I am openly atheist. I cannot understand how, if there is a God, which clearly I believe there is not, people can believe a loving 'God' cares and looks after them when from the perspective of an impartial observer it must seem that the devil is at play with the peoples of the world. In the poorest of societies, where God has clearly looked away, is where faith is greatest. The poor, of course, have little else to cling on to. Faith is the comfort of life. Faith sustains. The rich have other comforts.
Religion should not be taught to children. Children should find faith for themselves, otherwise children are indoctrinated with religion and that is not true faith. Religion, at least the Christian religion, is not all Jesus on a donkey. Are children taught that Jesus had nothing to do with the founding of Christianity? Are they taught about the brutal repression of those who chose not to believe in the doctrines of Rome? How the Cathars, for the heresy of believing Jesus to be human and not divine, for belief in the equality of the sexes, were hunted down and burned on the pyre? A Catholic should know the history of his religion and not simply believe what he is told from the pulpit or school text book.
In my atheist novel 'Linda Versus God', the central character, Linda Ellis, has an epiphany when she realises that you cannot replace God in people's lives with nothingness. Atheism must mean more than non-belief in higher deities. Atheism must equate to whole belief in the strength and ability of mankind to overcome dispute and disharmony, to unite every human being under the universal umbrella of protecting the Earth. No religion even goes close to assuming such a role. To be Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew and so on is very much like being part of a team. It is about winning, being thought of champions, top-dog, being better than the opposition, and if that means destroying the planet so be it, if it means death, famine and siege so be it, if it allows the devil to walk amongst us so be it.
Religion has had its day. Christianity has had 2,000 years to bring peace to the Earth. It has failed. All religions fail because they are based on the beliefs and thinking of men who walked this earth thousands of years ago. Would you ask a physician of the bronze age to heal the wounds of today? Would we ask a house-builder of the iron age to design our present day towns? Would we apply the laws and punishments of the medieval period to today's judicial system?
We are free-thinking people. Society should not be shackled by the thought processes of the ancients. As I proposed in 'Linda Versus God', God turned his back on the Earth a long time ago and is now putting his feet up, having a few beers and reflecting on how to do a better job in some other galaxy. When he can be bothered to getting around to it.