It's Good Friday and it is a day with special significance - I get my hair cut.
Only joshing, but you expected some little jest didn't you? That's why you follow me on this journey of discovery and I wanted to share with you this thought, that as you follow so shall you lead.
I was invited to speak on the radio this morning and to answer the question posed by the presenter Frances Finn, in a modern world is there still a need for and space for god?
In her preamble to the discussion Ms Finn described atheists and non believers as sceptics, likening us all to Dawkins as extremist secularists. She also stated that those without faith consider those with faith as weak minded. She went on to suggest that in our attitude we might be condescending and dismissive to those who believe in their god.
The first speaker who contributed was a vicar and he claimed that true believers in his faith helped their fellow man to make positive contributions to life, that being a man of faith meant that you reflected on your actions and that you were full of humility and open to the possibility of what god could do for you.
He did accept that some good was done in the world that was not motivated by faith nor delivered by people with faith - I thought that was magnanimous (I don't mean that in a condescending way).
I would challenge his view that only the religious are open to reflection and self examination, I'm sure many atheists are deeply introspective.
There were other callers who revealed their personal stories of how they had found faith or been supported by faith through very difficult times and these stories were quite moving and illustrated how some people really do find a lot of support in their faith and through their church.
So, now it was my turn and I first of all suggested that not all Humanists and atheists are exactly alike - we are not all Dawkins and it's a little tedious to be compared with him all the time - although it makes a change from Hitler and Stalin!
I was then asked if I looked down on people with faith and thought of them as foolish and weak minded and I responded that I may well have done at one time but I now think it a foolish thing to argue about.
It seems very clear that some people will always have faith in god, in whatever form that happens to be and I accept their right to believe in god. I believe their faith is real and all I ask is that they allow me to not have the same faith.
I was joined in this discussion by another vicar, a very pleasant lady vicar and she told me that she felt that each of us had a god shaped hole in our body that we need to fill. I answered that I filled it with living, with being the best person I could be and that for me it was as simple as you are born, you live, you die.
I reiterated my belief that we should all follow our own path and be happy in our choices and that arguing about it was pointless.
The vast majority of those who contributed did so to illustrate the strength of their faith but I was heartened that there was some acknowledgement that not all good deeds in our lives are gifts from god.
Later, as I was driving to have my ears lowered, it suddenly dawned on me that there are two real issues here - one is a right to believe and to have faith and a separate issue is does god exist?
In fact there is a further point that arises in my mind as I write this scripture - those who have faith believe that god exists and those who choose to live without god do not have to decide if he exists or not, but can simply choose to live without him influencing their day to day lives.
But this is where it gets complicated and the real arguments starts because many secularists believe that the belief in god influences so much of our daily life that we are forced to defend the alternate view with as much vigour as those who claim he exists.
Does this make sense?
A child puts a tooth under their pillow, they have been told that a fairy will replace the tooth with some money. When the child awakes in the morning and finds the money they will accept that a tooth fairy exists - they will have faith in that belief.
A child hangs a stocking on the end of their bed because they have been told Santa will fill it with presents and when they awake and find a DS Lite and a banana, they accept that Santa exists and have faith in that belief.
But of course the fact that children believe that the tooth fairy and Santa exist does not make it true and yet their faith in these stories brings them great happiness, joy and comfort.
In the same way that we do not rob our children of their faith in the magic of fairies and Father Christmas, we are asked not to rob the faithful of their belief in god and I have decided that this is a sensible way to proceed. Your right to believe is important.
But as children grow up they use their brains and they ask questions and they eventually come to a conclusion that tooth fairies and Santa might not be exactly what they were led to believe. Some of us go a little further and decide that not only do we not need a tooth fairy, but we don't need a god - in any form.
So that is my easter message this year, not as long as the Pope and not as pious (hopefully) but a simple heartfelt plea....please allow me to have no faith.
Right off you all go and make your choice about what you will fill your god shaped hole with...Mrs B suggests chocolate for her, well it is easter and that bunny will soon be here with all those eggs!
In hindsight - I may come across as a little condescending during this blog, that's just my human weakness...forgive me.