Thursday, 5 February 2015



This week the media is buzzing with the news that Stephen Fry launched a massive attack on God on RTE television - calling him: "capricious, mean-minded, stupid, a maniac and totally selfish".

Stephen Fry with RTE's Gay Byrne

Thats an awful lot of accusations to make against someone you believe does not exist.

Can I make it very clear at the beginning that I love and admire Stephen Fry. I admire his wonderful talents. I admire his honesty and integrity. I admire his sense of humour. And I greatly admire his openness about his battles with Bipolar Disorder and depression. He is one of my heroes. He is one of the few people on earth I would love to have a long dinner with. 

Can I also make it clear that I love and admire God. I admire his creation. I admire his infinite and eternal refusal to keep himself to himself. I admire his aboriginal "decision" to give us free will and his resisting the temptation to make us into perfect, trouble free, disease free, disaster free, obliviously happy, robots. And when I look at some people - I admire his sense of humour too.

So how do I feel about my hero Stephen and my friend "Big G" having such a big fallout - or to put it more accurately - how do I feel about Stephen telling God, basically to "Feic off"!

Well to be very honest I am not in the least upset. Stephen was being his very honest self and from what I know of God he has a very big chin and can take care of himself.

In fact it made me recall, with a smile, the story of the two posters in a Paris underground station. One poster read: "GOD IS DEAD" - Nietzsche. Ten feet further along there was another poster which read: "NIETZSCHE IS DEAD" - God.

Stephen was angry with God about the injustice and suffering in the world he had created. He was angry about children having bone cancer. He was angry about the African Eye Worm which destroys human eyes from the inside.

Stephen was complaining that God had created a world in which all these terrible things exist and happen.

But was Stephen addressing his complaints to the right person and in the right direction?

The Judeo Christian narrative says that in the beginning God had made a perfect world - the Garden of Eden. Presumably in this perfect place such things as bone cancer and the African Worm had no place?

And through the Adam and Eve poetic narrative Judeo Christianity says that it was MAN - and not GOD -  that was responsible for bringing this perfect world to and end - by some form of aboriginal disobedience or treachery - a disobedience and treachery linked to the fact that God had created man with a free will so powerful that it was capable of destroying and jettonising God's original "perfect world" plan.

And this is not so hard to believe if you look at the horrific things that men have done to each other since they began walking the earth. On the 70th anniversary of World War 11 we have a perfect example of such horror in the fact that some 55 million people perished in WW11 and the facts that the Nazis exterminated 6 million in their hate camps.

We would have to stretch it a bit to say that God was responsible for the deaths of those 55 million.

And to leave the Jews behind for a moment let us look at the person who is the focus of the world's billions of Christians - Jesus Christ - the one whom Christians believe is the most complete revelation of who God is.

What kind of a God was Jesus?

He was a God who was born in a stable surrounded by farm animals.

He was from peasant stock and lived as a humble wood worker in a peasant home in Nazareth.

During his brief ministry he had no home of his own - he was homeless - and depended on the charity of friends and admirers.

He had one set of clothes.

His family thought he was mentally ill and his neighbours tried to thrown him over a cliff.

He was hated by the religious and respectable people of his day.

As for his attitude to sickness and disease  - he went about curing all the sick people he met.

He spoke up against injustice and man's inhumanity to man.

He attacked the status quo verbally and physically.

He criticised the rich who would not share with the poor.

And finally he was lied about, plotted against, falsely arrested, endured a fake trial, suffered the "waterboarding" of his time and was executed.

Even his greatest enemies would have had a near impossible task trying to prove that Jesus was "carpricous, mean-minded, stupid, an utter maniac and totally selfish". His words and actions suggest that he was in fact the opposite of all these things.

And this is the man that God said best showed what God was like. This is also the man that Christians say who is the most God like.

This Jesus cured little children of worse than bone cancer. In fact he raised children from the dead.

Jairus' daughter (12) whom Jesus raised from dead

This Jesus who was capable of curing leprosy would have no problem at all curing African Eye Worm. In fact he did cure blind people.

I wonder if the real problem with the world and in the world is not man? Just as man derailed God's plan for a perfect world - does not man continue to derail God's desire for a better world?

How much would it cost to rid the world of African Eye Worm? Could it be done if I gave the money I spend on my car, my holidays, my gadgets and my brandy to the fund for the cure of African Eye Worm? Yes it could!

Could it be done if my hero Stephen sent the money he spent on his Bentley - or half his $ 30 million wealth - to the African Eye Worm fund? Yes it could!

Could it be done if the governments of the countries where African Eye Worm is so prevalent spent the money they spend on arms on the Eye Worm crisis? Yes it could!

Could it be done if the pharmaceutical companies wanted less profit for the drug diethylcarbamazine which cures the disease? Yes it could!

In short could it not be done if ALL OF US who have so much shared more of what we have with those WHO HAVE so little. Yes it could!

And would that not be the same for cancer, malaria, hunger, thirst, homelessness and all the other ills that blight the lives of the poor of the earth. Yes it would!

OR - is it easier for us to blame God for it all - and just get on with our comfortable lives? Yes it is!

One of my all time favourite movies is the movie called OH GOD which stars George Burns as God and John Denver as an atheist who God begins to visit. At one stage John Denver says to God: "Why don't you do something about all the suffering in the world"? God answers: "I have done something about it. I have given you each other".

So much of what we blame on God is OUR own doing. But man finds it easier to shake his fist at God than he does to unclench that fist and put his hand in his own pocket.

We have the answers for many of the things we blame on God and others! 

+Pat Buckley


  1. Fry was addressing his scorn and complaints to Gay Byrne, not a God whom he doesn't believe exists. This arose from Byrne's totally innapropriate question, given the TV interview circumstances. It was full of assumptions that Gaybo, in his usual smarmy way expected Fry to simply accept in the acquiescent mode commonly seen in response to Byrne's ingratiating manner.
    My knowledge of this event comes from the Huffington Post report that Gaybo asked Fry what he would say if he came face to face with God.This was in the context of prior discussion and Fry's open acknowledgement of his lack of belief in God's existence.

    So I'm delighted that Gaybo was "gob-smacked" when Fry replied "How dare you?", before launching into a stunning riposte about how, if there were a God, he would have to be utterly utterly evil to have created a world with such pain, evil, and so much misery, eg. bone cancer in innocent blameless children etc etc.

    Finally, when asked by Byrne if he thought he would be going to Heaven (another absolutely stupid question in the then context) Fry replied, "I wouldn't want to to get in on his terms!"
    My view: full marks Fry. Well done. Sure I'm biased, and have loathed Byrne for years.I think he's a smooth toadying condescending anacronism well past his sell by date. But then I agree with Fry anyway. Just wish I had his intelligence and articulation.

    1. Michael,

      As always I appreciate your perspective.

      This particular programme that Gaybo is hosting is called THE MEANING OF LIFE and he asks all his interviewees about God, the afterlife etc.

      I do think Stephen floored him.

      Byrne often interviewed me on TV and radio and he always stacked the audience with clerics to hassle me.

      Maybe his twice loss of fortune is down to The Hon Mr Karma?

  2. Gaybo showed his true colours for the umpteenth time the night he interviewed the ex lover of Eamon Casey, the discredited, hypocritical and shameless charlatan former bishop of Galway. A bishops man to the back door Byrne was outmanoeuvred at almost every turn by the urbane and intelligent Ms Murphy. In a somewhat spiteful and barbed comment at the end of the interview byrne said that he hoped that the boy Murphy , (Bishop Caseys illegitimate son with Ms Murphy) was quote " half the man his father is" Ms Murphy's immediate put down left old Gaybo stunned " I hope he's not for he's not a man"

    1. I agree. I met Annie Murphy at that time. She had more morality in her little finger than Casey had in his whole body

      But of course Gay was mesmirised by the singing bishop's PR style.

      "Woe to you when the world speaks well of you. That was the way their fathers treated the false prophets"

  3. Is it true that Fry is a gay? I think that all this gay will bring an end to humanity. I am a mother, grandmother and great grandmother who worries about how the gay's are so deeply rooted in our Church and why it is in the state it is.


    1. Mary,

      Yes Stephen Fry is gay.

      Gays have been around since the very beginning of time and the world has not come to and end yet. In fact the population is continuing to grow to the point where it is a problem.

      I agree there are a lot of gay people in the church - but it has lasted for 2000 years in spite of them.

      I think the world is safe.