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> Stephen Fry: 'God is evil, mean-minded and stupid'
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HausAlone
post Feb 3 2015, 06:03 PM
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Broadcaster and atheist Stephen Fry has been filmed launching into an impassioned tirade about the existence of God.

The QI presenter calls the Christian deity "evil", "monstrous" and "stupid" in a clip from an Irish TV show set to be aired this weekend.

Host Gay Byrne asks the 57-year-old, who is well known for his atheism, what he would do after his death if he arrived at the "pearly gates" to find that God really does exist.

Fry responds: "I'll say: bone cancer in children, what's that about?

"How dare you how dare you create a world where there is such misery that's not our fault? It's 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?"

Asked if he thinks he'll get in to heaven, he replies: "No, but I wouldn't want to," before saying he prefers the religion of the ancient Greeks whose gods were more modest about the capabilities.

Faced by an interviewer who is visibly taken aback, he adds: "The god who created this universe, if he created this universe, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.

"We have to spend our lives 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."

After Fry concludes that the Christian god is "monstrous and deserves no respect", his interviewer says: "That sure is the longest answer to that question that I ever got in this entire series."


http://www.standard.co.uk/news/celebrityne...d-10013120.html


Do you agree with his sentiments? He is probably saying what a lot of non-believers already think but do you think such a public outcry is healthy or justified?

I have so much respect and admiration for Fry, but i question if this type of radical atheism is healthy, especially when you get comments such as "the Christian god is "monstrous and deserves no respect""... What do you think?
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HausAlone
post Feb 3 2015, 06:07 PM
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Speaking as someone who also doesn't believe in God, I have discussed a lot of the things he has said with people that do believe and they disregard it as a legitimate reasoning behind the personality of god because of the free-will arguement or the fact that he/she doesn't interfere in the world created. I think it (brutally honestly) demystifies the "god created everything good" arguement but is pretty relentless in its voicing of that.

There is often a lot of angst in religious spheres, so it is interesting to see such a vocal outcry against that. And it comes with, naturally, a strong backlash against his comments from some.
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Rooney
post Feb 3 2015, 06:15 PM
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I would be even more radical and abolish religion. I think there would be less happy people in the world, but a whole lot of lives would be saved.
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Brett-Butler
post Feb 3 2015, 06:18 PM
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My own thoughts about this are the same as many of the more cogent replies to his outburst, in that the God I believe in is very different to the god that Mr Fry and others disbelieve in.

Having said that, it's true that the Problem of Evil is the one response to faith that many Christians and believers have grappled with over the millennia (I believe it to be the argument that most causes good people to turn away from God, and it has tested me on many occasions), and although there are many great theologians and thinkers that have offered answers to this (Thomas Aquinas, CS Lewis, Pete Greig), mainly surrounding free will, I imagine that many might find them unsatisfactory.
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Nadolig Llawen!
post Feb 3 2015, 07:10 PM
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Quite a controversial topic.

I have always believed in God and I doubt that'll ever change. I was brought up that way, taught it in school and never really saw any reason not to believe. I have always respected other religions and even found them interesting. One of my first best friends from as long ago as I can remember was a Muslim and the differences did not and still don't matter. I have also always respected those who do not believe in God. They have a right to their opinion and that's none of my business.

I do, however, find that Christianity is mocked and ridiculed an awful lot these days and it is often without I thought to the feelings of those who believe. Some Atheists swarm into arguments declaring Christianity evil and stating there is no God as fact. Only some do this but it's increasingly annoying. What I find most people mistake is God and Christianity with the church. Now, although I live my life by Christian values, I do not attend church. My personal reasons being that I see hypocrisy in some who attend and also that I can worship God in my own way. People disagree with the church but they often lump it in with Christianity in general. Not all Christians are the same just like followers of any other religion. The kids at school try to ridicule me if I mention that I believe in God. They wouldn't do this to the Muslim children at school but they feel it's ok to do it to a Christian.

As for Stephen Fry. I very much respect him for a lot of things but I feel that these comments are harsh and unnecessary. He is entitled to his opinion but the fact of the matter is that he is a very influential man. He is known for his intelligence. People will now use these comments to pick apart the beliefs of other people because 'Stephen Fry said and he's really clever'. As I said, I respect his opinion but he should have used a bit more tact when stating it.
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dancember
post Feb 3 2015, 07:22 PM
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I do agree with him to an extent yes, as an atheist myself. If the god of the bible is real then he will have caused needless deaths by disease, earthquakes etc when he has the capabilities to stop it. Also the whole 'praise me or you burn for eternity' thing.
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Sceryl_Streep
post Feb 3 2015, 07:23 PM
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Coming from the point of view of an athiest, I do understand this, but it's not quite the same view as I hold. My lack of belief is more centered around the sheer implausibility of it all, not to mention the lack of desire/need to feel as though I have someone, or something, as a higher power controlling or directing my life. It always baffles me when my sisters says ''God has it all planned out'', only for her to then talk about all the different possibilities she has or could make, yet she doesn't see that as being in any way contradictory. I've long struggled with my athiesm, not from a personal point of view as I have almost always found the whole ''God'' construct ludicrous, but from the point of view of coming from a deeply religious family. My mum often says things like ''You hurt me so much by refusing to believe''. It's attitudes like that that make me pull ever further away from it all.

