|Our Feature Presentation|
180: Changing the Heart of a Nation is a 33-minute schlockumentary (originally meant to be titled "Hitler, Religion and the Holocaust") anti-abortionist film by Ray Comfort. The title represents the aim to "reverse" people who hold a pro-choice stance to become staunch anti-abortionists. It was released on September 26, 2011, and in less than a month the documentary passed 1 million views on YouTube. Typical ploys are used to get people to watch the film, the most obvious is the suggestion that this is a historical film about Jews and Hitler. The web page says nothing about abortion, just "A shocking award winning documentary" which will "Rock Your World".
The video appears to be dozens of instances of Ray Comfort randomly interviewing random strangers and convincing them that abortion is bad.
In the trailers, Comfort argues that this "reverse" of views can be done in an argument that takes about 33 seconds on average. The actual argument is not included in the trailers. The video case and disk do not give a hint that the video is about the Holocaust or abortion. Rather, it only says "Public advisory: Graphic content" and the quotes praising it only claim the film is very moving or inspiring.
Ray planned to release this video online for all to view for free, as well as distributing 200,000 DVD copies freely on 100 university campuses across the United States (so far, their website says just over 5,000 have been given out). However, as PZ Myers noted, this is more than just another Creation Intro to Origin of Species stunt, but this video is a "begging video." It appears that Ray Comfort is asking for mass donations to help spread this video first before trying to save the babies.
Who is Ray Comfort?
Who is Ray Comfort? He is a scientifically-illiterate Christian creationist, best known for his banana argument (winning him the nickname "The Banana Man"). He is also known for open street preaching and mass-distributing propaganda material to the public and students and for criticizing people who do not subscribe to his beliefs and views, particularly atheists and non-Christians.  The DVD of 180, nor the official webpage 180movie.com do not provide any background info on Comfort.
The website only introduces Ray Comfort as "the author of more than seventy books and the co-host of the award-winning TV program (with actor Kirk Cameron) The Way of the Master." Nothing else is included, no other credentials of any sort. This is because Ray does not have any degree or training in the fields of science, history, or even theology. The website does not explain who Ray is or what faith he belongs to, it does not say if he is a born-again Christian or Jewish - but for the record, he is a born-again Christian, not Jewish. Rather, it tries to make Ray look impressive by sharing that he has written over 70 books, however this is giving a rather false impression. Ray Comfort's books almost virtually repeat the same exact contents as previous books (same arguments, same style, etc.). Often, the books usually mirror what is already stated in his WOTM programs or on his blog. To see more, click here to see a List of Ray Comfort publications.
What are the Telly Awards? The Telly Awards is an online video collection that takes place on YouTube. How popular are the Telly Awards? They have about 500 subscribers on YouTube and about 750 people following them on Twitter. The Telly Awards have been around for 30 years, "Honoring commercials, film video productions, and online content."
There are numerous categories and subcategories with pages of videos who were all given an award (there are several pages' worth of winners just for the videos starting with "A" in the History category). For the 32nd Annual Telly Awards, Ray bought a Telly Award fee for someone to view it and sign it off.
The Telly Awards come into two degrees: Silver and Bronze. Ray's 180 video, submitted as "Hitler's Religion", won the bronze level.
The film is just over half an hour. This article will provide a walk through of the events that take place in the film (all in order), but also provide a side criticism of the contents of the film.
|Ray Comfort's 180 Walk through||RationalWiki Responses|
|The movie starts off with Ray Comfort, only telling the audience that he is Jewish, and trying to remind people of the history of the Holocaust. Ray says that in Germany, it is illegal to make statues of Hitler and give the Nazi salute. In Austria it is illegal to deny the Holocaust, or you will be sent to prison. Ray says that in both countries, they have a mandatory history of the Holocaust classes so its children can learn from the horrors of the past and thus will not be doomed to repeat it.||Why does Ray Comfort say he is Jewish? He repeatably proclaims himself in his books, programs, and tracts as a genuine born-again Christian. Why the sudden change in identity? Does Ray hope saying that he is Jewish will give him more credit on speaking on the Holocaust, or give him more sympathy from his critics? Were Ray's parents Jewish, and does Ray think Judaism is a race?
When Ray was asked why he claims to be Jewish, despite constantly calling himself a Christian, Ray says his mother is Jewish and he has Jewish blood. However, simply having Jewish family does not make you Jewish. Judaism is not a racial component, it is a religion. As with any religion, you can join, leave, or replace it with another religion of your choice (or drop religion altogether). It seems throughout this video, the only ones who think Judaism is a race is Ray Comfort and the Nazis.
Who was Hitler?
|Ray then goes around asking over a dozen lay people who Adolf Hitler was, and none of them have a clue.||Asking lay people who Hitler was and they don't know the answer does not give your position extra credence. If that were so, as thunderf00t pointed out in one of his videos, we can therefore debunk mathematics based on that line of reasoning.|
Steve: the neo-Nazi and Holocaust deniers
|In Huntington Beach, Ray encounters a neo-Nazi named Steve who hates Jews, blacks, and America. Steve believes that Christianity is a Jewish lie. Ray tricks Steve with the "Spell the word shop. What do you do at a green light" trick, to say that Steve makes mistakes and could therefore be mistaken about Christianity. This does not move Steve at all, and turns the table and says Ray Comfort is mistaken about Christianity. Steve does not believe Hitler killed as many people as reported, but regardless he does not think Hitler was evil at all.||For those who think that all neo-Nazis are like Steve (very anti-Christian), then meet “Father” Angelo Idi. Idi is a Neo-Nazi and a Christian priest. He works in the parish of St. Francis, in Vigevano. He says he is ”proud” of his “right wing beliefs” and even in his part of the world as the Austrian Times expose reveals, Idi is not the only neo-Nazi Christian priest.
