compare these two stories

Friends, you will have to excuse the length of this post but I think those who will read it to the end will enjoy it and may find it useful sometime in future. It is a transcript from a longer lecture by Col Robert Ingersoll titled skulls. He writes

In this book I have read about God’s making the world and one man. That is all he intended to make. The making of woman was a second thought, though I am willing to admit that, as a rule, second thought are best. This God made a man and put him in a public park. (Laughter.) In a little while he noticed that the man got lonesome; then He found He had made a mistake, and that He would have to make somebody to keep him company. But having used up all the nothing He originally used in making the world and one man, He had to take part of a man to start a woman with. So He causes sleep to fall on this man–now, understand me, I do not say this story is true. After the sleep had fallen on this man the Supreme Being took a rib, or, as the French would call it, a cutlet, out of him,and from that He made a woman; and I am willing to swear, taking into account the amount and quality of the raw material used, this was the most magnificent job ever accomplished in this world. (Uproarious laughter and applause.) Well, after he got the woman done, she was brought to the man, not to see how she liked him but to see how he liked her. He liked her, and they started housekeeping; and they were told of certain things they might do, and one thing they could not do–and of course they did it. I would have done it in fifteen minutes, and I know it. There wouldn’t have been an apple on that tree half an hour from date, and the limbs could have been full of clubs. And then they were turned out of the park and extra policemen were put on to keep them from getting back. And then trouble commenced, and we have been at it ever since.


Nearly all of the religions of this world account for the existence of evil by such a story as that! Well, I read in another book what appeared to be an account of the same transaction. It was written about four thousand years before the other. All commentators agree that the one that was written last was the original, and that the one that was written first was copied from the one that was written last. (Laughter.) But I would advise you all not to allow your creed to be disturbed by a little matter of four or five thousand years. It is a great deal better to be mistaken in dates than go to the devil.


In this other account the Supreme Brahma made up his mind to make the world and a man and a woman. He made the world, and he made the man and then the woman, and put them on the island of Ceylon. According to the account, it was the most beautiful island of which man can conceive. Such birds, such songs, such flowers and such verdure! And the branches of the trees were so arranged that when the wind swept through from every tree was a thousand Æolian harps. Brahma, when he put them there, said: “Let them have a period of courtship, for it is my desire and will that true love should forever precede marriage.” When I read that, it was so much more beautiful and lofty than the other, that I said to myself: “If either one of these stories ever turns out to be true, I hope it will be this one.” Then they had their courtship, with the nightingale singing and the stars shining and flowers blooming; and they fell in love. Imagine that courtship! No prospective fathers or mother-in-law; no prying and gossiping neighbors; nobody to say, “Young man, how do you expect to support her?”Nothing of that kind–nothing but the nightingale singing its song of joy and pain, as though the thorn already touched its heart. They were married by supreme Brahma, and he said to them: “Remain here; you must never leave this island.” Well, after a little while the man–and his name was Adami, and the woman’s name was Heva–said to Heva: “I believe I’ll look about a little.” He wanted to go west. He went to the western extremity of the island, where there was a narrow neck of land connecting it with the mainland; and the devil, who is always playing pranks with us, produced a mirage, and when Adami looked over to the mainland, such hills and vales, such dells and dales, such mountains crowned with snow, such cataracts clad in bows of glory did he see there, that he went back and told Heva: “The country over there is a thousand times better than this; let us migrate.” She, like every other woman that ever live, said “Let well enough alone; we have all we want; let us stay here.” But he said: “No, let us go.” So she followed him; and when they came to this narrow neck of land he took her on his back like a gentleman and carried her over. But the moment they got over they heard a crash, and looking back they discovered that this narrow neck of land had fallen into the sea. The mirage had disappeared and there was naught but rocks and sand; and then the Supreme Brahma cursed them both to the lowest hell. Then it was that the man spoke–and I have liked him ever since for it: “Curse me, but curse not her; it was not her fault, it was mine.” That’s the kind of a man to start a world with. (Applause.) The Supreme Brahma said: “I will save her, but not thee.” And then spoke out of her fullness of love, out of a heart in which there was love enough to make all her daughters rich in holy affection, and said: “If thou wilt not spare him, spare neither me; I do not wish to live without him, I love him.” Then the Supreme Brahma said–and I have liked him ever since I read it: “I will spare you both, and watch over you and your children forever.” Honor bright, is that not the better and grander story? And in that same book I find this: “Man is strength; woman is love. When one man loves the one woman, and the woman loves the one man, the very angels leave heaven and come and sit in that house and sing with joy.” In the same book this: “Blessed is that man and beloved of all the gods who is afraid of no man and of whom no man is afraid.” Magnificent character! A missionary certainly ought to talk to that man. And I find this: “Never will I accept private individual salvation, but rather will I say and work and strive and suffer until every soul from every star has been brought home to God.” Compare that with the Christian that expects to go to heaven while the world is rolling over Niagara to an eternal and unending hell. So I say that religion lays all the crime and troubles of this world at the beautiful feet of woman. And then the church has the impudence to say that it has exalted woman. I believe that marriage is the perfect partnership; that woman has every right that man has–and one more–the right to be protected. Above all men in the world, I hate a stingy man–a man that will make his wife beg for money.

