I cannot remember a time when I had a faith in God and, without that, most religious teaching as a child kept raising questions that confused rather than enlightened.
I have read much of the King James' Bible and was struck by its beauty: the language and the passion of the human intellects creating it. St Matthew's Passion and the plain song of monks in their monasteries bring the same inspirational feeling. Art as an expression of the human intellect is not to be rejected just because, to put in crudely, it is based on a lie. When I read Darwin's Origin of Species and learnt of his fanatical search for evidence and his fears of a sceptical society, I had great admiration for the man. There is much we know now that he did not know. His book was as inspirational to me as to those others inspired to follow through on his work. Darwin may well be wrong in detail but the paradigm created by him has been the basis for many predictions proved to be true. Scientists may quarrel amongs themselves but I have never heard a biologist say that he did not believe in the basic fact of evolution. In a wider context, the scientific endeavour in a search for what could be true and the accumulation of evidence to confirm or deny any hypothesis is truly inspirational and has its own beauty.
To look on this lovely world with eyes wide open is to truly see something that is fantastic. I never argue with the religious about their religion. You cannot argue with someone who knows all the answers. Someone once said they would pray for me. It was kindly meant even if deluded. Being religious does not make someone a bad person and, likewise, having no faith in God. Religion will be with us for many years yet but the voices of atheists should also be heard. Truth will out, I hope, but you never know.
St Albans, UK