Steve did make one correct statement: Ray Comfort is mistaken about a lot of things regarding Christianity. For example, Ray Comfort is a creationist who denies certain fields of science, including biology and the theory of evolution.
|Next, Ray asks several people who Hitler was, they get it generally right. Return to Huntington Beach, Ray meets a German man who denies the Holocaust ever took place and admires Mein Kampf. He does not believe Adolf Hitler was evil and believes Jews run America (he also believes Judaism has done nothing but bring more evil into the world). During the talk between him and Ray Comfort, he raises his voice at Ray Comfort, claiming Ray is blind by hatred to see clearly.||It is a fact the Holocaust did take place in Europe. While Ray does provide a very poor historical retelling of what actually happened in regards to Hitler and the Nazi Party, Ray does show piles of dead bodies in the interment camps during the Holocaust. As for the man's statement that Ray is blinded by hatred to see properly, that may be so in regards to the non-religious or those who do not agree with his worldview (which can include the religious). Ray Comfort makes no attempt to hide his grudge against atheists, and despite being corrected countless times by atheists, he still repeats the old lies and continues to label them. Ray even insults other Christians by calling them names like idolaters, backsliders, not true Christians, hypocrites, and such. He constantly tries to make them (and non-Christians) feel unworthy, guilty and bad people by taking them through his twisted verbal trickery "are you a good person?" tactic.|
Would you kill Hitler? How about his mother?
|Ray then asks several people one of his favorite question: It's 1939. You have a high-powered rifle and Adolf Hitler is in your sights. Do you take him out? They show two people, both answer yes.
Next question It is about 30 years earlier, Hitler's mother is pregnant with Adolf, would you take her out? Only two people are shown, both answer yes. The second person said he lost his grandmother, aunt, and father in World War II when Adolf Hitler attacked the Soviet Union. Therefore, the man says he would kill Adolf's mother, Adolf Hitler, and all of Adolf's relatives.
|It makes sense that people of the present would put a swift end to Adolf Hitler if they were somehow teleported back in time to Germany, with their current knowledge of the events of the Holocaust. However, even if Adolf Hitler was hypothetically killed in early 1939, it is possible that anyone else could have taken Hitler's place and started World War II and Holocaust. Humans are unpredictable and their decisions and choices can be influenced by the constantly changing of events. This was brought to Ray's attention by an early debate with thunderf00t, to which Ray responded with a long whine "You don't know that" to which thunderf00t responded the converse cannot be known either.
Regarding those who answered yes for the second question, not once did Ray stop them and say "What!? Wait a minute, the mother did not do anything evil, she was not the one who started the Holocaust. Why are you punishing her?"
This is not a new argument coming from Ray Comfort. His partner Kirk Cameron already provided this argument in Chapter 10 in his book Conquer Your Fear, Share Your Faith Leader's Guide in 2009. In the case if he would kill Hitler, Kirk says he would be hesitant to pull the trigger. Rather, Kirk says Jeffrey Dahmer was more evil than Hitler. Kirk argues that if you find it justifiable to kill Hitler, then you should be fine with killing ALL murderers and rapists before they commit the crime. And yet, Kirk said he would not hesitate to kill a man who was going to rape and kill his mother (Kirk even quotes Scripture (1 Timothy 5:8) to defend his choice to murder said criminal). In this case, Kirk admits he would stop a murder/criminal before the crime took place. And yet, Kirk hesitates to stop a crime before being committed if it is against 6 million people who are not members of his family (all the while saying that another man like Dahmer is more evil).
Overall, what Ray and Kirk strive for together is to enforce moral absolutes. And yet, Ray Comfort stated that he would be perfectly justifiable in killing another person out of self-defense. Comfort used this exact argument in a debate with YouTube user thunderf00t, Ray admitted two things;
What this all boils down to, Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron cannot defend moral absolutes. They cannot maintain the claim that the "Law of God" (Ten Commandments) is absolute and yet they willingly break it constantly (through the case of lying, work on the Sabbath, etc.). If they both agree that "thou shall not kill" is absolute, and yet they are perfectly fine with killing another person if said person would harm someone in their family (or someone close to them). They agree they would kill the criminal before the crime would take place, but they label such a thing as "moral relativism." See the contradiction? They defend "moral absolutes" and yet would break it given the circumstances - which in conclusion shows that Ray and Kirk are "moral relativists" too.
Additionally, there is a certain irony here given, that many anti-abortion activists have no problem using the Great Beethoven Fallacy to argue cases at the other end of the spectrum.
Hitler, the anti-Christian
|Next the film shows several pictures of piles of dead people from the Holocaust (with the genitals blurred out).
Ray then comes in and says "Adolf Hitler hated Christianity, he called it a disease and one point said 'the heaviest blow which ever stuck humanity was Christianity' and adding 'it was the invention of the Jew' (Sources not provided). He killed and imprisoned genuine pastors and replaced them with his own Nazi pastors. He also replaced the Cross with the swastika. Printed over a hundred thousand copies of his own twisted Bible. He rewrote the Ten Commandments and then created his own Aryan anti-Sematic non-Jewish Jesus. But most importantly, all this sprung from the fact that Hitler had created his own image of God, or as what the Bible calls an idolater. He had another God before the God of the Bible. Like Judas Iscariot, he professed to be a follower of Jesus of Nazareth, but his motive was for his own evil agenda. And that agenda was very clear, he said 'he alone who owns the youth gains the future.' Adolf Hitler deceived the youth of Germany, he deceived many within the traditional church, but most of all he deceived the millions of Germans who believed his lie of the supremacy of the German race."
(Quoting Hitler; "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human. They cannot be human in the sense of being made in the image of God..." -Adolf Hitler, May 1923 speech, Munich).)
Next, Ray shares a short story of a man you was at the scene where the Nazis killed 16,000 Jews on April 6, 1942 Jews, thrown them into a trench to be buried (with some of them still alive). The story is from Michael Berenbaum from The World Must Know
|Adolf Hitler hated Christianity? That is a bold statement, so what sources does Ray provide to support his statements? Ray’s source (although he doesn’t cite any) is the Trevor-Roper translation of the Table-talks, which just so happens to be full of mistranslations and this piece is no exception. Jim Walker on NoBeliefs.com has a detailed article revealing why it is not a credible historical document. The translations are wrong, the biases of certain translators, unreliable sources, the reflections on the thoughts that do not occur in Hitler's other private or public conversations, and finally nowhere does Hitler denounce Jesus or Christianity.
Hitler was a Christian creationist his whole life. When FDR accused Hitler of not being a Christian, Hitler said this: “What repulsive hypocrisy that arrant Freemason, Roosevelt, displays when he speaks of Christianity! All the Churches should rise up against him—for he acts on principles diametrically opposed to those of the religion of which he boasts.”
Incidentally Ray Comfort referred to Hitler as an "idolater" but idolater means something different from atheist. At least here Comfort does not claim that Hitler was an atheist, in fact Ray pointed out that Hitler believed in the "image of God" which is a belief that can only be held by a Christian. In response to distance himself from Hitler, Ray argues in this film that Hitler was an enemy of Christianity. Ray made the following claim in the film: [Hitler] killed and imprisoned genuine pastors and replaced them with his own Nazi pastors. He also replaced the Cross with swastika. Printed over a thousand copies of his own twisted Bible. He rewrote the Ten Commandments.
As for comparing Hitler to Judas Iscariot, basically Ray is comparing Hitler to a fictional character that some Christian sects view as a hero. If Judas did not betray Jesus, there would be no Crucifixion. Not to mention, if God is all-knowing, then Judas did no wrong and was a part of the plan the whole time.
Ray's sources for Hitlers quotes are not provided, but after much research Ray seems to have collected false quotes of Hitler from "Hitler's Table Talk" which has been discredited as a untrustworthy document. Responding to the quote "He who owns the youth gains the future" and branding Hitler as anti-religious, here is a quote from Hitler himself: “Secular schools can never be tolerated because such a school has no religious instruction and a general moral instruction without a religious foundation is built on air; consequently, all character training and religion must be derived from faith.”-- Adolf Hitler, April 26, 1933.
Here is what Ray Comfort omits from the Hitler quote on Judaism being a race (with the omits in bold): "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human. They cannot be human in the sense of being made in the image of God, the Eternal. The Jews are the image of the devil. Jewry means the racial tuberculosis of the nations.” – Hitler, quoted in Joachim C. Fest, “Hitler”, pg 212."
Would you obey the Nazis?
|Ray then ask his other favorite question: Its 1937, and you have a German officer with a machine pointed at you, and he orders you to get into the bulldozer and bury a bunch of Jews in a pit (some are still alive). You know that if you say no, the German officer will shoot you and some else will do the burial. Would you do what he says? Ray asks several people, some say they don't know, some say no, and some say yes.
To the people who said yes, Ray asks them If the German officer gave you his gun (with many other Nazi soldiers pointing their guns at you) and the German officer does not want you to bury the Jews, but rather shoot them all down. Would you do it? Some say no, they could not do that - to which Ray points out that shooting them is more merciful, but they are willing to bury them alive?
|Basically, what Ray is attempting to accomplish here is to make these certain interviewees look hypocritical. It is difficult to state what a person would do in a given situation until they are actually experiencing it, as will be demonstrated in the section below.|
Abortion and human life
|Based on all this, Ray asks the people if they value human life? Right after they say yes, Ray asks them how they feel about abortion? Some say they are pro-choice, its a tricky subject, even one person who said she was pro-life but understood that opinions and views change until you are in the situation.||Even Ray Comfort agrees with the pro-life girl that peoples opinions change. Often, Ray uses an argument of giving a person a choice of either two gifts: a handful of diamonds or a glass of water. Ray's argument goes like this: "If I were to offer you a fist full of diamonds or a glass of cool clean water, which would you choose? The diamonds obviously, because no one in their right mind wouldn't. But if you found yourself crawling through a desert, your lips are blistered, your tongue is swollen, and you are dying of thirst. And if I was to offer you a glass of cool clean water or a fistful of diamonds, you would despise the diamonds and say give me the water or I would die. that is what is called circumstantial priorities. Your priorities will change according to the circumstances." This can very well be the case regarding abortion: it really depends on the circumstances. Certain things, like wanting diamonds or having abortions, are not always settled in absolute terms.|
|Ray then addresses the "is it a human?" question. Ray shows a picture of a baby in the womb 6 weeks and 6 days old - showing the babies eyes, hands and heartbeat. Ray then asks people if they think it is a baby in the womb? When they say yes, Ray asks them to finish the sentence "its okay to kill a baby in the women when..." When Ray asks a lady if it is a child, she said not until 3 months. Ray responded that Hitler said the Jews were not human and saying life begins at 3 months is "very subjective." When interviewing the pro-life girl on the issue of when does life start, Ray puts himself in a scenario "I'm a construction worker and I am going to blow that building up. I don't know if there is life in there, but I am going to blow it up anyway. What would you say to me?"||Why only show a fetus at 6 weeks and 6 days old? Does Ray consider this is the point where the fetus is alive and human? In the picture, it shows the fetus has a heart, lungs, and such. Are these the pre-requirements to be considered alive? Ray does a very poor job of answering the "is it human" question and leaves us in the dark on the topic. Does Ray consider it a human anytime before 6 weeks?
Regarding Ray's argument "it is okay to kill a baby" is self-refuting (pointed out on YouTube by Paul Chartley). The proper response to his question, It is okay to kill a baby in the womb when...?, is When it's Hitler.
