Stephen Fry’s recent lambasting in a widely-viewed televised interview of god as an “evil, capricious, monstrous, maniac” because of the fact that the world he supposedly created has all manner of evils (as one example he mentioned an insect that makes children blind by burrowing in their eyes) was bound to elicit responses from god-apologists.
Giles Fraser takes a shot at defending god and the attempt is, frankly, pathetic. He takes the familiar stance that the god that Fry criticizes is not one that he believes in. He says that “there is no such thing as the God [Fry] imagines.” Fraser says that his own god is powerless and thus not responsible for these evils.
So what exactly is Fraser’s god if not the powerful creator of the universe? Here, as is almost always the case with people who think they have a sophisticated view of god, the language becomes mystical to the point of incoherence.
Indeed, as no less an authority than Thomas Aquinas rightly insists, existence itself is a questionable predicate to use of God. For God is the story of human dreams and fears. God is the shape we try to make of our lives. God is the name of the respect we owe the planet. God is the poetry of our lives. Of course this is real. Frighteningly real. Real enough to live and die for even.
So god is ‘frighteningly’ real but his existence is questionable? How does that work exactly? Is God merely a name we give to a set of our feelings and emotions? If so, why bother? We already have given those feelings and emotions quite adequate names. What exactly is gained by lumping them together and calling it god?