I never attended a seminary, but come to think of it, I did do time in a convent! (It had become a British Airways Training School!) I have attended an awful lot of churches, for an awful lot of hours, over an awful lot of years, as a choir boy at York Minster, New College Chapel, Oxford, St James Palace and St Paul’s Cathedral. And as a young actor, I played Jesus Christ’s youngest brother in the play “Family Portrait”, with the distinguished English actress, Fay Compton playing Mary, Mother of God…so I guess that makes me something of an expert, just kidding! Now that I’ve reached the ripe old age of 81, I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s time to come out of the closet and confess it openly, I’m an atheist! I’d always felt that atheism was something of a dirty word, not something you could say, not aloud, not allowed! But so many people spend so much time and energy white-washing themselves, politicians in particular, especially here in the US, where they endeavor to outdo each other “No I’m more religious!” “No I’m more religious…the universe was created in 6 days, 6,000 years ago and men shared the planet with the dinosaurs and we’re all miserable sinners because a snake talked Eve into talking Adam into eating that apple from the tree of knowledge” (Adam blamed Eve, Eve blamed the snake and the snake didn’t have a leg to stand on!)
Rather than taking a lot of fables, myths and mantras unthinkingly on faith, how much better that we pause to think, reason and doubt. If any of that stuff had any proof, any evidence, well then maybe OK…but as we know, there isn’t, not a shred, not a tittle. So I’ve ceased to say I’m an agnostic, not sure either way. That’s just trying to play it safe. A sort of Celestial Insurance Policy, just in case all those Baptists and Buddhists, Jehovah’s Witnesses and Mormons, Muslims, Hindus, Hasidic Jews etc, etc , are right and I’m wrong.
When Baptists with their big behinds and barely any brains, brag that they believe every word of the Bible, I wonder if they’ve actually READ every word of the Bible, as I have…or are they simply “Cafeteria Christians”, who pick and choose which bits to believe, or take on faith, selecting a few choice, inspiring verses to hang their hat on…pretending that the really horrible passages aren’t there!
The Founding Fathers of these United States of America made it perfectly clear they were NOT founding a new nation based on any particular religion, but a country of religious FREEDOM, which included the right to be non religious. Whereas Abraham, the Founding Father of the Three Great Religions, Christianity, Judaism and Islam…had no such Freedom of Thought in mind, of course!
So despite all those countless hours in Churches, Chapels, Cathedrals, Abbeys and Minsters as a choirboy, I never gave a great deal of thought to Christian dogma. It always seemed to me to be a bunch of weird stories that stretched my credulity to breaking point. The God of the Old Testament seemed to me to be the sort of old man I wanted nothing to do with. Far from being a kindly old gent with a long white beard, all my religious instruction classes led me to look on Him as not at all the kind of God I would ever want to worship: Bloodthirsty, brutal, narcissistic, condemnatory, jealous, judgmental and judging by some of his instructions, very possibly psychotic. And his Son, if he did in fact exist, is said to have said some very nice, profound remarks. Trouble is of course, the men who much later on wrote their confusing, contradictory tales about Him…never met the guy! And to be frank, I find it a bit fishy that His disciples were all fishermen, and we know how prone fishermen are to exaggeration! Especially about the one that got away!
So here I am to my surprise, living at present in the notorious Bible Belt of the American South, surrounded by ‘good ol’ boys’, whose only explanation for their unbelievable beliefs is “It says so in the Bible!” which is why I’ve just produced a controversial book NO GOD! 400 FAMOUS ATHEISTS AND AGNOSTICS PLUS 60 INFAMOUS THEISTS! AN ANTIDOTE FOR AMERICA’S RELIGIOSITY! Available at Amazon UK.
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