You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can't Make Him Think
| The divine comedy|
Subtitled "Answers to Questions from Angry Skeptics," the book consists of questions asked of Ray on his blog together with his vacuous answers to them. Weighing in at a meager 137 printed pages at a recommended retail price of USD 22.95 in hardback, the book's cover picture and snappy title are more likely to sell it than the contents. This slim and rather pricey volume is guaranteed to disappoint both believer and non-believer alike.
Numerous reviews of the book (not all of them helpful) can be found on Amazon.com. These are highly polarised, mostly being one-star or five-star with only a handful in between. Its "most helpful" five-star review is clearly an example of Poe's Law.
- 1 Content and snarky commentary
- 2 Chapter 1: Creation Must Have a Creator
- 2.1 Am I a "false convert" because I doubt? Do you ever have doubts?
- 2.2 You err when you compare a "building and its builder" with a "human and his creator," they are not the same thing!
- 2.3 If you think that creation of the human mind is evidence of god, then I'd argue that you certainly don't think god does a very good job.
- 2.4 Let's look at your list of "evidence." Creation proves a creator. It most certainly does not. Even calling it "creation" shows your considerable bias.
- 2.5 If your deity can have always existed, so can the universe.
- 2.6 Why do you call everyone who disagrees with you an atheist? I believe in evolution, and I'm a Christian.
- 2.7 Stephen Hawking, the smartest man alive, is an atheist
- 2.8 Atheists don't hate god, fairies, leprechauns, unicorns, etc. because you cannot hate something that does not exist
- 2.9 Do I have to "prove" God to nonbelievers before preaching the Gospel?
- 2.10 FAITH AND SCIENCE
- 2.11 To attempt to use faith in science, or science in faith, simply demeans both
- 2.12 Religious and nonreligious people can both have feelings of awe about the universe, but Ray appears not able to
- 2.13 Science is a method of knowing things. Galileo was arrested because the church "knew" the sun orbited around the earth, but how can they "know" this?
- 2.14 How old do you think the earth is Ray?
- 2.15 Why can't scientists make absolute claims but you can about the Bible and God?
- 3 Chapter 2: Our Conscience Testifies to a Creator and Our Need for a Savior
- 3.1 Lie Detector.
- 3.2 Conscience and Society.
- 3.3 I have a conscience and am an atheist. Why is that? Is it broken, or are you full of it?
- 3.4 I think atheists can be good, just not perfect.
- 3.5 You do not need to be born-again to be good.
- 3.6 Can you admit that certain people are good because of they are ....
- 3.7 Jesus and God failed the "Are you a good person?" test
- 4 Chapter 3: Humanity's Sin Deserves Punishment
- 4.1 Where In The Bible Does It Say That God Is Our Enemy?
- 4.2 Your Fear-Based Relationship Is Not With A Benevolent Being, You Are Fear Mongering
- 4.3 Why Would the Bible Compare Us To A Worm (Job 25:6)?
- 4.4 Everything Dies, Rots And Is Reused. There Is No Need To Resent That
- 4.5 Death is final, even the Bible says so, so I will just live my life to the fullest
- 4.6 I firmly believe Christianity would not have gotten so big without the fear of Hell, but I also fully know the negative psychological impact this has on children
- 4.7 The source of sin and hell come from the very book it claims to be saving us from. If you cannot prove hell, then go away with your empty threats
- 4.8 You abuse people's bad behaviors, make them feel bad, then go on about Jesus suffering to make them feel sad. Using emotional pulls like this, you are manipulating people
- 5 Chapter 4: Salvation in Christ - The Promise of Heaven and Eternal Life
- 6 Chapter 5: The Testimony of Holy Scripture
- 7 Chapter 6: What Sets Christianity and Christians Apart?
- 7.1 How do you know you have the right God?
- 7.2 Hope for a "True Atheist"
- 7.3 According to the statistics, Christian regions are far worse than secular regions
- 7.4 TESTIMONY OF GENUINE CHRISTIANS
- 7.5 Are Christians not really Christians until they are born-again?
