Louis Armstrong’s signature song : a great tune, memorable lyrics, an inimitable interpretation.  Our world is indeed full of wonder, full of awe, wonder-full, awe-full.  We all have our reasons for admiring the grandeur of our planet – the Alps, the oceans, the Grand Canyon, Antarctica, the beauty and bounty of nature, and, perhaps most of all, the staggering immensity and complexity of the Universe.  All this is so breath-taking that many are tempted to attribute it to the hand of God.

Such a reaction is eminently understandable.  To both simple and sophisticated individuals, primitive peoples and highly evolved civilizations over the millennia, belief in God has seemed not only reasonable but self-evident.  Many never even discovered that the existence and intervention of gods or God could be put into question.  God is a given.  He comes with the territory.  An omnipotent, omniscient, wonderful God gave us a wonderful world.  Period.

I have friends who tell me that I, like so many authors far more gifted than yours modestly, should not destroy or even disturb the faith that has given meaning to life to countless millions from time immemorial.  But if we propose hard-hitting questions, if we sow doubts in the minds of the faith-full, if we rock the boat of religion and even the barque of the Rock himself, first Pope of the Catholic Church, it is because people deserve the truth.

We do live in a wonderful world, though we have no illusions about the dangers it presents, nor the chaos that can, and does too often – often through fault of our own – disrupt and devastate apparently providential order.  But for those who can take it, for those courageous enough to wonder about the origins of this wonderful world, we propose liberation from myth and a chance to discover the mystery that good old Satchmo could not even suspect.  Which is no reason not to enjoy a wonderful song.

RIDENDA      RELIGIO