The world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, speaking to the Guardian newspaper over the weekend, said that heaven is nothing but "fairy story" invented for people who are "afraid of the dark".

Christians are outraged over his comments of their religious beliefs.

Hawking, (69) the director of research at the Center of Theoretical Cosmology at Cambridge University, stated that there is no heaven and that people's brains simply switch off like "broken down computers" when they die.

The genius has previously angered the Church by stating that God did not create the universe.

His latest revelation came as he spoke about living with motor neuron disease. He was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease at the age of 21. In the interview he said "I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years.

''I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first.

''I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail.

''There is no heaven or afterlife for broken down computers; that is a fairy story for people afraid of the dark.''

Speaking to Cambridge News, the director the lobby group, Christian Voice,  Stephen Green, said "The comparisons to a computer switching off shows a man who is only able to think of things in a materialistic way…'It is a dim viewpoint of a man who is trying to understand something he is spiritually unable to do.

''People who believe in the afterlife don't do so because they are afraid of death, that's a misunderstanding of religious thinking.

''Belief in God dispels a fear of the dark, of death.  I don't see why Hawking finds it such a struggle to comprehend the spiritual dimension.

''Hawking is happy to discuss the M-theory, in which the universe is said to have 11 dimensions, why then could the universe not have a 12th spiritual dimension?'

Green will, no doubt, not be the last to comment on Hawking's controversial statements.

In 2010 Hawking's book "The Grand Design" ruffled feathers in the Church when he stated that God did not spark the Big Bank. He wrote "It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the universe going…There is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."

Back in 1988 he made a similar argument in his world-famous book "A Brief History of Time" however at this time he did not rule out time completely. Speaking to the German newspaper, Der Spiegel, he said "What I have done is to show that it is possible for the way the universe began to be determined by the laws of science…This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary."



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