- 7.6 Gandhi said that he likes Christ, but not Christians
- 7.7 I was a believer, but got no response to prayers
- 8 Chapter 7: The Witness of Jesus Christ and of God's Holy Spirit
- 9 Conclusion
- 10 Notes
- 11 See also
- 12 External links
- 13 References
Content and snarky commentary
In the preface, Comfort sets up the fallacious strawmen he will soon destroy:
“”The staunch atheist has the zeal of a religious fanatic. He is fundamentalist in his belief that there is no God - and, armed with basic Richard Dawkins phrases, he is ready for a fight. He is unreasonable, angry, and bitter at God, and will color his speech with blasphemy of His name, despite the fact that he professes that God doesn't exist. The atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.
From the opening sentence, the book sets appropriate expectations for the reader, beginning: "To be an atheist is to play Russian roulette with all barrels loaded." (This seems to be a reference to Pascal's Wager, in which case—given the number of gods proposed by world religions through the history of mankind—a better analogy would be "to play Russian roulette with a million-chamber revolver.")
Ray goes on to outline the Three Things he Knows™. These are:
- Creation demonstrates there is a creator.
- Everyone knows there is a god, and that the god is described in the Bible. People only deny this so they can live debauched lives of merriment and revelry. Even Hindus and Buddhists, presumably.
- You're a very naughty boy, and God is going to send you to Hell.
Everything Ray says is a variant on one or more of these themes; in fact, this book quickly becomes quite tedious, as Ray isn't capable of knowing anything else. We've started, however, so we may as well finish.
Chapter 1: Creation Must Have a Creator
This chapter opens with a quote mine from Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, which comes deep in the middle of a discussion of the universe's origins, the anthropic principle, and uniformity. As best as it can be "put in context", Hawking is being mocking when he writes:
“”It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of a God who intended to create beings like us.
Since this game is so much fun, anyone can play. From a few pages earlier in the same chapter, Hawking says "These laws may have originally been decreed by God, but it appears that he has since left the universe to evolve according to them and does not now intervene in it." Oh well.
Note that for not capitalizing "he" as the Godly pronoun, Hawking's comment would have been deleted from Comfort's blog: "Cuss words (mild or abbrev.), blasphemy, URLs, incivility, or failure to give the names 'God' or 'Jesus' capitals will be deleted."
The first chapter is appropriately enough named after the first of the three things Ray knows. He starts by stating that atheists' beliefs vary as much as atheists themselves, but states that all atheists share one thing in common: "An 'atheist' believes that there is no God and that man came into being without any intelligent design." He was actually off to a good start here acknowledging the diversity of atheists, so it's a shame he then pivots and paints their beliefs with such a broad brush. The first part of that is what's called "strong atheism", which includes only a minority of the godless.
He goes on to say, "If there was no designer, then an atheist owes his existence to random chance, over millions or billions of years, of course. While some believers in evolution deny that evolution is a random process, if it's not unplanned, then it's planned. And if it is planned, then there is Someone doing the planning." Based on this, Ray Comfort is only right about two things: that not all atheists share the same beliefs, and that the only thing that connects them is their lack of belief in God. BUT that does not mean they all think man came into being without intelligent design. For example, Raelians are basically atheists, but they believe that man was intelligently designed by aliens.
Next Ray tells us what he thinks evolution is. He speculates on the first modern human male, calling him Adam, and how "fortunate" it was that he evolved when there was air to breathe. This breathtakingly not even wrong assertion tells you all you need to know about how much Ray understands about evolution and the natural history of our planet. If that wasn't enough stupid for one book, Ray goes on to tell us that it was also fortunate that the air was exactly 78.09% nitrogen and 20.95% oxygen. Leaving aside the fact that the mixture of gases in the atmosphere demonstrably changes over time, people are perfectly capable of breathing other mixtures of gases. Just ask any scuba diver.
But wait, there's more! While we're still reeling from the previous paragraph, Ray hits us with this gem: he thinks females evolve separately from males. He tells us that the first female would have had to evolve solely by chance at the same time as the first male, and then wander around until she finds him. This line of argument goes on, but there's really no need to torture you with it. Suffice it to say that Ray doesn't know squat about evolution.
