The internet and especially Facebook has been awash with comments and replies to Stephen Fry after his outburst on RTE. When asked what he would say to God if he was confronted by him at the pearly gates. He calls God “capricious, mean-minded and stupid” for creating a world with so much suffering and injustice. There have been many responses, some concerned for such an angry outburst, such as Krish Kandiah’s; some less charitable such as the head of Ireland’s Presbyterian Church, and even one from an atheist who asks “of you don’t believe in God, why insult him?” In protecting free-speech, Justin Welby quite rightly points out that free-speech is God given.
The first point I want to make in this blog is not an apologetic or even an answer but a simple question. If a person as intelligent and well-read as Stephen Fry can make such a fundamental theological error about the Christian faith, where has any knowledge of Christianity gone in the great British public? Stephen Fry’s comment presupposes that the world is as God intended it to be. Now, if that was the case, I would join in the denouncement of, what would be, a demonic deity. But the world is not at all how God intended it. Human sin and the fall are essential in understanding the Christian view of God.
It seems as if knowledge of the fundamental tenets of the Christian faith have, in less than a generation, been lost. Christianity is the foundation of British society and value systems. If we lose that substrata of culture, our values will crumble under the weight of commercial and financial interests. .
The second point I want to make is that the doctrine of the fall and the fact of a fallen world; i.e. the world is not as it should be, should drive us to change it. If Stephen is angry about injustice and suffering I should be. Instead of name calling we should be praying for God to act as in Habakkuk 1, “how long oh Lord”. Also we should be working to change things in this unjust world. Finally, we need to be telling people what Christianity IS about instead of just buying their opinions second-hand from the media.