Terry Gross talks to the great Stephen King about his new novel, Joyland (I can’t wait), on bookshelves June 4. In the interview he is asked about whether he believes in God or not. His answer is that he chooses to believe in God. I think that’s really the only way atheists can get any kind of spiritual relief. You force yourself to believe something you know isn’t true. But I thought you might enjoy this exchange about Kubrick:
GROSS: Really. So is your interest in the supernatural connected to your interest in or questioning of God? Because they’re both in some way about powers beyond our perception.
KING: Well, belief in the supernatural or belief in wild talents like precognition and telepathy and telekinesis and things like that, it seems to me that belief in those things is just very, very freeing. I can remember talking to the late Stanley Kubrick, who called when he was getting ready to start filming “The Shining,” and whatever else you could say about him, he was a thinking cat.
You know, he really thought about what he was doing. He didn’t just go out there and shoot film. So he said to me, Stephen, don’t you feel that anybody who tells a ghost story is basically an optimist because that presupposes the idea that we go on, that we go on into another life? And I said, well, yes, I can see that, but what about hell?
And there’s this long pause on the other end of the line, and then Stanley Kubrick said in this very stiff voice: I don’t believe in hell.