No, the sobriquet does not refer to a certain former Franciscan priest and his itinerary from Catholicism to atheism.  It is the title Charles Darwin gave to himself when he considered the pain his ideas on the origin of species was causing his pious wife.  But Darwin felt he had to pursue his thinking, share his research, publish or perish — intellectually and morally.

I could have kept my reflections and these posts to myself.  They will disappoint, embarrass, disturb, infuriate some readers.  They will perhaps enlighten and encourage, even delight, a few.  They will certainly hurt many others.  Will they do more harm than good ?  God knows, as I used to say.  The decision to publish my atheistic “coming out” was not an easy one.  Pandora’s box, a can of worms ?  A perfect way to lose friends and alienate people ?  Or an honest attempt to invite believers to examine the foundations of their faith, as I did ?  Some readers will reject my reflections out of hand.  Others may even condemn my book without having read it.  You CAN tell my book by its cover (and its illustration, a road leading from darkness to light) or at least by its title (“From Illusions to Illumination”), and, in this case, by its sub-title (“The Itinerary of a Franciscan Priest from Catholicism to Atheism”).  Many will never forgive me for having written it.  Others, I hope, will find in it food for … reflection.  Some may even discover questions they have never asked themselves, or for which they thought they had satisfactory answers.  I hope that all who do me the honor of reading the book and/or this blog will find them worth their time and thought, as painful as it may be for some.  But their author does not want to be either the Devil’s Advocate or his Chaplain.  The Devil, like everything else in the realm of faith, is a myth.  I am not.  I am a down-to-earth former believer dedicated to helping others to see the light that has liberated me from the myths that even Mrs Darwin could not abandon.

RIDENDA      RELIGIO