Now that he has finished demonstrating his profound and unapologetic ignorance, he addresses his first question.
Am I a "false convert" because I doubt? Do you ever have doubts?
In answering this question, Ray exercises Things He Knows™ #1 and #2. He doesn't doubt because creation is absolute proof that there is a creator, and everyone knows there is a god. Of course, this is simply a semantic game. Something that can be described as a creation certainly does imply there is a creator. However, stating this fact doesn't get you any nearer demonstrating that humans, Earth or the universe at large can be accurately described as a creation. To do that, you would of course have to demonstrate the existence of the creator, that which is to be demonstrated. This is simply begging the question. For a moment we can just imagine that there is a creator. Now why does that creator have to be the god of
Jewish bronze age and iron age mythology the Bible? How can Ray be sure any creator is not Ahura Mazda for example?
Ray's advice is to trust God, specifically his god, even when such trust seems impossible. Great advice, Ray! I'm sure the Hindus (who believe in many gods) and Buddhists (who mostly don't believe in gods) will get right on it.
You err when you compare a "building and its builder" with a "human and his creator," they are not the same thing!
He then goes off on a totally unrelated tangent, stating that, when one becomes a Christian, one suddenly starts to care about the unwanted in society. Nevermind that Ray, a Christian who personally rakes in almost a million dollars a year in donations alone (let alone sales of books and other merchandise), appears himself to have been unaffected in this direction.
Ray uses this purported Christian love as a springboard from which to attack atheists. For atheism, it seems, is "the epitome of stupidity," "an intellectual embarrassment," but Ray loves atheists so much that he argues with them anyway, in spite of how "demeaning" he finds it. Keep it up, Ray! We're feeling the love already.
If you think that creation of the human mind is evidence of god, then I'd argue that you certainly don't think god does a very good job.
Ray answers that the human mind is in fact perfect; it's just that atheists aren't using it right. He then segues right in to an argument from beauty, trotting out the classic "look at the trees!" — the hallmark of a truly ignorant creationist. To Ray, however, this is all apparently common sense: the atheist, because he cannot see it, must have some form of mental disorder.
Of course, the human brain is not perfect. Ever forget anything? For another example, these squares are not moving, but our brains are hardwired to give a false interpretation.
Let's look at your list of "evidence." Creation proves a creator. It most certainly does not. Even calling it "creation" shows your considerable bias.
For starters, we're treated to a rehash of the previous answer: To be an atheist involves a denial of "common sense," to which Ray adds a dash of "people are only atheists so they can ignore almighty god's moral laws." Say what you like about him, but no one can accuse him of being an original thinker.
Ray goes on to assert that "Staunch evolutionists believe in the theory as though their life [sic] depends on it," and that's because their life does in fact partly depend on it - which explains the passion for their defense of the theory. You know penicillin doesn't work any more because bacteria evolved a resistance to it, right Ray? Questionable grammar, and still more questionable conclusions. This book just gets worse and worse.
If your deity can have always existed, so can the universe.
Ray quotes noted actual scientist (Stephen Hawking again) saying that the universe definitely had a beginning, and of course it almost certainly did, at the big bang. Given enough matter, however, it may well end in a big crunch. It's also entirely possible that the resultant singularity will go on to spawn a whole new universe, and so on ad infinitum. To assume that this is the first iteration of our universe is unwarranted self-aggrandisement.
After this brief interlude of intelligence, brightening our lives only marginally, Ray proceeds to whittle on about how his god, being a magic man, isn't subject to the same laws as the rest of the universe. Apparently, if only you believe in him, he'll make you magic too. The evidence? Well, he hasn't got any.
Why do you call everyone who disagrees with you an atheist? I believe in evolution, and I'm a Christian.
Ray immediately launches in to a harangue of the hapless Christian: evolution, he claims, is a false god that said Christian has erected in order to worship. In the real world, evolution isn't a god to be worshiped; it's a scientific theory that best explains the diversity of life as we currently understand it. It neither provides nor abolishes any moral framework, so to tell a Christian he worships evolution so that he can "sin" is both presumptuous and flat out wrong.
