Stories of New Muslims

Dawood Kinney, Ex-Catholic, USA

As far back as I can remember as a child, I was always astounded by this universe in which we live; how everything works perfectly.  I used to lie outside at night on my parent’s lawn, staring up at the stars, just amazed at the unfathomable size of the heavens.  And I also used to be amazed at how the human body just ticked along, heart beating, lungs pumping, with no help from me.  And from that early time, I always in some way knew, there just had to be a Creator responsible for all this.

But then as I segued into my teens, it was much easier to succumb to peer pressure, and I lost interest in the Divine and instead devoted my time to alcohol, sex and the immature games of a young male growing up in America.  Growing into young adulthood, my obsessions became money, power, a better house, a faster car, and a prettier woman–all shallow pursuits.

I lived this way for many years, slowly losing control of my life, thinking I was pursuing happiness when all I was getting was more depressed, more confused, and making more and more of a mess of my life.

At some point, my life just sort of spiraled to the bottom and I cracked.  My immediate response was to turn to God, and, having been raised Catholic, it was to that church that I turned.  At the time, I had been divorced and remarried and came to find out that the Catholic Church didn’t want me.  Hurt and angry, but also realizing a need for a spiritual order in my life, I turned to Buddhism.

The Buddhist sect I became involved with followed a Tibetan tradition, where importance is placed on gaining empowerments, which are basically blessings from various Buddhas.  At some point I realized I was not really bettering myself, just running around gaining empowerments, performing elaborate rituals.  All of a sudden, I realized that one of the last things the Buddha said before passing away was not to worship him.  I realized this whole practice was BASED on worshipping not only “the” Buddha, but also all these other

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