I have always been attracted to religion. As a child attending a series of mostly C of E schools, I wanted to know God. Moses had his burning bush, the disciples had the feeding of the five thousand – of course they could believe in God. I actively looked for a sign

It never came.

In my student days I was still looking. I was soon picked up by the Christian Union people and taken to week-end retreats and prayed for. I attended a variety of the best churches that London had to offer.

It just didn’t work for me. I am a rational person. I was reading Law and that encourages a logical and critical mind.

By my early thirties I was married with three children and was doing a reasonably good job as wife and mother. I was involved in politics (Liberal) and active in my local Consumers Group and other community projects. It occurred to me that I was leading a reasonably useful life. God, if there was a god, couldn’t judge me too badly. I would fret no more. I was an agnostic.

But once I’d given up chasing after God I began to see how ridiculous the whole thing was. If God is an all-powerful being how can we not be aware of him? If He created all this, why are we to blame if it all goes wrong? Why has he ‘revealed’ himself in so many contradictory forms? Above all, why does he want us to worship him?

This matter of worship really troubles me. How can there be a relationship between man and god which involves worship when our understanding of god is so utterly inadequate? Would we expect our family cat to worship us because we feed and stroke him? Our cat has not the faintest understanding of our human life – the traffic jams, the family crises, the latest Bond film. His opinion of our merits is worthless. Our affection for him is unconditional. Why does God want all this fuss?

The universe (or is it now a multiverse, whatever that is?) must have an explanation and if that involves an act of will by some entity, one could call that entity ‘god’. But even thinking about such concepts makes my mind hurt. And I can’t believe it has anything to do with eating fish on Friday.

It may sound a bit low-key, but we do better to look after the reality in front of us rather than hanker after a paradise that does not exist in any form that we can imagine. Just try to be a useful human and look after this insignificant planet and all that lives on it. That is enough of a challenge for one life.

Margaret Godden