St. Augustin School, Des Moines
Dear Dan Brown,
There is an unwritten rule that in order to dodge arguments you have to avoid talking
politics and religion, yet in your book The Da Vinci Code, you broke that rule. You took a risk in not only writing about religion, but questioning faith.
Coming from a Catholic school,
this is probably the most dangerous
piece I will ever write. Yet your book is
full of danger, and so I will take a
risk and break the rule as well.
Growing up, I viewed my religion as a grade, not as a journey. I thought of
religion as gray and boring, the same thing every day. I never actually believed
or understood what I was saying. I said it because it
was what I was told. I was raised this way, and it was considered
right, and I didn't think to question otherwise.
What I claimed to believe was accepted, but did I ever actually understand what I believed?
One of the characters in your book, Sophie Neveu,
never really understood her faith. She had never questioned it, but she really didn't know that much about it. This was just
Believing, but never questioning. Then I read your book. You showed
me that I could grow in
opinions and beliefs,
and that I no longer had to be told to
certain ideas about my
faith. I began to branch off from
my traditional beliefs, and started to develop my own ideas. I
started to question and wonder more about my faith, and what I truly believed.
At the same time, I felt like
I was betraying the faith that had been there for me my whole life.
In the story, Sophie
is confused by her conflicting emotions. She felt
just like me. At first, she was defensive, not wanting to doubt what she had always known. I was frustrated
with myself for beginning to
wonder, and then stopping and turning back into the same routine
of accepting. I realize now that I wasn't
angry, but afraid to take the leap into something new. Sophie comes to this same realization that fear is causing her to resist change.
I had to close my
take a deep breath,
and jump off the cliff into the unknown.
After I read your book, I realized that I was not betraying my faith by wondering. I
was simply growing in it by discovering what I believed. I was no longer trapped
by invisible boundaries, but free to explore as I wanted. I began to understand more not only about my faith, but myself as a person. Your book
showed me that change
is necessary, and that wondering and exploring are not abandoning your beliefs, but embracing your inner self.
Your book taught me that no
who you are, you are unique to what you
believe. Just because the person next to you might not agree with you doesn't mean that either of you are wrong. Thank
you for teaching me this lesson. Now religion isn't gray or boring, it's a rainbow of
different colors that join together to
make a beautiful picture.
This letter was taking a
breaking the rules, but
I am not afraid
anymore. Sometimes you just have to
your eyes, take a deep breath,
and jump headfirst into the unknown.