Anyway, slightly more on topic, I don't think it's helpful for people to shout these kind of views from the rooftops. Just as I don't think it's helpful for arch Christians to shout their beliefs from the rooftops, extermism is never a desirable stance, at either end of any given spectrum. Of course he deserves respect though, just as I would expect respect for my beliefs from Christians. Not that it's going to happen, of course.

At the heart of it I do feel as though religion IS a good thing though. But of course it all comes down to how it is interpreted and inplemented. ''Love thy neighbour'' is essentially a solid basis for living life and also dealing with others, but of course for many (religious or not) that is never upheld. Religion affords people the means to ease their burdens (however misguided those beliefs may or may not be). As with so many things, religion, and I suppose ''God'', isn't the problem but rather how it has all been interpreted and dealt with by humanity.

Thank you for reading my 3 paragraph foray into OH SO DEEP things through the shallowest of interpretations at every step.
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Winter Wombatlan...
post Feb 3 2015, 07:32 PM
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I don't feel this is the wisest way of putting it, as it will cause a lot of tension and may even work to split those that do believe and those that don't, and make it a conflict. There really shouldn't be any conflict. I'm an atheist and what he is saying I do agree with to some extent (if just, seperate from the fact it all seems so implausible, that if there is a God, why there is so much suffering in the world), but I don't feel that anyone, on either 'side' should preach their views to the point they are putting down the beliefs of others.
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Yuki On Ice~
post Feb 3 2015, 07:38 PM
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If God is like this, and I don't believe he is, then I think there would be different circumstances involved - it is a bit reactionary that the 'all-good' aspect of God is the first to be removed when one realises that because of the nature of the world he cannot be all three of his traditional qualities or there's something else at work, free will, divine cosmic battle or whatever.

Having said that, if I were to die and found that the ruler of the universe was this asshole, I would not consider him my god. I agree with Fry only in that what he's fighting against is not Christianity, or God himself, but the interpretation of the Bible that leads one to assume that an unfeeling God is the ruler of the universe and therefore the one that seems to be accepted by organised religion only with this aspect hand-waved away a bit to make it palatable. And as others have said, it's a bit of a harsh way to put it, and it's not going to change anything any quicker by making the message harder.

Personally I would say to him 'that's totally fair based on the interpretation, and organised religion really does need some updates and reconciliation with today's values, I think we all know that, but I don't believe in that God and if he exists then the universe has gone wrong somewhere*'.

*I flitter between vague God-believing, agnosticism and atheism, so my belief system is basically the middle one of those, not that that's hugely important to the debate, just thought I'd make it clear that I have terminal indecision on this topic and I don't feel it's something I ever need to make my mind up about
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jjake
post Feb 3 2015, 07:47 PM
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QUOTE(Chez Wombat @ Feb 3 2015, 07:32 PM) *
I don't feel this is the wisest way of putting it, as it will cause a lot of tension and may even work to split those that do believe and those that don't, and make it a conflict. There really shouldn't be any conflict. I'm an atheist and what he is saying I do agree with to some extent (if just, seperate from the fact it all seems so implausible, that if there is a God, why there is so much suffering in the world), but I don't feel that anyone, on either 'side' should preach their views to the point they are putting down the beliefs of others.


but why shouldn't you be able to express your views as you see fit? at the end of the day fry isn't speaking on behalf of anyone and all too often people bow down to pressure from religious groups not wanting to offend. the world is full of views that counter or even repulse our own but the bastion of free speech is essential. the agenda of a benevolent god is pushed all too often and fry is making the point quite deliberately evocative way in reaction to that i would have thought.
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Winter Wombatlan...
post Feb 3 2015, 08:27 PM
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QUOTE(░░░░ @ Feb 3 2015, 07:47 PM) *
but why shouldn't you be able to express your views as you see fit? at the end of the day fry isn't speaking on behalf of anyone and all too often people bow down to pressure from religious groups not wanting to offend. the world is full of views that counter or even repulse our own but the bastion of free speech is essential. the agenda of a benevolent god is pushed all too often and fry is making the point quite deliberately evocative way in reaction to that i would have thought.


I'm not against freedom of speech and people stating these views, like I said I agree with a lot of what he says and respect him a lot, but the very radical way of putting it comes off as conflicting those that do believe. I think radical ways from either side divides them further when it shouldn't be that much of a dividing issue as everyone's allowed their own beliefs.