In the movie, Ray says it is never "justifiable" to kill a child in the womb. But how about this? Is it justifiable when God wills it. Likely, this may be followed up by the objection God would never do such a thing. But they forget God demanded numerous abortions to take place as said in Hosea; God killed countless pregnant mothers during the Flood; God ordered Jephthah to kill his own daughter; and Jesus encouraged men to become eunuchs (which is just as effective as abortion since it prevents creation of life).
|After Ray takes people through the killing Jews and burying them question, and when they say they would refuse to cooperate, Ray then tells them and yet they won't speak up against abortion. Ray brings up the Commandment "Thou Shall Not Kill" and Hitler declared Jews as non-humans. Thus, Hitler was able to kill people legally. Ray brings up the quote “The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human. They cannot be human in the sense of being made in the image of God…” – citing a “May 1923 speech in Munich”, as well as arguing that saying life begins at three months is "subjective." Ray says Christians should be very "dogmatic against abortion."||Again, here is what Ray Comfort omits from the Hitler quote (with the omits in bold): "The Jews are undoubtedly a race, but not human. They cannot be human in the sense of being made in the image of God, the Eternal. The Jews are the image of the devil. Jewry means the racial tuberculosis of the nations.” – Hitler, quoted in Joachim C. Fest, “Hitler”, pg 212."|
Holocaust taking place in America
|Ray says that a Holocaust is being committed in America that is sanctioned by the government. Women with the freedom of choice are killing babies and doing it so legally, similar to how Hitler was given the freedom of choice and in so doing he killed Jews legally. Ray says adoption is a "wonderful option." After Ray asks several people if their stances on abortion changed, when they say yes, he then asks are they going to vote accordingly? They say yes.||Comparing abortion and Hitler legally killing Jews fails because Ray has not established specifically at what point the fetus is considered human. If Ray is against people having certain freedom of choices that is life-threatening, America might as well outlaw cars since car accidents as killed more people in America than all the wars America has been involved in.|
|After interviewing people, asking them if they could think of a situation when killing an unborn baby is justified, some could not think of one. Ray said that the womb is the safest place in the world for a child. One man reasoned that perhaps if it the pregnancy was due to rape and the mother did not want to keep it. Ray responds "Why would you kill the baby for the crime of the father?"
Following that, the video displays the following: Unborn babies killed in the American Holocaust in the first 37 years after Roe v. Wade is 53,310,843. (Based on numbers reported by the Guttmacher Institute, 1973 - 2008, with estimates of 1,212,400 for 2009 - 2010.)
|How is the womb the safest place for a child? Based on this whole film, it seems the only time when it is "okay" to kill a baby is when it is Adolf Hitler. Also, note when Ray said "Why would you kill the baby for the crimes of the father." This coming from Ray Comfort is self-refuting. God punishes children for the crimes of the father, which is even clear in the Bible.
What is not included in the statistics provided by Ray Comfort was the number of annual miscarriages. Miscarriages outnumber abortions on a ratio of 3:1, and since Ray believes God has a perfect plan, then by such logic God allows and plans the premature deaths of children - making God the ultimate abortionist.
More on Hitler
|The movie shows a quote by Hitler, "history will recognize our movement as a great battle for humanity's liberation, a liberation from the curse of Mt. Sinai...[God is] a tyrant who orders one to do the very things one doesn't like." Source taken from The Ten Commandments: Ten Short Novels of Hitler's War Against the Moral Code by Armin L. Robinson (New York: Simon and Schuster, 1943), xiii.
Ray says "Adolf Hitler hated the Ten Commandments and wanted to free people from them. He called the Ten Commandments the 'curse of Mt. Sinai' and said the God of the Bible is a 'tyrant' who order people to do the things we don't want to to. Clearly, Hitler did not like the thought of You Shall Not Kill because it did not fit into his hate-filled worldview. (Scene shows Steve) Although he is an extreme example, it is common practice to have a low moral standard when we free ourselves from the Ten Commandments or when we are unaware of their true meaning. (Playing soft piano music) It's encouraging to realize that people are willing to change their minds about abortion. When people see things from a different perspective, they are able to think clearly and make honest and intelligent choices. As I spoke to people about abortion, our conversation often lead to the issue of morals. Where morals came from, and ultimately, the issue of the afterlife." When it goes back to Steve, it reveals Steve does not believe in an afterlife and thinks there probably is no God.
|The quote by Hitler regarding the "curse" of Mt. Sinai does not seem to appear anywhere in the major histories of Nazi Germany. How can that be? Note Ray's provided source for this quote. It says "The Ten Commandments: Ten Short NOVELS of Hitler's War Against the Moral Code." Ray is so desperate to make his argument that he is quoting fiction and trying to pass it on as fact.
Ray does not provide a single piece of proof that Hitler hated the Ten Commandments. Ray constantly interprets the Commandments to fit his worldview, such as declaring Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor as prohibiting all lying when in fact it only prohibits misrepresentation in court, not lying in general. Ray constantly lies all the time regarding the theory of evolution and science (and apparently through this film). Ray also purposely ignores some of the Commandments all together, such as no work on the Sabbath and do not covet.
Evangelism and conclusion
|Scene switches to Ray asking people if they think there is an afterlife? Some people say yes or no, but right afterwards Ray takes them down the are you a good person? tactic. Ray tells some of them why they deny God, because when Ray finds them guilty he states that they don't want to be held morally accountable so they deny God's existence. Afterward Ray sells the snake oil. He says to the guilty they can be saved if they accept Jesus. Ray then plays his favorite Parachute argument.||Really, this has piece has nothing to do on the topic of history or abortion. It is the piece Ray was aiming for the whole time: evangelism. Once Ray tricks people into feeling morally unbalanced, he swoops in and says that God does not find them good at all by Ray's standards of the Ten Commandments. People do not accept God to avoid punishment any more than they don't accept Allah to avoid Hell.|
|The movie ends with Ray and a speech "Shortly after the war ended, the American military made those living near the concentration camps go through them. They wanted them to see first-hand what caused the smoke to billow through the chimneys of those camps and witness what they had allowed in the power to do. Notice their light-hearten in demeanor as they enter the camp, obviously unaware of the horror taken place in their own backyard. And look on the change of their faces as they had realized what had actually taken place. No doubt there is an abortion clinic near you. Perhaps you should pay them a visit to see actually takes place behind their walls so you can witness firsthand what is happening in your own backyard. (Scene shows the various prices of an abortion clinic ($765 - $2,165), then switch back to the picture of a 6 week old baby in the womb). Over 50 million babies have been murdered in America's Holocaust, sanctioned by political leaders who have been put into power by the American people. Please, never ever give your vote to any politician who advocates the murder of a child in the womb."
