Well, here it is 2008! I have decided to begin this journal today because it is a time for new beginnings. I thought I would start with the history of my spiritual journey.
When I was a boy of about 10 in the west side of Chicago, evangelical preachers from the First Baptist Church in Hammond Indiana came into our neighborhood to preach their interpretation of the gospel. Like most kids, I was young and impressionable, and eventually started going to Sunday School with them. Now, I was a baptised Roman Catholic, but my parents were quite lapsed in their faith and were quite happy to send me off to a free baby-sitter on Sunday. Eventualy I stopped going because this church used scare tactics on us my emphasizing being doomed to eternal hellfire if we were not saved. All we had to do was accept Jesus as our savior and we would be saved forever! A no-brainer for a kid! Looking back on that experience, I am grateful it gave me an awareness of a diety, but to frighten children in such a way should be a crime.
Later in my teens I started watching an evangelical named Herbert W. Armstrong on tv, and started being influenced by this preaching. I eventually rejected him as well, as he just started getting too...bizarre for me. After high school I joined the Army, and had pretty much rejected religion as being overrated and more or less useless. After my four years in the Army I went to college and I ran into a group of Charsmatic Catholics. I attended several of their meeting and tried to become a part of this spiritual movement, but I begin to see a certain level of hypocrisy within this group. They really did not practice what they preached. I left this group as well, pretty much fed up with religion. I later learned about Deism in my humanities class, and felt I had finally found my home. Deism made sense to me. It explained why human being suffered and God did not intervene to help them. Since (to a Deist) God does not interact directly in human affairs, then we could not hold Him responsible for our problems. This worked for me for a number of years. I even helped start the Deism board here on Beliefnet and became the host.
In time, Deism began to satisfy me less and less, but to me it still made more sense than organized religion. However something major happened in my life to change my views; the birth of my daughter.
(to be continued)