Monday, July 13, 2009

Ray Comfort

I have for a while now been participating a little bit on evangelist Ray Comfort’s “Atheist Central” blog (click on his name above to go there). Ray is an ultra-conservative evangelist, noted for his association with Kirk Cameron, fear-based street evangelism, and his infamous video about bananas being the “atheists worst nightmare”. Ray makes a daily post, usually about evolution or the origin of life, and then allows anyone to post comments. Ray will rarely respond to comments, rather he will let the commenters duke it out amongst themselves. Ray makes it clear that comments become material for his books, and he has published many. There are some real whackjobs on his blog, but generally the “conversations” are quite civil and interesting, at least for a while The site has this policy about responses:

1. Any comments we deem abusive or outside the boundaries of Christian civility will not be published.
2. Any comments that don't properly, and respectfully, capitalize the name "Jesus" and/or "God," or use these in a blasphemous manner, will not be published.
3. Any comments that include website links will not be published.

I post under the name “Dave B” (which contains a link to here), but all of a sudden, none of my responses have been published. Here is my last comment to be ignored. I plan on retrying, perhaps tweaking it, until it gets posted in some form.

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Ray, I have completely changed my mind about you. My first exposure to you was the infamous banana video, then I watched a recorded debate with you and Kirk against some atheists that I didn’t recognize at the time. My opinion of the outcome is not surprising given that I am an ex-Christian. I thought you lost. But I was impressed with your composure and conviction and felt your opponents were pretty arrogant. When I first came to your blog here I was even more impressed. I was thinking, “Wow, here’s an evangelical Christian that invites atheists to come and debate. That’s pretty cool.” The fact that you allowed anything, within very reasonable constraints, to be posted by anyone was great.

I’m not one for written debate as I always have trouble expressing what I am trying to convey, but I participated here anyway and it was fun. I was so impressed with some of the explanations that some very knowledgeable participants were taking a lot of time to prepare and post. Steven J, in particular, presents his arguments calmly, logically, and convincingly.

You’d ask some ignorant question to the effect “How stupid is it that atheists believe that everything came from nothing?” Then a furry of activity would ensue where it was explained in painstaking detail that atheists don’t actually believe that. I thought, “Well, that ought to teach him”. Then you’d ask something else like “How could both sexes evolve side by side?”, then a furry of activity would ensue where it was explained in painstaking detail exactly how that could have happened. I thought again, “Well, that ought to teach him”.

After a short while, though, things started to get repetitive. A few weeks later you would do it all over again, asking the same questions exactly as if you had never read any of the responses. At one point in fact, after being away for a little while I came back to your site and literally thought my browser cache was showing me old material.

I did some research and found other folks on other sites that had been here to Atheist Central and had given up. They explained The Ray Formula. Get the unwary atheists so worked up and frustrated that they would over-react and say something personal, aggressive, or emotional. Then you’d grab hold of those comments and use them in your books and other material as a shining example of how “unreasonable” atheists are. Then repeat the process again and again and again…

I believe that evangelists fall into two camps. First camp are those that are sincere and really think it is their mission in life to save souls from Hell. The other camp is nothing but a big money generating scam, a big act to line pockets with cash from the ignorant, people like Benny Hinn, Jim Bakker, Jimmy Swaggart, and Ted Haggard.

After witnessing the blatant deception, quote-mining, side-stepping, and ignoring of every single valid counterpoint that Steven J and others make, especially this absurd refusal to even give your opinion about the age of the earth, I am convinced you are living a lie.

I am but a mere engineer, making a good living, but I will never achieve the income levels or notoriety that you have achieved. But at what price Ray? Every person in my life that knows me personally respects me for who I am. You, on the other hand, are not only the laughing stock of your opponents, but are becoming the laughing stock of the mainstream Christian community as well.

16 comments:

Tom said...

I now get Ray's comment about your salary. He was trying to illustrate to you that he had enough interest in you to visit your blog, rather than moderate the comments to come to him. I think that is worth something, don't you? Nevertheless, I wouldn't mind having some discussions with you here if that's ok. Talk to you soon.
Your friend,
Tom

Dave B said...

Hi Tom!

I am a bit confused. What makes you think that Ray has taken the time to come to my blog here? Am missing something?

In any case, I appreciate you stopping by!

Tom said...

Dave,
This is pure speculation on my part, but your post states, "I am but a mere engineer, making a good living, but I will never achieve the income levels or notoriety that you have achieved."
Ray questioned your salary on his site. It appeared to me to be a wink to you that he had been here and read your post. I could be wrong.
Your friend,
Tom

Dave B said...

Hi Tom!

Nice thought, but Ray didn't need to come here to read it. I have tried to post that note several times on his blog (including today) and I have mentioned the fact that I am an engineer before. I honestly don't think Ray could care less about my blog. He gets plenty of material to use in his books on his own blog. That's what it is for.

Tom said...

I did not know that you have posted that before. I was glad to find your blog here. I hope to stop by now and again. I enjoy the discourse over at Ray's, particularly when people debate with class and integrity. I am saddened by some of the scorn, particularly when it is from someone who professes Christianity. Talk about missing the point!
Btw, what type of engineering work do you do? I work with engineers in my line of work.
Take care and have a great weekend.
Your friend,
Tom

Ruf0385 said...

