Steven Fry's rant on God

Discussion in 'Other Stuff' started by johnyudodis, Jan 30, 2015.

  1. johnyudodis

    johnyudodis New

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  2. Vault313

    Vault313 New

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    Hmmm. Very limited view of what a deity is/could be. So much anger...

    He questions why so much pain in the world, then proceeds to get angry at a fictional being over it. Bazaar behavior for sure. Perhaps his biggest problem is his limited view of what a deity is/could be and a very limited view that life is all suffering and pain, without any context. Unless you're an atheist, of course, then it's all roses....
     
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  3. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    He's known to suffer from episodes of severe depression (which is acceptable, I've been there too) but this kind of outlook I think not helpful for his well-being. This rant could well be both a contributing factor, as well as a consequence of that depression.

    I say this with due respect to both Fry and anyone else who suffers from depression, its not something to dismiss or trivialise.
     
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  4. johnyudodis

    johnyudodis New

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    I think his anger, along with quite a lot of atheists anger, is towards the christian deity specifically. Being homosexual it is highly likely he has faced some disdain from heavily prejudiced christians which doesn't help much either
     
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  5. Morning Fog

    Morning Fog New

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    I had no idea he suffered from depression. Snarky remark deleted.
     
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  6. Craig Weiler

    Craig Weiler Associate

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    He's married finally and the stability of a life partner should be healing for him. I doubt he'll give up atheism, but it will probably soften him up.
     
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  7. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    I don't know how you can interpret much about Fry's views of other versions of deities from this clip. The presenter says "Suppose it's all true, and you walk up to the Pearly Gates and you are confronted by God." This suggests they were discussing one particular deity: the christian deity called God.

    He is asked how he would confront this being. And so he puts himself into the story and imagines how he would react if this character were real. He describes the nature of this character, as he sees it. Note that before he goes into his diatribe, he states that he's going to talk about Theodicy, which is the attempt to answer the question of why a good God permits the manifestation of evil. Given that he's on a tv show being interviewed for a segment that he no doubt knows will be very short, I wouldn't presume to think that his statements there represent the fullness of his thoughts on this matter.

    What do you find bizarre about reacting emotionally to fictional beings? My bet is that you do so all the time. Without that capacity I doubt we would be nearly as engaged by fictional stories of any type, whether in books, movies, television, or other mediums.

    I haven't done any research on this particular issue but I suspect the reason for this is that same parts of the brain that react when feeling angered toward real people are triggered when thinking about fictional characters (or even anthropomorphised objects).

    I have read about something similar in the case of accomplishments in video games. That is, brain measurements were similar when comparing successes involving video game accomplishments vs. real life accomplishments. It helps explain why video games can be so addictive.
     
  8. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    The article does state Christian deity. Though I'd make it "standard model of the Christian deity."
     
  9. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    Put it back. lol. Depression is just a state of mind, it doesn't mean one's viewpoint is any less valid and/or open to scrutiny. Plus there nothing about depression that forces one to make media appearances.
     
  10. Raimo

    Raimo New

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    I don't know who Stephen Fry is. I have never even heard of him.

    Extremely stupid and childish argument. If I didn't know that Fry is 57 years old, I would have guessed that he is probably 15 years old.

    I agree. Fortunately I'm a Pagan.
     
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  11. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    You're lucky. Where I live he's on TV seemingly all the time.
     
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  12. Vault313

    Vault313 New

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    I totally agree with this. I have yet to meet anyone who has not felt depressed. However, severe depression is a whole different animal. Having suffered depression myself for most of my life, I have come to understand that, in my case, the way I choose to view myself, the world and my place in it has large effect on how severe my depressive episodes can be. At times I have felt myself on the edge of that abyss, I know to some extent I have a choice. I can give in to dark thoughts or I can muster my strength and pull away. It's not easy and it's not a cure. But depression, I think, has somewhat to do with feeling out of control, and a sense of helplessness. Knowing I can choose to look into the abyss, or turn away helps me. I don't know if it is the same for everyone who suffers from depression. Probably not.

    This is also why I choose to look elsewhere for the meaning of my own life, away from materialism. In complete honesty, my materialistic/atheist phase of my life was my darkest. But that is my own experience, and I am in no way claiming that my experience=materialism as a whole.

    Many materialist views, for me, served only to deepen a sense of fear, anxiety and sadness that has been part of my makeup for a long time. By opening up my mind to the possibility of there being more than just what we perceive with our five senses, I am in a much better place.