At the end of the chapter, Ray Comfort examines some scientific literature, calling them all "children's books." When the scientists give example of fossilized organisms, such as fish with wings, Ray portrays them as fiction writers who "believe dinosaurs developed feathers and became birds." Ray mentions the Nightline debate with the Rational Response Squad in 2007, where he and Kirk Cameron "produced imaginary pictures of what we imagined would be genuine species-to-specie transitional forms. We called one a 'Crocoduck' and another was called a 'bulldog.' This was to show exactly what evolutionists believe, but cannot back up through the fossil record. We were ridiculed, called stupid, and told that we did not understand evolution. However, these books [referring to the scientific literature previously mentioned] vindicate us (not that we needed it). They have done with future what evolutionists have down with the past. They have made a mockery of science."
Stephen Hawking, the smartest man alive, is an atheist
Ray says that Hawking "is not a fool. He believes in God. Look at what he said about him: 'It would be very difficult to explain why the universe should have begun in just this way, except as the act of God who intended to create beings like us.' He also said, 'The odds against a universe like ours coming out of something like the Big bang are enormous. I think there are dearly religious implications...' It doesn't take a rocket scientist to look at this amazing creation and see the genius of the Creator. A child can know that. Your stumbling block isn't intellectual as you maintain... it's moral."
Atheists don't hate god, fairies, leprechauns, unicorns, etc. because you cannot hate something that does not exist
Ray says the person is right that atheists do not hate fairies, leprechauns, or unicorns "because they do not exist." But Ray states atheists hate God because he does exist. How does Ray know this? Because atheists spend a lot of time thinking about God, coming up with arguments against God, blaspheming God's name (Ray says using a person's name as a cuss word is the greatest extent you can go for hating someone), and then ridiculing those who do believe in God. "Atheists have the axiomatic evidence of creation and of their own consciences, and are therefore without excuse." Ray compares atheists to people in certain cultures who shun a disgraced family member as if they no longer exist. Ray argues the atheists' reasons for shunning God is a moral issue, not an intellectual one because "if it was an intellectual issue there wouldn't be any argument." (In other words, if they argue against me I win by claiming they're actually supporting me by arguing against me, and if they don't argue against me then I've gotten them out of my way in foisting my beliefs onto society.)
Do I have to "prove" God to nonbelievers before preaching the Gospel?
Ray begins with the following statement: "We do not have to prove the existence of God to the professing atheist. This is because he intuitively knows that He exists. Every person has a God-given conscience. The Bible tells us that this is 'the work of the law written on our hearts.' Just as every sane person knows it is wrong to lie, steal, kill, and commit adultery, he knows that God should be the first in his life." Ray says the atheist has the proof for God already with his conscience and creation. Ray says he does not waste time trying to prove that God exists, rather he tries to convince people that "sin" exists - and he does this by taking people through the Ten Commandments.
FAITH AND SCIENCE
To attempt to use faith in science, or science in faith, simply demeans both
Ray begins with the following statement: "Not so. Every scientific experiment is done 'in faith.' If a scientist had the results in front of him where he could see them, why would he experiment? He conducts a test because he doesn't yet see the results." Ray mentions Thomas Edison who kept failing in his experiments to make a successful light bulb until he finally achieve it, to which Ray states, "it was because of his faith that he got the result. He believed without seeing, until the light gave him that for which he was looking. Never make the mistake of believing you can ever remove faith from the equation." Ray notes that Edison was not a believer (and one of Ray's greatest heroes) but it was God who gave Edison "light" - the ability to innovate, think, and discover. Ray says "the fact some don't recognize the evidence doesn't mean that it is not there." If Edison made the light come on, but Edison insisted that it did not, he would either have to be "blind or a fool."
Ray ends with the following statement: "When the Bible speaks of "faith" in God, that is not a reference to an intellectual acknowledgment that he exists (we all know that). It's speaking of an implicit trust in his person and his promise."
Here is the problem: this response from Ray Comfort is completely false.
Hebrews 11:1 - Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.
2 Corinthians 4:18 - So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 5:7 - We live by faith, not by sight
John 20:29 - Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”
Romans 4:17 - As it is written: "I have made you a father of many nations." He is our father in the sight of God, in whom he believed--the God who gives life to the dead and calls things that are not as though they were.
Romans 1:20 - For since the creation of the world God's invisible qualities--his eternal power and divine nature--have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that men are without excuse.
Things hoped for, but not seen. Looking at things that are not seen. Not seeing what is seen. And this list ends with everybody’s favorite combination of logical fallacies; the circular argument of arriving back to an assumed conclusion.
Now that we are expected to see what is not there. Not only that, we are blessed if we make ourselves see what cannot be seen. This is not a reasonable request. These are not reasonable responses. We are encouraged to believe without reason, in fact we are blessed if we believe the most outrageous illogical inconsistent contradictory claims without any evidence at all. Because only accurate information has practical application, and it should be that positive claims require positive evidence and extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence. Our beliefs should be tentative and subject to obligated change if the evidence demands. We should have some way to correct the flaws in our current perception and thus improve our understanding – THAT would be reasonable. Because if we love truth at all, then what should matter most is that we not allow ourselves to be deceived. But faith is the very opposite, it requires that we literally “make belief” that we ignore what we really do see and pretend something is there when it apparently isn't. It means that we fool ourselves. Worse than that, faith requires that we believe the unbelievable. This is not just a willful ignorance, this is a deliberately induced delusion. Fantasy is adopted as reality and truth is dismissed as irrelevant.
Religious and nonreligious people can both have feelings of awe about the universe, but Ray appears not able to
Ray begins by saying he would prefer if he was not called "religious" because he wants to distance himself from all the religious hypocrisy (as if that would do it, given his behavior).
Ray ends this chapter with an annotated version of Romans 1:21: [W]hen they knew and recognized Him as God, they did not honor and glorify Him as God or give Him thanks. But instead they became futile and godless in their thinking [with vain imaginings, foolish reasoning, and stupid speculations] and their senseless minds were darkened. (Amplified Bible}
Science is a method of knowing things. Galileo was arrested because the church "knew" the sun orbited around the earth, but how can they "know" this?
Ray tells the person to "read their history" and learn that the Roman Catholic Church arrested Galileo, not Christians. Ray says even Roman Catholics know the difference (Catholics hold onto tradition whereas Christians adhere only to the Bible--as if Christianity was invented in 1517 by Martin Luther, or Catholics don't call themselves Christians).
Ray ends this chapter with, while science merely discovered the laws of physics that already exist, it is God who is the first one to put them all in place for us to discover.
How old do you think the earth is Ray?
Ray says that it does not matter to Ray how old the earth is, but science does not know either because they keep changing the date by millions or billions of years. Ray is sure the date will change as new data comes along (as if that's a "problem" in science) "and, of course, none of the faithful will question it."
Why can't scientists make absolute claims but you can about the Bible and God?
Ray states that it is a clear and open fact that science does not know everything, and its "beliefs" keep changing when new evidence is discovered (as if its ability, and willingness, to correct its errors is a weakness rather than a strength).
Chapter 2: Our Conscience Testifies to a Creator and Our Need for a Savior
Ray begins this chapter with describing a bunch of art experts gathering around and examining a painting and concluding it had a maker. However, when they learned the painter was a black man, they suddenly hated him and spouted racist words, until finally, they erased the signature on the picture because "they tried to erase or deny the painter's very existence." Ray says that God knows and everyone knows the reason why people keep coming up with the same arguments over and over is because they hate God (just as the Bible says).
Ray repeats the "Creation requires a creator" and goes on to explain all the good the creator (God) has provided us and how wonderful he is.
An anonymous commenter points out that lie detectors do not spot lies, just body reactions. Ray points out that is true, rather lie detectors are conscience detectors. This is not true. A person may tell the unvarnished truth and still trigger a polygraph, because the situation makes him nervous, rather than anything to do with his conscience.
Conscience and Society.
Another person points out is it possible that conscience is the product of society? Ray says that every culture has a moral code and acknowledges some sort of a Creator. "I am not aware of any past culture that has been found to be atheistic." Apparently, Ray has never heard of Buddhism or Jainism, which do not believe in a creator or that Buddhism is the most important belief system in East Asia.
Ray makes a scenario of a man raised by wolves for 20 years, who is later accepted into society. The man ends up raping and murdering a woman, then stealing her money. After he is caught and brought to trial, the argument that he has no moral compass because he was not raised by society does not work (all this assuming said man can integrate himself in human society, learn to properly speak their language, then act purely immoral rather than amoral). Incidentally in many liberal countries and in liberal parts of the United States that defense would work and would get him into a secure mental institution instead of prison.
Ray then concludes conscience is not given by society, therefore it must come from God. Ray ends this section by quoting Romans 1:19-21.
I have a conscience and am an atheist. Why is that? Is it broken, or are you full of it?
Ray responds that his conscience operates because it was given by God (Romans 2:15), especially the parts where he violates the Commandments. "However, the reason why your conscience has nothing to say about your atheism is that atheism is not a moral issue. It's an intellectual issue. If I were to lie or steal, my conscience would scream at me. But if I said something that was intellectually stupid, like one and one make five, the conscience would remain silent. The same applies with atheism." Ray says nothing more, but this alone says a lot. First, this completely contradicts Ray's previous claim in page 8 that atheism is a purely moral issue about shunning the Christian god and NOT an intellectual one. It's also quite easy to apply this "anti-intellectual" trait Ray is using to Christianity instead of atheism, just as validly. Though rationally speaking, atheism is simply lack of belief (in deities) due to lack of convincing evidence (in general), it has objectively nothing to do with refusing to admit facts or a deep-seated hatred against a god they secretly believe in but hate, so declaring atheism (maybe Ray means "anything that isn't Christianity") by itself stupid just like that isn't very rational.
So being an atheist is not morally wrong; our conscience, which Ray imagines is God-given, says nothing about it but we still go to hell for atheism. And, according to his reasoning above, saying things we know to be untrue (Ray claiming everyone is by default Christian means professing atheists are liars) isn't a moral issue—which suggests that the Ninth Commandment is not a moral issue. That would explain the mendacity of some of Ray's arguments.
Finally, the answer dodges the question's main point, which is questioning the validity of the claim that atheists are by nature evil.
I think atheists can be good, just not perfect.
At once, Ray says, "It deeply concerns me when I hear a professing Christian tell an atheist that an atheist can be a good person." But just one page before he said that atheism isn't a matter of conscience; try to be consistent, Ray. Basically, Ray (a professing Christian) said right here to all atheist faces that atheists cannot be good people. And how dare Ray say that atheists cannot be good, and yet Ray himself goes around the world asking people "Are you a good person?" including professing Christians. Every single interview, even if the person passes each time, Ray ultimately finds them all guilty and not good people at all. Ray then goes on to say that the Bible says no person is good, not even Christians. The only one who is good is God, and anyone who calls another human "good" is calling Jesus a liar.
You do not need to be born-again to be good.
Ray says nobody is good, not even Christians. Ray moves on to define good, which has 58 definitions, but the principal meaning is "morally excellent." Ray then jumps from this to tell what the Bible says about being good, but this argument is no more valid than looking to what the Qur'an says about what is good.
Ray says that the word good derives from "God." It doesn't, of course; "good" is from Proto-Germanic *gothaz, whereas "God" comes from Proto-Germanic *guthan. Here Ray is either assuming a connection exists between two unrelated words that happen to look and sound alike (much like extreme feminists babble about "herstory" on the ignorant assumption that history comes from "his story"), or he is being deliberately deceptive.
While Ray says anyone can live a good life as a non-Christian OR as a Christian, we are all criminals in the sight of God. The only way to avoid punishment is not through works, but by grace and repentance. Is that all Ray? Even after a person repents, they will still continue sinning. Even Ray Comfort admits to sinning in the next page. By Ray's standards, the only way to enter Heaven is to be a Christian and to not lie, steal, look with lust, or blaspheme. By this, it seems the only way to enter Heaven as a 'true' Christian would be to 1. Lie in bed forever, 2. Remain silent, and 3. Avoid all contact with another human for the rest of your life. By avoiding contact with another human, you cannot lust after them, lie to them, or steal from them. By remaining silent, you cannot commit blasphemy. All you have to do is accept Jesus once, lie there and let time kill you. You do not have to pray or perform certain rituals, since Ray says good works don't count. This seems to be the only way. You cannot play video games online, because it may lead to anger with other people (which Ray says counts as murdering someone). Better yet, you better die quickly after repenting before your mind thinks of something that is evil in God's eyes (coveting, sexuality, and such). What kind of life is this? Why would God create us just to make us live alone in complete solitude? We might as well be nothing.
Can you admit that certain people are good because of they are ....
The anonymous commenter lists several things, like polite, generous, honest, etc. However, Ray does not call them "good", rather he calls them remarkable. "Perhaps that is why there are so many divorces." Ray says that many people think they are good, but it is nothing compared to God's law, which is "infinitely higher than theirs." Ray brings up Joe Average, who is guilty by the Ten Commandments. In court, although he admits his guilt, he tries to bolster that he is polite, generous, honest, etc. However that does not help his case.
Ray says that chickens are the dumbest creatures in the world (speaking from personal experience by raising chickens). Ray says that God made the chicken first to lay fresh eggs for us to eat. Ray points out that the chicken will be completely docile when held upside down, making less resistance to slaughter. Ray quotes Psalm 34:2 and says how wonderful God is. Ray says the readers' reaction to this will show whether or not the reader is humble of heart or "possessed by the arrogance of pride." It does not say that Ray killed the chicken. What is the point of this test? To be glad that God did this and that, or that we ignore his goodness towards us. Well, there is a big problem here Ray. First of all, the chicken did not come first. Eggs existed long before chickens arrived on the spot. Already, Ray has demonstrated that God does not exist. Ray also makes it seem that the chicken was made for us, but it didn't happen like that. Humans captured wild birds, probably Red Junglefowl, to domesticate them for agriculture and selectively bred them for characteristics most desirable to us. See also Banana fallacy.
Jesus and God failed the "Are you a good person?" test
Ray is shocked by this comment. He does not provide any more to the comment, but he says "how dare" any person "point the finger" at Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Ray says that only a morally perfect person could do that, and yet there are none at all. He says that Jesus led a sinless life, in thought, word, and deed. He never stole, lied, coveted, murdered, or dishonored his parents. Ray stops there and tries to turn the table, but before we go there, let's examine this quickly.
Did Jesus live a sinless life? First of all, this assumes that Jesus of Nazareth existed (which is a valid question), and it assumes we have the full and correct biography of Jesus (for all we know, his story in the gospels could be whitewashed). But from what we can examine, did Jesus do any of these things? First of all, the Commandment "Thou shalt not lie" is not there. Period. "Thou shall not bear false witness against thy neighbor" in the Biblical sense means you shall not produce false testimony against your neighbor. Bearing false witness actually has to do with property and dealing with misrepresentations in the courts, not just simply lying about someone else. There are numerous liars in the Bible, and God does not punish them; oftentimes God rewards them and the Bible calls them "righteous".
Jesus himself is fine with stealing. In Mark 11:2-4, Matt 21:2-3, and Luke 19:30-31, Jesus instructs two of his disciples to go into a village (perhaps Bethany) and locate a colt tied up near the entrance, and to return with it. If someone stopped them they were to explain that the Lord had need of it. Otherwise, they were simply to steal the colt without paying for it or obtaining permission. Thus, Jesus would be guilty of thievery. Also, in Matthew 12:47-50, Mark 3:31-34, and Luke 8:20-21, Jesus disrespects his mother (and brothers) by refusing to recognize them as his family while they waited outside wishing to speak with him. To Ray, looking with lust counts as adultery, but depending which gospel you read, Jesus often kissed Mary Magdalene. Basically, Ray is dead wrong here. A Jew will likely tell you that Jesus sinned simply by claiming that he himself was God, when God CANNOT become human, and thus man cannot be God (which separated Jews from many pagans who believed in man-gods).
