How Did I Come to Buddhism? (Part One)

I have had people dance around the question a couple of times with me, and I know there are others that haven’t asked. The things whispered quietly among two people about a third always seem to get around, and I know people tend to talk about those who make major changes in their lives.

I have to enmity over this, and I’ve even had to consider this question myself a bit from time to time… How did I get here? Why Buddhism? Why didn’t I get serious about Christianity? Why do I have to be religious at all?

This week I’m going to write and publish a three-part article on the matter. I hope readers will understand when I disallow comments for the first two parts until the whole thing is posted. Further, I want it understood that I mean nothing negative towards anyone with any of what I write here, but perhaps knowing where I come from (physically and mentally) will help some, including myself, get over the question and move on.

Face it, I’ve undergone some pretty radical changes in philosophical, religious, and spiritual thought in the last six months. Many of these changes in views set me apart from my family and friends, and oddly, occasionally set me at odds with myself. At the risk of this digressing into a really negative post, part one on this subject is going to focus a little personal back-story:

Around 15 years ago (forgive me, but I don’t remember exactly) I became involved with a group of young Christians in high school. At the time, I really had no religious or spiritual leaning whatsoever. As a younger child, I had been in church maybe a half-dozen times in total, but my parents never acted particularly religious and, in the case of my mother, the only time I ever heard her refer to God was when she used the word “damnit.”

As a teen, I’m not sure if I adopted Christianity at the time because I had at least heard of it before, or maybe because all my friends were in on it, or maybe I just hoped to impress the cute girl I had a crush on at the time. Probably a mix of all three, and other things that I haven’t even begun to postulate, but I lived a number of years feeling like I “fit in,” and that feeling seemed to be sufficient.

That said, as a teen, I always felt like church was a hassle (unless whatever girl I was dating was attending), and I never felt like God moved in any particularly special way, as some suggested I should. I remember occasions in church when other people would “speak in tongues,” and I was told at my baptism that this mystical speaking was the evidence that one had been baptized in the Holy Spirit.

While others around me seemed to have no problem with this, I failed to display this evidence. I felt quite ashamed, and I nearly gave up on the entire idea of religion then, but since I had gone to the hassle of being baptized, I tried to hold on to the idea that there could be other evidence of the Holy Spirit, even convincing myself for a long time that I had, on one occasion, translated something that was spoken in the “heavenly language” during one of the many Sunday gibberish-fests.

In 2000, my mother died, giving me reason to be a little more interested in church again. At one point in my early 20’s, I even painted a big cross on the hood of one of my cars, so I guess it could be said that I was pretty serious about it for a while. Soon after that I started dating the woman that would eventually become my wife. Fortunately, she never was the sort of Christian that was talking mumbo-jumbo, and for numerous years I drifted in this odd sort of non-practicing, married, christian lifestyle.

Did I call myself a Christian? I did, and for many years. After a while, I drifted away from calling myself Christian, preferring to say that I “associated with Christianity,” and later calling myself “creationist,” as I had stopped calling out to God or Jesus in prayer, but still believed in some sort of creator-being being responsible for turning the proverbial ignition-key that started the universe. I guess you could say I had a progression of different world-views that I evolved through over a period of 15 years, probably dropping our story off around mid-late 2010.

Yeah, I know, this isn’t like science class, I don’t have an exact timetable.  Ha!

Anyway, rather than bore anyone with any more on this subject today, I’m going to end this post here and continue writing for later. I hope you are well, and I will post Part Two soon, my friends.

Update:  Read Part Two, Part Three

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