THOM, the most assiduous contributor to the commentaries on this blog, has written me a letter he did not intend for publication. But as the personal testimony of his itinerary from Catholicism to atheism, it deserves, I feel, to be read by Believers on the Brink, wondering whether they dare decide, all proofs considered, that atheism is the only stance worthy of them. Thom, whose pseudonym is meant no doubt to prickle and confuse Thomists, and other fans of Aristotle and Aquinas, as well as express admiration for Sir Saint Thomas More, friend of my own icon Desiderius Erasmus, has kindly permitted me to share it with you.
“I once thought that I believed – I certainly told myself and others that I did. And my statement of belief extended to the litany of beliefs required of all Catholics. I subscribed because I was brought up as a Catholic, unquestioning and faithful – and unreasoning. At some point, for whatever reason, I began to doubt some of the detail of those required beliefs (transubstantiation etc. etc.). At that stage I didn’t have the courage or the tools necessary to adequately articulate my growing incredulity. Indeed I felt guilty about my emerging faithlessness. At the time my disbelief did not extend to disbelief in GOD – certainly I was not equipped to state confidently that GOD did not exist. That came later – with the growing certainty that none of the faithful, nor anyone, could really explain what they were talking about when they talked about GOD.
“The point of this recounting of my personal journey is this, I think. Believers on the brink, by and large, start as I started with a nagging discomfort with the superficial details of their creed. If they can be encouraged to robustly examine the persistent doubts and admit that the required beliefs are both unnecessary and irrelevant, then they might at some future stage begin to question the very foundation of their faith – belief in GOD. “GOD”, for me, is a meaningless word that has been embellished with bogus philosophy and meaningless word-games by metaphysicians.
“I have just been zapped by a bolt of lightning accompanied by a booming deep voice. Aaaaargh !”