dear miss bond,
you may or may not remember me. you taught me religion at my local church, we called it First Holy Communion but i always secretly thought it was brainwashing. you were so passionate about it, you seemed to make it palatable. it is only in later years, seeing what religion is, that i have recanted my faith. but you - when i think of you, i still feel my fingers twitching to bless the Father, the Son, the Holy Ghost. i think of the lace squares that you would give us, your children; your flock, when we learnt a prayer. parrot this, child, and you shall be given pretty, clean edged doilies. white lace, it was rough on our fingertips. religion bought us and we shall have the steady thudding of Our Father in our minds from the rest of our lives. you made it a blessing to believe. the reality is; it is a curse. i hope you can never see that.
i have been thinking about the concept of sin. we are all born with original sin. i hear that purgatory is outdated, now? that's a shame, i always thought of that state in between life and the afterlife as the safest place i could ever find. i used to sit in your classes, sometimes, and ask you what different levels of sins are. every sunday, after we let the eucharist dissolve under our tongue, you would tell me that all sin we do not mean to commit is forgivable. all sin we commit with the intent of hurting another is not. i am now not in a position to ask for forgiveness, teacher. i would not ask God anyway. purgatory may take me for i shall not repent - heaven is not the right place for me. eternal happiness would become tedious - that is a flaw in His plan.
i do not know if it is fair to blame Him for our flaws. to ask him to absolve them. i do not believe, let me make that clear - but a concept trusted and adored by so many demands a sort of respect even from non-believers. i refer to Him in the manner which you see him, not in the way i reject Him. i would never tell you God does not exist. i would tell you God does not exist for me - He will not shoulder my shortcomings. i will not hide behind the featureless face of the man sat in the sky, bearded, majestic, kind. you told me the Bible was not to be taken literally. i will take you at your word - the Bible is not true. do i misunderstand?
forgive me, teacher, for i have sinned. you were my teacher. you taught me respect; love; passion for knowledge (you called it faith,) but - you cannot teach faith. some think that faith comes upon you; that you hear the word of the Lord - that you are called. " ' "I believe",' she said, but she said it only inside her head." - Barbara Trapido, Temples of Delight, 1990. faith is not a realisation, faith is [please do not take this the wrong way, please do not] a delusion - a sanctuary. a place where you are safe. it is not a truth. a truth is the way a word sounds when it is brought to life on the tongue of a stranger; a truth is the pure G chord on a guitar; the happiest note i know. a truth is also the E minor chord - there is no happiness without sorrow. it rings of melancholy sadness. a truth is the sound of my fingers writing this, tap-tap-tap. a truth is something you feel for yourself - it is not something that another places within you for you to worship. religion is not truth. religion is a last resort - this is why so many people hit rock bottom and then find God. everything is better, everything is good - and they thank God for it, hallelujah! hallelujah! it is not God that has helped. it is the diversion into a fantasy - you can change your life when you forget who you were. when God takes over.
i'm sorry, miss bond. i do not mean to insult your faith. i mean only to write this letter, a letter to be unread; never sent; forgotten - thrown away. i believed when you spoke of God, but i believed in your faith. i believed in you. i did not believe in your God, and i am sorry for that. i hope He is worth losing yourself for - did i ever hear you speak of books? of music? of art? of anything but faith? sparingly, perhaps. no. i do not think i did. the Bible is not a book - it is a rulebook, a piece of judgemental fiction. it carries truth but it is human truth - not truth from God. do not hurt others. forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us. i will not trespass into a land of fancy. i have spent too long in one, and i shall not blame God for it. nor thank Him for my freedom. hymns are not truly music, they are beautiful, yes - but they deal with propaganda. i do not call the national anthem a song, miss bond. art is forbidden in our church. i have never heard you speak of it. i did see you doodle - you are not lost. you choose to be so.
thank you, miss bond for my lessons. thank you, miss bond for teaching me my own way - i understand my lack of faith moreso now i have lived in belief - my original sin is cleansed, holy water. my other sins i shall atone for myself.