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014 Letter 12

We are honored to answer the questions of our many friends in Tabitef, for you are thoughtful and superbly intentioned. We send you this note hoping that it assists you. Perhaps your people will visit us again soon, for we enjoyed their company.
It is surely true that he who finds care for his body from another tends to look favorably upon his benefactor’s beliefs. This is strange, for nourishment and truth are very different things. A person may have the finest of food but still be blinded by error. Likewise, one can starve to death but be wise. Nevertheless, it seems that many presume that the source of one is the source of both and say, “you have helped me in time of physical need. Therefore, your god must be true.” This is a bizarre conclusion, for even the wrong give generously. The opposite also is true: even the right treat others despicably.
Thus your concerns seem quite justified to us. When a poor man or an abandoned woman comes to us needing food, surely we give it if there is food to spare. However, we would never say, “see our kindness. This makes Kireca true.” Truth should not be sold for a loaf of bread, for we believe in the truth for its own sake whether we act with kindness or cruelty.
Therefore, when you help the poor, by all means answer their questions if they ask. However, say, “right now you are malnourished and weak of mind as a result. Had you come to a believer in Fricolic teaching[1], you would have been helped the same. Thus wait until you heal and then consider whether we or they are true.” By doing this, you avoid immorality and do not take advantage of their damaged minds.
Belief is for the strong of mind, for it takes much thought and consideration to ascertain truth on those occasions when truth can be found. Let no man teach truth to the weak of mind, for this merely propels their confusion. Rather, bring them to strength and then teach truth, for in their strength they shall see the light and appreciate its beauty.
Thus we generally do not speak of our beliefs to any destitute traveler. Perhaps we could convert them as others do, but this would be wrong. We prefer teaching to those who have no obligation to us. On occasion, a person will return to us and say, “I once visited here in time of need. After I left, I wondered who you were and whether you worshiped Qualiae or the many gods. Let me now learn about you.” In this circumstance, we shall teach but make clear that our assistance was a separate matter. Let no man say, “I believe in Kireca’s teaching, for its people showed me kindness.” Truth stands on its own.
We hope that this helps you, for our hope is that you flourish and succeed. As we convince people of our teaching, your foothold among the Fricolics is incredibly important. Stand strong, and we shall help you in what little ways we can.
We would ask everything benevolent to stand with you.
Seridoc is fully deputized to speak for us and explain our practices further.
Know that I am Renent who writes this in my own hand.

[1] By this he simply means, “the other local teaching.” Tabitef was a Coastal city and predominantly Fricolic.