Stephen Fry on God

Stephen Fry is one of my heroes, and I shouldn’t have to explain why. In this video Fry is interviewed by the famous Gay Byrne for Irish television, and stuns Byrne with some rational thoughts about God:

I love that man!

Oh, and as a relevant lagniappe, I’ll add this photo that I found on John Loftus’s Facebook page. It’s basically true, but when you see it laid out this way the consummate craziness of religion becomes clear:

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142 Comments

  1. John W. Loftus
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the hat tip Jerry!

    • Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

      The “outsider test” gets a name check every day in these parts, as Mr. Loftus may know – so you are frequently h/t’d in “spirit.”

  2. Nicholas
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 1:33 pm | Permalink

    Re: Stephen Fry on God

    Absolutely. Bloody. Perfect.

    I’ll send the link to anyone who badgers me about everlasting life in a paradise that sounds like North Korea on freaking steroids.

    I’ll take non-existence and oblivion over groveling to a monstrous tyrant any day.

    • Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

      Eternity is a long time. Particularly toward the end.

      • ladyatheist
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        +

      • BillyJoe
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 5:51 am | Permalink

        What friggin’ end?
        Eternity barely never even gets started.

      • Marilee Lovit
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:56 am | Permalink

        But most like chaos –stopless, cool–
        Without a chance or spar
        Or even a report of land
        To justify despair.

        — Emily Dickenson

  3. Posted January 30, 2015 at 1:35 pm | Permalink

    🍟

  4. Eric Wojciechowski
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

    I think this could be played on a continuous loop as an answer to every god question, allowing the rest of us to get on with real life and real, satisfying explorations.

    • Toreasonwhy
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:08 pm | Permalink

      Great idea!

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 3:39 am | Permalink

      Brilliant!

  5. Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:00 pm | Permalink

    At the end of this clip, in jaw dropped awe of the majesty of that answer, I simply uttered, “God.” Haha. A pure exclamation, with no cognitive content.

    How incredible. I too love this man.

    • Posted January 31, 2015 at 2:38 am | Permalink

      It’s worrisome that he gives himself such stressful assignments (e.g. confronting homophobes in Uganda) when he has clinical depression. He must be quite well set up by now and could afford to relax.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 3:41 am | Permalink

        He might very well be more depressed were he not able to stand up for causes that address some of the most depressing aspects of human “civilization.”

      • Posted January 31, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

        Oh, he’s been well set up since the success of the musical Me and My Girl, for which he wrote the book.

        /@

  6. Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    I love that it accompanies a suitably hunky JC (no, the other hunky JC) for the Emangelists. Hawt.

    • Grania Spingies
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:39 pm | Permalink

      Yes, isn’t he the most homoerotic Aryan wet dream out there. :p

  7. DrBrydon
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Oh my god, that was hilarious. Could the interviewer looks any more uncomfortable?

    Speaking of theodicy, I’ve always found this relevant (from South Park):

    Stan: Why would God let Kenny die, Chef? Why? Kenny’s my f-f-friend. Why can’t God take someone else’s f-f-friend?

    Chef: Stan, sometime God take those closest to us, because it makes him feel better about Himself. He’s a very vengeful God, Stan. He’s all pissed off about something we did thousands of years ago. He just can’t get over it. So he doesn’t care who he takes: children, puppies, it don’t matter to him, so long as it makes us sad. Do you understand?

    Stan: Then why does God give us anything to start with?

    Chef: Well, look at it this way: if you want to make a baby cry, first, you give it a lollipop. Then, you take it away. If you never give it a lollipop to begin with, then you would have nothing to cry about. That’s like God, who gives us life and love and health, just so that he can tear it all away and make us cry, so he can drink the sweet milk of our tears. You see, it’s our tears, Stan, that give God his great power.

    • nickswearsky
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:34 pm | Permalink

      It is obvious the interviewer does not like his answer. I was expecting some sort of rebuttal or followup, but it is also obvious he had no answer.

      I find that remarkable.

      • Posted January 31, 2015 at 2:42 am | Permalink

        There is something so empty is his comment about the answer’s length that it’s perfectly clear that’s not what he thinks about it at all. I wonder what he would have said if he’d let himself.

        • Posted January 31, 2015 at 3:29 am | Permalink

          Maybe “Damn you! You’ve just halved my catchment of suc^h^h^hbelievers.’

  8. lwgreen1
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:07 pm | Permalink

    Fry is one of my heroes as well. This is an absolutely perfect answer to that question.

    • Posted January 31, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      Since he is clearly more benevolent than God and arguably wiser, maybe we should worship him….

  9. Sastra
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    The most powerful weapon that religion and spirituality have is the blithe view that one ought to want to be the kind of person who believes in God. If you’re struggling with the question of Evil or the absurdity of doctrine or the scientific evidence against explanatory skyhooks, the emphasis is on the struggle. You’re engaged in a noble effort to have faith. It’s like trying to succeed in the face of obstacles. We can do it — or we just can’t. So sorry. I can’t.

    Fry absolutely and devastatingly rejects this entire framework and turns the whole damn thing onto God and the believer. He doesn’t “have doubts” about God’s goodness — he is outraged by the sheer evil of pointless evil and why shouldn’t he be? Why isn’t everyone? No apologies. No holds barred. No wonder the Catholic looks stunned and sheepish.

    It’s freakin’ beautiful.

  10. Heather Hastie
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:17 pm | Permalink

    This is my response to that question too, except, of course, Fry expresses it so much better. (i.e. Even if God was real, I still wouldn’t worship him because he’s such an a**hole.)

    Rather than a bucket list, I have a dream dinner party – Stephen Fry is on the guest list. Wonderful man.

    • darrelle
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      I think I would really enjoy your dinner parties.

      I love that man too. Every single time I read, see, hear him my respect and fondness for him is reinforced.

