Farewell to Sir Arthur C Clarke – an atheist until the end
SIR ARTHUR C Clarke, the pioneering British science fiction author and technological visionary best known for the novel and film 2001: A Space Odyssey, has died at his home in Sri Lanka, aged 90.
Clarke, who wrote more than 100 books in a career spanning seven decades, died of heart failure linked to the post-polio syndrome that had kept him in a wheelchair for the past 13 years.
According to a report in today’s Guardian, “his forecasts often earned him derision from peers and social commentators. But although his dreams of intergalactic space travel and colonisation of nearby planets were never realised in his lifetime, Clarke’s predictions of a host of technological breakthroughs were uncannily accurate.
“He was one of the first people to suggest the use of satellites for communications, and in the 1940s forecast that man would reach the moon by the year 2000 – an idea that experts at first dismissed as nonsense.”
What the Guardian failed to point out was that Clarke was an avowed atheist.
In his autobiography he said:
It may be that our role on this planet is not to worship God, but to create him.
He also observed:
Religion is a by-product of fear. For much of human history, it may have been a necessary evil, but why was it more evil than necessary? Isn’t killing people in the name of God a pretty good definition of insanity?
A statement from Sir Arthur’s office said he wanted a private funeral be held in Sri Lanka. According to Lanka Business Online, Sir Arthur also insisted:
Absolutely no religious rites of any kind, relating to any religious faith, should be associated with my funeral.