Cosmos’s Faith Journey
Cosmic Cat from Berkeley
Meeting God In a Lake
Meeting God in Bombay
Voice Message From God
Conversation with God About Corona Virus
God Does Not Talk to Idiots
Agnostic Dog Wonders if there is a God
God’s Message to Reverend Baaker
In my 66 years on this earth, I have learned a few things, because I have seen a few things. I grew up n a very secular town, in a very secular era. The late 60s in Berkeley was a time when everything was being challenged, questioned, debated and the issue of God came up frequently. Was God still relevant in this modern era?
Most of my friends were agnostic at best, don’t recall having any Christian friends, Most were Jewish though and one was a Mormon. Most were white, but I had a few black friends as well, a few of them were Christian.
My mother was born a southern baptist, she was kicked out of church for asking the forbidden question, “If God created the universe, who created God?” the preacher was not amused and kicked her out for being a “free thinker” which to a Baptist was a very bad thing indeed, especially in Arkansas in the late 30s.
My father was a devote athiest, grew up in Yakima in a Methodist family, but just did not see God anywhere. An economist believing in economic laws, he was materialistic and deterministic, God simply did not compute for him.
They told us it was up to us to determine what to believe because they disagreed. But in the end, it came down to this, “Do the right thing” but it was up to us to determine what that might be.
I went to a few church services. but it just did not stick, did not get the whole shebang, did not believe in the Virgin Mary, the crucifixion, and other Christian dogma felt it was all just ancient irrelevant fairy tales. I shared my father’s materialistic worldview and my mother’s skepticism regarding Church teachings. She was pleased though when I told her I had started reading the bible.
For a while, I became a militant athiest, hung out at a, debating with Holly Hubert and the street preachers who were there. I shocked the Christian fanatics with my athiest stand-up comedy routines.
One day Jehovah’s witness came to my house. I told them I would love to talk with them but I was late for a Satanist meeting and invited them to join me. They fled in terror.
Later in college, I had a roommate, who took too much acid and became convinced he was God. We spend many nights smoking weed and debating the existence or non-existence of God. He had grown up as a Jehovah witness. His parents blamed us for their son’s descent into madness and promised to pray for us but said we would go to hell for the sin of questioning God’s will.
In college, I took a course on modern religions. As a sociology student, I studied the Unification church’s recruitment practices and went to their recruitment dinner, but wisely did not go their weekend retreat, otherwise, perhaps I might have been converted and become a Moonie.
I even went to a Scientology center took their free personality test and concluded it was all a scam. Liked to hang out with Hari Krishna dudes joining them for public chanting.
Started reading the bible in my world religion class, but took me almost 30 years before I finished reading the bible, and all the other spiritual texts, on the eve of my 50th year. Started with the Book of Mormon and ended with the Koran after reading the Buddhist writings, the Hindu scriptures, the Confucian classics, and the Tao De Ching.
Had to finally skip over the entire genesis begat stories, saying to myself
“What’s the point?”
Concluding the bible was badly edited. Just a collection of fairy tales, not fit for the modern world, but revelations fascinated me.
When I went to Korea in the Peace Corps, I became fascinated by the subtle interplay between traditional Buddhism, shamanism, neo-Confucianism principles
And the resurgence of aggressive Christianity, and the new religious fervor of Reverend Moon, the unification church, and other new religions.
Spend some time at Buddhist temples, even spend a few nights hanging out with the monks decades before the formal temple stay programs became popular among foreign tourists.
I had an encounter with shamanism when my uncle-in-law died, they did a shaman “kut” ritual. the shaman a female channeled his spirit. He came to the room berated us all, cursed us all from his perch in hell, That was such a freaky experience we had to flee the demented scene.
I had a few mystical experiences, once in college I saw God in a lake, But that was probably just the magic of the magic mushrooms, doing its mushroom thing.
Once while I was hanging out in Berkeley, I encountered a cosmic cat, I saw the divine spark In his eyes, as he followed me everywhere. I told my mother who was suffering from Alzheimer’s about the cosmic cat, she concurred he was indeed a cosmic cat.
Later in Goa, I encountered a cosmic dog who followed me everywhere. I asked the cosmic dog once,
“Say, Cosmic dog, are you god? Bark once if yes, two if no.”
He barked once.
“Are you Allah? Bark once if yes, two if no.”
He barked once.
“Are you Buddha? Bark once if yes, two if no”
He barked once.
“Are you the great spirit of the American indians? Bark once if yes, two if no”
He barked once.
“Are you Satan? Bark once if yes, two if no.”
He growled at me and I knew I had gone too far.
