Stephen Fry has caused outrage by stating that any God who created this universe was “an utter maniac, totally selfish” and “evil”.
His impassioned speech against an all knowing, all creating deity was filmed back in December when he was interviewed for an Irish television programme called The Meaning of Life, the Telegraph reports.
Asked if he thought he would get into heaven, the newly married Fry replied “No, but I wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. They’re wrong”.
The staunch atheist was asked what he would he would do if he did find himself at the “pearly gates” after his death.
“I’ll say: bone cancer in children, what’s that about?” he said.
“How dare you. How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that’s 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?”
“The God who created this universe, if he created this universe, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish” he added.
“We have to spend our lives on our knees thanking him. What kind of God would do that?
“Yes, the world is very splendid, but it also has in it insects whose whole life cycle is to burrow into the eyes of children and make them blind. Why? Why did you do that to us? It is simply not acceptable.
“Atheism is not just about not believing there’s a god. On the assumption there is one, what kind of God is he? It’s perfectly apparent that was monstrous, utterly monstrous, and deserves no respect.”
Speaking about his own atheism, he said ”The moment you banish him, your life becomes simpler, purer cleaner, more worth living in my opinion.”
Fry was not critical of all religions, saying the ancient Greek Gods did not present themselves as perfect, “all-seeing, all-wise, all-kind, all beneficent”.
Zeus himself raped Europa, abducting her disguised as a white bull and Aphrodite was so taken with her own beauty that she had rival in the beauty stakes, Andromeda, chained to a rock to be sacrificed to the Kraken, until Perseus, the son of Zeus, came to her rescue with the severed head of Medusa.
Fry’s interviewer, Gay Byrne, seemed taken aback by the passion with which the actor spoke of his atheism and siad it was the longest answer he’d got to that question.
The Head of the Ireland’s Presbyterian accused Mr Fry of “spiritual blindness”.
The Rev Ian McNie said: “Until Stephen Fry’s spiritual blind eyes are opened he will say what he says,” adding “I felt sorry for the man that his understanding of life is simply confined to the here and now and from his position of atheism there is no hope for the future.”
However, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Most Rev Justin Welby came to the defence of Mr Fry, saying he had a God-given right to express his beliefs and should not be abused by Christians for doing so. “We must speak out for others persecuted for their beliefs whether it be religious or atheistic,” adding, “Taking responsibility for someone else’s freedom is as important as my own.
“It is as much the right of Stephen Fry to say what he said and not be abused improperly by Christians who are affronted as it is the right of Christians to proclaim Jesus Christ”.