Now I have to say I'm a complete atheist, I have no religious views myself and no spiritual views, except very watered down humanistic spiritual views, and consciousness is just a fact of life, it's a natural fact of life.
My interests started about in science and in mathematics; I always thought I was going to be a mathematician.
Within psychology and neuroscience, some new and rigorous experimental paradigms for studying consciousness have helped it begin to overcome the stigma that has been attached to the topic for most of this century.
Actually, I think my view is compatible with much of the work going on now in neuroscience and psychology, where people are studying the relationship of consciousness to neural and cognitive processes without really trying to reduce it to those processes.
I think that consciousness has always been the most important topic in the philosophy of mind, and one of the most important topics in cognitive science as a whole, but it had been surprisingly neglected in recent years.
Because the idea of zombies seems to make sense, and seems to, in a certain sense, be possible, I think one can use that to argue against the thesis that everything is purely physical. Now many people, I think, agree that the idea of zombies are conceivable, including people who want to be physicalists.