My religious views were shaped by my early experience. I grew up in a fundamentalist Christian church, the Salvation Army. My parents were SA ministers (their rank was “captain”) . I had imagined I would become a minister too. But my father had a problem. Although he was a good parent and minister, he became obsessed with another woman, and in the end he killed her and killed himself.
This led me to question some things. One was the idea of everlasting torture in Hell. I came to the conclusion that there was nothing a person could do in a finite lifetime that could justify being tortured throughout eternity. And a god that would do that, could not, must not exist.
Yet there was much of value that I had learned from my church. I did not want to throw out what was good along with the bad. My conclusion was that the ‘God’ concept was useful because it represented the idea of perfect Good. Those who followed God, especially those who followed Jesus, on the whole were striving to make the world a better place, not just for themselves, but for everyone.
Today I call myself a “Humanist”. When I attend church, I choose a Unitarian Universalist church. But after my mother broke her hip and moved in, I started taking her to the Methodist church on Sundays where she feels more at home.
I attended Richmond Professional Institute, which became Virginia Commonwealth University just before I left. As chairman of the RPI Honor Court I instigated a change, from an Honor Court to a Student Court, which could offer more reasonable penalties than just the single sanction of expulsion.
I worked many jobs. I was a mail clerk, property manager, an “oiler” on a crane, a factory worker, and I even sold vacuum cleaners door to door for a month. While working as a clerical supervisor at the University of Virginia Hospital, I taught myself Basic and then COBOL computer programming. I was hired at their computer center and worked there for most of my life. I’m retired now.