A Letter from a Father to His Son in 1994

by Edward N. Haas



Book Details

Language : English
Publication Date : 26/02/2001

Format : Softcover
Dimensions : 5x8
Page Count : 436
ISBN : 9780759613935

About the Book

Kenneth was born on July 21, in the year of Our Lord 1962. That was the same year in which, on Nov. 9, I commenced 13 years of living as a kind of wandering hermit. My hope was to have as much spare time as possible to spend talking to God and studying the great writings of the Catholic Church. That rapturous, 13 year search ended in Aug., 1975, when my father lost his mind, and I had to care for him and my mother for the remainder of their lives.

Kenneth came into my life, on Aug. 12, 1982. That was less than a month past his 20th birthday and almost a year to the day from my father’s death on Aug. 27, 1981. After 11 years of such things as father’s day cards, hearing him refer to me as his dad, and having him come to me for advice more times than I can count, I formally adopted him in December of 1993, as is duly recorded in the official court records of the Parish of St. Tammany, State of Louisiana, as Instrument #889499.

In the course of one of his many attempts to tap my mind for whatever information he could extract from it, Kenneth asked me if I knew anything about Unitarianism. If I remember correctly, his knowledge of it was limited to a dictionary entry which made a connection between Unitarianism and Jefferson--a connection with which I was somewhat familiar, because I had read some of Jefferson’s writings, and his opinions on theological topics were among the many notes I extracted from his writings in the course of reading them. When Kenneth presented me with what his dictionary said, I took issue with it. That promptly precipitated from Kenneth a request that I explain the reasons behind my refusal to go along with his dictionary. Since, at the time, I was visiting with him in Spartanburg, SC, I could not access my notes and, consequently, promised I would, as soon as I returned home, send him a letter containing the requested information. The promised letter--here reproduced in the pages to follow--was commenced on Jan. 3, 1994, and not completed until Feb. 19, 1995.

What caused this letter to turn into something that lengthy? As one might expect, Jefferson’s praise of Unitarianism (i.e.: belief in a "god" who is one person) was accompanied by an attempt to sling a hefty amount of mud upon Trinitarianism (i.e.: belief in The God Who is Three Persons) and its most famous defender in antiquity--namely: St. Athanasius. The mud consisted mainly of the hackneyed nonsense of accusing all Trinitarianism’s supporters of being bloody butchers who slaughtered by the hundreds of thousands all who dared merely to think differently from themselves. In the process of hurling his charges, Jefferson distorted well-known historical facts in a manner so outrageous, I decided I should present my son with a fully detailed exposure of that distortion’s outrageousness. At the same time, I judged it necessary to go into an analysis of the psychological factors which could propel either Jefferson or any one else into the arms of intellectual perversity as pronounced as Jefferson exhibited. That, of course, meant presenting my own personal view of how human motivation works at its most fundamental levels. At the same time, I knew that--in presenting that unpleasant view--I had to make it quite clear that I was not thereby attributing to myself a fundamental motivation truly superior to that of Jefferson and company.

That, then, is how this letter started out to describe (1) Unitarianism and (2) Jefferson’s thoughts on it and other religious themes, but quickly moved on to (3) evidences of early Christian belief in The Blessed Trinity, (4) the true history of St. Athanasius, (5) the issue which was actually central to Christian violence, (6) American disregard for the denunciation hurled by the Declaration Of Independence at "that rule of warfare which is the undistinguished destruction of all ages, sexes, and conditions", (7) Jefferson’s way of twisting history compared to Edward Gibbon’s way, (8) Jefferson’s duplicity on the issue of slavery and the implication of that duplicity, (9) my versus Jefferson’s personal merit, and (10) genuine morality and its connection with salvation. That, of course, is by no means an exhaustive list of the topics covered; but, it will give you some idea of how wide is the net cast by this letter. May God grant the net is not so wide and heavy as to drown you before the journey’s end.

About the Author

Born April 13, 1936, in New Orleans, Louisiana, the author graduated from Jesuit high school, in New Orleans, in 1953. A single fruitless semester studying music at Loyola University of the South in New Orleans was followed by almost two years of floundering in a sea of confusion, and the author then joined the U. S. Air Force on Dec. 7, 1955. Honorably discharged in April of 1960, the author underwent another two and a half years of floundering so severe, he came extremely close to a mental breakdown. In desperation, he gave away everything he owned and, for thirteen years, took to the life of a wandering hermit. In search of as much time and energy as possible for inner reflection upon self, God, and the nature and purpose of reality, he criss-crossed the United States on foot four times. At first, he lived off of whatever food and clothing he could beg; but, after learning how to live on a dollar a day or less, he turned to working at various monasteries in the winter time in exchange for the two to three hundred dollars required to feed and to clothe himself during the next spring, summer, and fall of walking. The monasteries also provided access to libraries in which he could read, and extract notes from, the great writings of the Catholic Church. In the course of that thirteen-year odyssey, there was a four year period during which he refused to speak to anyone (except on very rare occasions) and communicated only by means of written notes.

In August of 1975, the author’s father lost his mind, and the author’s siblings insisted he was the only one in the family with the time and ability to tend to their father in his hour of need. Thus, after thirteen years, the author’s preferred lifestyle came to an end. Dire poverty then gave way to economic independence, and total seclusion gave way to what little privacy can be enjoyed by bachelors who prefer to avoid partying and to stay home and--as much as possible--to bury themselves in as much reading and writing as the world around them will allow.

After his father’s death in 1981, the author took care of his mother until her death in 1996. In this book, the self-educated author of a dozen self-published books (No one else would publish them.) seeks to share with others the avenues of thought down which his mind was lead by thirteen years of heroically intense inner concentration followed by twenty-two years of moderately intense inner concentration.