I am so accustomed to being an atheist that I have to remind myself – and right now I feel I should remind you, my readers – just how significant it is that the atheist I now am was once a PRIEST, someone who several times a week performed, for example, what this present series of posts is attacking and ridiculing : Preaching. This blog is not just theoretical, intellectual stuff, academic, journalistic or even bar-room talk of an outsider about the weird beliefs and practices of the Church. Half a life ago I made a massive, life-changing decision to abandon not only the priesthood but the Church and even belief in God. I claim to know my subject better than most. I know what I’m talking about.
I have two classmates from my Marist Brothers High School who, like me, became priests (but never did post-graduate, doctoral studies in Theology in Paris as I did ) and later returned to secular life. One, like many ex-priests, has remained a believer and even a practising lay Catholic. The other is a more unusual case. Though he left the diocesan priesthood, today, decades later, he still considers himself a “sacerdos in aeternum”, “a priest forever”, who actually expects people to call him “Father” ! For me, the break was complete, with not only rejection of the priesthood – preaching, hearing confessions, celebrating Mass and the rest (including being called “Father”, except by my children !), but the espousing of militant atheism condemning not only the Catholic faith but any belief in God, along with pie in the sky when we die.
What you read here is not your common or garden, amateur variety of atheism, but a professional theologian’s recognition and renunciation of religions’ absurdity. This blog may not be the world’s most brilliant or most insightful expression of why religion is irrational and ridiculous (“Ridenda Religio”), the fruit of wishful thinking, fear and credulity. But it is exceptional, a rare phenomenon in the blogosphere.
I thought it might be useful, appropriate and timely to recall who and what I was, to readers who may underestimate the sea-change that was my “conversion” (the biblical word in Greek is “koinonia”) from Priest-Preacher-Professor of Theology to the hard-hitting atheist blog-author I have become.
I’m conscious of the fact that the above might sound like blowing my own trumpet. It’s meant to be just a “Lest We Forget”.