To say that Stephen Fry's recent comments regarding atheism and religion have caused a stir in the online debating/slanging match world would be an understatement. With their pitchforks still drying from the news that Stephen Fry has married a man younger than him (oh the sin!), the righteous gang are up in arms that he has suggested that, were God real, then he would have a few choice words to say to him/her/it.
For me, the question of whether or not God is real is not the point of this discussion but the pinnacle message that should be taken from what Fry so eloquently said is that, were God real, why would we want to worship such an entity?
It is a line of argument that I have yet to see a believer respond to with any substance. Frankly, I do not see how anyone could counter-argue it; the principle of it is so flawless. If this God is real (forget the irritants such as scientific proof and history for a moment) and has control over everything which happens in the world, then is he deserving of such unwavering respect and adoration? With famine, disaster, pain, death and, as Fry used as a frankly brilliant example, eye eating parasites in the world; just what on Earth was going on in this guy's design stages of life and the planet?
Reading both sides of the discussion with interest, I came across a scoffing response to Fry's argument which went along the lines of: "Who are you to think that God would LET you argue with him? You will be there to be judged."
This was in relation to Fry's statement that he'd have a few issues to bring up with God if he did happen to meet him at the pearly gates. And therein lies Fry's entire point. It's the unquestioning faith in an unknown being with clearly skewed morals and bizarre intentions that renders religion really quite a baffling concept. The fact that this God would expect us to just swallow horrendous occurrences such as dying children, cruelty, torture, disease and wasps and still idolise him without criticism in the hope that he'd let us into a VIP party in the afterlife makes him seem more like a dictator or a really ruthless nightclub bouncer.
If I am solely there to be judged by someone who unleashes tsunamis and earthquakes when he's got a spare minute, then I think I would be with Fry in that, would I WANT this chap's approval? If Earth is a place of such painful creations, goodness only knows what Heaven will contain. Man eating spiders? Knee cap burrowing maggots? Miley Cyrus?
Another person summed up the feelings of many fence sitters on the whole religion thing: "It's a bit of a big risk to take to criticise God. What if he's real? He's going to be pissed."
Despite all the horrors, a book written a few thousand years ago (this is peanuts in time quantity where the Earth is concerned) orders us to have blind faith for years and we will be rewarded. Much like watching Lost. And that went well, didn't it?
Many people appear not to dare question out of fear that they will burn in a sulphury pit of magma in the Earth's crust with only Satan's pitchfork for a spooning buddy. Which implies therefore that we are forced to believe out of sheer fear. And if we don't...well, we will regret it and God will be the one to decide. I'm not one to liken a religion concept to a Nazi-esque dictatorship but y'know, I struggle to see where Fry can be proclaimed wrong in this.
I am happy for, and envious of religious people who have faith in a higher power and a better afterlife for enduring this quite horrible Earth. I will never criticise those who believe for believing, like the majority of believers wouldn't criticise agnostics or atheists for their view points. We're a mixed bunch, us humans, and we all have brains which lead us to various outcomes and decisions. Who is to say who is right?
The point , and the epicentre of Fry's argument, is that if God were real and Christianity is bang on, then I'm utterly terrified to meet someone who has control over such widespread misery.
And I, like Fry, won't be getting down on my knees to beg forgiveness. See you all in Hell.