to believe that humans are rampantly destructive; historically, the other parts of the world were peaceful under Buddha, Mahavira, Confucius, Lao Tzu, and these teachings didn’t require the stubborn notion that God needed to ordain them. Were there problems within the ancient East? Of course, but such acts weren’t full of savagery, mass death, and tribal wars that the West was thoroughly engaged with itself for a large part of its ancient history and particularly during the Crusades. Original sin teaches deep cynicism towards human desires and that maintaining such resentment, cynicism, and suspicion is morally good. It’s a mischaracterization to state the West became more peaceful during the 1800s, because they brought brutal acts of colonial oppression upon the rest of the world and then subjected themselves to World War twice. Would all of that have occurred without the deep theological belief in original sin being the driving force of mass conversions and human actions? Would radical Islam be able to justify violence against the West today without the belief in original sin?

Sin, Psychology, and International Relations
The belief in sinfulness creates a destructive system of reciprocity that is justified as rational and intelligent in politics. In Political Science, the Realist Theory of International Relations, the prevailing theory of Western politics since ancient Greece, operates under the assumption that strong nation-states must weaken other nation-states for its own self-interest. It assumes self-interest to mean harming other nation-states with the underlying assumption that harming other human civilizations is rational. Bombing campaigns, counterfeit money operations, embargos, sanctions, and human genocide are presumed to be rational and the Realist theory is the only international relations theory that is “neutral” to events such as the Holocaust. This assumption that harming others is rational is unfounded and discredited in modern psychology through the reciprocity principle. The Realist theory of international relations conceptualization that harming other civilizations and human genocide were rational actions came from the Melian dialogue of Thucydides in which he argued the genocide of Melos by Athens was due to human nature. Political scientists and philosophers since then have only expounded upon the Realist theory of international relations because of the belief in original sin and the belief that rational actions are synonymous with evil. Strong nation-states usually harm other nation-states, national leaders lie to their public about the supposedly humane actions – especially in foreign wars – for the sake of keeping a positive image of their country so that the citizens serve as apologists by ignoring the atrocities, and the citizens only care to celebrate the positives of their country. Many citizens choose to ignore the negative actions conducted upon foreigners in another country who have been dehumanized by their news media. This creates circular reasoning that international events will always lead to tragedy and it is all uncontrollable when in truth, it is because politicians genuinely believe that harming foreign nation-states is an intelligent course of action for maximizing their nation’s power.

 
The reciprocity principle has shown that individuals and groups will react positively to positive actions and negatively towards negative actions; this is because of the belief in equality. We want to repay kind actions for people who do nice things for us, out of our desire for equality. We feel it’s fair to do destructive actions upon people who commit a crime or harm us because of our desire for equality. As a result, the psychological and scientifically verified belief in reciprocity creates a state of perpetual warfare in which entire countries who believe in sinfulness go into endless warfare by minimizing the violent atrocities conducted upon the out-group in our press and venerating the goodness of the in-group to fight the generalized cartoon caricature of evil depicted as the out-group. By ignoring the atrocities that we commit, they ignore the atrocities that they commit upon us, and each group feels that it is justified in creating future harm. Worse than that, prolonged violence makes people and entire countries more extreme, thus sinfulness is used to justify our violence upon others by generalizing the entire out-group as the same instead of understanding different political groups, their racial diversity, socioeconomic differences, and the general plurality of their civilization. War itself creates psychological issues that result in heavy stress, a plethora of mental trauma, and outbursts of violence related to trauma for soldiers and civilians. It is a perpetual state of negative reciprocity and it is morally reprehensible when we’re told that committing to wars that have massive bombing campaigns is somehow “humanitarian” intervention. Wars of humanitarian intervention are very few and often cause deaths of civilians regardless of good intentions.

