I was raised by Hindu parents who immigrated from India. Growing up in Houston with a diverse group of friends, I decided that it didn’t make sense to identify with a faith just because my ancestors did. It was during my teenage years that I stopped calling myself a Hindu, started calling myself an agnostic, and committed to discovering for myself the truth about the universe and our purpose in it.
At that point, my intellect wanted to carefully research all the world’s religions and belief systems, using a rational, scientific process to arrive at the truth. But in my heart, I felt drawn to Jesus.
What exactly drew me in? Well, Jesus shows that God comes down to us. He meets us where we are even if we are a complete mess, and he works with whatever we give him. Jesus bore the worst of human cruelty – even torture and crucifixion – and overcome it, offering love, forgiveness, and transformation in return.
I’ve always been an anxious person. And I’ve dealt with my anxiety by trying to make my life so perfect and bulletproof that none of my worst-case scenarios could possibly happen – which is exhausting! From that perspective, what Jesus reveals is mind-blowingly good news. It transforms the universe from a hostile place into a friendly one by reassuring me that God’s grace is greater than any mistake I could ever make, and that everything truly will be okay no matter what terrible things the world throws at me.
In my heart, I wanted to take the leap and trust in Jesus, but my intellect stood in the way, insisting that the gospel was just wishful thinking. Reading C.S. Lewis’s Mere Christianity (which a college friend recommended) went a long way towards convincing me that Christian beliefs are plausible. But it wasn’t the definitive proof my intellect was demanding.
My agnosticism was deep-rooted. The ancient Greek skeptic Carneades is famous for saying, “Nothing can be known, not even this.” And that’s basically what I believed. My thinking went something like this: So often, things we’re all “sure” of turn out to be wrong – like the claim that leeches can cure disease. Plus, there are so many smart people – much smarter than me! – who have spent their lives studying spiritual matters, and who completely disagree about the central claims of Christianity. How can I possibly know what’s true??
My road to faith has been a long and sometimes-contentious negotiation between head and heart. Francis Collins sums it up well in The Language of God (p. 32):
"I encountered a sonnet by Sheldon Vanauken that precisely described my dilemma. Its concluding lines:
Between the probable and proved there yawns
A gap. Afraid to jump, we stand absurd,
Then see behind us sink the ground and, worse,
Our very standpoint crumbling. Desperate dawns
Our only hope: to leap into the Word
That opens up the shuttered universe.
For a long time I stood trembling on the edge of this yawning gap. Finally, seeing no escape, I leapt."
In taking that leap, I’ve learned that we all have some core beliefs – even diehard skeptics. These beliefs create the lens through which we see reality; they are the operating assumptions that guide our daily choices. In calling me to faith, God gave me an opportunity to see reality through the radically different lens of the gospel, to fundamentally change my operating assumptions … and to see how the shuttered universe would open, and my life would change, as a result.
running, working out, reading, travel
Best advice I ever received
Don't believe everything that you think.
My undergrad alma mater
College of William and Mary
Recent favorites include Confronting Christianity (Rebecca McLaughlin); The Gospel in a Pluralist Society (Lesslie Newbigin); The Righteous Mind (Jonathan Haidt); and Rebellion, Rascals, and Revenue (Michael Keen and Joel Slemrod)
Parasite, The Prestige, The Matrix, To Kill a Mockingbird, Burn After Reading, The Shawshank Redemption,
My latest accomplishment
Finishing the C.S. Lewis Institute Year One Fellows Program
I'm an economist working in the area of public economics. My research focuses on the economics of aging (including questions relating to retirement and Social Security), political economy, and tax policy.
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