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Stephen Fry about God

16-05-2017 - Posted by Andre Piet

Stephen Fry is a well-known English writer, actor and comedian. Last week it was reported in the news that an Irishman filed a lawsuit against him for blasphemy. Without success, however. In an interview (2015) broadcasted by the Irish television, Fry was asked

“Suppose (..) you arrive at the heaven gate and you are confronted by God. What would Stephen Fry (…) say?”

On which Fry answered:

…”I would say: Bone cancer in children? What is that about? How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault. It is not right. It is utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid god who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain? That’s what I would say.”

And moments later:

“The God that created this universe, is obviously a fool, an absolute maniac and totally selfish (…) Yes, the world is very splendid, but there are also insects which, during their lifecycle burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind (…) Why? Why are you doing this to us? You could have easily made a creation in which that didn’t exist. It is simply not acceptable. Atheism is not just about not believing there is a god. But on the assumption there is one, what kind of god is he? It is totally apparent. He is monstrous, utterly monstrous and deserves no respect whatsoever. The moment you banish him, your life becomes simpler, purer, cleaner. More worth living in my opinion.”

The question in this blog is not whether Stephen Fry is allowed to say all this, or not. Because even if left unspoken, the questions and reproaches remain. The matter that Fry addresses here is the main reason why the world doesn’t trust God. Isn’t it also the basis of religion: fear for God? Some try to escape this by denying his existence. Despite how much this is in contradiction to the intelligent design they perceive in the whole of nature. But with Fry, atheism seems to have a religious motive as well: He cannot live with a God who, in his eyes, must be monstrous.

Besides, for an answer to the painful reproaches of Fry we don’t need to turn to theologians. Or to professing christians and their tradition. Because they are equally lost for words. On the website of the EO (Dutch evangelical broadcasting) I read the following response (by Frank Bosman):

And I will say honestly, as a theologian and a professing christian, if there is one question that I fear, in whatever debate, it is this question. The grotesqueness of the human suffering –   from floods to the Holocaust, from earthquakes to the atomic bomb – How to align this all with the creative God of love from the christian tradition? I ponder and think and worry and sigh. No answer.

Thank God we don’t have to make up an answer ourselves to the question where the evil comes from. When we let the Scripture speak for itself, then we read in Isaiah:

I am Yahweh, and there is no other. Former of light and Creator of darkness, Maker of good and Creator of evil, I, Yahweh make all these things.
Isaiah 45:7 –

God introduces Himself as the Creator of  all things. Of light and darkness, good and evil. Whoever excludes from this the evil and the suffering, is probably left with a deity who is good but no GOD. After all it is a god who doesn’t hold all in his hand. With whom things happen he did not foresee or planned. A god who doesn’t have his own creation under control and actually, for this reason, cannot be trusted.

But….if GOD, according to His own words, is the Creator of darkness and evil, how can He be the totally good God? The answer to this is surprisingly simple. We can trace it back to the first chapters of the Bible. Knowledge of good is not available without knowledge of evil. By eating of the forbidden fruit (“the tree of knowledge of good and evil”) man got to know both. Not only the evil, but also (and especially!) the good. The famous atheistic philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote:

The people with whom I am somewhat involved, I wish them suffering and loneliness, sickness, abuse, unworthiness…

This seems to be heartless, but Nietzsche wrote this to point out that only through suffering, love becomes visible. But if even an atheist as Nietzsche acknowledges this, how can God be blamed for putting evil and suffering to use?! That doesn’t speak against, but for Him!

Of course God could have made a creation in which evil doesn’t exist. But if evil is necessary to make the good visible, he had to create it. The evil and suffering serve to prove that he is GOOD. And truly LOVE. Also Stephen Fry will once shamefully acknowledge he spoke terribly out of turn. GODS work is far from finished. Every judgment that is made based on what one sees now, is a prejudice. A painting or a book is also judged after it is finished and not before. So, likewise the creation until today is ‘under construction’. And the future will be surprising and breathtaking! Exactly like we can expect from GOD.

For to vanity was the creation subjected, not voluntarily, but because of Him Who subjects it, in expectation that the creation itself also, shall be freed from the slavery of corruption…
– Romans 8:20,21 –

For GOD locks up all together in stubbornness, that He should be merciful to all (…) Seeing that out of Him and through Him and for Him is all: to Him be the glory for the eons! Amen!
– Romans 11:32,36 –