My experience with religion is probably similar to many educated Americans. Just before World War II at age four, I recall living in a small house and had a good car. I remember the bombing and asking my mother about the sirens. She did not know. Other than my mother saving my life by pulling the plug when I stuck my fingers in an electric socket just in time.
The next thing I remembered is taking the bus to go to Manzanar, a concentration camp in the Owens Valley desert near Mt. Whitney. I remember always being hungry because the Caucasian staff were stealing meat, sugar, and other food items to sell on the Black Market and providing us with partially cooked rice by not taking into account that at high altitudes the boiling point of water is lower. My father tried to get more food for us by fishing and trapping rabbits and birds, but our medical records indicated we were malnourished during our four year stay in prison.
Those who rebelled including one of my uncles were sent to Tule Lake near the California and Oregon border and then to Japan after the war even though he was an American citizen.
After 1910, Japanese were not allowed to immigrate to the USA or allowed to become naturalized citizens so only their sons and daughters could even own land and many became farmers and provided about 80 percent of the fruits and vegetables in the Western states. The jealous White Farmers Alliance petitioned President Roosevelt to send Japanese-Americans, 80 percent of whom were citizens, to prison so they could takeover their land.
When we returned to Los Angeles, we lived in the largely Black Watts area in a one car garage with no bathroom. My father who was a superb carpenter and cabinet maker installed walls and made our furniture. The Black reverend and his white wife allowed us to use their outside toilet. The rats were huge!
I got severe asthma on returning to Los Angeles so I prayed a lot as did my Christian Scientist mother which did not help at all. We had no doctors because of her religion. I missed about half my classes in elementary school. Sometimes I felt that dying would be a wonderful option.
Then as I started the seventh grade, my father gave me a spray that ameliorated my asthma so I could breathe. The best thing for me was it allowed me to play baseball, basketball, and run track. It changed my life! My asthma disappeared in several years so I did not need any medication at all. It coincided with moving to East Los Angeles where the allergens were much less.
Like many Americans going to church became a social event rather than a truly religious one. I understand and am sympathetic to most religions, but reject the more radical ones such as the current radical Evangelical and Muslim movements. As long as we keep government out of our beliefs as our Constitution commands, I support people having religious beliefs even though mine is rather weak because it does serve a common good and does in modern times provide community of like minded individuals where our corporations have made the work environment hard to take by straying so far from our common good.
However, we have seen corruption occur in all institutions including religion when they acquire so much power that there main concern becomes keeping that power and money which comes from control. Religion has long been used to control the masses as we know from history time after time. Emperor Constantine made Christianity a Roman religion mainly to control what Christianity is and to provide soldiers to maintain the Roman Empire. Religious zealots make superb soldiers as we see in our own country during elections. I cannot stomach how weak the Democrats are in going for the kill!
Jim Kawakami, Sept 29, 2010, http://jimboguy.blogspot.com
Religious Test: 64% Atheists, Jews, Mormons, 55% Evangelical, About 50% Rest
Americans are by all measures a deeply religious people, but they are also deeply ignorant about religion.
¶ Fifty-three percent of Protestants could not identify Martin Luther as the man who started the Protestant Reformation.
¶ Forty-five percent of Catholics did not know that their church teaches that the consecrated bread and wine in holy communion are not merely symbols, but actually become the body and blood of Christ.
¶ Forty-three percent of Jews did not know that Maimonides, one of the foremost rabbinical authorities and philosophers, was Jewish.
The question about Maimonides was the one that the fewest people answered correctly. But 51 percent knew that Joseph Smith was Mormon, and 82 percent knew that Mother Teresa was Roman Catholic. …
Those who scored the highest were atheists and agnostics, as well as two religious minorities: Jews and Mormons. The results were the same even after the researchers controlled for factors like age and racial differences.
“Even after all these other factors, including education, are taken into account, atheists and agnostics, Jews and Mormons still outperform all the other religious groups in our survey,” said Greg Smith, a senior researcher at Pew.
That finding might surprise some, but not Dave Silverman, president of American Atheists, an advocacy group for nonbelievers that was founded by Madalyn Murray O’Hair.
“I have heard many times that atheists know more about religion than religious people,” Mr. Silverman said. “Atheism is an effect of that knowledge, not a lack of knowledge. I gave a Bible to my daughter. That’s how you make atheists.”
Among the topics covered in the survey were: Where was Jesus born? What is Ramadan? Whose writings inspired the Protestant Reformation? Which Biblical figure led the exodus from Egypt? What religion is the Dalai Lama? Joseph Smith? Mother Teresa? In most cases, the format was multiple choice. … http://www.nytimes.com/2010/09/28/us/28religion.html?_r=1&src=me&ref=general