I don't know whether readers will have already realized that I lived through the experience that killed Thomas Merton. A lot of other people have done the same thing - lived through such a strong spiritual experience that they received a massive energy/grace surge.
People have a low chance of living through this experience unless they have someone around who has survived it themselves.
I have helped several other people to make it through this experience. I dislike taking credit for doing this. I also dislike alienating people who do not believe in Gd.
You do not have to believe in Gd to get your spiritual gifts working and survive a large energy surge in the process. I happen to believe in Gd and because of this I attribute my success in helping other people to live through their large spiritual energy surge to Gd.
If someone who does not believe in Gd, or who has a different view of what Gd is than I do, wants my help in living through their first big energy surges, I will not try to foist my views on them.
I believe that Gd is beyond human understanding. My way of explaining the existence of different religions is the story of the blind men and the elephant.
Several religions already use this story in various ways, so some readers already know the story. I am going to tell it for the benefit of readers who do not already know it.
Once upon a time there were seven blind men who lived together. A visitor told the blind men about a very large and wondrous animal called an elephant. The seven blind men agreed that they would all like to find the elephant. They set out together to find the elephant.
Since this is my version of the story the blind men are scheduling a ride in a van to the zoo to find the elephant. The elephant keeper is waiting for them and they are permitted to go in the elephant yard and examine the elephant.
One blind man grasps the trunk of the elephant and says, "Aha! I know the elephant is like a snake."
Another blind man touches the tusk and says, "I am certain the elephant is like a spear."
Yet another blind man catches the tail and says, "The elephant is like a rope."
The blind man who grabs an ear says, "I tell you, the elephant is like a fan."
"The elephant is like a pillar," said the blind man with his arms around a leg.
"There is no doubt that the elephant is like a wall," proclaimed the blind man with his hands on the elephant's side.
The seventh blind man stepped in a big pile of elephant sh*t. He said, "Bring a wheelbarrow, we are taking the elephant home for our garden."
I like to think of this story as having the blind men representing different religions. Each one has clamped onto a part of Gd and refused to look at any other part. This is not a bad thing. Humans can not take in all of Gd. Gd is too much for us to comprehend. The bad part is insisting that other religions are wrong because they have a different part of Gd that they like.
All religions can be correct about Gd at the same time. We simply have different parts that we hold onto. I am not excepting people who insist that they do not have a religion. They, too have a different part of Gd.
Some people cling to random events, including the Big Bang theory to describe the universe. That is an elephant part as well as the other elephant parts.
I have not studied all religions, but I have studied a lot of them. I have a theory that one fast way to understand a religion is to see what the enemies of that religion say about it. They usually know all the weak spots and are happy to talk about them at great length.
I can not say for certain that there is no religion without weaknesses. I do not think so, however. I know that many of these weakness were planted deliberately. It is one of those nasty things people do to sabotage each other.
I do not think that a weakness invalidates a religion. I think it is a problem if a religion denies the existence of its weakness and lies to their members about them. I think most religions do this, however.
I think people usually do better with the structure of a religion to help them sort out what is going on in the universe. It is hard work to start from the beginning all by yourself.
It seems like only a matter of picking what religion suits your personality and likes and dislikes, to get the best one. I don't think any religion is superior to others.
I happen to like the Christian religion, but that is only my personal preference. I am aware of the weaknesses of the Christian religion and like it anyway. I don't think the Christian religion does any better than any other religion at explaining the universe and Gd.
I would like for people of different religions to get along and stop criticizing each other. Most religions have an unsavory incident in the past where the behavior of members was questionable. Most religions have had times when they were persecuted and have built-in grudges against those they think were responsible.
We urgently need to stop quarreling and work together to save our lives. That will happen by spreading the use of our spiritual gifts.