I’ve been a Level 7 Atheist for as long as I can remember; the idea of “god” always seemed strange to me. I was fascinated by science as a boy growing up in early 60s England. I loved “outer space” and stories about the undersea world. My first brutal encounter with “the Scriptures” was at Prince Edward’s Infants in Sheffield. I drew a picture story of taking a “rocket ship” into space to meet up with God; it seemed logical to me – a child of Sputnik – that if Heaven was where the Bible said it was, somewhere “up there”, we should be able to visit the place.
My teacher, the twitchy Miss Gamble, took great umbrage at my insolence and ignorance. I was hauled to the front of the class and given “the slipper” across my buttocks. I had, it seems, offended both Church and State with my childish views of materialism and space travel.