Some claim that you can : “ab esse ad posse” (“from what exists, you can deduce what is possible”). A couple of famous atheists have recanted (not necessarily for the same reasons a handful of scientists have changed their opinion about the human contribution to climate change . . .). But it is extremely rare. It will never happen to me. Never say “never” ? In Australia I bought a recognizably Aussie felt hat made of rabbits’ fur. You have my promise : I’ll eat it if ever I deny the atheism I espoused and abandon the liberty I discovered forty years ago.
A few of my readers have tried. “Lumen de lumine”, “Seeking Truth” and just recently David Stephens. They did me the honor of trying to defend their illusions and attack my quasi-certitudes (this last word is a “clin d’œil”, a private joke, between Jim-Lumen and myself). No doubt they have been forced to admit that I am a hopeless case, too pig-headed an Irishman to admit defeat, too dumb to recognize the power of the “proofs” they present.
Others have been more gracious. One lovely lady in Australia, who attended my First Mass back in 1961, suggested during my recent visit to her and her husband’s home, that I make a novena to the Virgin Mary to rediscover my faith. I would not argue with her. We have been friends – albeit distant ones – for half a century, and will remain so. She will never be a Believer on the Brink, and I am a Lost Cause. She does not want my head as a trophy on her living-room wall (Jim-Lumen does), and like many of my relatives is resigned to recognize the unbridgeable ideological gap between us. I have always questioned the sincerity of divorced people who claim to be friends. I do not question the sincerity of true friends who have accepted me in spite of my atheism, and even – some of them – my Blog . . .