Tallis in Wonderland

Why I Am An Atheist

Raymond Tallis examines his happy disbelief.

I suppose I have been more or less an atheist since my teens, although, given my early exposure first to Catholicism and then to Anglicanism, it was probably some time later that I entirely shook off the feeling that a posthumous comeuppance might be awaiting me. Recently, I was invited to join a panel at the Glasgow Book Festival to debate atheism with the philosopher Julian Baggini and the crime writer and humanist Christopher Brookmyre. We were asked to begin by stating the reasons we were atheists. I would be deceiving myself if I thought I knew which reason had most contributed to my present happy state of unbelief, even less which was decisive.

There are bad as well as good reasons for deciding that one is, or that one should be, an atheist, and I suspect the bad reasons may be more influential.

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