32 Comments

Great testimony. I am also playing poker professionally and invested in crypto.We all chase after idols to try and fill the void that only God can fill before Christ. We are born lovers of self and sin and haters of God and righteousness. Only through repentance and faith in Christ can we be transformed and given a new heart that desires to love and obey God and die to self.

I noticed you brought up how you didn't really believe because of reason, but rather faith. I would like to provide a different perspective than what we hear in culture today in regards to the relationship between faith and reason. When the Bible speaks of faith it doesn't speak of blind faith or hope as blind hope. Prov 1:7 says the fear of God is the beginning of knowledge. It is faith in the one true and living God that makes reason possible. God provides the foundation for knowledge. Without God there is no justification for laws of logic, uniformity of nature (foundation for science), objective morality, reliability of sense perception, etc. In order to even formulate an argument against God, you must presuppose God in order to make sense of the argument. This is why God calls unbelievers fools. They know better, yet they reject God because they love their sin. I encourage you to get the book, "Against All Opposition" by Greg Bahnsen. I think this will bless you on your journey. You can also find some of his material on YouTube.

God bless,

Aaron

Expand full comment

Hey Pratyush.

Thanks for sharing your story.

My name is Marcel Bjerkmann. Like you, I used to be a poker pro, making a career as a HSMTTer under the screen name "p3rc4" during the online poker boom. Just as I was about to lose the grip from all the drugs and gambling, Jesus Christ appeared to me one Sunday morning following two weeks of intense partying at the 2012 PCA.

Now some 8 years later I gladly confess: Jesus saved my life. I was on the highway to destruction and had it not been for the intervention of a loving God, I don't even know if I would have been alive today, much less in a sound state of mind. Needless to say, I can relate to your experiences.

Would you be interested in having a talk some time? I'd love to hear more of your story, share some of my own and offer you my brotherly support. You may find me on Facebook.

Yours,

Marcel

Expand full comment

TY Pratyush, TY Gwen and TY Jesus. I had a similar moment (tears in the eyes…) 20 years ago when I finally said “yes”. Best day ever…. Soon after I found Matthew 6:23. If someone out there is reading this, please know that God loves you - just the way you are- and wants to get to know you. Give Him a try.

Expand full comment

Thanks for sharing brother, it gives me a perspective as I grapple with similar questions

Expand full comment
Comment deleted
Expand full comment

Darkness cannot overcome the light. Satan’s little minions cannot overcome true believers. Your time is coming to an end.

Expand full comment
Dec 17, 2022·edited Dec 17, 2022

Interesting story. I work with East Indians and found an odd difference between them, some are educated and open minded while others have a somewhat backward mindset. They seem to have depreciated their lives to zero, entirely focused on money with very little moral limits and babied by supportive parents. Perhaps this is not limited to a group of people, but it is my observation.

Expand full comment

Raised as a Catholic, never really the religious guy, but I do look up to you after seeing your Upswing course. I appciate all the brute honesty in here. Glad you found some balance in your life. Eventually it’s all about that happiness.

Did not see this plot twist coming, but I’m happy for you. Of all religions, I feel like Christians are one of the most openminded, chill, next to buddism (if ud even call that a religion). Take and use whatever gives you strength, hope and purpose in life. Thanks Prat, I wish you well

Expand full comment

Robert Aumann, the Nobel Laureate, has shown Game Theory in the Talmud. Christ, as a learned Rabbi, makes astute use of Biblical quotations to put across complex ideas such that the true soteriological purpose of Scripture is uncovered. Interestingly, the Hindus- though completely separated from the Jews- formulated a similar game theoretic approach which was founded in combinatorics and discrete mathematics (This was because India, then and now, has to rely more on sampling and probability theory to get revenue estimates than more centralized regimes) Furthermore, an understanding of 'mechanism design' - voting rules, auctions etc- was necessary for the administration of monastic and other religious establishments so coercion was minimized in line with the folk theorem of repeated games.