 
When the United States was hit by the attacks on the twin towers on September 11th, 2001, one of the most critical arguments was that there was something deeply nefarious about Muslim people and Islamic culture to conduct such violence. Suspicion and psychological pattern recognition between Muslim extremists and Muslim Americans began to be seen by a significant portion of the US public. The paranoia that Muslim Americans were prone to harming US society or potentially hiding terrorists became a popular fear for the US public. The US government never issued the real reasons why terrorism happens and stoked the paranoia by insisting that terrorists hated US freedoms. Various States of the US began to impose anti-Sharia laws under the mistaken belief that Islam was trying to force Westerners into conversion through violence. Violence upon Muslim minorities and Sikhs increased and was ignored by the US media. Incidentally, the US drone strikes upon seven Middle Eastern countries that resulted in thousands of civilian deaths created a surge of Islamic extremism, an increase in terrorist recruitment against the US, and the persecution and mass killings of Christians within their countries under the critical belief that Christians had some deeply nefarious aspect of their culture because the supposed greatest Christian country in the world was relentlessly bombing them and were utterly indifferent to civilian deaths – including children. Bomb droppings upon homes, hospitals, schools, and other areas are even more difficult to discern for uneducated people in third world countries and thus pattern recognition of a Christian nation and the Christian peoples within their own communities occurred. The fanciful ideas that removing the externalized “evil” people will somehow remove the foreign bombing campaigns are simply more violent methods than the West’s laws imposed upon minority groups. It’s just as important to understand that the West conducted the same type of violence within its history upon Catholics, Protestants, Jehovah’s Witnesses, Jews, and racial minorities (such as Blacks, Hispanics, Asians, Native Americans, and the Irish) under the belief that they were somehow evil and that the good people needed to defend their culture from an evil incursion. The difference in responses seems to be based upon the difference in education level; college education generally helps people understand that there is more so-called “out-groups” than generalizing them through rash codifications but violence against minorities always happen to “cleanse” the in-group community of “evil” from the out-group.

 
The persecution is an inevitable part of perceiving our in-group in danger of annihilation, seeing every member of a perceived out-group as suspicious and potential perpetrators, and championing the innate goodness to do away with the corrupting evil influence can lead to draconian laws; the belief in sin is used as a coping mechanism whenever draconian laws lead to the deaths of innocents. During wars, when civic institutions functioning as social support mechanisms deteriorate then religious extremism becomes rampant, people begin to have rash judgments, and form scapegoats for why horrible events are happening. Persecutions inevitably follow because of the belief in good and evil in conjunction with sinfulness. A desire for self-preservation of the in-group supersedes rational discourse because the threat seems so imposing and there is no explanation for why it is happening so they find fanciful causes during times of desperation.

 
In regards to violence in third world countries that the wealthier nations see on the news: it is easy to believe an entire country is responsible for mass violence and gang rapes while more difficult to believe the credible facts of the lack of police power, lack of hospitals, lack of jobs, and overall mass poverty leading people to desperation and extremism as being the true cause. Another deeply important, but ignored, facet is that the majority of jobs in third world countries have no safety regulations such as in first world countries. People of the third world can die of poisoning from inhaling noxious gases, be forced to work well over twelve hours a day for something as miniscule as twenty cents an hour, and can be in danger of factory explosions that kill thousands of workers whenever they occur; such fear and paranoia would obviously frighten people about working and cause chronic stress when on the job. It isn’t simply a matter of laziness and being unwilling to modernize when there are honest questions people in third world countries have to ask themselves about their own welfare before taking a job. Safety at a job is a privilege that first world countries take for granted. Sadly, even if reform is made, corporations just shut down plants to move to other third world countries to rinse and repeat this process; thus mass poverty increases when trying to institute honest reforms and another third world country is savagely abused through corporate indifference for their wellbeing for the sake of keeping product prices low. Religious extremism always follows as a crutch when institutions fail people because religion becomes all that people in poverty can rely upon. Yet, the belief in sinfulness and oversimplified understandings of entire countries make people believe that everyone in the world will always have “evil” because everyone is inherently sinful. It disconnects the real issues with pernicious perceptions that all people in other countries are more evil because they lack a specific religious faith and then we first-world denizens content ourselves with the belief that sinfulness will happen regardless of our help; to ignore the billions who suffer under extreme poverty, who are scorned for being uneducated, and who never had a choice in the matter because they had no social support mechanism like the first world countries. Yet, we always want cheap products and ignore all of the factory explosions in third world countries which occur as a consequence of low product prices. If that statement has struck a negative chord, it shouldn’t. Perhaps it is past the time that we concern ourselves with hurt feelings when our purchasing power determines the lives of human beings who were born less fortunate than us.

