I am a theist and on Dawkins schema (which he sets out in his book pages 50-51) I stand at the first level of 100% belief in God’s existence. But I am not only a believer. I am a lover of God, a Sufi. I do not belong to any particular religion but I respect all religions, though I do not see any of them through rose coloured glasses. I appreciate that holy books can be tampered with or original scripture could have been mis-recorded or suffered translation problems and even changes in the meanings of words. Furthermore I do not believe any of them should be taken literally. Metaphors, parables and stories are common teaching tools. While it is of great benefit to read religious texts, they can never be the foundation of faith. Faith comes from within.
I was born into the Greek Orthodox tradition but I am not Greek Orthodox, though I respect it over other Christian traditions. My family were not really religious. My father was a self-confessed atheist and proud of it. He did respect the Orthodox Church though and even attended at times but not for any religious reasons. Orthodoxy is Greek and as far as he was concerned all things Greek are to be revered. My mother claimed great faith but hardly ever went to church until after she and my father retired, then she became fanatic about going to church every Sunday. However as I came to understand her more in later in life I would hardly call her a theist. I would say she had social reasons for going to church. Of my two siblings, with whom I haven’t been in touch for years owing to what might be called irresolvable differences, and to my understanding of them one was an atheist like my father and the other sounded more agnostic. So really I am the only one in the family with a belief in God and an unshakeable belief at that; So much for childhood and family influences. They did not influence me.
I have had a strong interest in many religions all of my life. In this incarnation I began my formal spiritual practice in my early twenties when I met my Guru, Sivananda-Rita in Sydney. She was a Hindu Yogi with a “Christian slant” you could say. She was an Australian, whose family had emigrated from England. She had studied with Swami Sivananda, an Indian Yogi. She introduced me to many scriptures but the most significant of them for me is the Bhagavad-Gita. I then moved on to study and practice Buddhism with various teachers and in various traditions. I subsequently became involved with the Islamic Sufi tradition, but practiced mostly on my own. In the more recent years (1999-2009) I spent a period of around 10years studying and practicing Shamanism mainly but also Witchcraft and a bit of Alchemy.
I had a very significant enlightenment experience in the dawn of 1994, which has been the driving force for my current work in “humane rights” and standing for Justice. A war has been and is being waged against me by many evil people and I have to say that the experience of 1994 and others before and after it, together with my unshakeable love for God, has given me the strength to stand strong and gain great insights not only of the causes of disease but even more significantly healing and the ability to remain disease-free.
I hold a Bachelor of Science degree (UNSW), taking a number of disciplines to a high level but majored in Chemistry. I did begin a PhD but did not progress far with it owing to work commitments. Some subjects that I studied in some depth were biology, microbiology, physiology, human biology, insects, electronic, computer science and material science as part of my degree. Since then I have studied privately anatomy, physiology in more detail, human diseases psychology and physics.
I married an atheist, though I did know it at the time. He knew that I would not have married him had I known so he had cunningly alluded to having religious belief. This was not because of prejudice but because I feel that it is better to marry within your own religious belief as it provides the relationship with more common ground. I don’t see atheism as a sin but as a position of ignorance. I do however think that atheists and even agnostics cannot make a commitment to ethics as theists can and I will give my reason in a later post on this blog. I will also discuss this matter in depth in my book on ethics at http://www.liberatingethics.wordpress.com/ which is still in progress.