I was saddened to hear Stephen Fry utter these words during a Lateline interview with Tony Jones on 3 November 2011.
I am a Christian and have been for around thirty years. As a Christian, I know God to be loving, gracious and merciful to me and to others.
Before I was a Christian, I was capricious, wilful, mean, treacherous, a liar, unkind and prepared to see suffering of the most shameful kind. I now try my hardest, with God’s help, to be otherwise.
During the interview, Fry quoted Bertrand Russell and made statements to the effect that we cannot prove God exists and neither can we disprove God. I agree totally with these sentiments in the sense that we cannot see God as a concrete person or substance, unlike people who are concrete and whose substance is flesh and bones and whatever else they are made up of. We can see, hear, feel, taste, smell.
But because we cannot see, hear, feel, taste and smell, or measure something, or someone, does not necessarily mean it does not exist. Surely there are things outside our human scientific experience that exist? Are we so small that we cannot think beyond our world’s physical existence?
Then to characterise God, if he does exist, as capricious, wilful, mean, treacherous, a liar, unkind and prepared to see suffering of the most shameful kind? I believe humans have these characteristics to the nth degree, but not God.
To blame God for the things we do to one another is unfair, particularly when people deny the existence of God or deliberately disobey God’s command to love others as they love themselves.
There are of course many, including little children, who suffer dreadfully from illnesses and diseases, but much of that suffering could be avoided if people were not so selfish and prepared to divvy out the world’s resources to the world. One could go on about greed, globalisation, and etc, but we all know these things.
The following quote by Anne Graham in relation to Hurricane Katrina is equally valid here: I believe God is deeply saddened by this, just as we are, but for years we’ve been telling God to get out of our schools, to get out of our government and to get out of our lives. And being the gentleman he is, I believe he has calmly backed out. How can we expect God to give us his blessing and his protection if we demand he leave us alone?
Jesus of Nazareth, who claimed to be the Son of God, was nothing but kind, generous, compassionate to those who were in need and loving to the unlovely. He was prepared to do everything he preached. He did not suffer fools or hypocrites, but was, however, prepared to forgive, even when his followers deserted and denied him.
I am so sorry that Stephen Fry et al lay blame where blame should not go. Let the custodians of this world be accountable for the ills within it.