Shards of Death

By now you’ve heard of the famous atheist Stephen Fry’s rant against God. It happened on February 1, 2015. Google it and you can hear the whole spiel.  What is funny to me, no it’s sad, is that so many Gen-Xers glom unto this as if what he is saying is new.  Fry is espousing a 4,000 year old argument against God found in God’s own Book, the Bible.

And what should really blow even a twenty-something skull full of mush is that in the Book of Job the Problem of Evil is occasioned by the Problem of Good, actually righteousness.  God Himself brings up the problem and doesn’t throw it in the face of a satanic man like Stephen Fry but in the face of Satan himself. “Have you taken notice of my righteous servant Job?”  How can that sinful, fallen, wretched being be righteous in God’s sight? Satan says he can’t and he isn’t, and he will prove it if God lets him.  The Problem of Evil is then so badly butchered by Job’s three friends and one theological professor that in the end even righteous Job is carried away with it. That is, he is until he repents back to the goodness he has in God’s eyes.

Read the book yourself.  You’ll see the malignant Fry has not found some new cancer in theology.  But what Fry said isn’t what bothers me.  What bothers me is the Gen-Xers who by their comments on-line think Stephen Fry has at last defeated God, Christians, Christianity, and the Church in a less than 3 minute rant. They believe this because he poses questions which he believes, and most others do too, that God can’t answer. Not just that He won’t but that He can’t.

A Catholic priest, Father Robert Barron, likens Fry’s questions about bone cancer in children and other horrible maladies among mankind to a shard of glass. The seminary he teaches at has beautiful, elaborate stained-glass windows. He asks us to imagine that war comes to American and blows them to bits. Then he asks us to think of another 200 years going by and someone finding a shard from one of those windows. He would have no idea what it was or how it fit in a bigger picture.

That’s as far as the priest went; I would go farther. The person finding that shard would be an utter fool to pontificate on what it “meant.” The one thing he should do is take care that he not cut himself with it. Fry, and his ilk, pick up the sharp shards of the fallen world – childhood disease, man’s utter inhumanity to man, and disasters that are anything but natural – and cut their own jugular vein thinking all the while they are slicing and dicing God.

Proverbs 8:36 says, “All who hate Me love death.”  The Me here is Wisdom incarnate, Jesus Christ, the only True God.  I think it no accident that accompanying the rising tide of atheism is a rising interest in assisted suicide, euthanasia, and mercy-killing.  This too is popular among Generation X. Perhaps it is a defense against the tsunami of Baby Boomers that will overwhelm the social safety net the weight of which they will bear. But I think their love affair with death is an unintended consequence of their total rejection of God.

God is life and if you’re going to wholeheartedly and highhandedly reject Him on the basis of a shard of glass that you can’t understand, you de facto are taking the hand of the Reaper. And while it was my generation that sung with gusto “Don’t fear the Reaper,” there was still enough of the residue of the fear of God in our society that we feared Him more. Not so for Generation X.


About Paul Harris

Pastor Harris retired from congregational ministry after 40 years in office on 31 December 2023. He is now devoting himself to being a husband, father, and grandfather. He still thinks cenobitic monasticism is overrated and cave dwelling under.
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