All this is make explicit in the Mahabharata where the 'Just King' has to learn statistical game theory (in the Nalophkyanam) so as to dispel 'Vishada' (abulia or ataraxia similar to your own 'crisis of values' which caused you to become depressed) However, unlike his brother, Arjuna, Yuddhishtra also has to hear the 'Vyadha Gita' (butcher's gita) because he is a Principal, not an agent, and his Vishada arises out of his doubt as to how a Principal should fulfil his duty to his dependents. By contrast, Arjuna is an agent. He wants to surrender to the Lord of Yoga- Krishna himself. Incidentally, the theophany in the Gita is an example of 'self-slaying' because, at a later point, Krishna says that to extol yourself or reveal your true greatness is equivalent to killing yourself! In other words, like Christ, Krishna sacrifices himself to take on the sins of those who give themselves wholly to him. This does not fit with Girard's theory but then Girard was silly. West Africans don't kill identical twins. Some anthropologist made that shite up. Anyway, the good news about being an Agent, like Arjuna, not a Principal, like Yuddhishtra, is that you don't have to bother with statistical game theory- which is a good thing because though there are plenty of Indian 'inert game theorists' they are all as stupid as shit and have written puerile nonsense about the Gita.

From the Hindu point of view, you have chosen Christ as your 'Ishtadeva' which is great. Since you are no longer a Hindu, you will not feel yourself under an obligation to condemn Hindus and the Indian Nation State as Fascist or Nazi or whatever. Moreover, you have got married to a woman of character. This will be the making of you. Speaking generally, the Chinese heritage Christian (like the Vyadha in the Mahabharata) are able to keep a proper balance between filial piety and their own personal devotion. This has also been true of many Indian Christians who tended to be more Nationalistic and showed greater concern for Social upliftment than the complacent upper class.

Is there a common thread linking your interest in poker, crypto and Christ? The trite answer would involve Pascal's wager. However it fails because Pascal is really talking about 'regret minimization' which arises under Knightian Uncertainty- i.e. a situation where states of the world are not reducible to a probability distribution. Thus we should really be talking in terms of 'Hannan Consistency', Machine learning, Category theory etc. Interestingly, some such ideas are encoded in Buddhist texts preserved by the Chinese- e.g. Avatamsakasutra which may have influenced Liebniz's monadology and the Vimalakriti Nirdesh which may have influenced Boscovich and through him Emerson. Incidentally Li Po claimed to be the reincarnation of Vimalakriti! Think of that next time you open a bottle of wine!

My final point is that the 'Muth rational' interpretation of 'regret minimization' (which is the implementation of a multiplicative update weighting algorithm and is found in evolutionary biology) has a resonance with the Christian doctrine of 'mysterious economy'- Smith's invisible hand- which is the opposite of rule-bound 'akreibia'. This is merely a potentially Schelling focal solution to a coordination game which however will give rise to discoordination games for hedging or because of income effects. This corresponds to pooling vs separating equilibria with cheap talk and costly signals respectively. One consequence is that we realize that 'uncorrelated asymmetries' and 'bourgeois strategies' (like getting married and ensuring there is a real economic value to what you do) we shall always have with us. Nothing wrong with good old 'Oikeiosis'- i.e. one's natural sense of belonging and kin selective altruism- because, after all, there is an extended phenotype principle at work such that having bourgeois values doesn't mean you are bound to turn into a Nazi.

The question before you, I imagine, is what is the economic function of crypto? Is it just an artefact of the liquidity trap? Well, obviously, it needn't be anything of that sort but it is not obvious that it solves a coordination problem in a genuine free market. Still, there are plenty of genuinely unfree markets. The question is whether Gresham's Law will apply- will bad crypto drive out good crypto?

I can't say I greatly care. I'm investing in pizza and cheap wine so, with any luck, I won't be around for the final rending of the Veil. Till then, we are all part of the Katechon- Vishnu- what preserves this shit-show- till the Eschaton supervenes.

Expand full comment

Awesome. Thank you for sharing about God's goodness.

Expand full comment

God bless you for sharing!

Expand full comment

Great, moving story. Brought tears to my eyes. God bless you.

Expand full comment

Thanks for sharing your story

Expand full comment

Beautiful. That's why we call our God A Father. Many blessings.

Expand full comment

Wonderful story. It is so powerful to hear the testimony of others. Thank you for being bold and sharing your faith. I wish you many more blessings in all of your ventures!

Expand full comment

Thank you for the beautiful story and the time you took to share. Read it right through the end.

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing. Lately I’ve been contemplating of rejoining the church life. This article has pushed me over the edge. I’ll go back to church this Sunday after missing it for 15+ years!

Expand full comment

Your story is so beautiful. It reminds me of my Faith and how I found Jesus. Thank you so much for Sharing! Will follow you on twitter right away!

Expand full comment