"I've never been the sort of firebrand that I've been made out to be. I'm actually quite a mild person," The God Delusion author told Jian. 

"Because people have got so used to the idea that you simply don't attack religion at all, if you do it -- even in a very gentle tone -- people hear it as thought it was firebrand language, which it really isn't." 

In a wide-ranging feature chat, Dawkins spoke to Jian about his youth, his public image, and his new memoir An Appetite for Wonder. He also shares his thoughts on so-called atheist churches, why he doesn't care to "unsave" people, and how to raise more skeptical children. 

Dawkins on the Charter of Quebec Values

The author also weighed in on the ongoing debate surrounding the Charter of Quebec Values, and proposed measures that would prevent public servants from wearing "ostentatious" religious symbols.

"I don't think that it's up to government to dictate what people should wear," he said. "My position would be that they should be a free as anybody else."