Coffee House

Stephen Fry: the high-priest of juvenile atheism

22 August 2013

8:32 PM

22 August 2013

8:32 PM

Well, well, well. Nick Cohen’s excellent column in this week’s mag  has caused a stir today. Sadly, though, Nick’s astute argument became another excuse for a boring slanging match between atheists and believers. And of course Stephen Fry waded in:


Really? Fry’s Twitter cronies lapped that up. They always do. He’s so clever and civilised, our Stephen, bless his colourful cotton socks. Unlike those credulous maniacs who believe in God. In 2013!

Celebrity atheists always claim the rational high ground: we are calm and normal, the God squad is angry and mad. They tweet angry rubbish like the above, and still think they are morally and intellectually superior. Nick suggested there is no such thing as ‘militant’ atheism, and he’s probably right. There is a juvenile atheism, however, and its silliest high-priest is Stephen Fry.

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Show comments
  • MerckZ

    I’m an atheist and I think Fry was being juvenile. There’s a lot of immaturity surrounding the debate, from both sides – but the likes of Fry and other forgettable panel-show comedians can be incredibly childish, yet still seem to think they’ve won an intellectual argument after resorting to such “poo-poo-pee-pee-kaka”

    My favourite “celebrity atheist” (and libertarian) Penn Jillette doesn’t stoop to this level; he always seems to respect people of faith. He doesn’t just assume anyone who happens to disagree with him is a moron/bigot/homophobe.

  • Fred Scuttle

    God is a scumbag. Good thing he’s also imaginary.

  • fox spirit

    eisntein was not a believer in god, he believed in pantheism which means the whole of existence is god, but no life arter death and god is indiferent sicne he is all of existence, not a thinking feeling god, just the whole sum of existence.

  • Douglas J. Bender

    Whoa, Mr. Fry has a face like a hard journey.

  • Rockgod28

    Darwinian evolution, the change of a bacteria to a fish, a fish to a lizard, and so on is a fraud. Stephen Fry and those who believe, have faith in macroevolution, as science are in reality anti-science. When the facts of the fossil record, geology, chemistry and most damning the scientific method proves them wrong they do indeed become juvenile. So juvenile like Mr. Fry’s post seek to silence, like many before him, any discussion that challenges his faith.

    Their biggest fantasy and most intoxicating dream was manifest in the 10/10/10 campaign. Oh if that little red button were available life would be so much sweeter to people like Mr. Fry.

    Reality is he doesn’t have a red button. He can’t silence the choirs and cloud of witnesses that deny his faith and belief. So he is left to his small, petty, and most demonstrated juvenile way he can strike out at those who do not share his beliefs.

    Scientific method = submit a theory and subject it to a test.

    Test the theory of evolution. Observation of natural selection and adaptation by Charles Darwin is why he submitted his theory, but it has never been tested. Therefore anyone who claims it is a fact, settled science just because there is no better theory is anti-science since according to the core principle of science is the scientific method. By not following through with a test that shows bacteria becoming a multicell organism, a fish into a lizard or mammal, not just spicies adaptation then evolution is a fraud and a theory that by the scientific method must be rejected. Just like the juvenile Mr. Fry.

    • Fred Scuttle

      Can a godbotherer evolve into something sensible?

  • Papa Mincho

    It’s not clever to believe in things without verifiable evidence. It’s less clever to get huffy and insist on the plausibility of your ‘argument’ without verifiable evidence.

    Least clever of all, ‘wah-wah-wah they’re being uncivil’ is not an appropriate response when the stupid argument you’re peddling is called stupid.

  • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

    1. Everything in nature has a beginning;
    2. Nature can’t be arbitrary;
    Conclusion: Therefore the physical realm had a beginning. © 1996 Dean Michael Jackson.

    Oh, I just proved the existence of God!

    • Gath Gealaich

      Now if only both of your premises weren’t pure speculation…

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        Oh yeah, corporeal organisms don’t have beginnings. Stars don’t have beginnings. Planets don’t have beginnings. Our universe didn’t have a beginning.

        Wait a second, here, they all did have beginnings, and since nature doesn’t have the cognitive ability to be arbitrary, that means there was an ultimate beginning to the physical realm (assuming our universe was spawned from another physical source, and so on until we arrive at the first physical entity), but since inanimate matter can’t create itself (creation demands cognition), we therefore prove the existence of God!

        Looks like I’m still right.

        • Gath Gealaich

          “Oh yeah, corporeal organisms don’t have beginnings. Stars don’t have beginnings. Planets don’t have beginnings. Our universe didn’t have a beginning.”

          You said “everything in nature”. Your enumeration is a finite set. That hardly counts as “everything”. Unless you limit the “nature” to the confines of our universe, which seems to be a little bit premature.

