Television presenter and actor Stephen Fry says he is surprised by the reaction to his comments about God.
The QI quizmaster made his attack on religion during an interview with veteran chat show host Gay Byrne on Irish TV.
Fry revealed he was "absolutely astonished" by the huge public response, insisting that he had never intended to offend anyone.
The newly-married broadcaster created a storm last week when an interview was broadcast in which he said that any God who created this universe was "an utter maniac, totally selfish" and "evil".
However, the gay celebrity said he was glad the outburst had generated so much debate.
"I don't think I mentioned once any particular religion and I certainly didn't intend to say anything offensive towards any particular religion," he said during a radio interview.
"I said quite a few things that were angry at this supposed God. I was merely saying things that Bertrand Russell and many finer heads than mine have said for hundreds of years, going all the way back to the Greeks.
"I was astonished that it caused so viral an explosion on Twitter and elsewhere."
Fry (57) added: "I'm most pleased I think that it's got people talking. I'd never wish to offend anybody who is individually devout or pious and goes about their religious ways.
"Indeed, many Christians have been in touch with me and said they are very grateful that things are being talked about."
The show was recorded in December and Fry said he had forgotten all about it until the broadcast generated an internet storm last week.
Even the Archbishop of Canterbury felt moved to wade into the debate, coming to Fry's defence by insisting that he had a God-given right to express his beliefs and should not be abused by Christians for doing so.
Fry was asked what he would do if he found himself at the "pearly gates" after his death.
"I'll say: 'bone cancer in children, what's that about?'" he said. "How dare you. How dare you create a world in which there is such misery that's 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 which is so full of injustice and pain?"
Stephen Fry married his partner Elliot Spencer (27) last month. He revealed that they would be going on their honeymoon after he has presented the Baftas tomorrow.
Speaking of married life, he said he was surprised at "just how wonderful it is and what a difference it makes. It seems silly but it really makes a difference".