Well, Stephen Fry’s been having a very public go at God. And of course he’s stirred up some interesting responses: Russell Brand for one!! And David Robertson the Christian Scientist/Philosopher has a response out there too.
Both Brand and Robertson make good points. Basically Fry, a clever bloke by all accounts, has made the mistake of assuming that it would be God’s job, if God existed, to make and keep the world perfect. That’s what Fry thinks God should be for. Robertson makes the point that love is what it’s all about and challenges the Fry point of view by asking what a so called perfect world would have to be like. Brand challenges the criticism of religions in general that takes them quite literally and ignores the deeper spiritual message that drives them. Good for him.
One of Fry’s criticisms of Jesus is that some his sayings are “twee” and impractical, like the one about letting the person without sin cast the first stone. Fry omits to give Jesus the credit for having just saved the life of the adulterous woman with that little line. And no-one has ever suggested that that saying should or ought to become the basis for world jurisprudence, least of all Jesus. Fry also takes the very easy and emotionally loaded line of using disease in children as a club with which to bash Theism. There are many devout believers in God who have watched their children succumb to dreadful diseases and who have not tried to blame God for this.
It looks like Fry is having a go at the God of Christianity in particular, although presumably all forms of God are included in his attitude. He does not pause to think that because of the Christian Faith, he can very safely and easily say what he does, because one of the hallmarks of contemporary Christian society is that it offers safety and protection to those even who disagree with it.
I know Christianity has a lot of bad stuff to answer for, and that is why some people who are a bit angry at its still rather venerated position in British society, feel they can rant at it. But it is neither wise nor clever to come to a conclusion about something’s validity, usefulness or worth based on the worst examples of it. (I rather like the way Brand uses this argument with regard to football!)