  11. Diana MacPherson
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:19 pm | Permalink

    Fry is a sweet and intelligent man. He just got married too.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

      I RTd his tw**t about it. It was so nice to see him obviously just bursting with happiness. Made me all teary-eyed.

  12. Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:28 pm | Permalink

    Quintessentially articulate and beautiful – Stephen Fry.

    Without god and religion, life also becomes more honest.

  13. thh1859
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:36 pm | Permalink

    WOW!!
    I am going to trnscribe.it.

    • Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:58 pm | Permalink

      Please share a link when you do!

      • Heather Hastie
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:11 pm | Permalink

        +1!

  14. thh1859
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    …more accurately than my comment.

  15. Grania Spingies
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    Gaybo really needs to stop asking eloquent gay atheists what they would say to God.

    Actually, Rory O’Neill (Irish drag queen, Pantibliss) also gave a beautiful response to that question.

    OK, new link:

    Go here: http://www.rte.ie/tv/meaningoflife/player.html
    and find the episode for May 11, 2014 (currently on page 2)

    • Timothy Hughbanks
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      Did you mean to take us back to Jerry’s duck porn?

      • Grania Spingies
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:26 pm | Permalink

        No, I really didn’t.
        Hmm.
        Okay, I will try to fix.

        • Marilee Lovit
          Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:24 am | Permalink

          Enjoyed the duck porn.

    • Rory
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:36 pm | Permalink

      For the lazy (like me) the “What would you say at the Pearly Gates?” question comes right at the end, a few seconds after the 25 minute mark.

    • kieran
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:48 pm | Permalink

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LKyn1sIZcyA Bob Geldof answering

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:39 am | Permalink

        Oh that’s a good clip.

        “Is there a god?”
        “No”

        Gets that question out of the way… 🙂

      • BillyJoe
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:09 am | Permalink

        And he talks about meeting that stupid smiling guru who believes in reincarnation. What is the point of being reincarnated as a vagabond if you can’t remember that you were a piss ant is the previous one.
        (Sorry, that’s my comment, not Bob’s)

  16. Posted January 30, 2015 at 2:57 pm | Permalink

    That’s terrific.

    Things are opening up. People can be that strong in their unbelief, publicly.

    I just this morning listened to a local NPR (MPR) program where they were talking about “resilience” of people in the face of tragedy.

    And, many times, after saying, “oh yes, people rely on their faith for resilience” they acknowledged that, yes people with no faith (with scare exclamation point following) were resilient too! Sage heads nodding (mumbles on the radio).

    But when they went beyond that, it’s sort of like — well, how do they do that? (Without their invisible Daddy illusion?)

    It’s great to hear us acknowledged — it’s been extremely rare, even on NPR.

    I have to chalk some of this up to Obama’s public acknowledgements, starting with his (first) inauguration speech, and continuing through recent comments regarding the Paris attacks.

    Psst — he’s actually an atheist but he has to kiss the ass of faith in the US.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

      I remember seeing a thing on CNN (I think) about the role of religion in US politics and how it’s used to undermine people sometimes. It was at the time of Romney’s run. There was a string of clips where that happened, but in the middle was Richard Dawkins saying he thought Obama was really an atheist. To the American audience, that was apparently viewed as a personal insult of Obama rather than an indictment of US politics.

  17. ehecatl
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:29 pm | Permalink

    Does anybody know what the official church doctrine is for prayer? I once asked this on catholic answers but it was obviously to stupid a question to deserve an answer 🙂

    • kieran
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 7:39 pm | Permalink

      What type of prayer? There are number of different types of prayer?
      Adoration
      Expiation
      Charity/love
      Petition/intercessory
      Thanksgiving

      http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p4s1c1a3.htm is the vaticans own website

      Then there are twenty different rosaries separated into four groups? These are generally petition but also used in expiation

      Then stations of the cross but that falls under adoration

      A great book to understand the catholic view is pyramids by terry Pratchett as it shows just how confused religion gets after a few thousand years.

      • JohnnieCanuck
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 3:01 pm | Permalink

        You missed my favourite. Imprecatory prayer. Some Christians get all tied up in knots trying to rationalise praying for their god to smite somebody.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

      what the official church doctrine is for prayer?

      It’s something like :
      (1) find someone to pray on – choir boy is popular.
      (2) Pray on him.
      (3) Promote the prayer within the church.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:47 pm | Permalink

        Lol!

  18. Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:41 pm | Permalink

    He greets god at the pearly gates with “how dare you.” There is nothing about that, that isn’t just awesome.
    Even if he weren’t, IMO, the best ambassador that humanism ever had, Stephen Fry would still be one of my favorite people.
    He’s easily one of the 5-10 funniest comedians/humorists I’ve ever seen or read.

  19. Mark R.
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Stephen Fry has an astounding prolific career and a brilliant mind. He exhibits here a great example of the strident atheist. Kudos!!!

    The lagniappe is a hoot as well. I’ve made that same argument many times, but as Jerry said, within this context it is a priceless joke on religion.

  20. DiscoveredJoys
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:16 pm | Permalink

    I understand that ‘Pearly Gates’ is a metaphor, but Mrs DiscoveredJoys and I were wondering recently about how ‘Heaven’ worked. The religious will tell you that you will meet your loved ones again – but what age will they appear as? Mr Bergoglio tells us that we will meet our d*gs and cats again, but that means that a pet lover might easily have tens of pets, all of which thought that they were ‘the one pet’.

    Makes no sense, yet people still believe even when they cannot tell you how it works.

  21. Adrian Johnson
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:40 pm | Permalink

    I’m a big fan of Fry but it deeply saddens me that he’s such a fan- and friend- of Prince Charles for two reasons; I don’t understand how an atheist can be a monarchist; and Chas is a big champion of pseudo-medicine and spouts nonsense on all kinds of subjects. It’s an awfully big blind spot for an otherwise rational man

    • Nicholas
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:44 pm | Permalink

      @ Adrian

      Individual personalities aside, I just can’t fathom why the concept, or indeed the reality, of a so-called royal class of human beings holds favor, to this very day, with so many people.

