Stephen Fry Responds To ‘The Meaning Of Life’ Controversy

Stephen Fry has defended his comments on The Meaning of Life — where he said that God was “utterly monstrous” — and has said that he was “astonished” by the reaction his interview with Gay Byrne has caused.

When Gay Byrne, the host of The Meaning of Life, asked Stephen Fry, a renowned atheist, about what he would say should God actually exist and Fry arrive at the pearly gates, Fry voiced an opinion that ended up going viral across social media.

“I think I’d 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?”

During the interview, Byrne also asked Stephen Fry if he thought he would be accepted into Heaven, should it exist, and Fry answered with an opinion that could be described as typical of a gay man who has openly declared himself an atheist for years.

“No, but I wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. They’re 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.”

Stephen Fry defended his comments early Friday when speaking to Colin Paterson on the Today show on BBC Radio 4, claiming that he had not criticized any particular religion, and that he was “most pleased” that his interview had gotten people talking about religion. Fry went on to say that he hadn’t said anything offensive, remarking that he expressed concepts that had been around for hundreds of years.

“I don’t think I mentioned once any particular religion and I certainly didn’t intend to say anything offensive towards any particular religion. I said quite a few things that were angry at this supposed God. I was merely saying things that Bertrand Russell and many finer heads than mine have said for hundreds of years, going all the way back to the Greeks.”

[Image via Phillip Toscano/PA Wire/Irish Times]