Scottish SF Author
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 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 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'.