          “Wait a second, here, they all did have beginnings, and since nature doesn’t have the cognitive ability to be arbitrary, that means there was an ultimate beginning to the physical realm (assuming our universe was spawned from another physical source, and so on until we arrive at the first physical entity), but since inanimate matter can’t create itself (creation demands cognition), we therefore prove the existence of God!”

          There are multiple failures in this line of reasoning.

          First, “nature doesn’t have the cognitive ability to be arbitrary”? What does that even mean? If nature can’t be arbitrary, it’s more due to the confines of logic. You can’t have contradictory laws of physics, for example, but that is not due to the “cognitive ability” of anything. So unless you define what “arbitrary” is supposed to mean in this context, the sentence is meaningless anyway.

          Second, “assuming our universe was spawned from another physical source, and so on until we arrive at the first physical entity”. Sure, why not? What does it tell us about the “first physical entity”? For all we know, our universe itself could have been this “first physical entity”.

          Third, “but since inanimate matter can’t create itself (creation demands cognition), we therefore prove the existence of God!” – so you’re implying that God created himself? Because a being like him was the only one that could bootstrap himself and the rest of reality? I’d really like to see how this self-creation stuff worked. Also, the assumption that things in general come into existence only by efforts of sentient beings seems to fly into the face of such phenomena as virtual particles, for example. I don’t think that any physicist assumes that some higher entity is randomly generating them consciously to keep our universe going.

    • PaulBot 1138

      :) Not quite available for copyrighting, since that’s essentially the Kalām Cosmological Argument, and it’s been championed at least since the 9th century by Islamic philosophers and theologians, and has recently seen a revival by the prominent Christian philosopher and apologist William Lane Craig.
      That said, it’s still a rock-solid argument that provides a devastating challenge to intellectually honest atheists.

      • Fred Scuttle

        LOL. Where did God come from?

    • Fred Scuttle

      No, you proved you were indoctrinated very badly.

      • http://www.DNotice.org/ Dean Jackson

        Truly a wonderful critique! Clearly you’re a scholar beyond reproach, so I won’t even bother to waste your time with a response. Besides, your reply left no room for a reply! Oh, well…

  • Cornelius Bonkers

    Yes, Fry (Mr Chips) needs to think before he inks. Telling folk to “f-off” because they have faith is not really the point. Democratic secularism recognises religion as a private preference rather than a public imperative. The “no more discussion” bit is more sensible because it recognises irreconcilable differences in foundational ideas between those with faith (revelation) and those without (reason). We who BELONG in the West are committed to the scepticism of philosophy whereas those who do NOT BELONG here are eternally under obligation to theology. Mr Chips is no Voltaire…

  • SimonNorwich

    Well done, The Spectator, for writing an article about a throwaway tweet that was made in the midst of a twitter conversation.

  • Rockin Ron

    Well done Stephen Fry for taking on believers in God. After all, what did those idiots Da Vinci, Socrates, Einsten, Planck, Kelvin, Mendel, Faraday, Boyle, Newton, Pascal, Descartes, Galileo, Kepler, Bacon, Copernicus, Voltaire, Shakespeare, Fleming, Pasteur, Mozart, Babbage, Priestly, et al who claimed to believe in God, ever contribute to the world?
    Obviously, Dawkins, Fry and other atheists are much cleverer than these thickos.

  • Tom Tom

    Somewhat odd character “After a troubled childhood and adolescence, during which he was expelled
    from two schools and spent three months in prison for credit card fraud”…….”He was expelled from Uppingham when he was 15, and subsequently from the Paston School.
    At 17, after leaving Norfolk College of Arts and Technology”…….Had he not gone to Cambridge he would lack the media connections to be overly promoted…….he is simply dysfunctional and a spoiled child of privilege

  • andagain

    If you want to give offence, do it right!

    Let us know what you think!

  • pdhan

    Well cheers Freddy for not adding to the juvenile slanging match then!

  • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

    I can’t say I have too much of a problem with juvenile atheists. They might shout a lot but they won’t be blowing up abortion clinics or flying planes into buildings.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …you may want to expand your knowledge base a bit, lad. The past century has shown us that atheists do a lot worse than those little pinpricks, and their body counts far exceed even the islamofascists’.

      • chrysostomos

        The rumbled atheists’ usual counter to your excellent point is:

        “Oh, but they didn’t commit these atrocities because they were following an atheist ideology.”

        Rather convenient, no?

        Also, re Cohen’s article, there *is* a militant atheism, it’s bolshy and totalitarian and violent. Just read on any forum where atheists congregate, or even theists, and you’ll see atheists deriding them, calling for their genocide, insulting them and generally being bigoted just because these theists “refuse to see reason” (implying that the atheist view of reality is the only correct/true view).

