Stephen Fry calls God an ‘evil, capricious, monstrous maniac’.
“You could easily have made a creation in which that [evil] didn’t exist. It is simply not acceptable.”
“It’s perfectly apparent that he is monstrous. Utterly monstrous and deserves no respect whatsoever. The moment you banish him, life becomes simpler, purer, cleaner, more worth living in my opinion.”
Fry’s remarks show in exemplary fashion that the intelligence of modern man is only willing to go half way. His questions are very serious and important “why does a good God allow evil?” But he’s not very interested in the answer. His logic can be summarised like this: the world is not how I would like it to be, or at least not how it should be according to me if a good God existed, hence, either God does not exist, or if he exists I will ignore Him because he’s evil and not worth of attention.
This logic, beside the fact that crucially includes no distinction between natural evil and evil caused by man’s freedom, shows a double faulty thinking, namely: either (1) things which are not as I imagined must be false; or (2) if they are true I will ignore them as a way to solve the problem.
This attitude is often chosen instead of working on the positive hypothesis which emerges by considerations of reality: evil exists, the history of humanity implies the existence of a God who loves his creatures. How these two data can coexist, should be the start of the enquiry. And as every correct enquiry should start, it should work on testing the positive hypothesis, not the negative one.
The solution to the apparent contradiction of the “Old Testament”-style God of Fry’s (or rather his partial caricature) is in the New Testament and in Christianity [but I know that modern man fears a solution, because he has fixed his identity in an endless search, privileging doubt to certainty]. God created a free human being capable to commit evil but oriented towards good; evil is not removed from the world by God without the participation of man to preserve man’s freedom; a free world with evil is regarded by God as having higher ontological value than an unfree world without evil; God’s own freedom is such that He can exert self-limitation on his power of intervention; He however did not leave His creature – who He loves – alone in suffering and abandoned in evil, but sent His own Son, who fully partook in the human condition, suffered, died, and resurrected. Evil is not eliminated, but is won in Christ. Evil and suffering, which enter the human condition structurally through the original sin, are stepping stones towards redemption, and not ultimate obstacles. Any “humanism” which does not seriously reflect on the reality of suffering, but as a way to deal with it it merely ignores it, is in my view seriously limited.
This was a very, very short… sketchy explanation… 🙂