      Utterly bizarre.

      • thh1859
        Posted January 30, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

        But the strange fact is that the most free-thinking, socially advanced countries – Holland, Norway, Sweden and Denmark – are monarchies.

        • Randy Schenck
          Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:10 pm | Permalink

          Kind of shows that a monarchy can be the preferred form of government. Spoils it for all those who think they have a democracy.

        • Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:53 pm | Permalink

          Yes, but they are *spayed* monarchies.

      • gluonspring
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:07 pm | Permalink

        They are mascots.

        • Diane G.
          Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:22 pm | Permalink

          Silly costumes and all.

    • Heather Hastie
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:27 pm | Permalink

      Fry has spoken about why he likes Prince Charles, and I had absolutely no problem with his reasons.

      None of my friends share the same opinions as me about everything, and I don’t expect them to. Most aren’t atheist, but their basic values are secular humanist, so we just agree to disagree.

      • BillyJoe
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:17 am | Permalink

        Please share his reasons.

  22. mordacious1
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 5:21 pm | Permalink

    One of my favorite pasttimes is to describe some things that YHWH has done (bone cancer in children is always a good one) and then tell a christian that his god is a pathetic monster. It really riles them up…hee hee. I feel it’s important to use the word pathetic, which Mr. Fry didn’t do, but to each his own.

    Congratulations on Stephen’s nuptials, I hope he and Elliot are very happy.

  23. Mark Sturtevant
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:00 pm | Permalink

    He makes a decent case for the existence of the Roman gods. It at least makes more sense than the existence of an overall benevolent god.

    • Nicholas
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:07 pm | Permalink

      @ Mark

      “The existence of many different gods also offers a more plausible account than monotheism of the presence of evil and confusion in the world. A mortal may have had the support of one god but incur the enmity of another, who could attack when the patron god was away”

      Gods, or God?

      RTWT here:

      http://articles.latimes.com/2007/oct/23/news/OE-LEFKOWITZ23

  24. bretjones2013
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:16 pm | Permalink

    for some reason this video, and some comments on forums surrounding it, has upset me. If we believe in the subjectivity of reality then the idea of a creature torturing some child by eating out of its eye, is just some idealogical construct, or chemical signals in my brain. it does not exist objectively because even if it happened to me or someone that I know, all the signals would still be electrical, ie. in the form of pain, which is just a feeling, and cannot affect the mind/soul. On the other hand, if there is an objective reality, then why is there the need for militant atheism with regards to the topic of God? we all have our own perspective and some people need to rely on faith more than others to get through the bad times. If I feel bad because I have an objective chemical imbalance in my brain, then why is there something wrong with turning to God for help? even if He is a mere idea, that exists only in language, if it provides people with some form of comfort, why try to take that away? I might just be stupid, but its something I cant get my head around. It seems to me that militantly exclaiming that there is no God is simply trying to take away the source of comfort which people have. then again, it’s entirely possible that the answer lies somewhere between these two extremes, the dichotomy of objectivity and subjectivity. As my wonderful psychologist once told me, its similar to the dichotomy of freedom and justice (basically it goes, if you have complete responsibility for your actions, as in cause and effect, then you are also enslaved to them. on the other hand, if you have complete freedom, then there will naturally evolve mechanisms which take advantage of the cooperating nature of the majority, as in Thomas Hobbes’ leviathan when he talks about the evolution of government), where the answer lies in moderation between the two; ie. we have freedom in some things but not in others. perhaps this is analogous to the ideas of subjectivity and objectivity, where the answer lies in moderation between the two. perhaps some things are subjective, like this experience of this body and mind, while other things are objective, like anything outside the body and mind. just a thought
    regards

    • Posted January 30, 2015 at 8:36 pm | Permalink

      Religion is not, a thousand times not, simply something that distressed people turn to for comfort.

      It is a tool of oppression. If theists really, really could keep their religion to themselves there’d be no problem. Trying to get their country’s legislation to reflect their own religion’s rules is one of the *less* proactive things theists do in the area of foisting their religion on others. More proactive methods frequently include weapons and explosives.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:04 am | Permalink

        Exactly.

      • bretjones2013
        Posted February 5, 2015 at 4:37 pm | Permalink

        The actions of the few do not represent the majority. Your cherry picking data. A very simple concept in empirical science.

        • Posted February 5, 2015 at 4:57 pm | Permalink

          When the majority tacitly endorses the actions of the few by inaction, they do.

          /@

          • bretjones2013
            Posted February 6, 2015 at 4:16 am | Permalink

            Does a pacifist make peace by fighting?

            • Posted February 6, 2015 at 4:28 am | Permalink

              No, but a pacifist does not make peace by doing nothing.

              /@

          • bretjones2013
            Posted February 6, 2015 at 4:33 am | Permalink

            No they don’t. Does a pacifist endorse war by his inaction? No. The Nazi’s sounded like you during WW2.

            As for musical beef, I was tempted to ignore the rest of this conversation since it is obviously not the place for rational debate, but your smugness convinced me otherwise.

            “The few? I’m assuming you don’t live in the USA. It is not exaggeration to say that most Republicans, the party that now controls both the House and the Senate, aspire to implement nothing less than a theocracy. A theocracy that will punish citizens for not observing the dos and donts of a particular version of a particular religion.

            Also, I didn’t write in absolutes. I wrote “religion is not…simply something…” Sure, it comforts some distressed people. But that’s not all it does. Not by a long shot.

            Also, it’s “you’re”.

            No, I don’t live in the USA.

            It’s quite difficult to say what religion does, after all its a memeplex, to steal the term from Dawkins, which has a variety of effects and a variety of variables which affect it, but the point I want to make is that from my point of view it provides comfort and as far as I can tell, this is what you are trying to remove, which I will not accept. People should be free to talk about what they want. Obviously it is wrong to kill for one’s religion (as the pope said), but this page is merely a breeding ground for militancy against religion. There needs to be more people who act to balance out the opinion of the majority, otherwise we get pockets of extremism. That’s what I do.

