Describe your religious beliefs.
You’d have to call me an atheist. As we go forward in time and space in this universe, the less likely it becomes to find the great God that made it all.
Did you go to Sunday School as a kid?
I did, actually. I would have to put on my best clothes, but most of the time we’d play truant. We’d go back occasionally when we got found out and it was reported back that we’d bunked off. But on the whole, we didn’t go very often.
So to a certain extent you were prepared to play along with things before adopting the views you have now?
Well, I suppose so, but times were different then. The whole object of religion is to create a world where everybody lives in peace, love and harmony. There are seven types of religion, including Judaism, Buddhism, Shinto, and the objective of each is to live in harmony with nature. In their own way, everybody is God unto themselves because we all know what’s right and what’s wrong. We’re all brought up not to lie and cheat. It’s up to us whether or not to live our lives by those rules.
So religion is a way of controlling the masses?
To a certain extent, yeah it is. I don’t know what they teach during religious education at schools these days – for instance, whether all of those seven signs are covered. We all know what’s going in the world. There are kids starving in Africa and a better understanding of birth control would stop all of that. It’s strange to think there’s so much modern technology – people live in mud huts and have mobile phones. There are also these guys [the Boko Haram] who’ve taken all of those girls.
You mean that a lot of evil is done in the name of religion, regardless of any particular denomination?
That’s exactly what I mean. It’s the same with Afghanistan. The Taliban said they wanted to destroy all musical instruments but music is supposed to be conducive to healing – if music sends you into a trance, that’s really good for you. So from what I understand, Afghan musicians were burying their instruments. I think the same thing happened in China under Chairman Mao. It’s a crazy world. If you live your life by the Ten Commandments, which really are quite good, then you can have a very harmonious time. The only problem comes when others who shun those rules get in the way.
If you could add an eleventh commandment, what would it be?
To live in harmony and love.
So for you, there isn’t such a thing as a God or Devil, it’s about a general state of being?
I think so. Yeah, that’s it. Goodness is inside each person – you don’t need those kinds of beliefs to bring it out. All of us have brains and we’re supposed to be thinking people. As we explore planet after planet, the idea of there being some all-powerful being is turning out to be nonsense.
If you’re just a ‘funerals and weddings’ guy, do you have a favourite hymn?
All Things Bright And Beautiful. I still remember that one from school. Doesn’t everyone enjoying singing along with it? In fact, while we were in America, we ended up going to a Gospel meeting and that was a fantastic experience. It made me feel so joyous I almost burst into tears. I really didn’t expect that.