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Imagine if instead, the vegetation was all purple, or orange, how awful that would be."And now behold what this pious old trout hath wrought. Watts: she was an affectionate and childless widow who had a friendly old sheepdog who really was named Rover, and she would invite us for sweets and treats after hours to her slightly ramshackle old house near the railway line.If Satan chose her to tempt me into error he was much more inventive than the subtle serpent in the Garden of Eden.I know that millions of human beings have had to endure these things, and I do not think that religions can or should be absolved from imposing such miseries.

We do not believe in heaven or hell, yet no statistic will ever find that without these blandishments and threats we commit more crimes of greed or violence than the faithful.I am morally certain that millions of other people came to very similar conclusions in very much the same way, and I have since met such people in hundreds of places, and in dozens of different countries.Many of them never believed, and many of them abandoned faith after a difficult struggle.I had never heard of Sigmund Freud—though he would have been very useful to me in understanding the headmaster—but I had just been given a glimpse of his essay The Future of an Illusion.I am inflicting all this upon you because I am not one of those whose chance at a wholesome belief was destroyed by child abuse or brutish indoctrination.

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