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Religion in Antology

A little time ago you shared with me your reality on Christianity in an email. There is a sort of "law" that communication should be two-way. At any rate I felt that bit guilty about not replying/reciprocating. The reason was partly due to this fact that I felt it would take a terribly long time to write it all up, since I feel that one's viewpoint on something is very much based on one's experience, and I have more 80 years experience behind my religious beliefs. And I felt they should be stated. Anyway I am having a go now.

As I grew up I was mostly influenced by my father’s family in the Isle of Wight, UK, near Cowes.

My father, mother, and brother and I lived in London suburbs where we had no connection with religion, but twice a year at Christmas and the summer holiday we travelled down to the Isle of Wight. We usually stayed at my grandfather's house, a large house with two acres of garden where there was a large dining room where I and 17 relations could sit at a large table to eat Christmas dinner. We also shared a holiday hut at a rather stony beach at Gurnard.

I never got an explanation of why we went to church or why, when we were in the Isle of Wight and ate a meal together, we started off by closing our eyes, folding our hands and saying "For what I am about to receive may the Lord make me truly thankful".

My father was quite an interesting man. My grandfather on my father's side had a couple of drapery shops in the Isle of Wight and apparently it was expected that as the oldest son my father would take them over.

He had scientific (and musical) leanings and the last thing he wanted to do was to run a drapery shop. So my uncle took the shops over. Until it was interrupted by World War I my father got an education in engineering in Southampton involving a daily hour long double journey by ferry. Despite his refusal to follow in his father's footsteps he apparently maintained a very good relationship with the family and I remember he was helpful when mains electricity was introduced into my grandfather's house (which had a private diesel driven low-voltage lighting).

So I got absolutely no help with regard to religion (or sex) from my parents. However at school there were four years where we had a detailed study of three Gospels and the Acts of the Apostles. This occurred during the Second World War.

My mother's side of the family was Church of England, but she was educated in the a Roman Catholic convent and she had three girlfriends - they call themselves "The Clan" - and I was sometimes present when they met and I heard some rather negative things about the Roman Catholic Church, for example in a mixed marriage the children had to be bought up Roman Catholic.

In my teens, when I was doing a sort of apprenticeship as an optician, I got deferment from National Service which was obligatory at that time in Great Britain. I got a bit curious about religion. I now think I was not good at communicating and never thought of asking about it. I did however get a book or two (one title was "The Great Religions of the Modern World"; my father helped me pay for the Books. I also developed the habit of going to my room on Sunday evenings and listening to the Sunday service which the BBC broadcast; it covered many Christian denominations.

Listening to them I got "converted" to Christianity. However, since the church services I had listened to were many denominations I did not know which denomination to join so, in the same way as I chose a doctor when I came to Denmark, I decided to take the church which was nearest to me which was not Roman Catholic. It happened to be Methodist, which happened to be the denomination on my father's side of the family where my aunt married a Methodist minister and her two sons, my cousins, became Methodist ministers.

Looking back I am inclined to think that I became a compulsive Christian. Put another way I became a Christian in an other determined manner, by which I mean I got "converted" because of "movements" in my so-called reactive mind.

This affected me when my deferment ended. At that time I was very religious and managed to get exemption from National Service as a pacifist, which involved going before a tribunal. At that tribunal my father witnessed for me saying that he was in disagreement with me but respected my wishes!

Although National Service has now been abolished in Great Britain, at that time you could get four different grades of alternate National Service. I was granted complete exemption and encouraged to continue my career as an optician. I felt this was very unfair to other people so I chose to spend the two years and 60 days of alternative National Service as a member of something called "The Friends Ambulance Unit International Service" (FAUIS). This meant that I worked with teenagers, a number of whom were members of the Society of Friends also known as the Quakers. This gave me the opportunity to think about that form of religion - which is quite interesting - and go to two or three Quaker meetings.

I was impressed by the Quaker meetings. My understanding, perhaps oversimplified, is that meetings are held in silence but people speak when "the spirit moves them". The meetings I went to were mostly silent, but at one meeting somebody spoke a rather unpleasant "tirade" against the Roman Catholic Church. I then quoted the following "God moves in a mysterious way, His wonders to perform", which is a quotation from a hymn by Cardinal Newman who was a Roman Catholic.

It was after this that I ran into Scientology, which my father introduced me to after I went home one Easter. I was working in

Cambridge and told him about two problems I had, one of which was sexual and the other one was threatened dismissal from work. He tried to run an incident about something he did not know about from my childhood when a boy "friend" put his hand up my short trousers and pulled hard on my penis causing me to scream. My father came out and asked me what was wrong and I was unable to answer him -- low communication and no word in the family for a penis.

That was now many years ago (1954) and in the meantime my viewpoints on religion have altered quite a bit, certainly to the result that I find it a good deal easier to grant beingness

some bizarre viewpoints. That is partly because MORE WORK IS NEEDED on this article.bizarre 

s ne that begins "Life is a game ".

[Additional material to be placed in here including a reference to L Ron Hubbard's Bulletin "The Nature Of A Being" and the Pilot's Cosmic History and my revelation.]

All best wishes, Antony.