  • rupertstubbs

    Fry’s response is obviously aimed at comments that have been directed at him, personally. So just taking his tweet out of context doesn’t really tell us very much, except that he doesn’t want to engage with “religious dicks” – ie. people who aren’t actually interested in any sort of debate, but just want to condemn. Doesn’t feel inappropriate from that perspective.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

      That’s what I thought :-)

  • Andrew Wilson

    Really? So Stephen Fry sends one silly tweet and a few people stretch across the sofa-bed in their mother’s basement to smash their chubby fingers against their computer keyboards in impotent anger, resulting in blog posts like yours.

    • Ridcully

      “Mother’s basement,” “chubby fingers.” What is it with you folk and ad hominems?

      • Andrew Wilson

        The entire post was one ad hominem against Stephen Fry so not really much point in using any other type of argument here.

  • TRAV1S

    Must be going through one of his bouts of mentalism.

  • S Cruise

    Maybe there is a difference between religious dicks and the religious who aren’t dicks. Out of the two, I wish the religious dicks would fuck off.

  • Badjumbly

    Not Fry’s finest moment, but this is not juvenile atheism: it’s just juvenile. If Justin Welby were to announce that atheists can eat his shorts, that wouldn’t be an example of Juvenile Christianity.

  • Archie Mohan

    Stephen Fry is pompous and snotty. End of.

    • http://www.facebook.com/matthew.blott Matthew Blott

      And no doubt his opinion of you isn’t too great except of course he’s never heard of you.

  • Bill Brinsmead

    Mr Fry might be pompous, his wit is a bit overrated and he has a bien pensant outlook on life, but he is a best friend to HRH Prince of Wales, so some respect and restraint is called for when commenting on his recent burst of adolescent exuberance.

    • NotYouNotSure

      I wonder how this tweet goes down with the future defender of the faith ?

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …hasn’t he considered himself the future defender of faith, all faith, including atheist faith, er, lack of faith, er, ranting christophobic thespian faith, er, er, … this all gets so messy when you’re dealing with these nutters, doesn’t it?

    • Andrew Wilson

      Your reason for respecting someone is because they are friends with royalty?

      Wow, either I have my priorities wrong or you’ve come here in a time machine from the 19th century.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        I think you mised Mr. Brinsmead’s well crafted and only slightly camouflaged point.

        • Tertullus

          It could be Mr. Wilson was poking fun at just that point. After all, Oblamo is supposedly even more “powerful” an individual, but for somebody to boast of that connection….

    • David Lindsay

      I cannot understand the fuss about Prince Charles’s frequent meetings
      with Ministers. Or about the secondment of members of his staff to
      Departments of State.

      Or about the practice, alleged (if that is the word) by Lord Rogers in the latest edition of the New Yorker, that London developers now check with Clarence House before making any major commitment.

      The Prime Minister is summoned to the bar of a public house in order to
      pay court to our pre-eminent intellectual, who is a gameshow host, an
      occasional actor, and a long-lapsed comedian. Oh, to be Russian. Or any
      other kind of European. Less EU, please. But more Europe.

      The Education Secretary and would be Prime Minister is still having
      regular, off-the-record meetings with Rupert Murdoch, to whom he owes
      his entire elevation. The Secretary of State for Health shares the
      Prince’s enthusiasm for homoeopathy, but the Prince does not share the
      Secretary of State’s power over the matter.

      That a Royal staffer has been attached to the badger-culling DEFRA
      cannot be said to matter when the Prince himself supports the badger
      cull, even if his newspaper critics do not. It is not as if they have
      been seconded to DEFRA. That really would be a story.

      And there does need to be someone in our national life, some Sage of the
      Age or what have you, who is informally but unmistakably empowered to
      put the kibosh on daft development proposals. That may as well be Prince
      Charles as anyone else. I am not aware of any other applicant for the
      position.

  • JoshLRussell

    I’m not sure lauding a man for projecting his intolerant views on all religions equally counts as excellent journalism. I’d respect writers or Dawkins if they, just once, dipped beneath the surface of this debate, rather than focusing on obvious cheap point scoring. But I agree with your opinions on Fry’s response. Frankly, childish, bullying and unhelpful in a debate where almost everyone has an opinion and yet no one understands.

  • NotYouNotSure

    Most people don’t ask their plumber what their opinion of the decline of the Byzantine empire is, or their waiter what they think of the Riemann conjecture, why is though that so many value the opinions of actors ?

    I think he is a good actor though.

  • G. Gardiner

    I do like the little ditty, I have to say. However, I’d like it more if it scanned better. For instance:

    Mary had a little lamb
    Its fleece was white as snow
    And all of you religious dicks
    Should just fuck off and go.

  • Bob339

    One day I hope to pick up a newspaper without an article about S. Fry, H. Mirren or Pippa. Foolish hope I know.

  • Shoe On Head

    all fine.

    i do detect a whiff of journo sour grapes, no? fry as a publisher has more reach and influence with twitter than the entire speccie set-up (many times).

    speccie: step-up. otherwise you will become a newsletter.

  • george

    Stephen, darling: The beard’s gotta go. Doesn’t suit you at all. Luv George xx

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …that face needs a beard AND a hijab. He should go burqa. He might like that.

    • FrankS

      And the hair doesn’t quite fit – is it real?

  • Shuggy

    One Nation – One People – One Queen – Rule Britiannia

  • Shuggy

    Fry – a suicidal homosexual – try to impose his perverted views on a democratic country – Live and let Live – unless you have a homosexual / colour folks axe to grid -Rule Britiannia

    • Fergus Pickering

      What on earth has being a homosexual got to do with anything? And anybody has a perfect right to try to impose his views. Politicians make a living out of it. And evangelical Christians, come to that. I think Fry’s views on religion are infantile but I don’t blame them on his sexual preferences. At least three Prime Ministers have been homosexual. Good ones too.

      • NotYouNotSure

        “And anybody has a perfect right to try to impose his view”, thats an interesting world view. I have got some things I need to impose on you, you obviously don’t mind. More likely, you have misunderstood what the word “impose” means.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Don’t be so sure… the socialist mindset is all about imposition.

        • Fergus Pickering

          In the sense that it was used about Fry, fellah. Not correct of course, but one has to mix with the canaille.

  • HookesLaw

    Your criticism depends on Cohen’s argument being astute. Yes well….
    Fry is a typical lefty, but it’s absurd to pretend that he is thick or merely just an actor. As for him being an atheist and attracting the usual hysterical sh!te throwing… what ever happened to Christian charity?
    If there is one quality that is regularly absent from these comments it’s Christian charity – which rather makes Fry’s point for him.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …yes, all you socialists stick together.

      • Daniel Maris

        On the hamster’s wheel again Viceroy? Well I suppose hamsters enjoy their run.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …as I say…

          • Daniel Maris

            Keep turning the wheel, little chap, till you fall asleep.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …is that your latest fantasy now?

              • Daniel Maris

                Well done, little rodent legs, keep running…a hamster may have only a tiny brain but they certainly are plucky little fellows.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …your fantasy details are impressively recounted.

                • Daniel Maris

                  It seems you didn’t look to see what the initial letters of the words in that sentence spelt!

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …nobody looks at much of anything you and the voices spew, laddie.

    • george

      That’s a tendentious and self-serving definition of ‘Christian charity’ — one that Dawn French held, as well, when she claimed to have been told nasty things by Christians (I’d like to see just who these Christians were, and just what the nasty things were, to be sure of the veracity of Dawn’s claim).

      Being a good Christian does not mean letting others defame you, nor remaining silent while they lie. I say that as an atheist, and one that used to be vehement with it, too.

    • Daniel Maris

      I think people are trying to hold Fry up to his own standards aren’t they? In terms of his own claims as an aesthete and intellectual, also a believer in free speech. I don’t know what gave rise to his pet. But it seems a bit odd if Fry was engaging with anti-gay Christian nutjobs.

      In terms of Christian charity…Fry always seems to me to be coldly indifferent to the damage he may do to others with his remarks.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        …so, like all of you socialist nutters, then?

        • Daniel Maris

          I see the antacid tabs aren’t working – you keep repeating.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            …is that what the voices are telling you?

            • Daniel Maris

              Try a whole bottle of Gavescon – see if that works.

              • the viceroy’s gin

                …do your voices get royalties on that brand?

                • Daniel Maris

                  I was just hoping you might try that without reading the label.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …that post is witless, even by you and your voices’ standards.

                • Daniel Maris

                  Also Sprach Hamsterustra.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …either you or the voices are getting more unstable now.

      • Wilhelm

        Daniel

        Stephen Fry like Matthew Blott, Jack Straw, Peter Mandelson, Margret Hodge, Gerry Gable is a jewish atheist, they all gravitate to subversion.

  • Austin Barry

    What an odd tweet.

    For a man who fancies himself a reincarnation of Oscar Wilde, this is epigram or ode in its lowest form.

    • Colonel Mustard

      I suspect some substance stimulation might have preceded it, alcoholic or other.

  • doctorseraphicus

    In his excitement to use some rude words, silly old Stephen got an apostrophe in the wrong place. Kyeuch.

  • doctorseraphicus

    In his excitement to use some rude words, silly old Stephen got an apostrophe in the wrong place. Kyeuch.

  • the viceroy’s gin

    Why ever would you give this guy oxygen? His face looks like a horse kicked him, and he writes like it left him brain damaged.

    I’m worried about the horse.

    • george

      Giggle!

  • David Lindsay

    I can’t stand the EU, but I love Europe.