Hi Dave,
I don't have much to offer, but I'd like to tell you I've met Ray personally, I've listened to the majority of his online sermons, and I've read most of his book called "The Way of the Master." Much of what you point out in your post he covers in great detail through his mediums. While I defend Ray and I believe he is teaching true Christianity, I'd like to ask you a seperate question. You called yourself an "ex-Christian," but I would like to know this: Did you know the Lord? If you did know Him, then why did you turn away from Him? If you didn't know Him, then you were living like most self-proclaimed Christians as a false-convert. If the latter is true for you, I'd ask that you listen to "True and False Conversion" at www.livingwaters.com as Ray clears the water in describing the root of the reason you fell away from your proclaimed faith in Christ. If you do listen, tell me what you thought of it.

Thanks and enjoy!
Adam

Dave B said...

Hi Adam! I appreciate you stopping by!

You do not know me, so it easy for you to claim I am a false-convert and was never a Christian. I have no problem being branded as such by you or anyone, and in fact I think I prefer it. I like to think I had a good enough handle on my sense of morality that I never bought into Christianity completely in the first place.

The thing that upsets me is when a Christian claims that I fell from Christianity because I “love my sin”. If you believe that, let me know, and I can tell you where you can place your Bible. Just kidding! Well, kind of. 

Do you consider *anyone* that at some time proclaimed to be a Christian and now proclaims they are ex-Christian as a “True Convert”? I suspect your answer is no, as you likely believe that nobody can fall away from being a True Christian, correct?

Do you know who Dan Barker is? If so, do you think he is a false-convert?

Knowing what I think of Ray Comfort, that I do not believe in the sovereignty of the Bible, and that Christianity is morally bankrupt, do you really think there is any value in me listening to Ray talk about true and false conversions?

stranger.strange.land said...

Hi Dave.

I read your ideas about trying to figure Ray out, his motives for doing things the way he does and all. I really believe it is much simpler than you may think. Ray has two main talking points: 1. Law/Gospel, and 2. True/False Faith.

Whatever topic he entertains is a context for presenting one or both of these main points. He could be on the platform with the most aggressive and articulate atheist in the world, and as long as Ray is able to get in a few words about the commandments convicting people of their sin, the gospel of being legally justified by Christ's "paying their fine" by being punished in their place, and this applied to them when they repent and trust Jesus, he has done what he is there for.

I think that encapsulates Ray's entire purpose and motivation for everything he says and does.

Craig B

Dave B said...

Hi Craig! I appreciate you stopping by and posting!

Even though I totally disagree with most everything Ray stands for, you may be right about his motives. The thing that pops into my head, however, is Ray’s ridiculous refusal to give his opinion on the age of the earth. It is so obvious he is avoiding the question because of his relationship with Ken Ham. Everyone with the least bit of interest in life, let alone the creation vs. evolution debate, has an opinion on the age of the earth and Ray claiming he does not is a lie. I guess the end justifies the means, eh?

dannydamagichobo said...

Sigh

I read his blog, and I must say that there are some RIDICULOUS posts in there. I also believe that he does not believe in what he preaches.

Just my two, no wait, half a cent. ;]

Zedge said...

I think Ray’s brand of Christianity is still on the six thousand year old earth kick! The Catholics have given up and now fallow science on the age of the earth but, only after issuing statements saying that the bible really has no definitive truth about the age of the earth. I just stopped buy because I was wondering why I could see no way to follow your blog. You may need to add a followers gadget to your page in the layout tab so, folks who like what you write can sign up as followers.
PS. Ray is a boob and you can never win an argument with anyone whose paycheck depends on always being seen as right by a political or religious group. They cry “vindication” when they win and “foul” when they lose. They also prefer to play in front of the home team crowd. I wouldn’t waste my time posting comments on Ray’s site. He is in full control there and you probably can’t bait him away from that controlled atmosphere.
Good Luck
Zedge

Dave B said...

Thanks Zedge!

I've cut back on posting on Ray's blog, but occasionally can't resist. It's a guilty pleasure.

Thanks for the advice on my blog... I have added a "Followers" gadget, and am flattered that anyone would want to follow it!

Zedge said...

See? you have two followers! already! I think the best way to get followers to a new blog is to comment allot and follow as many of your favorites as you can. There are other ways to generate traffic but I just like reading and commenting.
Zedge

Jacob said...

Dave,

Some thoughts on why Ray wont answer the age of the Earth question. I have to say that I dont know for sure but this is a thought. We cant tell for sure. I personally think that I lean strongly towards a young Earth but there are two points that keep me from saying for sure. Genesis 1:1 states that in the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth, then there is zero evidence of how much time passes before we start our 6 day count. I believe it is short, but I have seen much smarter Christians than myself argue the other way. Secondly, the poetic mirroring between the creation account and the Exodus account makes us step back and ask 'What is God teaching us here?'. It seems like He is more teaching is soveirenty over all things. It is obvious that God could care less that we know for certain how old things are. He didnt give it much time in the Bible... I think those two facts (and I'm sure many more that true theologians can think of) are part of the reason why Ray has answered "I don't know". I would have to say that I would answer the same way, but I lean towards the young Earth camp.

On a side note, I am starting to get a bit of moustache envy going to that site all of the time...

Dave B said...

Thanks for stopping by Jacob!

Dave B said...

Follow-up: I toned it down just a bit and removed the paragraph equating Ray to people like Benny Hinn, and he publiished it. It was totally ignored as expected.