    I know a lot of atheists would say I am being cowardly, and clinging to myths so that I can get by. And maybe I am. I have moved from a place where I believed there was no meaning to life, no meaning to suffering, no reason for the universe to even exist. That we die and that's it, lights out forever. To a place where I'm not sure I really believe in much of anything. But the hope is there that there is more. And living in a space where hope is allowed to flourish is a brighter place for me, personally, to inhabit.

    We all have reasons for believing what we do. We all have a unique experience, a unique existence. That is one of the beauties of being a conscious human on planet Earth.
     
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  13. tim

    tim New

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    Fry's argument is childish, bad things happen so "God" can't exist or if he does, he's a bar-steward. It was another aspect of Fry we saw recently blushing like a bashful teenager (great performance from the old dame ) and making cow eyes at is lovely young "bride" . Ridiculous and before anyone comes to give me a kicking, I don't have a problem with homosexuals.
     
  14. Saiko

    Saiko Member

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    I disagree. It's a perspective that many traditionalist Christians including intellectuals and priests have wrestled with.
     
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  15. tim

    tim New

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    They don't need to wrestle with it though. Cancer exists because flesh is mortal and elements break down etc for all kinds of reasons. If there was no cancer would that make the world perfect ? How could there ever be a physical existence where nothing bad ever happened...that would be hell literally. I agree with the poster above, Fry is 57 and has the wisdom of a fourteen year old or less.
     
  16. DasMurmeltier

    DasMurmeltier New

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    I dont know who mentioned that, but wasnt there a saying that we can only appreciate the good things in life if there are bad things aswell? Idk.
     
  17. Typoz

    Typoz Member

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    @Vault313 A lot of what you said resonates with me - though I'm sure our experiences have been very different. In particular, I had to abandon the idea that there was no free will, purely as a matter of being pragmatic. My life was unliveable when I temporarily took on board that notion. Ideas of a deity came much later, I was caught between materialism on the one hand, and a Christian God on the other, nether of which were satisfactory. (That part at least sounds a lot like Stephen Fry).

    After years of exploration of many topics, which I won't dwell on here, I was still no closer to an answer. But somehow God found her/his way into my life at one of the darkest points in my life - much to my surprise. (With hindsight, this was an illustration of free will. God didn't appear until invited). I'd not heard of the expression at the time, but I suppose what occurred could be called an STE (spiritually transformative experience) though the effects were gradual, over many years, rather than sudden and dramatic. (I still don't follow any recognised religious system).
     
    Last edited: Jan 30, 2015
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  18. lhl

    lhl Member

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    In that case you I would encourage you to acquaint yourself with him. I consider him to be a great human being (and very funny). To my mind he represents a first class counter example to the view, held by some, that atheism invariably leads to a worldview lacking in morality and compassion.
     
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  19. Arouet

    Arouet Member

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    Accepting that basic premise, from a design perspective (which is where the hypothetical puts us): should consideration be placed on just how much bad is needed to adequately appreciate the good? Is there a level of misery for which we get diminishing returns?
     
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  20. Vault313

    Vault313 New

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    I never really did take on the idea that I had no free will. The first I heard of the idea I thought it was ludicrous. It was also the start of my questioning whether materialism was really a wise way to live one's life. I think I realized I had been living my life as though I had no free will, without even thinking about it. It took a materialistic neuroscientist saying we have no free will to wake me up, so to speak. I began to realize that I was allowing myself to be controlled by what other people thought. That I was blaming a lot of my misery on things outside of me. It's taken a lot of time,work and meditation for me to understand that I do have control over myself and my own life. Learning that , for me, my depression could be tempered by a conscious choice to choose differently for myself. I cannot always control what happens, but I can control what I choose to do with it. That is one aspect of materialism that I think can be so incredibly harmful. That you have no choice in your own life. That you cannot even choose for yourself what to be or not to be.
    I have felt some real moments of peace , love and beauty during meditation. I don't know what it is or if it's anything beyond myself. What is important is that I found it. At first I didn't know whether I could trust what I was feeling. But I realized that, while I struggled with accepting these beautiful feelings, I had never doubted my dark feelings. I never doubted the validity of my depression. So, I knew I had to either trust all of it or none of it. I also knew it was a choice. That I really did have one to make.

    So choosing between whether all of my feelings are valid, or none of them are, I choose to believe they all have validity. Our rational mind is there to lend them context.

    I'm still unsure about the idea of God and all that. I'm not religious and likely never will be. But I am open to the mystery, and wonder if that isn't the point of it all. Perhaps for me, feeling cut off and alone from the All That Is, or God or whatever, and finding my way back is a journey I chose to take. If so, I'll have to remember to kick my own ass when this is all over.
     
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