    In no other European country, including Russia, is the pre-eminent public intellectual a gameshow host, an occasional actor, and a long-lapsed comedian.

    Nor can such a person summon the Head of Government to pay him court in a public bar.

    Less EU, please. But far more more Europe.

    • Fergus Pickering

      How can you love Europe? What on earth has Romania got in common with Denmark? They are not even geographically contiguous.

      • David Lindsay

        Neither of them has Stephen Fry, or anyone remotely like him, as its greatest living thinker, fawned over by the holders of political power.

    • Makroon

      Really ?
      I thought our “pre-eminent public intellectual” was that Simon Cowell chappie ?

      • David Lindsay

        He transcends the merely national. He belongs to the world.

  • David B

    This is not atheistism, true atheists believe in everyone’s rights to believe what they want as long as they do not force it on others.

    This is simply a form of racism. Why, well if this had been tweeted with the word “gay” substituted for “religious” this same Stephen Fry would be on TV demanding boycotts and the police would have been at the twetters door by now.

    • Austin Barry

      Try substituting ‘Muslim” for “religious’, and
      Fry would, I suspect, be returning to his former bijouette dwelling at HM Prison Pucklechurch.

      • David Lindsay

        Aren’t you daring?

        If criticising Islam is illegal in this country, then the law is not being enforced. It is not being enforced against me, for a start.

        What next, that there has ever been some kind of taboo against discussing immigration in this country? Or against criticising the monarchy, the Royal Family or both?

        There are people who sincerely believe those ridiculous things, too. Likewise contrary to the most overwhelming evidence.

        • David B

          It’s not the criticism it’s the way it has been expressed.

          It was only 3 years ago that the then Prime Minister of this country called a voter bigoted for expressing what was a very reasonable and reasoned view on immigration. So yes there was a massive taboo in this country on discussing it.

          • David Lindsay

            That doesn’t follow.

          • Daniel Maris

            Absolutely. And let’s not forget that guy Robin Shepard (TV presenter – sheepdogs and all that) I think was his name. He was put in a cell for daring to make a speech referring to bogus asylum seekers.

          • pdhan

            You mean the reasonable expression “where are all these Eastern Europeans flocking in from then”? :) I’d say that was borderline retarded. Certainly bigoted.

            • David B

              But then the left want all debate in immigration stopped so more can be brought in to boost their vote

        • pedestrianblogger

          Be careful what you say about the Royal Family, David. Some monarchist nutter might hack your head off in the street or plant bombs on a Tube train to show how much he disagrees with your point of view.

          • David Lindsay

            Monarchist nutters are the least of my worries.

        • Daniel Maris

          It hasn’t been enforced because no one has gone to the Police to complain about you. You’ve just been lucky so far.

          • David Lindsay

            Or anyone else, for that matter.

            The Right in this country is now pure self-parody.

            • Daniel Maris

              Yes, or anyone else here… but if you aren’t very careful about how you phrase your criticism, you’re a fool. Your critiques of Islam aren’t very memorable and I suspect are carefully crafted.

              • David Lindsay

                They are carefully crafted, yes.

                • Guest

                  .

                • george

                  What, like Plymouth, Vermont farm cheese?

                • David Lindsay

                  Like the finest Stilton, thank you very much. Or one of the very good local cheeses of Durham and Northumberland.

                • george

                  Lovely.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  But nobody cares you sad pointless little bore.

            • george

              Right of what? George Galloway? There is no right-wing in Britain. There has not been a serious (and despicable) Right in Britain since Oswald Moseley’s gang.

              What you point to is not ‘the Right’ but the remaining classical liberals, of whom I am proud to be one. If you want to be a Communist, that’s up to you but you can hardly expect respect for it at this late date.

              • David Lindsay

                Point proved.

                That reads like a satirical piece. A bad undergraduate satirical piece, but even so.

                Yet it is meant entirely in earnest. And it is entirely typical.

                • george

                  You know nothing, don’t you? And I don’t mean you’re Socrates.

                • David Lindsay

                  And again.

                • george

                  I’d advise you not to let your brains fall out but I heard a pebble drop so it’s too late!

                • David Lindsay

                  And a third time.

                • george

                  Third time lucky? I thought you’d proved your point, whatever that was.

                  I think we’ve established that you’re a Leftist, it’s just a question of how like blood the red.

                • David Lindsay

                  And so it goes on. Bad undergraduate satire. Except real. At least, real in its own mind.

                  That, and trapped in American terminology and methods of thought. Resident here, possibly all of your (usually very long) lives. But knowing absolutely nothing about this country, and being entirely devoted to a version of another one which that other one’s own voters have comprehensively rejected at the ballot box.

