This post is not absolutely necessary to the understanding of my future post(s) on religion, but may very well be interesting reading in how (or why) I put it all together the way I did. Please note that if you are anywhere from being reasonably devout in your chosen faith to the extreme of being a fanatic, it is virtually guaranteed that you will have extreme difficulty in getting through this post or any of the following posts on this subject. It is therefore HIGHLY recommended to avoid reading this and subsequent posts unless you actually have an open and inquisitive mind regarding religion and/or spiritual things.
I was raised in a small town south of San Jose, California during the 1950s and 1960s. I was an only kid with very devout Christian parents – my mom was merely devout and my father was a total fanatic about religion and many other subjects as well. I learned a LOT from him regarding the evils of fanaticism. Their religion of choice was essentially fundamentalist Baptist, sometimes Southern Baptist. Thus, I lived a very sheltered life; I was a bit mischievous at times, but by and large, I was a GOOD boy – a VERY good boy growing up. I had no choice. I was scared to death (literally and figuratively) to be otherwise. For example, even going out to movies or school dances were quite taboo.
From about the age of 15 or 16, I had pretty well made up my mind that my parents just didn’t get it religion-wise and at that point, I knew that I would be on a quest (possibly a lifelong quest) to find out what was real or not regarding religion and/or spirituality.
Some 5 days after high school graduation, I was in US Air Force Basic Training as I didn’t want to wait for the draft to get me, I didn’t want to be a grunt, I did want training in electronics AND I wanted very desperately to get the hell out of dodge – my home town!
I became pretty much the average joe GI and became quite worldly – smoking, drinking, partying, flirting with chicks, etc. This went on throughout the entire decade of the 1970s, some 8 years past the time I came back from the Vietnam War. In the summertime of 1979, I had 2 DUI arrests virtually back to back, about 30 days apart. Both were treated as first offenses and I was sentenced as such. Sometime later, the State of California let me know that NOW they did know – please surrender your drivers license, please!
The above referenced DUIs literally helped “wake me up” as to what I was doing with my life and where I was going, although looking back, I was totally amazed that I was very competent and managed to hold down successfully any job I was doing (including the USAF) despite the fact that I was chronically drunk most of the time. Since that time, I have not been a drunk in any way, although I do still drink on rare occasion.
Oddly enough (or was it odd?), my actual spiritual quest did not start in earnest until early 1980, even though I had learned a LOT of lessons, spiritual and otherwise during the previous decade including some heavy duty lessons during my stint in Vietnam.
Since 1980, I have studied all of the various religions of the world, including even Scientology (I was actually a staff member in the international organization for a couple of years) and such things as Chi Gong (Chinese healing) , Reiki (an ancient healing art brought into the modern world by some enlightened Japanese) as well as the history and sayings of people such as Confucius, Plato and many others.
My purpose was clear; out of all the various religions, which one is THE right way? They virtually all claim to be, even among the various Christian sects. Certainly they must be all completely wrong, except for one and one only – which one? That was my quest and I have answered all of the questions, at least to my own satisfaction.
Thus we begin………………….(next post)