TV host asks staunch atheist Stephen Fry question about God, the reactions from both are incredible

By Jameson Parker | 30 January 2015
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(Credit: YouTube / screengrab)

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:

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  1. …yep… …and why did (s)he/it blow his/her/its best chance in centuries to demonstrate its existance? With hundreds-of-millions simultaneously viewing the after-math of the first plane striking the WTC – and praying in unison for intervention – did god choose to leave BOTH thumbs wedged in his/her/its’ rectum, and permit the second plane to strike the second tower – and then watch while people jumped to impact deaths – rather than be burned alive…only to allow both towers to collapse – killing rescuers and innocents alike..?

  2. The problem is not believing or not (it is a gift), it is to think of oneself as G.d, and to judge the Judge, which is exactly what Fry does. If i may : such arrogance deserves to fry

    • In light that there are a large enough number of non-theistic religions in the world, How exactly do you argue that "it is a gift." That for me is the beauty of biology. It's unbiased and arguing that belief is a gift implies that there are others who are defective b/c they don't believe as you… I mean even to the degree we can acknowledge polytheistic religions that disagree with notion of a singular god. Thoughts on that?

  3. Atheism meme regularly touted by theists:
    Atheism: the belief that there was nothing and nothing happened to nothing and then nothing magically exploded for no reason creating everything and then a bunch of everything magically rearranged itself for no reason whatsoever into self-replicating bits which then turned to dinosaurs. Makes perfect sense.

    My response: Theism: the belief that a singularly existing, complex, conscious, ever-present, all powerful, invisible, purported male deity wished itself into complexity, consciousness and sentience out of nothing, ie., from nothing, without any prior evolution or family ancestry coming into its own existence—And then made the universe. Poof! Magic! Yeah, Makes much more sense.

  4. I cannot begin to comprehend how, in this age of so much education and advances in science, that there is such a huge amount of people who believe in a greater being who created the world. This belief is borne from books that were written an incredibly long time ago and were written to control the masses. I am a historian and I am continually outraged at how religion has caused so many wars and so much death and hate. Can’t people see through this facade? Purgatory was created so the non educated people would pay their church to get them into heaven quicker. How is this encouraging morality? I really hope that in my lifetime the majority of people will realise that there is no higher being and that the most important purpose of our lives is to be kind to each other.


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