Banks addresses the second of two arguments against the
possibility of Artificial Intelligence: "...two, that
self-awareness resides in a supernatural soul...which one
assumes can never be scientifically understood (equally
improbable, though I do write as an atheist)". --from "A Few
Notes on the Culture" posted on rec.arts.sf.written (August
1994) and reproduced in Critical Wave (UK Fanzine) and
Alarums and Excursions #236 (April 1995).
From a profile by Liam Fay entitled Depraved Heart: "I
wanted to write about faith and the nature of belief,"
explains Iain Banks. "I find that fascinating, being an
evangelical atheist myself. There was also the sheer fun of
making up a new religion. I felt like L. Ron Hubbard. He did
it for real, I know. But he started out being serious about
it and then he eventually started saying things that were
just so utterly absurd that he thought, 'Well, they can't
possibly swallow this. It's so stupid'. There is
considerable fun to be had devising a religion. I recommend
Banks calls himself an "evangelical atheist". He talks of
wanting "to proselytise about the badness of religion, and
to say that faith is wrong, belief without reason and
question is just evil".