"I realized this god was a figment of the collective imagination"

BY - Dr. Khalid Sohail


Q-1, Do you believe in God? If you do Why?

A-1, No, I do not.

Q-1, What is your concept / experience of God?

A-2. I was taught as a child that “he” is “in heaven”, “up there” somewhere. It was rather vague. I imagined him as an old man, rather stern-looking, as portrayed in religious art, sitting about on a throne or clouds with angels around him waiting to judge somebody.

Q-3, How is your belief system different than the belief system of your family and community of origin?

A-3, My generation does not believe in god, except for my sister who pays lip service (got her son christened, goes to Christmas Eve service because of the nice atmosphere etc). My parents’ generation were church-goers and on my father’s side, still are, as are their children, my cousins. My parents never made a big deal of religion—it was more of a custom; going to church was a thing everybody did at that time. Sunday school was fun and the church had enjoyable outings and social events.

Q-4, How did you become an Atheist / Agnostic / Free Thinker / Humanist?

A-4, I began to realize from reading that every culture invents a religion according to their understanding of the world around them, to deal with natural events, protect against disasters, regulate behaviour and plan for life after death etc. It made me realize that Christianity was merely one of those. At the same time, I was having terrible struggles with my mother, and all my prayers to the Christian god to help me never resulted in anything, so I realized this god was a figment of the collective imagination, not anyone real who took an interest in my troubles. I remember the night I stopped praying and dismissed god out of my life.

Q-5, Why do you believe in a Religion?

Q-6, Why do you practice your preferred religion [Islam / Christianity / Judaism / Hinduism / Sikhism / Native Spirituality etc] as opposed to not any other religious or spiritual tradition?

Q-8, Do you believe in giving Religious Education to children at home and in schools?

A-8, No—children need to be mixing with each other and learning to understand each other’s cultures, not spending their formative years segregated into educational ghettoes. Religion is the family’s business and should be taught at home.

Q-9, Why can’t we teach our children different religious and spiritual and secular traditions as part of history and let them decide when they become adults?

A-9, I have no quarrel with that. My children aren’t baptized into any religion and they are welcome to choose one if and when they want.

Q-10, What are your views about the relationship between Religion and State?

A-10, They should be strictly separate.

Q-11, Where you do get your guidance about your moral and ethical values? 

A-11, From people whose values I admire, and from the concept of treating others as I would like to be treated.


Q-12, Are you single or married?

A-12, Married.

Q-13, If you are single is it out of your own choice?

A-14, What are your views about celibacy? It’s a personal choice, neither admirable nor reprehensible in and of itself.

Q-15, why did you get married? Was it an arranged or a love marriage?

A-15, My husband strongly wanted to get married. I had had a lot of relationships and at this age I was ready to settle down and work at this relationship with or without papers. He’s a good man and worth working things through with.

Q-16, Do you believe in platonic relationships between men and women?

A-16, Yes, although it’s hard to maintain that state sometimes!

Q-17, Are you gay or lesbian?

A-17, No

Q-18, Have you shared your gay / lesbian lifestyle with your family and community?

Q-19, What was the reaction of your family and community?

Q-20, What do you think of legalizing gay and lesbian marriages in Canada?

Q-21, Do you have a gay or lesbian friend or relative?

A-21, Yes.

Q-22, What do you think different Religions and Scriptures say about gay and lesbian lifestyle?

A-22, They are generally disapproving of it. It has been interesting watching various Christian groups struggling to change from official repugnance to official approval over the last few years—gays were once an abomination and are now God’s special lambs, with ministries dedicated to them and diplomatic handling by congregations of their wishes to become priests and ministers themselves. 


Q-23, Are you an immigrant? For how long have you been living outside your motherland?

Q-24, What do you consider the cultural differences between the two cultures?

Q-25, How do you deal with your cultural conflicts?


Q-26, Are you a Creative Person?

A-26, No.

Q-27, How do you express your creativity [ write, paint, act or make films or in other forms] ?

A-27, Once every 10 years or so I write a short story but it doesn’t make me creative. I would say I have lived a somewhat unconventional life because of certain choices and circumstances.

Q-28, Do you share your Creations with your family and community?

Q-29, What are the reactions of your family and community about your Creative Expressions?

Q-30, Did you experience emotional and social problems because of your Creative Personality and Lifestyle?

Q-31, How do you cope with those emotional and social problems?

Thank you for sharing your philosophy and lifestyle.                                     


Send questions or comments to Dr. Khalid Sohail