If you follow social media, you may well have seen a link to a video clip featuring the comedian, and famous atheist, Stephen Fry, which has been doing the rounds over the weekend. In the clip, for an Irish TV programme, he says that if the world we live in, with all its pain and suffering, was created by a God, ‘it’s perfectly apparent that he is monstrous, utterly monstrous, and deserves no respect whatsoever’. He also asks, ‘Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God, who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain..?’
I will say this: what Stephen Fry says about God is not new. If you’ve been a Christian for a while, you will have heard this kind of thing before—and maybe you’ve said, or at least thought, some of the same things yourself. And even if you haven’t, chances are that some of your friends or your neighbours have… so it’s important as Christians that we think carefully about how to respond to hard challenges like this—both for our own sakes, and so that we have something helpful to add to the conversation.
That’s one of the reasons why I’m pleased that we’re running the Identity Course here in Houghton this term. Among other things, the course gives people the chance to think about some of the big questions of life, including, ‘Why do we suffer?’ and ‘Does God care about justice?’ If you’re not yet in a group, but would like to join one, do get in touch.
There’s also an opportunity next Tuesday (10th February) to come to a Midlands Gospel Partnership event on the topic: ‘The God of the Old Testament: ‘jealous, vindictive and unforgiving’? which will pick up on some similar themes. It’s at Knighton Free Church, starting at 8pm, and should be an excellent evening.