                  Devoted to that vision, not only for America, where it does at least have a certain history, but even for Britain, which you think is America, but to which your political position is totally alien even as an historical phenomenon, never mind as a contemporary possibility.

                  No wonder that the party which you took over in the late 1970s (although you are not really anything to do with it) has not won a General Election in a generation, no longer exists in most of the country, and is going to be hammered, possibly to death, in 2015.

                  Britain deserves better.

                • george

                  It’s okay, honey, I understand: Communists are people. too.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  You are effectively emulating Fry. Not about the religious but about the right and not so foul-mouthed. But otherwise pretty much identical arrogance and bigotry.

                  It sounds good that phrase “not won a General Election in a generation” but that ignores the actual voting, it ignores the inconsistencies in England’s parliamentary government and it ignores the far from level playing field of constituency sizes.

                • TimN1

                  There is no “English parliamentary government”. There is a British Parliament.

                • Colonel Mustard

                  Yes there is and that is precisely what I meant. The inconsistency of the English MP’s who represent English constituencies but who do not sit in their own parliament as opposed to Scots and Welsh MPs who enjoy the privilege of sitting in their own parliament and assembly as well as the British parliament.

                • Nicholas chuzzlewit

                  And for the avoidance of doubt, “better” means a totalitarian, single party state where choice is illegal and freedom of speech a distant memory. A democracy of the ‘committed’ no less where only left-wing opinions are tolerated and the truth is whatever our political masters happen to be saying at a particular moment in time. A country where entrepreneurship, dynamism and creativity are frowned upon as vulgar and immoral and wefarism and sponging off the few productive members of society is a virtue. Labour gain, why not?

                • Daniel Maris

                  OK, someone has finally come out with a comment that is below the level of Fry’s doggerel.

                • george

                  Eh?

                • Daniel Maris

                  For the avoidance of doubt: I was referring to your comment – devoid of wit.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …how ironic… a witless socialist nutter critiquing “wit”.

                • Daniel Maris

                  How odd, a repetitionist finally coming up with a new phrase. Well done. Keep up the good work…at some point you may be able to join in civil conversations.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …still witless, lad.

                  Try to think of something interesting or funny. Practice. You might get it someday. Meantime, best not critique others’ wit.

                • george

                  Grumpy this week, Daniel?

              • David B

                Mosley was a Fabian before he set up the British Union of Fascists. Fascism was routed in socalism. Mosley was not of the right but (like all fascists) of the left

                • george

                  Fine: totalitarians, all.

        • Colonel Mustard

          You know exactly what he means.

        • Nicholas chuzzlewit

          Why would anybody waste the effort enforcing a law against a boring, intolerant irrelevance like yourself?

      • Foxhole Atheist

        Hold on a second, aren’t muslims religious?

    • Fergus Pickering

      Nonsense. An atheist is someone who believes there is no God. Nothing to do with rights. An agnostic is someone who admits he doesn’t know. That might go with believing in other people’s rights..

      • David B

        This is not about believing in god its about Stephen Fry’s right to insult people who do and in a manor that if it had been used to insult his sexuality would have resulted in him denouncing that person on live television (remember the boycott of the Winter Olympics call) and probably a knock on the door.

        His actions highlight a very dangerous trend which is the right of a “protected” group, in this case gays, from being insulted and absurd in a way that they are happy to do to others.

        This is not atheism it’s a form of racism and Fry should be called out for the hypercritical oaf he is.

        • Makroon

          Come, come, there is nothing “dangerous” about that fragile little creep and BBC celeb, Stephen Fry. He is deeply pathetic.

          • David B

            Nothing dangerous about him. But history has many examples of over opinionated oafs with a person grudge and a platform and one idiot to take it seriously and the opportunity to make someone pay.

            This man should know better! Next time he’s campaigning for gay rights he should be shown this tweet and called a racist.

            • Chris Ranmore

              Racist? Racism and homophobia is about attacking people because of what they are. Fry was attacking people because of what they believe which is entirely different. I suspect his unsubtle response was due to being on the receiving end of years of religiously motivated bigotry himself.

              • David B

                When I was at primary school I was taught two wrongs don’t make a right. Therefore Fry has no right to attack people because he suffered abuse from different people to those he is now abusing.

                But what is the isue is we have developed equality laws that allow people with a certain skin colour or sexual orientation impunity to attack other groups they don’t like. Who you are is what you believe so this abuse is a form racism

              • Colonel Mustard

                “Fry was attacking people because of what they believe”

                Oh, well that’s alright then.

              • george

                Why assume that? He might just be prejudiced and ungrateful for what Western Civ — of which Christianity is an ineluctable part — has given him.

        • pdhan

          He might be hyper critical but there’s nothing hypocritical about this.
          Race & sexual orientation = traits that you are born with and can’t change
          Religion or lack thereof = an opinion you can change

          • David B

            I will probably get trouble for challenging your statement of current equality minded orthodoxy because I am a white heterosexual male, but gene mutations survive if they give an advantage for reproduction. And to be born homosexual its in the genes.