            And I made a mistake with the “your”. Get over it. No-one is perfect, not even you, your majesty.

            • Posted February 6, 2015 at 6:43 am | Permalink

              @ Bret

              I refer you to my previous response.

              And, really, Godwinning?

              And musical beef’s smugness convinced you that this is the place for rational debate? How odd.

              Oh, and while Dawkins coined the term “meme”, “memeplex” (iirc) was Susan Blackmore’s. Another mistake, but an important one, since you went out of your way to mention Dawkins.

              And people are perfect;y free to believe whatever comforts them, but sadly when what they believe is delusional it very like does them and others harm in the long run, even if they keep their beliefs to themselves, because they will tend to act irrationally and counterfactually about, for example, social policy issues.

              Every religious believer who doesn’t vote for, say, action on climate change because they privately believe that God will not allow us to come to harm risks the whole of humanity.

              /@

            • Posted February 6, 2015 at 11:50 am | Permalink

              “…this is what you are trying to remove…”

              Straw man. If you read carefully you’ll notice I advocate no such thing. Observing the deleterious effects of religion is not anything like the same thing as attempting to ban it. How would one ban the use of imagination, anyway? You can secretly believe in god in spite of anything I might be able to do.

              What I can do is try to use my vote to keep the church/state separation strong, in order to keep theists from enshrining their religious doctrine in legislation. And that is not an action that needs apology. Secularism works in everyone’s favor, including theists. I’m sure xians don’t want Muslims to outlaw alcohol.

              And I can argue against religion on atheist websites all I please. Again, arguing against religion does not force anyone to give it up. It may, however, help some theists see the light, of you’ll pardon the expression. The point is to try to show people that religion isn’t necessary for getting along in life. If I can cope without it, so can anyone else. And that would be better, because as you seem intent on not comprehending, religion is not all rainbows and puppies. In addition to being a comforting crutch, which, for the third time, I acknowledge, it is also divisive and oppressive.

        • Posted February 5, 2015 at 10:45 pm | Permalink

          The few? I’m assuming you don’t live in the USA. It is not exaggeration to say that most Republicans, the party that now controls both the House and the Senate, aspire to implement nothing less than a theocracy. A theocracy that will punish citizens for not observing the dos and donts of a particular version of a particular religion.

          Also, I didn’t write in absolutes. I wrote “religion is not…simply something…” Sure, it comforts some distressed people. But that’s not all it does. Not by a long shot.

          Also, it’s “you’re”.

          Put that in your pipe and smoke it.

    • Posted January 30, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      …all the signals would still be electrical, ie. in the form of pain, which is just a feeling, and cannot affect the mind/soul.

      How did you arrive at this conclusion? If personal experience doesn’t affect the mind/soul, what does?

      …then why is there something wrong with turning to God for help?

      My own policy, which I think you’ll find echoed here often enough, is that religion is fine as a personal opinion – keep it personal, and you’ll hear nothing out of me, anymore than I care what music you listen to. But that really doesn’t describe religion, does it? And in the wake of any week’s worth of world news, anyone who still tries to pretend religion is a “source of comfort” is essentially hoping that I’m stupid, and I don’t take kindly to that. If you insult anyone’s intelligence, you should expect some backlash.

      Taking your argument further along the philosophical route, there are multiple aspects. The first is, nobody can take away something that doesn’t exist – the worst they can do is destroy your delusions. You can just as easily blame whoever introduced the concept of god to you because they intentionally misled you.

      Second, the argument that religion is a source of comfort is an assumption that no one has really supported. There is no shortage of people who have significant problems with the “plan” that causes so much suffering, and the misfortunes they encounter in life, to say nothing whatsoever of the very large number of people who suffer at the hands of the self-righteous who pronounce what’s right and wrong, often going beyond pronouncing. Religion is used as authority, influence, and justification for a lot of really bad behavior far more often than it is used for comfort, and that’s what the “militant atheists” are trying to eradicate.

      Finally, since you’re talking about the objectivity/subjectivity conundrum, how, exactly, are you “turning to god for help”? Is this in any way demonstrable beyond your imagination or mental outlook? Some people believe homeopathy works – but trusting it based on the subjectivity of experience is going to lead to issues, because objectively, it doesn’t do squat. Some of us believe that false hope in something is a lot worse than recognizing what real results are, and making decisions that are most likely to result in beneficial outcomes.

      I find it interesting that you can discount pain as having no affect, but then claim faith as important; isn’t faith just a perception?

    • Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:27 am | Permalink

      If you have your way with pain, then just be comforted that “militant atheism” is just a construct of chemical signals too.

      • bretjones2013
        Posted February 5, 2015 at 5:49 pm | Permalink

        Haha touche

    • BillyJoe
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:41 am | Permalink

      I don’t know what you mean. The interviewer asked him why he doesn’t believe in god and he told him. What exactly is your problem with that?

      I just watched the Women’s Australian Open tennis final and had to put up with Venus Williams thanking god, not once, not twice, but three times.

      And when I swithced over to watch the Asian Cup final, I had to put up with a player running onto the field crossing his chest not once, not twice, but three times!

      Stephen Fry doesn’t wear his atheism on his sleeve, but he’s allowed to answer a goddamn question it’s put to him.

      • Posted January 31, 2015 at 8:34 am | Permalink

        That’s a good point. The double standard is frustrating. It’s acceptable for theists to blather on about their views concerning god in any and all contexts while it’s basically never acceptable for atheists to voice their views.

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:27 pm | Permalink

        Exactly!

        With a damn-god answer, I might add.

      • Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:31 pm | Permalink

        Venus Williams thanking God? Not Aphrodite?

        /@

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 1, 2015 at 2:02 am | Permalink

          Venus? Or Serena?

          Personally, I’d thank Aphrodite for the Williams sisters. They decorate my TV very nicely.

