It’s a question that nearly every nonbeliever faces at some point in his or her life: “But what if God exists, what would you say to Him?”
Stephen Fry, a well-known British comedian, actor, and writer – who just so happens to be an outspoken skeptic – faced the question with an interview on Ireland’s RTE television station.
The interviewer, Gay Byrne, begins, as they inevitably do, by asking Fry to humor him and suppose that God really does exist.
“Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the Pearly Gates and you are confronted by God. What will Stephen Fry say to him or it?”
At first Fry laughs and remarks that the question is the “oddest thing.” After collecting his thoughts, he gives an answer that leaves the interviewer speechless.
“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 which is so full of injustice and pain?’ That’s what I’d say.”
The interviewer stares silently at the ground for a moment, before retorting “And you think you’re going to get in?”
Fry has an answer for that as well.
“No. But I wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. They’re wrong. ”
Later, Fry concedes that if he died and was greeted not with the Christian God, but perhaps the Greek gods, he would struggle a bit more. In Greek mythology, gods were flawed like humans are and therefore it would make a bit more sense (albeit not with much more comfort) to learn that the masters of the Universe were simply petty, self-serving and flawed. The Christian God, in contrast, is meant to be totally without fault and infinitely good. It makes his (or her or its) apparent indifference to human misery that much more baffling.
“The god who created this Universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac.”
I’ve never seen an interviewer more uncomfortable. Nearing the end of the segment and Byrne has all but removed himself from the conversation. He leans back in his chair despondently, while Fry documents various atrocities a supposedly loving God has willed onto people – including children.
Watch the illuminating segment below courtesy RTE: