Sure, I’m frightened.  Of all sorts of things.  I can’t imagine what an imaginary,  supposedly benevolent Intelligent Designer had in mind in creating these horrors, but yes, I am scared of spiders (especially Australian redbacks), sharks (all of them), snakes (idem), salties (though I have never been anywhere near these ferocious sea-crocodiles in northern Australia), and other animals and reptiles for which I could be part of the food-chain.  More seriously, I am afraid of muggers, murderers, terrorists, burglars, con-men, the Mafia, people who would not hesitate to do me harm, in the most creative ways.

Death ?  No, I’m not in the least afraid of death.  Perhaps I have the advantage of having had to face it once – peacefully, mercifully with adequate, immediate effective medical care in the form of a triple bypass, after a near-fatal heart attack.  Even before that I was not afraid of death.  For this I thank my discovery of atheism.  I could croak tonight.  No worries, as we Australians infuriatingly say all the time.  It will be The End.  The movie “Harry Potter 1” was the first but far from the last of the series.  My life is highly unlikely to be the subject of a movie.  If it were, the film “Frank O’Meara” would no doubt have no sequel; my earthly life will most certainly have none.

Afraid ?  Of torture, yes.  Dependence, yes.  Pain, yes.  Alzheimers, yes.  Being a burden to my family, yes.  These are the things I fear most.  As for dying, I couldn’t care a fig.  How many Darwins, how many Dawkins will it take to get people to realize that God is a myth, that an “after-life” is a fairy tale, that death is the end of personal existence ?  It is no more worthy of fear than dozing off to sleep.

RIDENDA      RELIGIO