          • Posted February 1, 2015 at 2:38 am | Permalink

            Yes, they are tenn-ishtars …

            /@

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 1, 2015 at 2:49 am | Permalink

              I just googled Ishtar, yes there’s a definite resemblance 😉

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:43 pm | Permalink

      If we believe in the subjectivity of reality

      Well, you can believe in the subjectivity of reality if you want to. Personally, I have a sock, and a rock which I am going to slip into the sock. Sock and rock in combination are capable of delivering powerful arguments in support of the existence of an objective external universe.
      I (and my sock, and rock) do agree with one of your points in that electrical signals cannot affect the soul. They can’t affect non-existent Invisible Pink Unicorns either. They are however, quite capable of affecting minds. I’ve had more than enough electrical shocks to have made up my mind on that point.

    • John Scanlon, FCD
      Posted February 2, 2015 at 10:18 am | Permalink

      If the idea of an omnipotent creator comforts you, you are deeply ignorant of biology. That is all.

  25. microraptor
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 6:44 pm | Permalink

    I prefer a variant of that quote: G*d knows what you need, he just isn’t going to do anything about it unless you nag him.

  26. Vaal
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 7:16 pm | Permalink

    That was great.

    But one minor point of contention for me is the
    stance taken by some atheists about “not wanting to go to heaven” given God’s awful character.

    Sure it makes a rhetorical point, but some atheists seem to present the idea fairly seriously – that given their appraisal of God’s character, they’d pass on going to heaven and if they are sent to hell, so be it.

    I don’t think anyone…literally anyone on earth….who has truly contemplated the idea of eternal torment could possibly take that position
    with any seriousness.

    They need to crack open Joyce’s A Portrait Of The Artist As A Young Man and re-read those sections on eternal torment 🙂

    • grasshopper
      Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:15 pm | Permalink

      Or re-read Mark Twain’s summation of the situation:

      “Go to Heaven for the climate, Hell for the company.”

      Most of all, though, it is my contention that nobody except the psychopath is going to Heaven. Who else would revel in the writhings of the damned while looking on in air-conditioned comfort?

      If in this life you are a caring, compassionate christian in the next you will need to be utterly indifferent to suffering. How can that be YOU? It won’t be YOU who regards the torments and screams as mere celestial muzak.

      And if, being in heaven, you are discomforted by what you perceive are the sufferings of the unsaved, then in what way is heaven perfect?

      By the way, my use of CAPS was not random 😛

    • BillyJoe
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 6:49 am | Permalink

      Firstly, he made no comment about Hell.
      Secondly, you are assuming heaven and eternity would be just great.
      The problem is you have absolutley no reason to think so.

      Moreover, if you really think about it, it is difficult to imagine that there could be anything less disagreeable than spending an eternity worshiping god.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 6, 2015 at 1:45 am | Permalink

        “it is difficult to imagine that there could be anything less disagreeable than spending an eternity worshiping god.”

        Err, sorry? You didn’t slip an extra negative in there by mistake did you?

        I can imagine many things less disagreeable than spending an eternity worshiping God. That would get old really quickly. As Hitch said, a kind of celestial North Korea. (With its memorable Hitchism, ‘but at least you can fucking _die_ and leave North Korea’).

        OTOH I can also think of many things more disagreeable, like being in Hell, for example. Or spending an eternity worshipping Jerry Falwell.

  27. papalinton
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 8:24 pm | Permalink

    Steven Fry?
    Sheer fucking magnificent

  28. grasshopper
    Posted January 30, 2015 at 10:39 pm | Permalink

    How can you argue with what Mr Fry had to say, unless you are a tone troll?
    And as is my wont, in my a-tonal trill I shall sing Monty Python’s prequel to Mr. Fry’s observations.
    Ahem …

    All things dull and ugly,
    All creatures short and squat,
    All things rude and nasty,
    The Lord God made the lot.

    Each little snake that poisons,
    Each little wasp that stings,
    He made their brutish venom,
    He made their horrid wings.

    All things sick and cancerous,
    All evil great and small,
    All things foul and dangerous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    Each nasty little hornet,
    Each beastly little squid,
    Who made the spikey urchin,
    Who made the sharks, He did.

    All things scabbed and ulcerous,
    All pox both great and small,
    Putrid, foul and gangrenous,
    The Lord God made them all.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

      Each little wasp that stings,

      You could make a whole verse on the Ichneumonidæ wasps, as per Darwin’s famous letter :

      I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidæ with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice.

      • infiniteimprobabilit
        Posted February 1, 2015 at 2:11 am | Permalink

        Seems to have been getting a lot of circulation in this thread.

  29. Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:24 pm | Permalink

    Wow, what a cogent response. Was that entirely off the cuff? Extremely compelling.

    • gravelinspector-Aidan
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:51 pm | Permalink

      Upthread several of our Irish correspondents suggest that this interviewer has a penchant for asking questions like this. Fry is a smart cookie, so I wouldn’t be surprised if he’d prepared for this one.

  30. Posted January 30, 2015 at 11:55 pm | Permalink

    Who could give that answer with such ‘panache’? (Maybe the Hitch?) This is brilliant. Thank you.

  31. livinginabox
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:24 am | Permalink

    As usual Stephen Fry hits the nail right on the head!
    If a god exists, he seems to have made a parasite for every part of the human body.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_parasites_of_humans

  32. Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:29 am | Permalink

    I think David Attenborough was the first to cite parasitic worms as an argument against God’s existence or benevolence:

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:44 am | Permalink

      I would cite parasitic wasps that lay their eggs in paralysed caterpillars. (I think I got that example from Richard Dawkins). But hey, there’s plenty of horror to go around…

      • Diane G.
        Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:11 am | Permalink

        Possibly so, but Dawkins would have gotten it from Darwin:

        I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent & omnipotent God would have designedly created the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. — From a letter to Asa Gray, 22 May 1860

        But I suspect the sentiment is as old as religion; I can’t imagine that there weren’t always heretics.

