"Adams shows off an alternative Hitchhiking gesture"
Whilst being a signed up born again believer myself – I do find that some of the most thought provoking and interesting ponderings about faith, God and religion are actually written by Atheists… And indeed while some of my best friends have no faith or are convinced that there is no God, they are often open to talk about spiritual issues, whilst others who claim to Christians run screaming from the very thought of engaging and listening to conflicting points of view. I think it is immeasurably healthier to look at issues from many angles (and anyway - if your faith is so insecure that conversing or reading thoughts from someone who sees things differently to you makes you that nervous – perhaps you haven’t got such a “real” faith anyway???)
So whilst researching for my Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy review for the Baptist Times I looked into Douglas Adams’ background and found some fascinating quotes in an interview with David Silverman which ran in the American Atheist Journal. Adams studied postgraduate theology at Ridley Hall and later became a teacher of theology but it seems that did little help him 'find God'...
See what you think:
“If you describe yourself as “Atheist,” some people will say, “Don’t you mean ‘Agnostic’?” I have to reply that I really do mean Atheist. I really do not believe that there is a god - in fact I am convinced that there is not a god (a subtle difference). I see not a shred of evidence to suggest that there is one.”
It’s funny how many people are genuinely surprised to hear a view expressed so strongly. In England we seem to have drifted from vague wishy-washy Anglicanism to vague wishy-washy Agnosticism - both of which I think betoken a desire not to have to think about things too much. People will then often say “But surely it’s better to remain an Agnostic just in case?” This, to me, suggests such a level of silliness and muddle that I usually edge out of the conversation rather than get sucked into it. (If it turns out that I’ve been wrong all along, and there is in fact a god, and if it further turned out that this kind of legalistic, cross-your-fingers-behind-your-back, Clintonian hair-splitting impressed him, then I think I would chose not to worship him anyway.) "
and he also says:
"I am fascinated by religion. (That’s a completely different thing from believing in it!) It has had such an incalculably huge effect on human affairs. What is it? What does it represent? Why have we invented it? How does it keep going? What will become of it? I love to keep poking and prodding at it. I’ve thought about it so much over the years that that fascination is bound to spill over into my writing.”
Read the whole interview here:
Douglas Adams Meets David Silverman
Other links you might want to try: