I was asked this week what I thought of Stephen Fry. My first response was “who is Stephen Fry?” After some research, I found he is an actor and an atheist who recently aired his views on what he would say to God if he were given opportunity, and it went viral.
For someone who does not believe God exists, he gave an impassioned and articulate response about this God he does not believe in.
He said God was “capricious, mean-minded, stupid” and “monstrous”. He went on to say he would tell God, “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.” “The God who created this universe, if he created this universe, is quite clearly a maniac, an utter maniac, totally selfish.”
I believe Stephen fails to recognise, not only that God exists, but who He is and misrepresents God’s very nature.
Funnily enough, even those who don’t believe in God, when faced with tragedy or evil situations, like a downtown café being held up by gunman, can be found turning to God in prayer. TV commentators encourage it and vow to us that their prayers are with the sufferers.
When bad things happen, I’m so glad that I believe in a God who is not unmoved, unconcerned or blind to humanity and who does in fact respond to prayer, even our most desperate, ineloquent pleas.
I think that many turn to prayer because of a deep knowing that there must be someone higher than all of this: all of this sickness, all of this suffering, all of this tragedy.
At the same time, many people also choose to decide who that is and how they will respond to that perception. It’s a kind of “make-your-own God” if you will.
Deciding who God is to you will be the defining moment in your spiritual life.
Stephen speaks as if this God he does not believe in is evil, unjust, mean and a maniac. That measures his response to the world and God.
I believe that God is good, just, loving, merciful and patient, even in the challenge of a terminal illness (and even more so).
I know a God who in trial and pain is personal, caring, concerned and very much involved. In turn, that measures my response to the world and to God.
I also believe that God has created all of us with the ability to know Him. He wants us to know who He really is. He showed himself to us through the example of Jesus and through the pages of the Bible.
Stephen may attribute at least partial blame for the evil in our world to a hateful God, whereas the Bible teaches that evil, rebellious angels, and men are the cause of evil.
Let me explain. God created the earth and everything in it, including us. It was created good and all animals lived together with no threat of life or fear from each other. He gave man free-will. Free-will means we have the choice to choose good or bad and it allowed angels and man to choose evil over good. As someone once said, to blame God for the mess we now find ourselves in is like blaming the landlord when the tenants have trashed the house.
God’s will was and still is to redeem the world and all of creation back to His original intent. He sent Jesus to reveal His redemption plan, healing and restoring the world. Aren’t you glad God didn’t walk out on us? Where the evil of man sought to separate us entirely from God, the love of God made a way in spite of it.
The very thing that Stephen would blame God for, God is actually working at ridding the world from and returning back to peace. And I know many people have also committed themselves to this endeavour, to be the light in dark places, to offer kindness, compassion and humanitarian help.
I believe, there will be a time when children no longer die from bone cancer and hatred is no more. This will be God’s doing not man’s. Just because God hasn’t made His final move yet doesn’t mean He won’t or He hasn’t already begun.
Power always has the option to destroy or manipulate, but the power of God’s great love offers instead forgiveness, free-will and to extend humanity beyond this reality into another.
God secured for us a place free from all pain and suffering, and a way for us to be reunited with Him in heaven. This is a place that Stephen may argue God should create if He was a good God. Well, God already has and if we choose, our time spent there will be eternal.
When I take opportunity to speak to God, something I do daily unlike Stephen Fry’s imaginary scenario, I don’t offer blame or spite, instead, I can’t help but offer thanks, praise and adoration to the God who I have come to know.
P.s. Would love to hear your thoughts on your personal spiritual defining moments.