Ray then tells the viewer to go to www.heartchanger.com for details and to help spread the video around. The video ends stating this was all based on Ray Comfort's new book "Hitler, God & the Bible" along with a message: "We strongly condemn the use of violence in connection with protesting abortion. Please consider purchasing this video in bulk and giving it to others."
|In conclusion, the film 180 reveals it is a propaganda film, poorly constructed and historically flawed.
Abortion is a hot topic, but there is no American Holocaust taking place. The U.S. government is not mandating that women have abortions, as the Third Reich ordered the extermination of Jews and other classes of people. Abortion is not only sanctioned by political people. Church leaders also enforce a pro-life stance. Abortion takes place in the Bible, in which God either takes part in or commands mortals to participate. Christians like Ray Comfort view the bible as the perfect moral guidebook, but it abortion is justified in it, who are they to say that abortion is a depraved act right now? Another problem is that even if one considers abortion to be murder, it does not automatically make women who have abortions murderers.
A final problem is that comparing legalized abortion to the Holocaust implies that the U.S. government deserves the same fate as Nazi Germany - namely, to be overthrown by force. And that's a logical conclusion few if any anti-abortion activists are going to make. Ray makes it very clear on his website that he believes the motive for "pro-choice" is not for protecting women's rights, but rather they are protecting their profits.
Further RationalWiki commentary on the film
Ray Comfort's film is laced with poor historical work. Ray brings Godwin's Law into the debate, and trying to connect the imaginary dots that the Holocaust and abortions are the same thing. Indeed Hitler ordered forced abortions, however in 1936, Heinrich Himmler created a Reich Central Office just for the purpose “for the Combating of Homosexuality and Abortion.” By this sheer fact alone, Ray's entire argument that the philosophy shared by Hitler and Nazi Germany is the same philosophy held by defenders of abortion is thus simply incorrect.
People familiar with Ray and his methods, know that he is cunning and very manipulative. Ray Comfort is well prepared in answering raised concerns like being raped and pregnant as a result of that (“why should the child be punished for the crime of the father?”) or the possibility of a child born with disabilities. The interviewees are not prepared and are not really thinking that fast on their feet. Combined that with the key points Ray brought up about WWII and the Holocaust against pro-choice arguments and also combined with these people faced with someone who appears to be a higher intellectual (in this case, Ray gives off that appearance because he has many rehearsed responses and objections) gives a sense of intimidation - all this contributes to human psychology to bring these people interviewed around to agree with Ray Comfort. Ray claims that the people he interviewed for this video are "college students" and therefore "they are not stupid." While they may not be stupid, it rather shows a lack of intellectual awareness especially for someone who lives in the 21st century and never heard of Adolf Hitler.
While these college students may not be "stupid," Ray is not looking for valid answers. If he was, he would have interviewed doctors, scientists or maybe even philosophers. The difficult question about not allowing life to form brings up another huge problem – and unfortunately Comfort doesn’t share his point of view on that subject – what about birth control? What about those billions, trillions, quadrillions of lives that didn’t have a chance to dip into existence? As mentioned before, it is propaganda and not documentary to deny the audience counter opinions and especially expert opinions.
The separate question of how many people did Ray interview before convincing eight people to agree with his message? On Ray's blog, he answered the question "Count them. They are on the video." However, this did not answer the question. About 2 weeks later, when the question was repeated, Ray answered, "Oh, boy, I couldn’t try to put it out. 50-60%?" So, from Ray, we have about eight people who agree with his message (one of which was already pro-life) while another eight or so did not agree. This video promised to "reverse" people's views of abortion, but it turns out it is not very effective.
Ray states that the film is effective, and there are two things a person can do to battle abortion: 1) Watch 180 and pass it on (either by buying DVDs or sharing it on the Internet) and 2) pass on the principles shared in this video. Unfortunately, there are big problems with these two steps. There are several legitimate objections to Ray's flimsy logic and arguments, none of which are addressed in this one-sided poor-historical video.
Not once did anyone (not even the lay people) bring up the issue of ectopic pregnancies, which is a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo implants outside the uterine cavity. Usually, a fertilized egg travels down the fallopian tube, heading for the uterus. In about one in 50 pregnancies, the tube is damaged or blocked enough that the egg can't progress, leading it to implant elsewhere. Usually implantation happens in the tube itself. This leads to ectopic pregnancies. Ectopic pregnancies are critically dangerous to the mother, and just one of the many conditions that can lead to the danger of the death of the mother. Ectopic pregnancies cannot be saved. For the mother's safety, it must be ended. If not caught or treated, the ectopic pregnancy will progress with the embryo growing until the tube ruptures. Severe abdominal pain and bleeding will result and can cause permanent damage to the tube, which may be lost. If not treated, the mother will die. Is Ray Comfort seriously saying that in certain circumstances such as this, nothing should be done and we should let both the child and mother die?
Ray finally gave a response independent of the 180 film. On the Way of the Master radio, Ray Comfort agreed with co-host Mark Spence that the best option for ectopic pregnancies was to get three different professional opinions, and even when they all agree it is an ectopic pregnancy, they say to wait it out. Spence says this happen to his wife, and even after 3 doctors told him it was an ectopic pregnancy, he made the decision himself to wait (his wife obeyed him), and later the doctor came back and said that the x-rays misread the situation, and the pregnancy took place and they had their child. Basically, risk your wife's life to the very end to when it may be too late to save her. If she dies, it was not the husband's fault, God willed it to be so. In a separate show, they asked the question "why does God kill babies in the form of miscarriages?" They answered, God kills babies because he does whatever he wants. Seriously, that was their answer: God does whatever he wants. They basically use the old cop-out 'God is mysterious' and 'God's reason is infinitely greater than ours.'
Does the Bible agree? No
The Bible was completely left out of this movie. Ray Comfort only focused on making people feel like hypocrites, but excludes the Bible from the reasoning. Ray only brings up one Commandment, but how about the Bible as a whole? Ray does not explain why the 6th Commandment is objectively right, rather he argues from reason that excludes Scripture. While the Commandment says not to kill, the word kill implies when a life is taken, and for life to be taken there has to be life present. What has not been established in the movie is when the fetus is considered "alive" in the womb. Ray only shows a picture of a fetus as 6 weeks old, but nothing before that. Ray did not establish in this movie at what point does life begin. If Ray thinks that just the first one or two developing cells of the fetus are "alive" then by that logic every time Ray scratches his nose he commits a Holocaust of killing cells. We know that for a person to be alive they need a brain, but a fetus does not start off with a brain at all. While it may live off its mother, but so does a woman's kidneys. They are both brainless and thus not completely alive, and no one gets upset when a person chooses to donate a kidney.
Chapter 5 in the book of Numbers tries to tell how to test whether your wife has been unfaithful; you drag her to the priest, who mixes up a potion that is essentially filth and water enchanted by pyrotechnic display and a prayer for gods assistance. If her belly bloats and her womb discharges, meaning that she miscarries, then she is guilt of infidelity. If not, she was faithful all along, but still does not get an apology for her domineering addictive husband. The point is here, that God's law in Numbers 5 endorses supernatural miscarriages/abortions onto unfaithful pregnancies - the reason for this was to keep the Jewish tribes pure. It is also important to note here that Hebrew tradition, according to the Talmud, the fetus is only water for the first 45 days, after that and until birth, it is regarded as one of its mother's thighs. According to Genesis 30, thigh also refers to the groin area.
Furthermore, numerous examples exist in the Bible when and where God specifically commands forced abortions (Numbers 31:15-17, Hosea 9:14, Hosea 9:16). According to the Book of Genesis, God killed countless women, children and unborn babies of every species. That aside, there are multitudes of examples specifically written in Scripture that shows that God commanded abortions to take place; commanding a pregnant woman to be burned alive (Genesis 38:24); causes abortions to punish unfaithful wives (Numbers 5:21, 27-28); forcing the Israelites to kill the unborn babies of their enemies,
"Samaria shall become desolate; for she hath rebelled against her God: they shall fall by the sword: their infants shall be dashed in pieces, and their women with child shall be ripped up." -- Hosea 13:16
Not to mention, the Bible even says happiness can be achieved by killing children: "Happy shall he be, that taketh and dasheth thy little ones against the stones" (Psalm 137:9). But what about Jesus? In Matthew 19:12, showing his pro-life sensibilities, Jesus encourages castration: “There be eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it.” Modern believers are eager to interpret this verse figuratively. The New International Version loosely (and hopefully) translates “Made eunuch” as “renounced marriage.” But the literal meaning is “castrate” and many devout Christian men in history have done it themselves, including the early church father Origen and entire monastic orders. Jesus gives no indication that he is speaking in a parable, or that his words mean anything order than what he said. He that is able to receive it, let him receive it. This is no moral percept—this is sick. Castration keeps babies from being born just as effectively as abortion, so why aren’t pro-lifers picketing churches that follow Jesus? After all, Jesus never one mentioned abortion, pro or con. He never gave advice to women about how to deal with an unwanted pregnancy. So, modern Christians who do hive such advice are acting very un-Christlike.
Finally, one can argue that God is not pro-life. As already stated in the Ectopic Pregnancies section above: God does whatever he wants, which includes causing a child to die in the form of miscarriages. Miscarriages are otherwise known as "spontaneous abortions." According to many theologians, including Rick Warren, God has a created each of us and has a ultimate plan for us. The Bible says "You saw me before I was born and scheduled each day of my life before I began to breathe. Every day was recorded in your Book!" (Psalm 139:16). This means that God already knew and planned exactly how long we would exist. If this is the case, God is therefore responsible for the development of all fetuses and pre-determines all miscarriages as well as abortions (all according to His plan). Since this is the case, it can be shown God is not pro-life at all. Every year, miscarriages outnumber abortions on a ratio of 3:1, and since Ray believes God has a perfect plan, then by such logic God allows and plans the premature deaths of children - making God the ultimate abortionist.
Appeal to Emotion, Not Reason
Ray focuses on making his argument based on the "feelings" of people, but when people speak their "feelings" about God and what he his, what he wants/thinks and who God forgives, Ray immediately says "Your feelings don't matter. God's word is his word. You are an idolater." When Ray asked if the person being interviewed if they would shoot Hitler's mother while she was pregnant with Adolf, and when they say yes he does not stop to say "HOLD ON! Are you saying you would kill an innocent woman? Hitler killed all those people, not his mother." Is Ray saying killing pregnant German women alright? This is why Ray's argument fails, he is using people situational ethic on Hitler and the Nazis, but not the same for abortion. This demonstrates a sever inconsistency on Ray's part. Plus, if a person walks away and has a different view of abortion based on their feelings, then their feelings can easily change 180 degrees back when they finally find themselves in a bad situation and they choose abortion.
American Holocaust? Apparently not
As already mentioned in the above review, it is an important point that bears repeating. Ray Comfort, using flimsy logic, links the Holocaust to the American legalization of abortion. The U.S. government is not mandating that women have abortions, as the Third Reich ordered the extermination of Jews and other classes of people. The systematic slaughter of an entire race of people connected by characteristics, community and culture is actually 180 degrees the opposite of randomly unconnected women choosing to exercise their legal right to terminate a pregnancy that they neither want nor can emotionally or financially support. Trying to compare the two insults both victims of the Holocaust AND women, because it assumes that the value of their already established lives and self determination is the same as that of a ball of cells.
A final problem is that comparing legalized abortion to the Holocaust implies that the U.S. government deserves the same fate as Nazi Germany - namely, to be overthrown by force. And that's a logical conclusion few if any anti-abortion activists are going to make.
