Sometime today in Ireland an interview will be aired (or perhaps has been) on Irish TV between well known British comedian and self-professed atheist Stephen Fry and TV host Gay Byrne.

According to a clip of Fry’s interview, Stephen Fry rips into the idea of God and takes God to task for the state of the world.

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

The 57-year-old replied: “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about.

“How dare you? How dare you create a world to 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.”

Byrne’s second question, “And you think you are going to get in, like that?” only served to fuel his fervour.“But I wouldn’t want to,” Fry insisted. “I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. They are 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?“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 is a little difficult to understand Mr. Fry’s slightly myopic view of the world.

There is no question that the world is filled with suffering. Tragedy stalks every centimeter of creation. Terrible things happen to perfectly good and innocent people. There is sorrow, sadness, and pain around every corner.

But is Fry’s dark caricature of human reality an adequate summary of everything there is to say about the human condition?

If pain and suffering prove that there is no such reality as God, how does Mr. Fry account for the indescribable beauty, tenderness, self-giving, and love that are a constant presence throughout all the ages and in parts of every human society.

If God does exist and is to be held accountable for all the brokenness in the world, why can God not also be given credit for the indomitable force of life, that, in the face of so much darkness, continues to move towards the light of goodness and beauty?

In my view of the world, the miracle of the human journey is that, despite the darkness and horror, we continue to bring new life into existence. In spite of the incredible brokenness and pain in human relationships, couples still take the extravagant gamble of pledging themselves to each other til death, and producing new life out of their love.

We continue to reach out to one another with acts of tenderness, compassion and self-giving. We do not give up.

We go on creating magnificent works of art. We continue working to solve human problems and build better more tolerant, understanding and respectful human communities.

We do not all simply lie down and die. We continue to strive for peace and goodwill. We do not allow violence to rule the day. We continue to affirm goodness, decency and human respect.

Mr. Fry’s painful view of the world is not all there is to say. In fact, it may be that it is the very persistence of human suffering that allows the true nobility of the human creation to be manifest. The reality of pain in the world does not disprove the existence of God; it enables human beings to bear most eloquent testimony to the greatness of the Creator in whose image we are created.

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