"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," he told the Guardian newspaper.
"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."
When asked how we should live he said: "We should seek the greatest value of our action."
Hawking gave the interview ahead of this month's Google Zeitgeist meeting in London, where he joined speakers including George Osborne, the British finance minister, and Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz.
Addressing the question: Why are we here? he argued tiny quantum fluctuations in the very early universe sowed the seeds of human life.
The former Cambridge University Lucasian professor of mathematics, a post once also held by Isaac Newton, has a history of drawing criticism for his comments on religion.
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