Prompted and/or Paid Interviewees
A YouTube user paulchartley, otherwise known as "Phantom Video Productions", examined the movie closely to reveal that Alicia (the girl with the blonde braided hair who was featured quite often throughout the film) was prompted by pre-written cards, held by one of Ray's crew members. Enhanced footage of a segment of the movie clearly shows a white cue card in the reflection on Alicia's glasses. Additional evidence for this is the change in her behavior, voice tone and body language. Although paulchartley never said explicitly that Ray was using paid actors, it was a common inference among his viewers. If true, this is not a surprise, as Ray is well known for cherry-picking his interviewees and dishonest editing.
The videos from paulchartley eventually prompted Ray Comfort to respond: "It may look like a cue-card to some, but it's not. If these people are paid actors, each of them deserves an Oscar" (well that's not a very satisfying answer, especially for someone who is known to lie and present this film as some special "award winning" video.) Ray made a response on his blog in which he confused paulchartley with Thunderf00t, and posted the full interview with Alicia on YouTube. In this footage, shot from another angle, the camera in the key moment is zoomed on Alicia's mouth and her glasses are not visible.
Many Christians came to Ray's defense by claiming it did not matter if the people interviewed were paid and/or prompted or not, the point was the message of the film. Unfortunately, this message is flawed and lacks historical, factual and logical support.
Along with the DVD, Ray Comfort included a set pack available for sell. The pack includes the following;
- 100 "180" Gospel Tracts that repeats the bulldozer" scenario from the film and the old "are you a good person?" tactic.
- A copy of the book Why Prolife? by Randy Alcorn. (Alcorn is the director of Eternal Perspective Ministries. In November 2009, Alcorn signed an ecumenical statement known as the "Manhattan Declaration" calling on Evangelicals, Catholics and Orthodox not to comply with rules and laws permitting abortion. On the issue of marriage, the declaration objects not only to same-sex marriage but also to the general erosion of the "marriage culture" with the spectre of divorce, greater acceptance of infidelity and the uncoupling of marriage from childbearing.)
- And a 180 Course Study Guide
180 Course Study Guide
Along with the DVD, Ray constructed a 64-page Study Guide. Ray posted the first 18 pages of the Study Guide, mainly reveling the Questions section with the Answer Key left out.
In the second section "Propaganda: Paving the Way" the second question in the Study Guide says that Hitler held the evolutionary view that "some races were less advance and less worthy." The question asks "How does the evolutionary view contrast with God's view of human life?" But before providing an answer, lets get this straight: Hitler d not accept evolution as true at all, he was a Christian creationist (just like Ray Comfort).
Darwin was against every aspect of slavery and was the most egalitarian of his time. He praised those of different cultures and criticized the bigotry of his peers. He wrote against the favoritism of the Caucasian invaders and opposed the genocide of the Indigenous people, and despite Ray's accusations and delusions, not one aspect of Darwin's philosophy is parallel to Hitlers. Hitler based his views on "divine right" philosophy: "Thus, it [the folkish philosophy] by no means believes in an equality of races, but along with their difference it recognizes their higher or lesser value and feels itself obligated, through this knowledge, to promote the victory of the better and stronger, and demand the subordination of the inferior and weaker in accordance with the eternal will that dominates this universe." (Hitler 1943, 383) In fact, the only time that Hitler ever mentioned Darwin was to totally bash Darwin, and every time Hitler used the term "evolution" was sense of change, but he did not belief that evolution actually took place with the arrival of new species;
"The fox remains always a fox, the goose remains a goose, and the tiger will retain the character of a tiger. The only difference that can exist within the species must be in the various degrees of structural strength and active power, in the intelligence, efficiency, endurance, etc., with which the individual specimens are endowed."
The Nazi Party in general rejected Darwin and his theory and supported Christianity. In 1935, Die Bücherei, the official Nazi journal for lending libraries, published a list of guidelines of works to reject, including: "Writings of a philosophical and social nature whose content deals with the false scientific enlightenment of primitive Darwinism and Monism (Häckel)."
Heart Changer website
Likewise with the main website 180, Ray's backup website Heart Changer does not include any background info on Ray Comfort. Rather, the website only provides two audio tracts, a recommendation for the reader to check out Ray's book the Evidence Bible (feel free to read the review here on RationalWiki), and finally six links to different YouTube videos.
|The first is a clip of Ray and Kirk in Hollywood.||Basically, just Kirk and Ray pulling their old verbal trickery "are you a good person?" tactic. The link just provided is a thorough walk through and critical analysis of this argument provided by Iron Chariots, please click on it to read for yourself and see why this line of reasoning is flawed and ultimately false.|
|The second link is a clip from the WOTM episode Evolution The bulk of the video is Kirk misrepresenting the Big Bang Theory and falsely connecting it to the theory of evolution. Then Ray says that scientists speak in what he calls the "language of speculation" - that is, using words like: probably, possibly, maybe, and so on rather than speaking in absolute terms. Ray concludes, based on this, that they do not know what they are talking about. Ray does not interview any scientist, rather he interviews random lay people who are not trained in the field - there is one exception (not shown) with Ray interviewing a biologist but the interview only lasts for less than 10 seconds with Ray not allowing the biologist to finish what he wanted to say and the interview is cut off. The biologist did not use any of the words from the "language of speculation."||The link provided includes a thorough critical analysis of the program provided by Iron Chariots. The reason for why scientists use terms like this is because science must remain falsifiable. As new data constantly comes in, theories and facts may change, improved or disproven. So scientists speak with caution and try at their best degree to be as accurate as possible. Simply using terms like: probably, possibly, maybe, etc. are not signs of "I-just-do-not-have-a-clue" but rather it shows intellectual humbleness. If you do not know something, you cannot demonstrate it, and thus you should not say that you do now it.|
