Monday, August 08, 2005

Dearest Father.

Dear Father O'Connor,

I have never been inclined to talk to clergyman or mystics or any of that class of men who must find some other name for that which is simply life. But you struck me with the force of your words. Very few of those religious men who delight in discussion with infidels such as myself are willing to admit so openly the role that God plays in their view of things. I have always been frustrated by such sidelong proseltyzing. I have always hated speaking to the smugly smiling sort who will always find reason to argue and refuse to admit that they do not argue from reason but only from the supposed axiomatic existence of God. "God exists. Therefore, I am right. QED." But you, my good father, came right out with the heart of the matter from your first statement and so you compelled me to listen to you and to think long and hard on what you said and finally to do what I always do when someone intrigues me, to write to you.

When you spoke so forcefully, father, I thought I heard in your voice something of myself. And now I understand this impression. You are the only person I have ever met who truly has faith. I do not doubt that you could have converted anyone else with your speech. But I know what faith is because I too possess it and so your faith cannot move me. I have faith in words; I do not seek my salvation in anything but the printed word and because of my own faith I understand the secret of yours. Faith is a thing that you must create. I do not doubt that you know this. Faith is the understanding that life is nothing and that man must make something if he is to live it. This is what my writing is built on. This, too, is the pedestal on which your god stands.

Do you think that I have never known God? I remember him well. I remember how in my childhood I saw him in the silence of the sleeping house and in the stars that mark out the endless depths of the sky. How later on I felt him enclosing the definite shape of my single, separate soul. But I can also remember what is older than he. I can also remember nights before I knew God and how he was never there when I descended into dreams. I can also remember how small I was, how savage and alone with myself and how I never knew fear or trembling. And I know that God was created in me and that I held on to him as long as I did because I have always known the necessity of faith and the passionate desire for immortality.

I do hope we live again, father. I do not fear His judgment. I have not taken this blessing, life, for granted. I have not killed my consciousness nor lied about what I am. Could God know me better than I know myself?

God is unheard whispers and shadows in the night. Listen closer and you will know that someone speaks, turn on the light and you will know that there is something actually there. Well then, I guess God exists; but he is nothing more than what is always there even when I do not think of it.

We understand one another father; we are both idealists. It is my idealism that teaches me my materialsm. I love the thought of what is actually there. It is too beautiful to make in man's image, a thing that walks and talks and takes its revenge when it is denied. I think that you are like me. No one could have such faith in a crucified Jew or an angry tyrant (that is to say in someone else). I think your faith is like mine: a belief that what we are can live alongside what we are not. I have never heard you claim that God loves us or is benevolent.



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