Isn't it enough to see that a garden is beautiful without having to believe that there are fairies at the bottom of it too?
If you want to get together in any exclusive situation and have people love you, fine - but to hang all this desperate sociology on the idea of The Cloud-Guy who has The Big Book, who knows if you've been bad or good - and CARES about any of it - to hang it all on that, folks, is the chimpanzee part of the brain working.
I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with sense, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.
Suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder.
I count religion but a childish toy, And hold there is no sin but ignorance.
Conventional people are roused to fury by departure from convention, largely because they regard such departure as a criticism of themselves.
My neurologist once told me that people with temporal lobe epilepsy are very often intensely religious. Certainly just before I have a grand mal fit I have a 'vision' of such peace, joy and significance that I can only call it God. What does this say about the whole nature of religious vision? Certain episodes in the lives of the saints have acquired a new meaning for me. When Theresa of Avila had her three-day vision of hell, was she simply having a temporal lobe attack? The horrors she saw are similar to those I have experienced, but in her case informed by the religious imagery of her time. Like other saints who have 'seen' hell she describes an appalling stench, which is part of an epileptic aura. Is it possible that the feeling I have had all my life that something - God, perhaps? - is just over the horizon, something unimaginable but almost tangibly present, is simply the result of an electrical irregularity in my brain? It is a question that can't yet be answered, unless it be that God, if He exists, could have created us with that capacity for Him, glimpsed at only when the brain is convulsed. What I can say, however, is that if my 'visions' have sometimes let me into 'Hell' they have also given me possible intimations of a Heaven which I would not have been without.
My mother was Southern Irish, and I was brought up as a devout Catholic. In fact, at one point I thought I'd become a priest, but I'd have made an appalling priest anyway... At 16, I asked all these monks some serious questions and they didn't come up with the answers, and I just decided I didn't believe in God.
“We are all atheists about most of the gods that humanity has ever believed in. Some of us just go one god further.”
Millions long for immortality who don't know what to do on a rainy Sunday afternoon.