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.

About makagutu

As Onyango Makagutu I am Kenyan, as far as I am a man, I am a citizen of the world

22 thoughts on “Stephen Fry on god: A retake

  1. ladysighs says:

    “I promise this is the last am writing on this topic.”
    Promises are made to be broken. 🙂
    I like your posts that get a bit feisty.


  2. aguywithoutboxers says:

    Excellent rebuttal, my Nairobi brother. But why is this the last we will read here on this topic? Much love and naked hugs, O Sanctified One! 🙂


  3. “…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.” Yes. They are dumber than they can even begin to comprehend. Evil only becomes an issue when it is assumed there is an all “good” god floating around somewhere. We as individuals, and as a species, create the concepts of good and bad. There was no good and bad before we existed to place our subjective values onto things. The nothingness that was before the big bang, if it could speak, might very well say the big bang, from which we eventually came, was bad because it fucked up its perfect existence as “nothing.” It just happened. Some things we like, many we don’t. They simply are and exist outside of us. We are not everything. In fact, we are nothing. So enjoy the damn ride, cause soon, the universe will be as it was before we came: neutral and void of human values.


    • makagutu says:

      Someday we each shall die and the universe as we know it will continue to be without us.
      It is a pretty grim picture but then no one told us before we were born that the place we were going into is indifferent to our feelings.
      There is a fellow who sang that had he known what to expect, he would not have allowed himself to be born.
      Or better still, in Nietzsche’s birth of tragedy there is a short discussion with one of the oracles that says not to be born at all is best, far best that can befall. nest best when born, with least delay. to trace the backward way


      • Well, I’m glad I had the experience of existing. It ain’t all great, but it ain’t all awful, either. It is, as they say, what it is. If more could just enjoy the ride, and treat it like the uniquely special thing it is, perhaps the ride could last a lot longer. But, with 85% of those on the bus more worried about what happens when it runs out of gas, I don’t see that happening. 🙂


        • makagutu says:

          of course it is a good thing to be here for the time we are allowed to be on stage.
          there are those on the bus who are waiting for a future life and are not living this fully, a sad thing indeed


  4. […] this article I have a responder to my post on Fry and God. Now firstly I would like to say that this Blogger is […]


  5. They’ll keep waiting. I won’t bother holding my breath.


  6. themodernidiot says:

    at what point do we stop asking why we suffer and start asking what should we do to end it?


    • makagutu says:

      at the point where we learn that it is all up to us to make things better


      • themodernidiot says:

        exactly. not a damn thing to do with god.


      • koppieop says:

        =it is all up to us to make things better=
        When I said this ( a long time ago) in the presence of Catholic relatives and friends, they said to me that was an arrogancy, because only God can make the world a better place. I didn’t even try to start a discussion which I thought would be useless. We will never be able to find something in common, as such an agreement would make God unnecessary. A pity because it is a fascinating issue.


  7. Koppieop, that’s a strange response considering the usual trend of Catholic thinking I grew up with. There is a story from WWII about a group of Allied soldiers on a clean-up patrol somewhere in rural Europe. They came upon a statue of Jesus that had it’s hands broken off in all the bombing and such. Someone had hung a sign around its neck that said “Christ has no hands but yours”. The image has become very popular, or at least was when I was a kid. It is a far better mind set than sitting on your duff waiting for God to fix things. A crappy idea if there is a God, and worse if there isn’t one to fix anything. Sadly, with all this phony apocalyptic prophecy stuff going around, we’re back in the mindset of why bother with fixing anything, God’s about to blow everything up (again).

    With the publication of the very explicit “Left Behind” series telling over and over how non-believers would be maimed and/or killed in long, drawn out ways, and even some of the believers, if they happened to get some sub-paragraph in the Bible wrong would get chopped up with them, I can almost understand why people would kill their children thinking all of this crap was about to come true. What a horrible world to believe in!


    • koppieop says:

      Sorry Mariah, I haven’t seen any of the “Left Behind” episodes. I also don’t understand why you find my response strange.
      What is “the usual trend of Catholic thinking”, is it different in your country (?) from Argentina, where I live? Believers count upon God because He guides our lives from the cradle to the grave, whereas unbelievers trust our human capacities.


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