Book Of the Month
Great Without Religion.
Being an atheist kid in a world full of gods.
Author: Lance Gregorchuk
Published by Kindergarden Books February 2012
The Interview with Lance Gregorchuk,
Author of Great Without Religion.
AP: Lance, can you tell us why you wrote this book?
LG: I actually never planned on writing a children’s book, or any book at all for that matter, until my children reached the age at which they could ask questions that were difficult to answer. My daughter was 4 and my son was 6. After my next door neighbor, who was an amazing wife and mother, died of cancer at the age of 56, how I wished I could have answered their inquiries about life after death with god, heaven, the clouds, and magic, but I had always promised myself that as a father, I wouldn’t lie to them, ever! No matter how much it hurts, the truth is always better than a lie. Yet how does one compete with religion? The atheist gets to say, “You die; that‘s it,” and religious followers get clouds, bright lights, and a lifetime of gratitude, just as long they remember to bow and scrape for the church and the smug primates who run it. But try explaining that to a 4 and 6 year old without emotion or bias! So that is why I wrote it.
AP: Lance, you are a family man and a father. Do you have any advice for other fathers?
LG: Personally, although I love and appreciate my dad and everything he ever did for me (I really do!), the fact is I couldn’t possibly imagine him hanging around me for the rest of my life, not to mention for an eternity thereafter, and I am certain there is not a Christian alive who could imagine the same. Yet for some reason Christians want to think that having an imaginary father, who is always there with you, judging your every move, who can read your thoughts and could actually punish you for them (please Google the word “covet”) would be a good thing.
AP: So why did you write this book?
LG: I know it would have been so much easier to have taken the high road, to let them be, to not worry about them. But despite the what-iffers, and despite the majority of my friends and neighbors who have read this book before it was ever published and said I should have taken that path, I decided not to.
You see, I know that had I been alive in 1938 in Germany, as a white middle class plumber, I would have done the same. Had I lived in Rwanda in 1994, probably the most Christian nation in Africa, if not the world, I would have taken a stand for humanity and done what I could have. Yes, in both instances I would have become a worthless speck lost to history, like so many others have; those who have stood up to fanaticism, totalitarianism, communism, and any other “ism.” Like them, I would probably have paid for my intolerance of their ideology with my life just for saying "Wait a minute; you might be wrong."
AP: OK, the religions may have done damage in the past but now don`t they do some good?
LG: No they do not! Now is the time for us to stop tolerating their intolerance. Now is the time for us to say “Enough,” to say “You have had 20 plus centuries of persecution, fables, and fear. Your ‘great book’ has done nothing more than destroy humanity, science, and the evolution of our species.” Now is our time, the atheists’ time.
AP: Other than your parents, wife and kids, who do you give thanks to in this life if not God?
LG: I say Thank you to Galileo, thank you Darwin, thank you Mohamed Bouazizi, and thank you to the men and women history will never write about for giving atheists and non-conformists the strength to stand up against those who say that they understand more than we do, or ever will, about this life and the afterlife.
AP: So what do you say to other atheists now?
LG: I say now I have done my part. I will leave my mark on history as being a person who has tried to stop the insanity of religion and everything it stands for. So now, when the pope of over 1.5 billion Catholics says “AIDS bad, condoms worse,” condemning millions of believers to their death, or when a school system or elected official thinks that we should teach your kids and mine the few niceties of Christianity instead of the insanity, destruction, hatred, genocide, and suffering in 90% of the holy Bible, then I think it is time to take a stand.
Atheism is not a belief system; it is simple reality. In the same way that although I really do wish there were magic unicorns who could grant me wishes and take me away to a wonderful world, it’s nice to believe, but it simply is not true.
I wrote this book to do my part, and because I live in the 21st century I really should not fear religious persecution since, as the religious leaders say, the Koran, the Bible, and the Book of Mormon preach only love, tolerance and respect, but every person who will read this book out there knows that there is a price to pay for freedom, and the biggest price anyone can pay is for religious freedom.
It is true that if you lived, 1,000, 200, 100, or even just 50 years ago you would have never seen a book like this in print, but now is our time. Now is the time to teach our children what we were never taught as kids -- now is the time to take a stand. It is no longer a question of “Maybe there is; maybe there isn’t.” It is now time to say… there isn’t. Certainly if people want to believe, that is okay, but do it in your own home. I don’t want that garbage being taught to my children in schools where my tax dollars go.
I can only wish everyone good luck on your journey of bringing up atheist kids in a world full of gods. It will not be easy, but I guarantee you, watching your children grow, thinking about humanity and what happens in this life, like global warming, the future of our children’s children, and not about some totalitarian celestial dictator who requires praise for everything is so much more rewarding to you, and to your family.