There is a pleasant new aroma of honesty wafting from Atheism’s camp. There is a shift in Atheism that happens to be quite a refreshing one. It seems to stem largely from the late work of Christopher Hitchens and has been perpetuated by the inferior efforts of Richard Dawkins. The latest to adopt this trend publicly is Stephen Fry.
Stephen Fry is a public figure and a very well rounded man. He is a comedian and talented actor who has engaged in rigorous intellectual challenges in the public arena. He has recently made news as he has just “married” his long term boyfriend. Stephen Fry has been involved with Hitchens in the past in attacking the Christian faith, and in recent headlines, much of Hitchens’ style has rubbed off.
The honesty sweeping through Atheism is a shift from intellectual agnosticism to the admission of hatred. We as Christians are given a divine insight into the nature of unbelief. Romans chapter 1 reveals the reality that all unbelief is the exchanging of truth, not an ignorance to it. Romans makes clear that unbelief is not the product of insufficient conquests of evidence, but it is a product of rebellion and hatred. This biblical reality is slowly surfacing as an evidenced truth. Many Atheists are now revealing their pure hatred for God as opposed to the old Atheism which tried to take on more of agnosticism. They didn’t claim to hate God, they just didn’t see reason to justify His existence; it’s nothing personal.
Finally, many Atheists are being very open that it is primarily personal.
During an interview (which is linked to below) Fry was asked what he would say if he did meet God when he died. This was Fry’s response:
“I’d say, bone cancer in children? What’s that about? How dare you? How dare you create a world to which there is such misery that is not our fault. It’s not right, it’s utterly, utterly evil. Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world that is so full of injustice and pain? That’s what I would say.”
The host then asked if Fry thought he would get in with that answer and Fry responded.
“But I wouldn’t want to. I wouldn’t want to get in on his terms. They are wrong. Now, if I died and it was Pluto, Hades, and if it was the 12 Greek gods then I would have more truck with it, because the Greeks didn’t pretend to not be human in their appetites, in their capriciousness, and in their unreasonableness. [T]hey didn’t present themselves as being all-seeing, all-wise, all-kind, all-beneficent, because the god that created this universe, if it was created by god, is quite clearly a maniac, [an] utter maniac, totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of god would do that?”
Romans 1 makes clear that to claim Atheism is a lie. According to the Scriptures, Atheists are liars. However, Fry’s blasphemy and self-contradiction is a refreshing breeze of honesty. Fry has made Romans 1 clear; he hates God. He despises God. The roots of his rebellion have been upended. It’s plain for the world to see. He is not simply walking around convinced that there is just no evidence God exists, he walks around hating and despising the One he does know exists.
Fry is not alone in the group of public Atheists.
“The God of the Old Testament is arguably the most unpleasant character in all fiction: jealous and proud of it; a petty, unjust, unforgiving control-freak; a vindictive, bloodthirsty ethnic cleanser; a misogynistic, homophobic, racist, infanticidal, genocidal, filicidal, pestilential, megalomaniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully.” – Richard Dawkins
My favorite to ever flaunt the position is the late Christopher Hitchens who I believe took this public bull of honesty by the horns and gathered his minions. Christopher was known for identifying as antitheist over the commonly used term Atheist. In his debate film with Douglas Wilson, he made it perfectly clear that he not only does not believe in God but the very idea terrifies him. He is terrified of being governed by a “capricious” and “selfish” God.
Speaking of Doug Wilson, in his debate with Dan Barker, Barker claimed that God is evil and is deserving of the Hell He created. He later went on to happily admit that he would choose Hell over spending eternity with a God he hates. He rightfully stated that Hell for Him would be an eternity with God.
And Dan Barker is exactly right.
“I do understand what love is, and that is one of the reasons I can never again be a Christian. Love is not self denial. Love is not blood and suffering. Love is not murdering your son to appease your own vanity. Love is not hatred or wrath, consigning billions of people to eternal torture because they have offended your ego or disobeyed your rules. Love is not obedience, conformity, or submission. It is a counterfeit love that is contingent upon authority, punishment, or reward. True love is respect and admiration, compassion and kindness, freely given by a healthy, unafraid human being.”
Many more examples could be cited, but that impulse will be curbed for redundancies sake.
Here is the point; unbelievers hate God. They are not passively and openly waiting for the right evidence to finally give their hearts over. Their hearts are already over, and they despise Him. And unless God changes their hearts they always will.
This is precisely the appeal to presuppositional apologetics. It certainly does not lack the intellectual rigor and sophistication that Paul set the example in apologetics for, but it also works under the understanding of Romans 1, not against it.
Apologetics to the glory of God needs to be, as Greg Bahnsen stated, working under the Lordship of Christ, not toward it. For too long Christian apologetics ignored Paul’s words in Romans 1, believed the lies that the Atheist is simply and humbly waiting for evidence, and then the turned discussions into an amateur boxing match, each side closing their eyes and exchanging blows. Christian apologetics needs to be biblically centered, and work under the understanding that these people know God exists and actively rebel against the truth they are exchanging. Make no mistake about it, theology matters. What we believe about where these people are coming from drastically affects how we present the Gospel and defend the truth apologetically.
The unbeliever does not have an intellectual problem with God; it’s a personal one.
And in regards to Fry’s answer: he is stealing from the Christian worldview. He is holding God to an objective moral standard. The problem is, in his worldview, that terminology cannot exist. His claim is that God is immoral. Says who?