Isaac Asimov (1920-1992) was one of the cornerstones of the Science Fiction genre. He was also one of the world's most prolific writers, with over 500 books, fiction and non-fiction, credited to his name. Born in Petrovichi, Russia, he grew up in Brooklyn, NY. and got his Ph.D. in biology from Columbia University in 1948. Asimov has become internationally famous as a science fiction author, with his Robot and Foundation stories being among readers' favorites. However, he also wrote massive amounts of material on science and religion - mostly for non-specialists and lay people.
“I am an atheist, out and out. It took me a long time to say it. I've been an atheist for years and years, but somehow I felt it was intellectually unrespectable to say that one is an atheist, because it assumed knowledge that one didn't have. Somehow it was better to say one was a humanist or agnostic. I don't have the evidence to prove that God doesn't exist, but I so strongly suspect that he doesn't that I don't want to waste my time.”
“I would not be satisfied to have my kids choose to be religious without trying to argue them out of it, just as I would not be satisfied to have them decide to smoke regularly or engage in any other practice I consider detrimental to mind or body.”
- Isaac Asimov (as cited in Corvallis Secular Society,1997).
“It is entirely because such thoughts are so comforting and so exhilarating, and so remove us from the otherwise dreadful thought of death, that the afterlife is accepted by the vast majority, even in the absolute absence of any evidence for its existence.”- Isaac Asimov (1994)
When asked what he would do if he were wrong and werefaced with his creator, Isaac Asimov said, “I would say, 'Lord, you should have given us more evidence.'”
“What human being with a modicum of intelligence could stand any of such Heavens, or the other that people have invented, for very long? Where is there a Heaven with an opportunity for reading, for writing, for exploring, for interesting conversation, for scientific investigation? I never heard of one. There is nothing frightening about an eternal dreamless sleep. Surely it is better than eternal torment in Hell and eternal boredom in Heaven.” - Isaac Asimov (1994)
Asimov summed up his atheistic view of the afterlife by saying, “I am not afraid of dying and going to Hell or (what would be considerably worse) going to the popularized version of Heaven. I expect death to be nothingness and, for removing me from all possible fears of death, I am thankful to atheism.” - Isaac Asimov (as cited in Corvallis Secular Society, 1997)
“To surrender to ignorance and call it God has always been premature, and it remains premature today.”