        • gravelinspector-Aidan
          Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm | Permalink

          I bet you go around sinking people’s battleships too!

          • Diane G.
            Posted January 31, 2015 at 9:59 pm | Permalink

            Ha, ha! As a matter of fact I used to love to play Battleship.

      • Posted January 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

        The parasitic wasps as an argument against a benevolent Creator was already made by Darwin.

        • Posted February 1, 2015 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

          There’s a slow echo in here…

          /@

          Sent from my iPhone. Please excuse all creative spellings.

          >

  33. infiniteimprobabilit
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:53 am | Permalink

    The Meaning of Life? Monty Python’s already done that.

    Oh, and re the lagniappe, who’s the white, ethnically European guy?

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 12:54 am | Permalink

      P.S. Liked the ‘prayer’ joke though. And Stephen Fry’s rant.

  34. Richard C
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 2:25 am | Permalink

    My answer:

    “Hi, you exist!

    “Hey, you know what those Christians are telling everyone? That you’ve got a fire-filled eternal torture dungeon. And that everyone who doesn’t join their church will burn in it for the crime of simply being born. And don’t even get me started about all the shit the Torah says about you!

    “Don’t worry though, we Atheists are on it. We’ve been telling people that monster’s fake as Zeus, Thor, and Chucky, and that nobody else’s boogieman in the sky is real either. We got your back, dude.”

  35. Diane G.
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 4:34 am | Permalink

    Several years ago the Center for Inquiry/Michigan chapter attempted to establish a regular “skeptics in the pub” weekly get-together in my little pocket of red-state Michigan. A confident, smart, outspoken local woman was chosen to coordinate the events and as such she was interviewed by the local newspaper.

    At one point the reporter asked the same old tired question put to Fry–what would you do if, upon dying, you discovered you’d been wrong and had to face God after all?

    “I’d spit in his face,” she replied without hesitation, proceeding to elaborate along Fry’s lines. Ooh-whee, did that ignite a firestorm! I’ve never since had quite so much fun reading the local letters-to-the-editor and online commenting fora.

    Well, fun with a side of urge-to-kill.

    • BillyJoe
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:10 am | Permalink

      Yeah, it’s embarrassing as hell to hear someone talking about their god, but it’s fun as hell to see them get all riled up when you put that god in his place.

  36. Nicholas
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 11:05 am | Permalink

    I can’t resist the temptation to point out that Fry’s principal argument against God in the clip is not originally his. David Attenborough made this argument a long time ago, when asked by religious people to concede that the beauty he saw in making his nature documentaries was evidence of God’s design.

    https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=Gfa88SeNohY

    • Diane G.
      Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:13 pm | Permalink

      This argument has occurred to so many for so long that I’d say it’s been public domain since way before that was even a concept. Fry’s gift is to be so spontaneously eloquent and laser-focused.

    • Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:26 pm | Permalink

      see earlier comment with clip

  37. wiseape108
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 3:20 pm | Permalink

    What would any sane person say to God: “What the f*^$ are you playing at? Muppet!”

  38. Ashok Philip
    Posted January 31, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    A religion columnist in the Daily Telegraph takes off after seeing this, not answering the point, merely saying that Fry is stupid because so many much more intellectually accomplished atheists have said this before. Does that make it less true? And Fry has an impressive fluency in off the cuff statements which reveals the depth of his thinking on the subject. The columnist mentions a few attempts by religious apologists to resolve the “problem of evil” but neglects to point out how far they fall short of being even moderately convincing or satisfying. They are more in the nature of statements by the defence in a criminal trial.

    • Posted February 1, 2015 at 2:45 am | Permalink

      Ah — Tim Stanley : http://ow.ly/IhIut

      And then Stanley trots our a theologically naïve response about Adam and Eve, totally missing Fry’s point.

      The article is also another cheap attack on Richard Dawkins.

      /@

  39. Posted January 31, 2015 at 8:31 pm | Permalink

    Sub

  40. Nicholas
    Posted February 4, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Alexander responds to Fry:

    “It has to be said that Mr Fry doesn’t start from the vantage point of towering intellect, although he’s reasonably clever for an actor. Fry is your typical metrosexual trendy, dabbling at this and that, attending all the fashionable parties and fashionable shrinks, popping antidepressants and whatever else is going, advocating every faddish leftie cause – well, you know the type [….] Essentially, if you’ll forgive a neologism, Fry is a Humosexual, in that he expanded on the fallacy first made popular by David Hume. If God is omniscient, omnipotent and good, then how come we have [insert anything you don’t like, such as murder, natural disaster, disease or, for that matter, Stephen Fry].

    Now Mr Hume was immeasurably cleverer than Mr Fry, but even he proves my conviction that atheism can make even intelligent men sound stupid. Specifically, he committed the gross logical error of judging one system (religion) by the criteria of another (atheism)”

    Read here:

    http://alexanderboot.com/content/my-thanks-stephen-fry

    • microraptor
      Posted February 4, 2015 at 11:35 pm | Permalink

      Well, that was a very lengthy method of saying absolutely nothing.

    • thh1859
      Posted February 6, 2015 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      A. Boot writes: “…the fallacy first made popular by David Hume. If God is omniscient, omnipotent and good, then how come we have [insert anything you don’t like, such as murder, natural disaster, disease or, for that matter, Stephen Fry].”
      But he does not explain why such an obvious demonstration of logical inconsistency is a fallacy.

      At the same time Boot implies that his own thinking is clearer than Hume’s.

  41. RossR
    Posted February 5, 2015 at 3:35 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for posting that interview with Stephen Fry. I hadn’t seen it before, but I did read an article about it in The Times, which called it a rant.
    It could not possibly have been less of a rant, and all the more telling for that.

    • RossR
      Posted February 5, 2015 at 3:36 pm | Permalink

      Sorry about my lousy italics. Anybody who can fix, please fix.