Currently writing my newest book

I’m currently in the process of writing my next book, which is an examination of religion and it’s faults. It’s a project I’ve spent about 3-4 years on already. I only just finished Part 1 of 3. I’m hoping to get it out sometime this year. Part of the issue was my own lack of confidence, my analysis paralysis of not knowing what portions to keep and what to stop researching, and overwhelmingly, the question of whether or not any of my efforts would mean anything or make any headway in the religion versus science debate. Ultimately, it’s best to actually have confidence in one’s abilities and my research into what people believe gave me credence that my views would be useful for people either wanting to criticize religion effectively, or for religious people who might be interested in new tools to understand atheism and how to properly counteract arguments for it. Currently writing criticisms of Christianity; here’s a portion I felt was written poorly, repeating prior points, and so I took it out. However, it should serve as useful insight as an example of what to expect:

If Jesus Christ’s truth claims are true, then it’s problematic due to the innate immorality of his teachings. In many ways, the belief in Jesus Christ as lord and savior lacks any logical sense. As mentioned prior on the contentions with sin, you must harbor misanthropy for the human race, the nihilistic fatalism called sinfulness, and see the worship of Jesus Christ as the only solution to the issue. You must seek his forgiveness for the shame of being born human and thus being born a sinner, for the thought crime of natural sexual feelings for the opposite gender, and for having sexual relations to procreate or for pleasure. You must harbor constant distrust and loathing for the physical world for the illusion of everything containing sin; almost everything in the physical world is a delusion meant to test you so that you can die appropriately and be sent to heaven. It’s contended in the Bible that people must seek Jesus Christ’s forgiveness for their sins because the Abrahamic God sacrificed Jesus Christ, who is apparently his only son, for this purpose. This very idea is convoluted because the Abrahamic God, presumably an omnipotent being capable of anything, couldn’t simply forgive humanity of sin without killing his own child as a supposed act of love for humanity. This was all done for the explicit purpose of forcing humanity to atone for its sin of being born human and engaging in human activities such as sexual desires, sexual love, premarital sex, worship of other Gods and Goddesses, and for any appreciation for the carnal world.

You cannot hold any love for this world because it’s a test to delude you away from worshiping Jesus Christ as your lord and savior and any love for this world is enmity towards Jesus Christ*. You’re led to feel guilty for having any pleasure in this world due to Jesus Christ’s death on the cross and so you must seek forgiveness for being steeped in sinfulness, including sinful thoughts. The death of Jesus Christ on the cross would be a crime that occurred before you were even born and that the Romans are solely responsible for, but you must atone despite not having anything to do with the crime since you’re a born sinner despite the fact it was before your birth. Despite the geographic fact of the matter that his apparent death happened in the Middle East, all people from Native Americans to South Asians must learn to feel ashamed of themselves and recognize they’re disgusting, wretched, and selfish human beings steeped in sin and prone to horrible atrocities for the crime of not accepting Jesus Christ as their lord and savior. Everything about their unique cultural heritages are delusions of Satan and must be destroyed to force them to embrace the love of Jesus Christ so that they stop sinning to go to heaven.

Despite the fact the Romans committed the crime, centuries of Christians held the anti-semitic belief that Jews were responsible for the death of Jesus Christ and referred to as “Christ-killers” despite the Bible verses explicitly stating the Abrahamic God’s apparent goal was to have Jesus Christ sacrificed and therefore it was part of the Abrahamic God’s plan. Also, if any Christian commits murder or rape upon a Native American, or African, or South Asian that isn’t Christian then it’s because humans will be humans and even Jesus Christ’s teachings of supposed peace cannot prevent Christians from committing acts of physical or sexual violence. Or, as with persistently utilizing the No True Scotsman fallacy, any atrocious act by a Christian cannot be criticized except as being non-Christian or false Christian. Meanwhile, any atrocious act by a non-Christian is proof of a depraved culture that needs Jesus Christ’s teachings of peace, despite the fact humans will be humans and they aren’t effective in preventing human violence. They’re all deluded by Satan for not accepting the truth claims of a self-stylized peaceful God who proclaims that you’ll go to hell for not believing in him and that any love for your cultural heritage is deluded idolatry and the selfishness of the carnal world.