This Sunday Stephen Fry is a guest on RTE’s Meaning of Life show. Gay Byrne, the show’s host, asked Stephen what he would say to God if he died and went to heaven. Stephen’s reply was a strong, unexpected, and profound statement on a supposed all-loving omnipresent God.
“I’ll say, bone cancer in children, what’s that about? How dare you? How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain.”
“That’s what I would say.”
A rather offended looking Byrne asked Fry whether he thinks he would be allowed into Heaven with such a shocking statement. Fry responded:
“No, but I wouldn’t want to, I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms, they’re wrong. Now, if I died and it was Pluto, Hades, and if it was the 12 Greek gods then I would have more truck with it, because the Greeks didn’t pretend to not be human in their appetites, in their capriciousness, and in their unreasonableness… they didn’t present themselves as being all-seeing, all-wise, all-kind, all-beneficent, because the god that created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac… utter maniac, totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of god would do that?”
“Yes the world is very splendid but it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind, they eat outwards from the eyes. Why, why did you do that to us? You could easily have made a creation in which that didn’t exist. It is simply not acceptable. So, atheism isn’t not just about not believing there’s a God, but on the assumption there is one, what kind of God is he? It’s perfectly apparent he’s 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.”
Byrne concluded: “That sure is the longest answer to that question I ever got in this entire series.”