Religion, the Marxist “opium of the masses”, was a bright cynosure that I curiously indulged and eventually dispensed with early in my youth, an adolescent dalliance with romance that was more about lustful infatuation than anything resembling true love. My one true faith is and always has been literature, and my first introduction to the cathedral of books was through organized religion.
In Parkersburg, West Virginia, in the summer of 1965, when I was six-years of age, my younger brother and I attended Vacation Bible School at our community First Baptist Church; it was there that my attention was arrested by the spellbinding stories, symbols, and imagery of Noah and the Great Flood, Moses and the Ten Commandments, Joshua and the Battle of Jericho, Daniel in the Lion’s Den, and the Sermon on the Mount. The Biblical tales were laid out in vibrantly illustrated children’s Bibles (the saints and prophets always smiling and benevolent) with easy-to-read verse and we were also gifted with Holy Bible coloring books. Who said religion can’t be fun?