An interview with the author
What prompted you to write the book?
I thought there was a real need for a book that parents could use to talk about the god idea. I think the whole area of religion is pretty confusing for a young kid. They see people on TV and the internet with different belief systems and different ideas about God, all claiming they are following direction from God.
There is an enormous number of books for kids that are pushing a religious belief. I just thought a little book questioning the existence of God might be helpful for parents who wanted to share that viewpoint with their kids. If you belong to one of the major faiths there are literally hundreds of thousands of books, movies, games and websites aimed at kids all offering religious teachings. There isn’t much out there for your ordinary old non-believer.
Did you grow up with religion?
If you grew up in the sixties in a family with Irish Catholic connections it was pretty hard to avoid. My family weren’t particularly religious, though I did have some uncles and aunts who were very much so. I can remember walking in on a group of adults praying to a statue of Our Lady of Fatima when I was over at my cousin’s house. I thought it was pretty freaky.
I didn’t attend Catholic schools, as my mum thought the local nuns had been harsh with my eldest brother and had decided to send me to the local state run school. Close call.
I was, however, taken in hand by the local Sunday school and I completed my First Communion and Confirmation at the Holy Family Catholic church in Perth, Western Australia. I was desperately hoping there was a god when I was ten!
When did you start having doubts about god?
The home I grew up in was always full of noise and mayhem. There were five of us kids and well as my mum and dad in what was really a two bedroom house. My brothers and I pretty much waged war on each other 24/7. There was so much noise coming from our place the neighbourhood kids were warned to avoid us.
I got in the habit of going to confession on Saturdays and praying furiously for a sign from god. I enjoyed the peace and quiet but I wasn’t getting a result.
As I started to read more (in my case science fiction) nothing seemed to make any sense.
The Bible and particularly the Catholic church seemed to be at odds with everyone and everything that was rational and logical.
I think I had a secret ambition to be like Dr Spock from Star Trek. Cooly rational and unemotional.
What do you think religious parents will make of your book?
Well, firstly they will never buy it or read it so I don’t think I need worry.
The book doesn’t have a go at any specific religious teaching it simply asks questions about the existence of a god or creator. The book is intended for atheists trying to counter the mountain of religious propaganda aimed at children. I think we need to redress the balance a little.
The book points out that there are wildly different stories about god, all claiming to true. Even kids can work out they can’t all be correct. The answer put forward at the end of the book is that they are all just stories. Most kids know the difference between what is real and a story.