Recently, several people have asked me about my religious beliefs. I'd like to clarify them considering the content of the majority of my recent posts.
History of the Beliefs of James... I was born on Rota, a small island in the CNMI, and like all Chamorros was baptized a Catholic. This could be the beginning of my religious upbringing as I can remember spending time in a Catholic cathedral and of course all those christenings, funerals, rosary's, baptisms etc...
In my early years (about 5-7) after moving to the mainland United States the other side of my family was fully engrossed in the Baptist church. So I was brought to church and over time adopted the beliefs of the Baptist church. I actually went to a private school that took a hard line view of "Bible" principals with an exclusionary view of other religions.
When I was 15 my Grandmother (maternal) passed away and I flew back to the CNMI for her funeral and experienced the complete religious culture shock between beliefs and rituals surrounding the beliefs of the afterlife. I both prayed and took part in a completely Catholic ceremony (ritual?) and went back to SF kind of confused. This started a pattern of questioning in my mind about what I believed in.
I truly think that is was a this time that I started to look at what I was being taught in church and school. I realized that my upbringing was a bit one sided and so started to review different religious views. This did upset several people as it inadvertently cause me to pull away from my church.
My early adulthood had me "floating in the breeze" sort of agnostic. I had a belief that God existed and that He and I had some sort of relationship, however I really did not have a way to describe it.
About the time I was 24 I was introduced to a few people that had a unique perspective on religion. The Bahai community of Saipan initially (in my view) was an unorganized religion that believed in the equality of humanity, unity, spiritual responsibility and universal religious source. I underwent a period of three years in which I attended activities sponsored by the Bahais, participated in discussions, attend devotional meeting and generally learned what I could. One of the teachings that resonated with me was the teaching of progressive revelation (There is only one God and His will was/is revealed through time by different "Manifestations" or teachers depending on the needs of the human race of the time). To me this meant that the different religions of the world all had a single source. Another teaching which is in parallel is the Universal Truth that spans different religions love for all, unity, truthfulness etc..
About 5 years ago I declared my belief in Baha'ullah and his station as a manifestation of God. In that time I have learned that the seemingly unorganized is in reality quite organized. Just in a way that is more decentralized and removes power from any single individual.
I will be posting a series of beliefs and social teaching of the Bahai's soon so please feel free to comment.