Scottish SF Author (16 February 1954 – 9 June 2013)
Banks addressed 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 from the May 1996 issue of Hot Press (a music/culture magazine from Ireland): "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 it."
Banks called himself an 'evangelical atheist'. He talked of wanting 'to proselytise about the badness of religion, and to say that faith is wrong, belief without reason and question is just evil'.
On his cancer diagnosis: "And I just took it as bad luck, basically. It did strike me almost immediately, my atheist sort of thing kicked in and I thought ha, if I was a God-botherer, I'd be thinking, why me God? What have I done to deserve this? And I thought at least I'm free of that, at least I can simply treat it as bad luck and get on with it." 9 June 2013, Iain Banks: In his own words BBC News