From the perspective Trond Bekken, 31, an engineer from Norway
Do you believe people arrived in their present form on Earth?
I believe in Darwinism. I think it’s logical, not fairytale like Adam and Eve.
Do you think a supernatural force or being guided our evolution or not?
That is hard to believe.
Does it trouble you that we descended from apes?
No, it doesn’t trouble me. Everything is logical. But when you put it like that, it’s a bit funny – a funny question.
What does it mean to be human?
Sharing with others.
Philosophers say that human suffering proves the existence of God, that some people must endure enormous tragedy and sadness in order to find their path to God. What do you think?
No, I think we make our own destiny.
What about the Asian tsunami of 2004 that killed around 250,000 people? Where is a god in such a biblical natural disaster?
I don’t believe in god. No god had anything to do with it.
Do you think the chaos and trouble caused by people, including wars, is the product of a Devil-derived evil or purely free will?
I would say it is free will.
Why do you think the Universe is such a gigantic place yet the only apparent intelligent life as far as we’ve been able to detect is on Earth?
I think there’s something out there but it could be far away.
Scientists tell us the Universe started off from an incomprehensibly dense dot and exploded into what we see today, and is expanding. In your imagination, what did the cosmos blow up into?
I can’t imagine. I’ve never thought about it.
Although impossible now, if a probe could reach the furthest parts of space, at the point where matter was still expanding, and if that probe could jump ahead of the matter, where would it be?
That may be possible in the future. I have no idea, but it will be completely different.
Atheists maintain that religion is nothing more than a fairytale and that adherents are deluding themselves. They say there’s no proof of the existence of any controlling entity or creator and that it’s foolish to believe in one. Are they deluding themselves?
No, I don’t think so. I agree with them. I think religion is good, though. I believe the story of religions but not God. The story of Jesus is true. He was a person, but not the son of god. I respect religious people; it’s good for them.
Given your belief in the non-existence of a God – which itself is a belief system, or religion – what’s your take on the origin and continuation of mankind? Can it have a purpose?
I don’t think so. Just believe in yourself.
What’s the wonder of being alive?
I don’t really know, but live life not in fairytale, I think.