Which is the better story?

Stephen Fry on god: A retake

I promise this is the last am writing on this topic. You have probably watched the 2 minute interview of Stephen Fry. I wrote about it here.

Here we have a theist who either didn’t understand Stephen Fry or went to this with his preconceptions.

The interview begins

“Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the pearly gates, and are confronted by God,” asked Bryne. “What will Stephen Fry say to him, her, or it?

Read that again. I will wait. Where in this statement is he asked about an atheistic universe? The question assumes there is a god. As an atheist, what would you ask this god? The question of what is true in an atheistic universe is no longer relevant.

So when Stephen Fry asks this god about bone cancer in children, he is answering the question he is asked. He could as well have asked why a prayer said by one team in the super bowl wasn’t answered or why some team lost. Any question here is game.

So when the OP writes

Now then first of all I would like to say that Fry is putting a huge burden of proof on his shoulders with these statements.?

one really wonders what is it that occupies the space between their ears. What burden is he putting on his shoulders. The age-old problem of evil is a challenge not to a god- I thought this was obvious- but to anyone claiming there is a good all-loving, all-knowing and all-powerful god. Here Stephen Fry is asking the god itself for an explanation why children have bone cancer. I don’t think this is too much to ask and I see no burden it puts on Fry.

So when this theist writes

‘For any evil the non-theist might name, the theist can say that it’s logically possible that by permitting it, two similar events (and so twice as much evil) would have been prevented. If that’s not enough, then make it five times as much or a hundred times as much—any of these scenarios is logically possible

and to which we will tell her that such theodicies have been made and still found to be defective in answering the question why we suffer. One can easily ask why is there any suffering at all? What benefit does a god get from one suffering?

To ask

Fry makes these complaints about God yet on what basis on an atheistic world-view can he make these sort of moral judgements?

is to me a sure sign of ignorance on the part of the theist. The question to Fry wasn’t about an atheistic universe. Atheism isn’t a worldview. It is a statement of non belief. As a man Stephen Fry can ask any question. And the questions he asked above could be asked by a christian, a Buddhist or even a Muslim who met Allah. To try to limit the questions a person can ask is to me to push the limit of close mindedness to a new deafening level.

Fry or anyone else has no need to show

that on his view (atheism) why certain things are truly right and wrong and secondly he must show that it is impossible for God to have morally sufficient reasons for permitting such evils in the world. I do not think any atheist can achieve this – how could there be anything truly good or evil if we are just random accidents in the universe and by-products of evolution?

when they are asked what they would ask god. It is that simple. If this is difficult to understand, then maybe you are dumber than you really think.

The interview was never an apology for atheism. Unless the theists purports to speak for their god, Stephen Fry and anyone for that matter- if antelopes could speak they should also ask why they were made food for lions- can ask any of the questions he asked and much more. It is god to answer him and I haven’t seen any YouTube video done by a god- any god- in response to Stephen’s questions.

I suggest we wait for any god to answer Stephen Fry. Don’t bring unrelated issues into the discussion.