  42. Alex
    Posted February 7, 2015 at 8:10 am | Permalink

    I first heard Stephen Fry’s diatribe on the Marian Finucane show on RTE radio, before the TV show itself had been broadcast. The first thought that struck me was one that has often struck me before; that is, that it seems very odd that the suffering and evil of the world only seems to become unbearable (at least to atheists like Stephen Fry) when God is brought into the question. People who believe that the horrors of the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, the Black Death, and every other tragedy in human history are destined to go unavenged and unredeemed, and that the only fate of their victims is eternal extinction, seem to have no great difficulty living with this knowledge. They laugh, make merry, watch gameshows, get excited about the World Cup, and generally make the most of life. Theodor Adorno famously said that writing poetry after Auschwitz was barbaric. Mere decades later, who still feels like this?

    But once you suggest that suffering, injustice and evil are not meaningless, or the last word– that there is a Providence watching over the world, and that victims of the Holocaust and the Black Death and every other tragedy in history are not doomed to extinction– then suddenly, in the eyes of the angry unbeliever, all the pain and anguish of the world becomes unbearable.

    This makes no sense to me.

    • Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:57 am | Permalink

      “This makes no sense to me.”

      Evidently. This might help: http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/evil/

      /@

    • Richard C
      Posted February 7, 2015 at 1:59 pm | Permalink

      Life goes on in the face of evil. People went back to work on September 12, 2001. People wrote poetry after Auschwitz. That doesn’t mean they did’t care, and it’s ludicrous to suggest otherwise.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 7, 2015 at 5:50 pm | Permalink

      “This makes no sense to me.”

      You make no sense.

      Those things which are attributable to human failings (e.g. genocide) are not ‘accepted’ by anybody on this website. They are universally condemned. That’s not to say we always know exactly how to prevent them.

      Those things which are not attributable to human failing – the Black Death or tsunamis – we cannot blame on anybody, shit happens, it’s no use blaming Nature, Nature doesn’t care, but still there are ways to prevent them or mitigate their consequences. Science and technology are quite good at that. We do condemn those who, through superstition and religion, try to hinder that.

      IF there was an all-powerful being able to control all this, but neglects to do so, then we do condemn him/her/it for that. How could any all-powerful being that claims to be good permit all that to happen?

      But meanwhile, to answer your last point, and since we (I) have only one life to live, I’m not going to let all that stuff (by which I mean evil and fundamentalism, the two are closely related in my book) poison my personal life.

    • infiniteimprobabilit
      Posted February 7, 2015 at 6:09 pm | Permalink

      Oh, and as an atheist, an unjust death is indeed intolerable.

      To a religioso, it’s okay because G*d can send them to Heaven to make up for it (unless of course He in His infinite mercy sends them to Hell for whatever trivial/capricious/arbitrary reason).

      To me, it’s a wrong that can never be righted. They’re dead. It doesn’t matter what we do to their killers, their victim doesn’t know and can never know, all their last thoughts ever were was that they were being killed in some intolerable fashion. That is a really crummy way to end a life.

      But now here you come, religioso, suggesting that G*d set all this up, that all the suffering which we put down to human malignity or just Shit Happens, is actually all part of G*d’s Divine Plan, that He did it deliberately – and you wonder why we call him an evil bastard? Really?

      • Diane G.
        Posted February 7, 2015 at 6:58 pm | Permalink

        Very well said!

      • Alex
        Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:05 pm | Permalink

        Although it’s fun to watch Byrne squirm as Fry lets loose with his unabashed take on the issue, I don’t think his answer is all that enlightened or intelligent. I would even call it philosophically naive, for in a universe without evil, pain and suffering, the concepts of goodness, love and pleasure would have no meaning. Absolutely none, whatsoever. These things only exist in contrast to each other.

        Also, if an eternal paradisical afterlife did, in fact, exist, any suffering experienced by anyone in this mortal, finite world of ours – no matter how tremendous, terrible or unjust – would seem utterly inconsequential by comparison. I’m not saying that I believe that this is the case; I’m just saying that Fry’s stance in this instance is philosophically unsophisticated, no matter how posh his accent.

        • microraptor
          Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:14 pm | Permalink

          If upon death a person is taken to an eternal paradise afterlife that’s better than the world we live in, why would it be considered morally wrong to kill someone? You’d just be getting them to their eternal reward more quickly, right?

          Also, the standard Christian afterlife doesn’t just have an eternal paradise. It also has an eternal torture pit for those who displease the boss by doing such heinous things like not believing in him. I believe that someone already referenced Chris Hitchens’ comparison between Heaven and North Korea.

        • infiniteimprobabilit
          Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:51 pm | Permalink

          Oh dear, here we go, patronising Sophisticated Philosophy which is indistinguishable from BS. It doesn’t work on this site, we’ve all heard of the Emperor’s New Clothes.

          I’ll leave it to the philosophers to logically refute your argument, if any of them can be bothered. Again.

          Even IF evil were necessary for us to recognise the good by contrast, one example would be sufficient. One murder. Just one. It doesn’t need a massacre or a genocide to show us what evil is. If your G*d thinks it does then either we, his creation, are the most stupid life-form on the planet, or he’s a psycopathic maniac who doesn’t know when to stop.

          As for your paradise, it’s codswallop. There’s no evidence of such a thing, anywhere. This is where your ‘sophisticated philosophy’ takes leave of reality and goes sailing off into cloud cuckoo land.
          Do you believe in Paradise? If so, evidence please. If not, why are you waving it around?

          I’m with Fry on this, no matter how posh his accent.

          • Alex
            Posted February 7, 2015 at 10:56 pm | Permalink

            “Oh dear, here we go, patronising Sophisticated Philosophy which is indistinguishable from BS”

            Are you saying that Heidegger, Wittgenstein and Husserl are bullshit?

            These are some of the finest intellects of all time.