            I may be homophobic for asking this question but were is the reproduction advantage in homosexuality? In my view its as much a lifestyle choice as religion which is often forced on children at a young age

            • george

              Is it in the genes or, as has been suggested, in the particular hormone ‘bath’ that the embryo floats in while in the womb? I find idea that more persuasive for a number of reasons.

          • george

            1. ‘Race… you can’t change’. Oh, I dunno: look at the late Michael Jackson.

            2. Religious belief is a bit stronger than mere changeable opinion, don’t you think?

    • JoshLRussell

      ‘True atheists’? No. True atheists don’t believe in god. You can’t say anything more about what an atheist believes than that, in the same way you can’t presume all religious people are vile and intolerant. Atheists have the same capacity to be high-minded, tolerant and warm as they do to be ignorant, intolerant and cold. We all do. That’s just being a part of the human race and unfortunately we have to understand your subscription to specific demographic groups don’t necessarily say anything concrete about you apart from the fact you are a member of said group.

    • Tom Tom

      He is simply another atheistic Jew unsure of his identity

  • JonBW

    A period of silence from Mr Fry would be welcome.

  • FrankS

    Ooh Stephen, you are so funny and clever!

  • The_greyhound
  • george

    There is certainly vehement atheism, and I don’t know how it isn’t sometimes also ‘militant’: it wants the demolition of religion, and in the West’s public spaces it has largely achieved that.

    • pedestrianblogger

      Except, of course, in the case of the Religion of Peace which Stephen Fry (p.b.u.h.) wouldn’t dream of uttering a breath of criticism about. What would his friends and pay-masters at the B.B.C. think if he were include our new vibrant and colourful fellow-Britons from across the water in his rejection of all things “religious”?

      • David Lindsay

        Well, that didn’t take long, did it?

        • pedestrianblogger

          Nope.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          …and what was this rapidly developing event?

          • David Lindsay

            pedestrianblogger’s pedestrian blog comment.

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …not following you here. You’re being more obtuse than usual, even.

            • george

              PB’s name is ironic. I find him anything but pedestrian, and in fact we are very good friends offline.

      • HookesLaw

        I think he has criticised Islam.

        But more importantly he said
        ‘Dacre is, all those who have had the misfortune to work for him
        assure me, just about as loathsome, self-regarding, morally putrid,
        vengeful and disgusting a man as it possible to be.’

        I doubt that any objective person who looks at the Mail on-line or in the flesh would disagree.
        (I wonder how long this post will stay up?)

        • NotYouNotSure

          No has not, a single example could prove me wrong though…

  • Russell

    Ross, Fry, Biggins……and a whole lot more have one thing in common…they have all received huge amounts of our money from the BBC for being obnoxious, arrogant, supercilious tw*ts with no humour or entertainment value at all

    • Nick Lynch

      …in your opinion. Although most commenting in this thread will agree with you, I’m happy that the majority of the population disagree with you.

      • Russell

        How many up votes did your comment received?….and How many up votes did my comment receive? .
        On a poll of 65 answers my opinion/comment got overwhelming support, almost unanimous (presumably yours was the only down vote out of the 65 votes) !!!!!!!
        Time for a rethink Nick, not so happy now eh?

        • Nick Lynch

          You should probably read my initial response again.

      • barry waterfield

        have you polled the population on this topic then?

  • HJ777

    I don’t profess to any religion but I would b embarrassed to be bracketed with Stephen Fry if he is as immature as that tweet suggests.

  • ToryOAP

    Never confuse a good memory and access to prompt cards with cleverness. Like most actors Fry is of moderate intelligence and a pompous oaf, and his followers mindless minions who should get a collective life.

    • Daniel Maris

      More or less what I just said!

      • ToryOAP

        Perhaps, but I said it first.

        • Daniel Maris

          We must have been on the cusp of the hour… :)

    • Dr_Spence

      Dear ToryOAP. Your very name indicates idiocy

      • ToryOAP

        I am an old age pensioner who is also a Tory, hence my Disqus name. As a Doctor, I would expect you to be less bigoted – is it old people you despise or just Tories. What if I was also gay and black? What a nasty person you must be.

        • Cornelius Bonkers

          Good for you ToryOAP. I wonder is Dr Spence is a medic or a REAL Dr? If he is then I think you expect too much from someone who doles out prescriptions and pokes their fingers into peoples bodies. We mustn’t forget the title Dr means TEACHER and not therapist

          • Simon Canning

            Petty squabbles. Such intellect.

            • Cornelius Bonkers

              Indeed. But that Fry has such influence – hardly petty!

