My actress yesterday told me of a friend of hers. The friend is a minister / elder in a Methodist church. She frequently preaches. However, she is not a believer. She has no faith. Only those who know her well know that she's an unbeliever.
When you ask her, "Why do you work as a minister and preach to others when you yourself have no faith?" she answers, "People need to believe. It helps them. By preaching, I'm helping them."
My response to my actress:
To hell with that. Are we such ignoble creatures that we need the comfort of a lie, of a handy fiction to make us feel good? We believe because it is true; we believe because God is truth. If it turns out (as I was convinced when I was an atheist) that God is a lie and that this whole thing is an elaborate illusion, propped up by well meaning hypocrites for the benefit of cowards, then let's get pick axes and kerosene and smash up and burn to the ground every god-forsaken church in the world. To hell with all religion if it's simply a lie that we like. I am for truth, as any man with any dignity would be.
Give me believers with courage. Give me atheists with courage. Then we'll live again.