I leave it to the Irish juridical authorities to determine whether their blasphemy laws have been broken or not by Stephen Fry. On the face of it, he is unlikely to be found guilty, as any case against him would need to consider the full extent of what he said when he accused God of being a "maniac".
And that full extent is pretty standard fare when we see that what he said, albeit colourfully, is simply that he would like God to explain why there is suffering in the world. Even theologians discuss that problem!
"Asked what he would say if he was confronted by God, Fry replied: "How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that is not our fault? It's not right."It's utterly, utterly evil.Fry's point in terms of "blasphemy" is that either God does not exist (so blasphemy cannot be an offence) or God exists and the suffering in the world is what is offensive. Dear God, please explain.
"Why should I respect a capricious, mean-minded, stupid God who creates a world which is so full of injustice and pain?"Questioned on how he would react if he was locked outside the pearly gates, he responded: "I would say, 'Bone cancer in children? What's that about?'"Because the God who created this universe, if it was created by God, is quite clearly a maniac, utter maniac."Totally selfish. We have to spend our life on our knees thanking him? What kind of God would do that?""
All, by the by, nicely illustrating C.S. Lewis's point about the modern age: we are no longer in the dock, being judged, but God is in the dock and if he should come up with a plausible explanation for suffering then he might get off. But we would need to be persuaded in the face of mounting evidence for the prosecution.
The question in my mind, and I suspect in yours also, is not whether Fry has been blasphemous but whether we can answer the charges he brings against God.
(Very, very briefly, on a subject on which much has been written) one thought that strikes me is that within the household of faith we often meet this kind of challenge by talking in terms of "mystery."
Why God permits suffering while being the God who is love is a mystery (i.e. we do not understand). How God through the incarnate Christ dying on the cross identifies with us in our suffering (or, more generally, in the suffering of the world) is a mystery. And, noting a further Fry charge, God is not selfish or self-centred: the command to worship and to give thanks is precisely something we joyfully respond to as that which rightly belongs to God because God is God (and not an ego). God is neither a maniac nor selfish but God is mysterious.
Clearly this kind of talk does not wash with Stephen Fry. His logic means there is no mystery about human suffering. God being God should and could do something about it, especially the remorseless evil of bone cancer killing children. The only mystery is that some crazy Christians won't admit to the obvious truth: if there is a God then God is a maniac. Maniacs meet the Maniac.
Fry, in other words, is challenging the household of faith about its witness to the world. Whatever it may mean within the household to talk about the mystery of suffering in the face of the God of love, the household has a credibility chasm talking about it to those outside. I suspect Fry actually speaks for millions of atheists and agnostics who refuse to commit to the God Who Will Not Adequately Explain Why Children Suffer.
Thoughts about our "external" language to the world around us?
Also you may like to go to this link.