As noted in As noted in the December 2012 / January 2013 issue of Free Inquiry Magazine, Harry Harrison was not only an atheist but he was also consistent in his secular humanism which is beautifully presented in this short story The Streets of Ashkelon, written early in his career in 1961.
In this story, the atheistic sole human on the planet urges a newly arrived and uninvited Christian priest to abandon his mission to convert the planets indigenous sapient species explaining that the natives “have thunder, trees, and water without having thunder-gods, tree sprites, or water nymphs. They have no ugly little gods, taboos, or spells to hag-ride and limit their lives. They are the only primitive people I have ever encountered that are completely free of superstition and appear to be much happier and sane because of it. I just wanted to keep them that way.”
Of course the priest has his mission and will not be dissuaded.
Below is a link to this story as well as a great narration by Light Speed Magazine. I encourage you to check it out, it’s a great read or listen, which ever you prefer.
From the moment that the priest show up on Ashkelon, it didn’t bode well for the of this planets inhabitants. Leave it to religion to destroy the peace of a world and taint fresh impressionable minds and rob creatures of their innocence for some theological agenda. Now wouldn’t it be nice if people just believed what they needed to believe and felt secure enough about it about that, that they didn’t need to save or convert others, racking up social capital to reinforce their own beliefs.