|The third is a 5-minute clip of Ray interviewing a man named Ron in Huntington Beach||Ron believes in Heaven, but does not believe there is a literal Hell, rather he believes life on Earth with all its suffering, violence and miserable pain is Hell. Ray pulls his verbal trickery "are you a good person?" tactic on Ron, but it seems to have little effect.|
|The fourth video is Ray and Kirk promoting their book the Evidence Bible, meant to provide Christians with answers to various questions and objections.||The Evidence Bible is a scientific-illiterate, poorly constructed book. It tries to convince the reader that various fields of science are total bunk, such as biology, geology, astronomy and cosmology. The book promotes the literal story of Noah and the Flood, as well as a 6,000 year old Earth. It promotes pseudoscience as well as making false statements, such as archeology support the Bible It tries to convince readers to be against certain views and positions, such as abortion, homosexuality, pornography, and more.|
|The fifth is Ray interviewing a man named Kevin.||Just a example of Ray interviewing a random person and evangelizing the gospel. Still using his old verbal trickery "are you a good person?" tactic.|
|Finally, the sixth link (titled "How to Make an Atheist Backslide") is a link to a video titled "Nothing Created Everything Promo" - to which the description bar describes as a promo for Ray's book Nothing Created Everything. Basically, it is all based on the false assertion that atheists believe that "nothing created everything" with Ray challenging several people to make honey, a bee, etc. from nothing.||This "nothing created everything" is a false statement because it asserts that all atheists believe something when in fact atheism is defined as the "lack of belief in god(s)" which says nothing on their thoughts of the origins of the universe. While atheists are free to accept any view of how the universe could have come into existence, most atheists accept the scientific consensus that the universe began with the Big Bang Theory, but what Ray is doing is completely misrepresenting it on purpose. The Big Bang Theory does not say that the universe came from nothing. Dr. Sten Odenwald (Raytheon STX) for NASA, Education and Public Outreach program, 2001 spelled out what scientists mean when they say "nothing:"
"How can 'nothing' do anything at all, let alone create an entire universe? When physicists say 'nothing' they are being playful with the English language, because we often think of the vacuum as being 'empty' or 'nothing' when in fact physicists know full well that the vacuum is far from empty. The primordial 'state' at the Big Bang was far from being the kind of 'nothingness' you might have in mind. We don't have a full mathematical theory for describing this 'state' yet, but it was probably 'multi- dimensional', it was probably a superposition of many different 'fields', and these fields, or whatever they were, were undergoing 'quantum fluctuations'. Space and time were not the things we know them to be today because our world is a lot colder than the way it started out. Nothingness was not nothing, but it was not anything like the kinds of 'somethings' we know about today. We have no words to describe it, and the ones we borrow (that are listed in the Oxford English Dictionary) are based on the wrong physical insight."
Creationists like Ray Comfort are known for purposely misrepresenting scientific terms. For instance, Ray does not accept the theory of evolution because he says it is a "theory, not a fact." While the theory of evolution is indeed a fact, if Ray were to drop all scientific theories, he must stop accepting the following theories: the Earth orbits around the sun; everything is made from atoms; germs cause disease; gravity; and so on. Every single one of these are scientific theories, and yet Ray and most Christians accept all of these as inexcusable facts that cannot be denied even by the greatest of faiths, so why do they accept all of these but object to the theory of evolution? Because to them, it does not correlate to their literal interpretation of the bible and believe one cannot accept both as true - while this is entirely false, given that Pope John Paul II said that they are compatible, as well as hundreds of biologists who accept evolution and remain religious.
- The "award-winning documentary" website
- See here for counter-arguments provided by the League of Reason
- Operation 360 - a response to Ray's 180
- Ray Comfort is a fraud Pharyngula on that video
- Abortion analogy questioned
- Documentary.net review of 180 (Spoiler: It Sucked)
- "Why I did not do a 180"
- ↑ http://freethoughtblogs.com/pharyngula/2011/08/29/ray-comfort-is-a-fraud/
- ↑ When inviting financial backing for the film Ray Comfort promised this film would change American opinion 180 Degrees and put Americans against abortion. Presumably a great many donors are deeply disappointed because this is not happening or will become deeply disappointed when they realize it is not happening. 
- ↑ To learn more about Ray Comfort, you may also want to check him out on Iron Chariots.
- ↑ http://180movie.com/
- ↑ http://www.tellyawards.com/winners/list/?l=living+waters&event=12&category=1&award=B
- ↑ http://www.wearesmrt.com/RayGetsOwned.mp3
- ↑ http://www.austriantimes.at/index.php?id=12871
- ↑ "From the isolated comparisons I made, Trevor-Roper's English appears to be an almost verbatim translation of Genoud's French"; and Genoud himself cannot be relied on as a neutral author.
- ↑ http://www.nobeliefs.com/HitlerSources.htm
- ↑ quoted in William Shirer, "The rise and fall of the third reich", p213
- ↑ http://atheism.wikia.com/wiki/The_Greatest_Gamble_%28Way_of_the_Master%29
- ↑ Ray Comfort's 180 Movie - Reviewed
- ↑ 2 Samuel 12:14-18
- ↑ Exodus 4:21, 7:3, 7:13, 9:12, 10:1, 10:20, 10:27, 11:10, 14:4, 14:8, and 14:17
- ↑ http://skepticsannotatedbible.com/says_about/cannibalism.html
- ↑ http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/2011/10/180-conspiracy.html#IDComment203630273
- ↑ http://youtu.be/1Ig_oeDJXuQ
- ↑ http://youtu.be/F2SG6FAJiTo
- ↑ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Miscarriage
- ↑ Ray Comfort's 180 Movie - Reviewed
- ↑ The 180 Movie - Revisited
- ↑ A good example would be his Way of the Master episode on Evolution, in which the only time he interviews someone with a degree in biology, he only shows about 5-10 seconds of the interview and no more 
- ↑ http://raycomfortfood.blogspot.com/2011/10/180-conspiracy.html
- ↑ http://www.talkorigins.org/indexcc/CA/CA006_1.html
- ↑ Mein Kampf, vol. 1, chapter XI.
- ↑ Die Bücherei 2:6 (1935) pg. 279. Quoted from University of Arizona Library, "Lists of Banned Books, 1932-1939", transl. Roland Richter, http://www.library.arizona.edu/exhibits/burnedbooks/documents.htm