              • barry waterfield

                who does he influence? I’d be interested to know.

                • Cornelius Bonkers

                  Well Baz, surely, the fact that he and his middle brow works, comments, tweets, TV programmes etc are everywhere must say something. Personally I think he’s a total ars…… but that doesn’t make him a less important figure. The young and impressionable are at great risk from people like Fry – that’s all. Best regards

        • Meggles

          And incredibly shallow of thought.

        • barry waterfield

          Come on dear, you made a good initial comment leave it at that. Don’t allow yourself to be goaded .

      • Cornelius Bonkers

        Why? Bit rude?

        • Cornelius Bonkers

          What? Yes, sorry, I meant stupid – not rude. Are you a medic or an academic? Or an academic medic? Or maybe even a prophet if you can say so much with so little information about a chap yo!

  • KestrelSprite

    Fry and Hugh Laurie made party political broadcasts on behalf of New Labour in 1997 so I think he is in a weak position to criticise people with irrational beliefs.

  • Don Logan

    Fry is a class A tw*t.

  • Bert3000

    Pathetic, snide, childish little article.

    • Ridcully

      Unlike Mr. Fry’s mature, well-argued tweet eh?

    • Ridcully

      Unlike Mr. Fry’s mature, well-argued tweet eh?

  • Swiss Bob

    For the cleverest man in the world he’s a surprising bore.

    • Daniel Maris

      Is he clever? He’s an actor after all…isn’t he more like a walking Brewer’s Phrase and Fable? His opinions always seem rather predictable…I’m not against atheistic lefties. Christopher Hitchens WAS clever and entertaining.

      • Austin Barry

        Who was it who observed that Fry is an unintelligent man’s idea of a clever man?

        Fry is just another self-regarding member of the BBC’s unfunny Smugocracy along with his tedious chums Jo Brand, Marcus Brigstocke and, try not to scream, Sandy Toksvig.

        • Hexhamgeezer

          Denmark supplies so much lovely bacon I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised that the occasional porker is full of indigestible sh!te.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I like Sandy Toksvig.

          • Colonel Mustard

            Yes, but have you ever seen her and Clive Anderson together in the same room?

          • Makroon

            Ha-ha, each to his own, even for old Sandy Toxic.
            But why did the BBC have to dig up that demented old zombie Joan Bakewell …. yet again ?!

      • george

        …and, on this subject, wrong.

        • Daniel Maris

          You believe in a God who turned water into wine, raised people from the dead, parted the seas and is having a personal conversation with you?

          • george

            No, I’m an atheist.

            However, you ought not to sneer at our Judaeo-Christian substructure. We wouldn’t have the Enlightenment without the latter as part of its foundation. We wouldn’t have our ‘do unto others’ morality. I loved it when a friend of mine would shake his head at his own pious beginnings, though he prided himself on his own morality (and alas he was a Lefty academic: most of ’em are). I said to him: You praise your mother for bringing you up right, but your mother had morality and she didn’t invent it. On your own showing, she was a devout Christian. Leftists are usually devout in their commitment but have no idea who to thank, unless it’s Lenin or Che Guevara, who were murderers with no kindly or even accurate understanding of humankind.

            • Foxhole Atheist

              But it couldn’t be otherwise could it? Owing to the fact that, well, most everyone was Christian. I dare you to extract morality out of scripture.

              • george

                ‘I dare you to extract morality out of scripture’: That’s what the West has been doing for 2000 years.

                • Foxhole Atheist

                  that is just not true…people have rarely, if ever, followed all of the ‘moral’ teachings of the bible…they select those teachings that cohere with the mores of their particular community and epoch…so morality must exist outside of scripture, otherwise whence cometh the framework for choosing?

                • Foxhole Atheist

                  That’s just not true…Christians rarely, if ever, follow all of the ‘moral teachings’ in scripture…they choose those teachings that cohere with the mores of their community and their epoch, and they disregard others that do not fit…thus morality must exist outside of scripture to enable these choices

                • carlolancellotti

                  A very hard to prove statement. How do you count? I personally know plenty of Christians who follow them.

            • Daniel Maris

              I don’t dissent from much of what you say there. I fully appreciate the contribution of Christianity to the creation of a compassionate, creative and productive society. I also value the contribution of pre-Christian classical philosophy without which our culture would have remained very backward. In the contemporary world I value the influence of Hinduism and Buddhism.

          • Fergus Pickering

            If there is a God He could plainly do all these things. And curse you with boils. I wish.

            • Daniel Maris

              Why plainly? Not a deist God. A theist God perhaps, but even that is debatable.

      • Shoe On Head

        hitch was clever, entertaining — but not a natural comedian. you could see him try. god bless him. he didn’t take illegal drugs. it might have lightened him up. i’m sure he’d be the first to admit that. and that’s why we all loved him.

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