This post has been edited by Chez Wombat: Feb 3 2015, 08:28 PM
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Suedehead2
post Feb 3 2015, 08:45 PM
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I wouldn't have used the examples Stephen Fry (who, of course, knows everything). I would have been more inclined to point to the tsunami of Boxing Day 2004. Why would this "benevolent being" allow well over 200,000 people to be wiped from the face of the earth so indiscriminately?

Many of my values would be considered to be Christian values by a lot of people. However, to me they are just civilised values. I don't feel the need to believe in some sort of supreme being to hold those values.
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t=SpunderfulXmas
post Feb 3 2015, 08:57 PM
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Damn Mr. Fry please RESPECT OTHERS BELIEFS. Even for someone with a bad vocabulary can't deny that "evil", "monstrous" and "stupid" are completely wrong to describe Christianity nono.gif let them believe what they want, even if it sounds 'stupid' or 'evil' to you it certainly isn't for everyone else. I'm an atheist but I wouldn't call any religion any of those words ohmy.gif
Though I also agree that god is very unlikely to exist if there's pain all round the world both natural and man made, if he's omnipotent,scient and benevolent why doesn't he change it? Anyway, back to Fry.

Seriously go back to QI and keep entertaining us with your facts and occasional jokes. smile.gif


This post has been edited by iŋŋiŋğ đɑм: Feb 3 2015, 08:59 PM
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Severin
post Feb 5 2015, 06:30 PM
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Personally I'm completely with Fry here. I don't think he was particularly outrageous or radical with his comments.

Obviously as an atheist I believe there's nothing beyond death BUT If I died and suddenly found myself confronted with this supreme creator being then I'd certainly have a few questions I'd want answered, including just why is this world you've created so full of horror, violence and misery? Why give us freedom of thought and then condemn us to burn forever for if we dare to question you're existence without proof, and if you created everything then who or what created you?

Maybe it is a test. Maybe we were given too much free will and are to blame for many wrongs in this world but there are many things beyond our control which are equally horrific, so why?
At that point I'd be quite open to the possibility that 'God' is testing us, is vengeful and judgmental (like in the Old Testament) or simply not as benign and omnipotent as many would like to believe.

The one thing I wouldn't be able to swallow is the suggestion of a benevolent all loving God looking after us the whole time. I'd be utterly disgusted at a being of supreme power allowing such things to happen as they do.

Fry was asked for his opinion and he gave it, honestly and eloquently. That should be respected as much as anyone else's opinion but I dare say Fry would be the first to defend your right to criticise him for it.

I'd don't believe that Christianity or any other religion should be above being questioned because some may be offended. If your faith is strong enough in your beliefs then my lack of it should not shake them.
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ionderella
post Feb 5 2015, 07:08 PM
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QUOTE(Severin @ Feb 5 2015, 09:30 PM) *
If your faith is strong enough in your beliefs then my lack of it should not shake them.

YES!


And I just learned that Ireland has a BLASPHEMY LAW. Oh dear... o_O
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post Feb 5 2015, 08:48 PM
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Stephen Fry is prone to deep depression, and that often comes from one who cares deeply about people. I don't disagree with anything he says, and his right to express it (atheism seems to be an invitation to abuse, when it's just an opinion that no-one is forced to agree with) but I would also point out that for people in despair religion can also be a great support and healer, and who can argue that's not a good thing?

Where it becomes a bad thing is when it becomes a tool for oppression, manipulation, and narrow-mindedness. Unspeakable evil is done in the name of religion by people who are quite obviously not going to go to heaven (if it exists) if the universe were to last an eternity and then more. Yet they are certain they will, or they are lying about being believers.

I often ponder the scale of the universe, the miracle of events that led to all of us existing - the history of the universe had to happen exactly as it did for everyone alive right now to be alive - one change a million years ago, or 200 years ago, and the knock-on effects would change things immensely. Work out the odds and it's quite literally such an infinitely huge number for any of us to exist at all we really shouldn't be here. Yet we are. Nothing is certain in that sort of universe.

That said, I have problems with the small-scale viewpoints of organised Earth-centric religions, the willingness to ignore reason, fact and logic. Someone once said to me "99% of all religions believe all other religions are wrong, and their believers are deluded. All I'm doing is taking a leaf out of their book, but rounding it up to 100%."

Perhaps that's just as unfair. If there is any proof that God exists, I say it's the Universe. People generally have a problem with grasping the scale of the whole of creation, as opposed to one tiny weeny speck of dust on a grain of sand located on a planet-full of sand. That's Planet Earth vs The Universe. We know nothing, relatively-speaking.

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T83:Y96
post Feb 11 2015, 07:11 PM
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QUOTE(Conderella @ Feb 5 2015, 08:08 PM) *
YES!
And I just learned that Ireland has a BLASPHEMY LAW. Oh dear... o_O


The yellow countries indicate local restrictions. In orange countries you can get fines and restrictions, in red countries blasphemy is punishable by prison and in dark red countries it is punishable by death. There's 8 of them.
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