The title of this is "Soul Belief" and it was brought
about by my taking a course of the same name. online from Rutgers
The Course was asking "What you were taught to believe"ť,
not what you believe now but what you were taught to believe.
TI was taught to believe that there was a God. He was male. His son,
Jesus, came to earth to save sinners. There was a Holy Ghost but this
was not well understood. People could be filled by the Holy Spirit
and do exceptional things. The Communion service and transubstantiation
(belief that the Communion bread and wine were literally transformed
into the body and blood of Christ) were central tenets. There
was holy water in a font and this was used for Baptism.
First Communion was called Confirmation and the vows made by parents
and guardians at Baptism were repeated and expanded up in a form of
There were Saints. Churches were named after them and their Holy
Days were celebrated but they were not worshipped or prayed to. Mainly,
they were just honoured and, perhaps, emulated.
The imitation of Christ was important and the Golden Rule. There
was a Heaven and a Hell but they were not thought of much. In case
you haven't guessed I was Anglican (Episcopalian) which is sort of
Catholic but without the Pope and Rome.
Taking this course has led me to re-examine the beliefs I was taught
and the beliefs I had adopted. While not completely shrugging off
my taught beliefs, I now believe in the transmigration of souls, the
accumulation of merits though kind deeds and the beneficial effects
of meditation. My daughter who was raised as a Christian with all
the trimmings is now a Buddhist nun.
Taking this course caused me to re-examine my beliefs, past and present.
I am bemused by the twists and turns of belief in the soul and its
destinations from Plato to Mohammed. I am hard put to define my 'tribe'.
I guess I am an Anglo-Saxon Buddhist with deep ties to technology
and its practitioners but shying away from any Richard Dawkins style
The most important part of the class for me was the students who
came forward to express their beliefs without the warring often seen
between faiths and sects. All were equally part of the student 'tribe'.
My mother, a long time Anglican church organist, (every Sunday. eh?),
was basically an agnostic. The reason she gave for this was that,
at some time in her youth, she decided that the story of this Prodigal
Son just wasn't fair. Here he had received his share of his father's
estate early then went away and spent everything and then came back
all messy and bedraggled and poor and his father took him in and served
up a feast and all was forgiven. The son, who had stayed with his
father and worked hard and been frugal, got no special treatment at
all and that wasn't fair! If that wasn't fair then probably everything
taught in the Bible wasn't fair. I don't know exactly how here logical
thought processes worked but the end result was that she was agnostic.
Played the organ every Sunday but lived in her own world of non belief.
I've no idea what my father believed but I know he would go in a
fix organs for churches. He didn't appear to have any essential faith
that I knew about. He had been a Mason at once but all that remained
of that was a book in a drawer. He caused some consternation when
he fixed an organ in a Chatham church one time. Around a church there
are always people hanging about looking for something to gossip or
make a fuss about. Late one night he was fixing an organ at an Anglican
church on Victoria Ave in Chatham and he was testing the organ. Once
he fixed it he started playing â€śRoll out the barrel. We'll have
a barrel of funâ€¦â€ť , This is a great organ tune actually but a
parishioner who was lurking around heard it. She made a great fuss
about profane songs being played on the church organ. That was a tempest
in a very small teapot. It was certainly remarked upon. What can I
We children went to church every Sunday but hat was because my mother
was the church organist. There we were and went through the whole
parade of Sunday School and Confirmation. I can remember never being
as never being quite so bored in my life, even more boring than a
math class. Church services went on forever and they nattered on and
on and thre was kneeling down and getting up and la-di-da and it was
very boring. Obviously it did not engage my full attention.
The final result of all this is, if I'm truthful, that I don't believe
much of anything now,nor much care. In any case it was a very interesting
course and so it goes.