            • infiniteimprobabilit
              Posted February 7, 2015 at 11:07 pm | Permalink

              No, I’m saying yours is.

              Good straw-man attempt. Also appeal to authority. I have no idea if you accurately paraphrased their philosophy but if you did I’d doubt your last assertion (about ‘finest intellects’). If that’s the best they could do…

          • Alex
            Posted February 9, 2015 at 10:30 am | Permalink

            Where does Fry find hope for an end to suffering, or for any sense of justice and accountability? Will those who burn alive a Jordanian pilot ever be held to account? Or (more pertinently for an atheist) will those responsible for Stalin’s killing of 20 million people ever face justice? The Christian vision for the world is that one day there will be an end to suffering, and there will be an account given of all injustice and oppression—that, through the self-giving suffering of God, evil will in some mysterious way be brought to an end. This can still be dismissed as wishful thinking, and I should make clear that I don’t believe this because it would be nice—I believe it because I think it is true!

            There is a real challenge here for atheists to offer a credible, hopeful alternative. It is all very well telling wealthy Londoners to ‘stop worrying and enjoy life’, but that doesn’t cut much ice with the vast majority of humanity who have plenty to worry about and many fewer resources with which to enjoy life.

            The final question Fry raises is that of human action. If God were to make a world without suffering, what would it look like? What would God intervene to prevent? Tsunamis and earthquakes are one thing; but what kinds of human action would God prevent? I am sure we would be happy to see an end to war, murder, rape and abuse. But what about rivalry and jealousy, which has so often inhibited scientific development? What about lack of cooperation and sharing of information that could bring real relief to human suffering? What about financial inequality, which is perhaps the greatest threat to global well-being? Stephen Fry’s net worth has been estimated at around £20m, though anyone with a net worth of £500,000 is in the richest 1% of the world who own half the world’s capital assets. Beyond all that, what would this omnipotent God do about the sheer indifference of most humanity to the suffering of others? For many of us, God’s lack of action (for the moment) looks like a mercy—an opportunity to ‘redeem our lives’.

            These questions have a connection with the free will defence. But they have sharper resonance with the issue of human responsibility. As John Goldingay once said:

            “The problem of theodicy is not the justification of a holy God in the face of suffering humanity, but the justification of sinful humanity in the face of a holy God”

            In the same week that Stephen Fry was railing against worms that caused suffering, it was announced that another similar affliction was coming to an end—that of the guinea worm.

            A devastating tropical disease should be eradicated within three years, says the former American president leading the fight against it. There were 3.5 million cases of guinea worm worldwide when Jimmy Carter’s organisation started tackling the disease in 1986. Now there are just 126 cases globally – many of them in South Sudan and Mali.

            Former US President Jimmy Carter has been motivated to this work by his evangelical faith—faith in the god that Fry appears to reject. The Carter Foundation’s next goal is to eliminate river blindness.

            Perhaps his legacy is the best answer to Fry’s complaint.

            • Posted February 9, 2015 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

              “I believe it because I think it is true!”

              Then I invoke Da Roolz, specifically #4: “simply give a short list of the reasons why”.

              We cannot speak for Stephen Fry, but as he, like me, is a humanist, I’d expect him to “find hope for an end to suffering, or for any sense of justice and accountability” through human agency,

              Your challenge for atheists is bogus; we don’t have to provide an alternative to what we believe is false. The humanist goal would be to work to address the root causes not simply to provide (false) hope to ameliorate the suffering.

              Putting tsunami and earthquakes aside is cheating; they alone have theodicean implications that you cannot ignore.

              That human agents are inspired by faith to eradicate horrendous diseases is a reality whether God exists or not. Humanists and other atheists can and do work equally hard towards similar goals.

              And if God does exist, the question still remains, why would he create things so inimical to human life and then leave it to human agents — 2000 years since Jesus’ time — to eliminate them?

              /@

            • Diane G.
              Posted February 10, 2015 at 12:58 am | Permalink

              “I believe it because I think it is true!”

              Yes, this jumped out at me as well.

              So Alex, did you thoroughly investigate all of the religions of the world before you decided which one you thought was true? Or even just the other 4 or 5 biggest world religions? And do you usually decide that the most philosophically satisfying (to you) of possible interpretations must therefore be the “true” version?

              Have you ever investigated organized humanism?

  43. Alex
    Posted February 11, 2015 at 6:18 am | Permalink

    Stephen Fry asks the wrong question about God. He asks why a God would allow human suffering with diseases such as cancer. By asking such a question he implies that the real answer is that there couldn’t really be a God, or at least not a God that is benevolent. His assumption is that if such a God existed then there would be goodness and no badness in the world. It simply begs the question of what such goodness would be. Goodness and badness is clearly a human viewpoint.

    It is ‘good’ that there is a world of nature, but it is also ‘natural’ that it changes, grows, develops and reproduces, else the world about us would not exist other than as a permanent fixed entity, and we along with it would also be fixed – no thoughts, no human decision, no cultural development, no history, no Steven Fry. The later would, I think be very bad.

    All this doesn’t suggest Stephen Fry is wrong to question the existence of a God. I do that also. But his question is misplaced because it doesn’t answer the question in the way he clearly supposes. He asks it as a rhetoric which fails to provide the answer he thinks it does.

    It presupposes an interventionist God. If such a god existed then what would be his priorities? Would he intervene in every detail? In which case there would be no ‘free will’ and Stephen Fry would not be able to ask his question, let alone answer it.

    No, if God does not exist it is not because of the answer to Stephen Fry’s rhetorical question. If God does not exist, whatever a ‘god’ is, it will be because the proposition of a god is found to be unnecessary as an explanation. I do not know whether that is so or not.

    • Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      I think you’ve rather missed the point. Fry is not asking a question /about/ God, but putting a question /to/ God. In this instance, it’s a given that God does exist. It’s not an argument /for/ the existence of God.

      /@

    • Posted February 11, 2015 at 7:50 am | Permalink

      * /for/ or /against/


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