I thought I’d begin by sharing a letter I wrote to my mother—the composing of which was very cathartic.
I wanted to share something with you while time was still on our side. In the past year or so, the improvement in my health has been so far-reaching it has allowed me to embark upon a quest for understanding and fulfillment so amazing I can only describe it as a renaissance. I must be honest. In metaphorical terms, I have just escaped from a burning building, clothing torn and singed, lungs filled with smoke, limbs battered and bruised from tumbling through the inferno. But most important, I have escaped.
My injuries have begun to heal. In time I may even forgive those who locked me in that house in the first place and willfully set it ablaze by indoctrinating its young inhabitants with their twisted religious dogma. These guardians rejected a most fundamental tenet of child rearing: teach children how to think—not what to think, and in the process, sacrificed their own progeny for the sake of self interest.
As I steadily proceed into a world governed by reason and skepticism, my nature remains tolerant of those who employ their antithesis. Not for a moment do I object to anyone’s right to believe as they choose; I only question the veracity of claims to possess knowledge about that which does not suffer rational examination well.
The beauty of faith is that it thrives in the absence of reason. Attempting to hijack the essence of reason for the purpose of authenticating one’s faith is both dishonest and unnecessary. Believing something to be true and knowing something to be true are quite distinguishable concepts.
To be honest, my love for you is such that I wish you could escape the irrational religious dragnet that has possessed you your entire life and join me and my new friends in celebrating humanity amidst the fertile ground of free thought. Given the unlikelihood of this eventuality, I ask you, in the alternative, to respect my desire to travel a different path from the one you laid out for me. And, rather than obsess about the fate of my so-called soul, take delight in my having found a measure of joy, challenge, and fulfillment in my new life.
Your loving son.