We are continually furnished information regarding the quality of goods and services by entities. It is important to recognize what is diluted, fraudulent, counterfeit, spurious, and/or impractical - as opposed to that which is genuine, worthy, and therefore valuable. This title offers consumer information and an evaluation of world religions.
Born the first of twelve children in a Roman Catholic family, I was reared with special attention to the religion inherited from my parents. Mother was a convert but my father had followed the religion of his parents, and they their parents, etc., etc. At the tender age of 21, I dutifully married a girl who had converted from Baptist to Catholic on my account, but whose relatives resented that fact fiercely and were diligent in their efforts to get her back on the right track. Differences in our religious beliefs played a large role in the divorce that followed shortly after our first wedding anniversary. My subsequent consultation with a parish priest revealed that to be assured of God's good graces it would be necessary for me to become celibate for the rest of my life unless my former wife happened to die before I did, in which (fortunate?) instance I would again be free to seek the natural companionship of a woman. An uncle, my godfather, strongly advised my joining a religious order, and I did consider it ------ for several minutes. Up to that time, my belief in everything I had been taught in the Catholic Church and in the Catholic schools was total. I had never questioned that the only way to avoid Hell (the desire to enter Heaven was not quite as important as staying out of Hell) was to be a practicing Catholic. I believed, as I had been taught, that Martin Luther had abandoned the priesthood solely because he had a very strong desire to marry a certain nun. I believed that it was sufficient reason for my God to damn my soul to everlasting fire if I were foolish enough to attend a religious service other than Catholic. In fact, I remember experiencing involuntary shudders whenever I passed a Lutheran church about a block from where I went to school in the eighth grade. I think I feared the unholy things that must be going on inside and that the devil might come charging out at any moment to force me to participate. And how many times had I anticipated the sudden, fatal lightning bolt because I absent-mindedly bit into a hamburger on a Friday? Or forgot to attend Mass on a Holy Day of Obligation? Or lots of other things committed or omitted unintentionally? I questioned nothing Catholic until that personal historic time when reason and religion collided head-on, when my Roman Catholic God appeared to take advantage of a position into which I had been forced and imposed conditions that seemed not only unfair, but also illogical. All I had learned became suspect. Until then, there had been no compelling necessity to establish my very own relationship with my Creator. But now there was. I began to study. I read books, plenty of books, the Bible, histories, tomes on all manner of religious subjects. I listened to sermons in churches of many denominations, on the radio and on television. I pondered ponderous pious pronouncements and pretty platitudes from miscellaneous highly placed churchmen, all of whom claimed truth even as they differed widely. Surprisingly, the differences seemed to be the most important part. The Baptists proclaimed that if one has not been properly immersed it might be okay with God, but Baptist-wise it is absolutely unacceptable. Seventh Day Adventists advised that to observe the Sabbath on Sunday is wrong, wrong, wrong! Each denomination is founded on some difference and this peculiar characteristic extends throughout the religions, Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, all of them. There is little agreement, vast disagreement, about who God is and what He (or They) would demand. Each adherent is positive that his or her way is right and the others emphatically wrong. I spoke with people of various persuasions whose main goal in life seemed to be my swift conversion to whatever faith they happened to espouse, rather than providing believable answers to my earnest questions. Indeed, had it been permitted, for my lack of blind acceptance of their convoluted statements some of them would have cheer