Staunch atheist Stephen Fry left a television host stunned when he explained what he would say if he was “confronted by God”.
The actor and author, who recently married his partner Elliot Spencer, made a series impassioned comments during an interview with Gay Byrne for RTÉ One’s The Meaning of Life.
The weekly show features discussions about the purpose of life, religion, and what happens after death. A clip released ahead of Sunday's screening saw Fry discussing his views on God from his perspective as an atheist.
“Suppose it’s all true, and you walk up to the pearly gates, and are confronted by God,” asked Bryne. “What will Stephen Fry say to him, her, or it?”
The 57-year-old replied: “I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about?
“How dare you? How dare you create a world to 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 that is so full of injustice and pain. That’s what I would say. ”
Byrne’s second question, “And you think you are going to get in, like that?” only served to fuel his fervour.
"But I wouldn't want to," Fry insisted. “I wouldn't want to get in on his terms. They are wrong.
"Now, if I died and it was Pluto, Hades, and if it was the 12 Greek gods then I would have more truck with it, because the Greeks didn’t pretend to not be human in their appetites, in their capriciousness, and in their unreasonableness… they didn’t present themselves as being all-seeing, all-wise, all-kind, all-beneficent, because the god that created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac… utter maniac, totally selfish.
"So, atheism isn’t not just about not believing there’s a God, but on the assumption there is one, what kind of God is he?”
Visibly staggered by Fry’s answer, Byrne said: “That sure is the longest answer to that question I ever got in this entire series.”
Join our commenting forum
Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies