The important thing is not whether there is a god or not. The important thing is that throughout the 200 thousand years that Homo Sapiens Sapiens have existed, and for the half a million years that Homo Neanderthalensis existed (as increasing evidence shows), human beings believed in gods.
If there was no concept of an afterlife, why would the Neanderthal graves from the middle Palaeolithic age (about 300.000-50.000 years ago) be filled with tools and grave gifts? Why would Cro Magnon paint their caves?
For as long as man has existed, he has created and populated the heavens and the underworld with gods and forces in order to understand the world, and maybe to even have hope that this short brutal existence was not it. That there was more than the toil that ninety nine per cent of humanity endured.
So much of human cultural expression is devoted to exploring the concept of God; from Aesop’s fables to Gorecki’s choir arrangements. From Beowulf to Immanuel Kant’s philosophy. If it’s not directly addressed, it’s referenced. It’s a constant presence.
So, is an atheist like me supposed to ignore it? Remove it? Not enjoy it? Be annoyed with it? Try to eradicate it? Someone mentioned that they had stopped listening to a piece of music when the singer sang ‘Jesus Christ’, and it struck me that it was such a stupid reaction. It would remove 80 per cent of music and art and culture from someone’s life, and it would be a near Maoist and Khmer Rouge type of inclination to eradicate that part of culture.