When I was in Thailand, I continued my exploration of Buddhism visiting most of the famous Buddhist sites there, later in Taiwan, Vietnam, and India as well.
When I lived in India, I became immersed in the spiritual energy all around me
I became a fan of the big Ganesh, he removed spiritual obstacles, allowing me to connect to the divine spirit all around me. I felt that cosmic vibe, just flowing through the world.
While in India, I attended a few Catholic services, other Christian services, went to Hindu temples, Jain temples, Sikh temples and even a few Muslim pilgrim sites. I also fasted during Rammadam and went totally vegan to observe lent.
Now that I am an old man, I think back on what I have learned from my spiritual journeys. I think I can sum it up as follows:
I believe that the universe is alive, and I am part of the divine mind, the universe God if you would, flows through us all. If only we have the eyes, to see the divine all around us.
The Christian faith, like all other faiths, is just an attempt to discover the God of the universe. It is all the same path we are on, trying to connect to the cosmic overmind of the universe.
Whether you are an atheist, a Buddhist, a Christian, a Jain, a Jew, a Harri Krishna, a humanist, a Hindu, a Moonie, a Mormon, a Muslim, a Pagan or a Wiccan devote, we are all cosmic fools, seekers of the truth. The truth is out there for us to discover it for ourselves.
But in the end, it comes down to this simple principle, we have to decide
to always do the right thing, but that is a decision, only we can make deep in our soul.
Whether heaven or hell is awaiting us I do not know. Whether Jesus is the son of God I do not know. Whether Mohammed was the last prophet of God I do not know. Whether Allah is waiting for me, I do not know. Whether the grim reaper will be coming for me I do not know.
But I am ready for the final stage of my life. In the end, I also know this: I knew my wife in a prior life, and I will see her in my next life. That is the operation of fate, of karma, and reincarnation, which I do believe in. The adage, what goes around comes around is a simple basic fact of the universe.
That is all that I know for sure. That is what I believe. In the end, always
“Do the right thing,”
and the rest will follow.
I know there’s more to that Scientology personality test story because I was there. Those tests were top secret, and they never published them or allowed anyone to carry them outside of the Scientology Center. You and (I think) Robert and I went into the Center and started taking the test. Then you told the people administering the test that you wanted to go outside for a minute for a smoke. You surreptitiously slipped the test into your pocket and we walked out, not intending to return. About a block away, one of the Scientology people came running after us, demanding the test back, and you gave it to him. So we (you) were foiled in the attempt to steal the test.
You’ve been on a fascinating journey, Jake! It all makes perfectly good sense.
I was raised a Catholic, but I respect all religions and non-believers. Reconciling science and the history of men with the biblical Adam and Eve, as well as noting that there are so many people with different beliefs, have made me question my beliefs. I agree that we need to do the right thing (as our conscience dictates). I’m not sure of reincarnation, but I watch Korean dramas and am fascinated by reincarnation stories. May I share your story with my friends?
Thank you for sharing that, Cosmo! I have also sought to deconstruct what was given me and see what’s under the hood, so to speak. And that’s not just a Berkeley thing. It might have to do with having parents of different beliefs. My father too was a fairly strict atheist, a scientist, and a researcher who had studied history and concluded religion was mainly a tool for control. Whereas my mother was always a seeker who came from a non-religious family and churched herself as a teenager, then turned to the church when her child died. She became something of a pantheist, utilizing Christianity, Scientology, and various forms of unity consciousness and Native American beliefs in her journey. Years later I concluded my impulse to bridge the scientific and faithful outlooks was an expression of the child wanting to bring his divorced parents back together, but now it’s just important to me to remain open to possibilities and alternative explanations. Via some of the people I’ve known, I’ve witnessed a few things my skeptical impulse can never entirely explain. Your conclusions and mine are the same.
Me too, pretty much. But I didn’t do all that studying. Witchy Tai To, everything is everything.
Robert Sicular Ah yes, Bearism, a simple religion but encompassing great wisdom.
Hello uncle- I have always loved listening/reading about your travels and experiences. My Mom loved you and looked up to you as well. I relate as someone who’s Dad was excommunicated Catholic and whose mom said “choose for yourself”. I visited many churches/religious events, still do, and have read a lot. There are many things I do not know, but the things I feel I do know- are relatable. I remember being with Grandma when dementia set in and I was losing “my person” I remember reading your early college work and thinking “if he can do it, so can I” as I was struggling with adult ADHD & dyslexia recently discovered but had been there the entire time. I struggled in some areas but I persevered. Part of my love for other cultures came from you, and despite “and because of” living in a small racist county