Welcome to the "No Need For God" web site
Like it or hate it?
Whether you like the book or hate it please tell your friends and colleagues about "No Need For God".
Talk about it at break, at lunch, in the pub or over the water cooler - get out of the armchair - please spread the word!
Please bring it to the attention of teachers in your children's school.
Click on "Discussion" in the menu above to see discussion of some of the things adult readers have raised about the book.
Talks by the author
The author is available to talk about the book and about atheist/humanist topics in general. There is no charge for talks "north of Watford and south of Leeds." Longer distances will be considered for larger groups.
The author has given hundreds of talks (PGCE and CRB certificates in hand!) in universities, colleges and schools - including in Bristol, Oxford, Cambridge, Birmingham, Derby, Nottingham, Sheffield, Manchester, Leeds, Liverpool, Newcastle, Durham - and all places in between.
Not everyone appreciates NNFG
Some schools have invited the author to talk to older students (sixth formers) but said "you must not talk about the book or criticise other religions - just talk about Humanism".
The school has spent years developing critical faculties in students but does not trust them to make their own judgements about what is said. If an atheist cannot criticise theist views, and all that stems from such views, what's the point giving a talk? Why is the school afraid of open debate?
The good news is that an increasing number of RE teachers welcome speakers with both religious and non-religious world-views - they want their students to make a free and informed decision about what to believe.
Background to the book
This web site is for the book "No Need For God" - a young person's guide to non-belief. The book and this site cover the position of religion in England.
Religious Education (RE) has been a legal requirement in all schools for almost 70 years and, until recently, it only dealt with religious beliefs.
In the last few years people have recognised that this is not fair on the majority of the population which has beliefs that don't require gods or religions.
Most schools (except some segregated religious schools - sometimes called "faith" schools) now include the study of "non-theist" beliefs as part of RE. "Non-theists" are those who do not believe in a god and they can be:
- Atheists - those who do not believe in a god.
- Agnostics - those who claim that it is not possible to prove or disprove the existence of a god. In theory both religious and non-religious people could be agnostics but in fact almost all agnostics are atheists - they don't believe in a god.
- Apatheists - those who don't care one way or the other because gods and religions play no part in their daily lives.
Click for a full-size picture
Putting religion into context
Of course there are statistics and there are statistics and, to be honest, most people don't understand how to validate a survey or to evaluate one against another (we need more education about statistics in schools.)
However, there are obvious trends - and the trend is away from religious belief, away from religious institutions and towards a willingness to challenge established beliefs. The exception is Islam which has undoubtedly benefitted from the ill-conceived "war against religious terrorism".
- 92% of the population does not take part in any form of regular religious activity. (See here.)
- More Muslims go to Mosque each week (930,000) than CofE Christians go to church (916,000). (See here.)
- British Social Attitudes Survey 2013:
"There is little doubt that a substantial change has taken place, with a marked decline in the proportion who describe themselves as belonging to a particular religion. In 1983, around two in three people (68%) considered themselves to belong to one religion or another; in 2012, only around half (52%) do so."
- Poll funded by Lord Ashcroft of 20,062 people in 2013:
"To which of the following religious groups do you consider yourself to belong?".
In the total 18-24 age group, 46% said they had no religion while 33% said they were Christian.
Across all age groups:
- 55% identified as Christian.
- 36% said they had no religion.
- 3% identified as Muslim - rising to 11% among the 18-24 age group.
- 1% identified as Hindus - rising to 3% in the 25-34 age group.
- YouGov poll August 2012:
"Do you regard yourself as belonging to any particular religion?"
53% said no while 42% said yes.
- British Social Attitudes Survey 2011:
85% of people aged 66 plus say they were brought up in a religion, compared to 60% of 18-25 year olds. And the gap is even greater when people are asked if they are religious now. 77% of people aged 66+ say they are religious compared to 35% of people aged 18-25.
The likelihood of young people aged 16-25 being religious varies widely by ethnicity. White British are the least likely to be religious (24% of White British of this age group describe themselves as religious), while Bangladeshis are the most likely (at 97%). In descending percentage: 95% Pakistani, 89% Black African and 87% Indian, and 58% Black Caribbean.
- Over 60% of the adult population claims not to believe in a god. (See here.)
- In the 2001 census over 70% of people ticked the box labelled "Christian". (See here.)
This probably means they were baptised into Christianity, they went to a religious school, they were married in a Church, they have attended a Christian funeral or they have never thought about it very much. It certainly does not mean that they all believe in a god.
In fact, even the minority of people who do attend church have rarely thought deeply about their beliefs - church attendance is a "go with the flow", social function rather than one involving carefully thought out and profound belief. When was the last time a Christian Sunday service actually discussed the validity of religious ideas?
In the same census, hundreds of thousands of people wrote in "Jedi Knight" (from the film "Star Wars") as their religion - making them the fourth largest religious group. (See here.)
The census asks the wrong questions, generates bad data and provides invalid information in relation to religious belief and activity.
- Over 65% of young people aged 12 to 16 claim not to believe in a god. (See here.)
Recent comments from readers
"The humanist and atheist movement is often accused of negativity and of not suggesting alternatives to religion which is why No need for God by Mike Lake is such an important book."
"This is a brave and important work always polite and respectful of religious people whilst maintaining an unwavering intellectual rigour in its discussion of the flaws in religious thought. Perfectly pitched for its target age group and ideal for home or school use this a witty and very readable book - if it didnít exist it would need to be invented!"
Neil, Edinburgh - via an adult review (see the menu above.)
"I've finished reading the book. It's just what is needed to open things up for young people - maybe for adults as well.
My wife, a former teacher and educational psychologist, was delighted with it."
Allan Hayes, trustee of the British Humanist Association and President of Leicester Secular Society.
"I don't think I'm overstating things when I say that I believe this to be an important book. I have worked in schools for thirteen years and not come across its like before. It is vital that our children and young people have the opportunity to understand this and NNFG states the atheist/humanist case in clear non-ambiguous (though never strident) terms."
Nick, Belper, Derbyshire - via an adult review (see the menu above.)
"I gobbled it up as one might a novel. Lots of excellent parts such as "What happens after death?" (p 59). The "gods and religions" (pp 22/23) are wickedly funny. Splod Report (pp 80/81) is very good." The book is very nicely set out/presented. I hope it will be eagerly snapped up by humanists like me and by RE teachers."
John, Cheltenham - via an adult review (see the menu above.)
"An absolutely GREAT book!!! Brilliantly written and one I've been searching for for my own children! Thanks!
Simon - via Facebook.
"I think I found my sister's 'christ'mas present!
Aidan - via Facebook.
"This book is dangerous and should not be allowed in classrooms ..... you will answer to God for this."
David, Brighton - via Email
(Yes, he's for real!)