Heaven is nothing more than a "fairy story" invented by people who are "afraid of the dark."
That's the conclusion of world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, who made the statement in an interview with London's The Guardian on Sunday.
"I regard the brain as a computer which will stop working when its components fail," he told the British newspaper. "There is no heaven or afterlife for broken-down computers."
Hawking has dismissed religious theories relating to matters of science for years, arguing "the universe is governed by science."
In "The Grand Design," his 2010 book about the creation of the universe, the 69-year-old scientist ruffled religious feathers when he wrote God didn't spark the Big Bang.
"It is not necessary to invoke God to ... set the universe going," Hawking wrote. "There is a law such as gravity, the universe can and will create itself from nothing."
In 1988, Hawking made a a similar argument in his famed book, "A Brief History of Time," but at the time was more careful not to rule God out entirely.
"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," he told the German magazine Der Spiegel.
"This doesn't prove that there is no God, only that God is not necessary," he said.
Hawking says he has faced death daily since he was diagnosed with Lou Gehrig's Disease at the age of 21.
"I have lived with the prospect of an early death for the last 49 years," he said. "I'm not afraid of death, but I'm in no hurry to die. I have so much I want to do first."