Barbara Smoker

Empathising with the younger children on whom the same confidence trick was being imposed, I embarked on a crusade around the neighbourhood, telling all the kids that there was no Santa Claus. This reached the ears of the father of a neighbouring family, who reproved me for spoiling it for the little ones. Spoiling it! I could not understand what he meant. To my mind, they were being made fools of, and I was only saving them from this indignity.

The one function that most gods seem to have in common is to give human existence some ultimate purpose – and, while it is not possible to disprove an ultimate purpose, there does not seem to be any evidence for it. This is not to say, of course, that there is no purpose in life at all: we all make our own purposes as we go through life. And life does not lose its value simply because it it not going to last forever.