Uploaded on Jan 1, 2010
http://facebook.com/ScienceReason ... Stephen Fry @ BigThink: God Is Everywhere.
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Question: What do you believe?
Stephen Fry: Its interesting. Atheism comes into rather a bad press and I suppose Id rather describe myself as a humanist, who human I dont believe in God. I dont believe there is a God. If I were to believe in a god l would believe in gods. I think monotheism is the really ghastly thing. That is the absolutely staggering to me misapprehension.
I can perfectly see why anybody might imagine that each thing, each thing that grows, each phenomenon that we that accompanies us on our journey through life, the sky, the mountains, spirits of nature. I can imagine why man would wish to endow them with an inner something, an inner animus that they would call the god of that thing.
I can see that. Its a beautiful and charming way of looking at it and I can understand the Greek idea that there are these you know these principles of lightening or of war or of wisdom and to embody them, to personify them into a Athena or Aries or whichever god you want makes enormous sense, but to say that there is one only god who made it all and who is Yeah, that is just What? Why? Who said? Where? Come on.
And I love how when people watch I dont know, David Attenborough or Discovery Planet type thing you know where you see the absolute phenomenal majesty and complexity and bewildering beauty of nature and you stare at it and then and somebody next to you goes, And how can you say there is no God? Look at that.
And then five minutes later youre looking at the lifecycle of a parasitic worm whose job is to bury itself in the eyeball of a little lamb and eat the eyeball from inside while the lamb dies in horrible agony and then you turn to them and say, Yeah, where is your God now?
You know I mean you got You cant just say there is a God because well, the world I beautiful. You have to account for bone cancer in children. You have to account for the fact that almost all animals in the wild live under stress with not enough to eat and will die violent and bloody deaths. There is not any way that you can just choose the nice bits and say that means there is a God and ignore the true fact of what nature is.
The wonder of nature must be taken in its totality and it is a wonderful thing. It is absolutely marvelous and the idea that an atheist or a humanist if you want to put it that way, doesnt marvel and wonder at reality, at the way things are, is nonsensical. The point is we wonder all the way. We dont just stop and say that which I cannot understand I will call God, which is what mankind has done historically.
Thats to say God was absolutely everything a thousand or two thousand years ago because we understood almost nothing about the natural world, so it could all be God and then as we understood more God receded and receded and receded, so suddenly now he is barely anywhere. He is just in those things we dont understand, which are important, but I think it just is such an insult to humanity and the Greeks got it right.
The Greeks understood perfectly that if there were divine beings they are capricious, unkind, malicious mostly, temperamental, envious and mostly deeply unpleasant because that you can say well yes, all right, if there is going to be god or gods then you have to admit that theyre very at the very least capricious. Theyre certainly not consistent. Theyre certainly not all loving. I mean really its just not good enough.
You know if we empower ourselves with responsibility over our actions, responsibility over our destinies and responsibility for directing and maintaining and creating our own ethical and moral frameworks, which is the most important thing really isnt it because perhaps the greatest insult to humanism is this idea that mankind needs a god in order to have a moral framework.
There is a very clear way of demonstrating logically how absurd that is because the warrant for that logical framework, for that moral framework that comes from God is always tested against mans own morals and its a complicated argument, but I mean thats you know its the standard one which is pretty unanswerable, but the idea that we dont know right from wrong, but we have to take it from words put down in a book two, three, four, five, six thousand years ago and dictated to rather hotheaded neurotic desert tribes is just insulting.