It is probably true that Jesus never committed murder, but that's setting the bar rather low, don't you think?
Chapter 3: Humanity's Sin Deserves Punishment
Starts off with Ray retelling a tale of his father leaving every day to take care of his family, but if you pay attention to specific pieces of his dad, you can make him look like a tyrant. One could focus on his father spanking him for lying and/or stealing, but Comfort says in the big picture his father was a good man. For example, when an animal was hit by a car, he killed it to put it out of its misery. Ray makes a similar argument the atheists quote-mine the Bible, focusing on the evil bits, to make God look like a tyrant. And Ray's reaction is along the lines of "how dare they!?" Comfort goes on about all the things God did for you: life, creation, taste buds, and he gave us ears to hear music. And yet, we use God's name as a profanity, dragging his name through the mud. God, in his righteousness, gave us so much and brutally sacrificed his own son on the Cross so we can live for eternity. Ray has decided to hold all his own questions about God and his character until he meets him in heaven. A skeptic may point to God killing women and children in the Old Testament, but God ultimately signed the death sentence for the entire human race, all because we sinned against him. So if you are a skeptic, "stop whining and get right with Him."
First of all, Ray here could argue that Hitler was not a bad man unless you only focus on the bad things. Hitler loved his wife and dog and close friends, but we all know better: he was an immoral monster. Likewise, so is Yahweh. Let's look at it from another perspective. Imagine that your society had a new leader, who published four laws that would run as follows:
- Any citizen who talks on a Friday will be executed. The leader was born on a Friday and did not talk and thus wants this respected in law.
- Your leader can kill citizens or order their killing for any reason.
- Any citizen forced by your leader to commit crimes through mind-altering drugs will be punished.
- Parents who commit a crime will have their children killed. And if it is not their first offence, they will be made to eat their children.
These laws would no doubt spark outrage. Law 1 kills people for a crime with no victim. Law 2 makes the lawmaker unaccountable by declaring their own killings lawful by definition. Laws 3 and 4 explicitly punish the blameless, directly contradicting the principle of personal responsibility with Law 4 adding an obscene element designed to dehumanize. They are definitive cases of injustice. So if asked about our objections to these laws, we are not restricted to saying that they are not to our taste. We have non-arbitrary reasons to object. These laws would clearly lead to identifiable abuses; we know too much what constitutes harmful behavior, suffering, and responsibility to allow such laws to be incorporated into our justice systems.
But what if this leader has been in office all your life and you have been brought up to think of him as morally perfect? Such a lawmaker would not make laws that were unjust. So this would create major cognitive dissonance. How would we respond? Perhaps we would fit some context into which it is of course right for someone who had done so much for this society to make some obsessionally arbitrary demands, or perhaps we would try to evade the problem that saying the leader's grasp of morality was so far ahead of ours that we could not understand them, that they worked in "mysterious ways". But we would be wrong; clearly the root of the problem is the root and false corrupting idea that the lawmaker is perfect. It is corrupt because it is causing us to accept unjust laws; it leaves us defending the undefendable. Remove this idea, and we can see the unjust laws for what they are. When we accept ideas uncritically, or make them sacred so we don't question them, this can distort our moral reasoning because we are then prone to make mistaken ideas ruling our attitudes and behavior outside our awareness. Those who swallow whole, or inject the idea that the lawmaker is perfect, cannot properly evaluate the law until this distorting idea is identified and removed. Removing uncritical ideas we swallowed whole is often the key in resolving certain problems we have in many areas of life.
When we see the traits attributed to the biblical deity Yahweh, clearly if it existed, it could not be better placed to meet our fair consistent justice. We are told it knows our thoughts, knows who is guilty or innocent, and is perfectly moral. So unlike human justice administrators, it would have no excuse for punishing anyone but the guilty, or for punishing them disproportionately. And yet according to the Bible, it permits, commits, and commands the vilest atrocities corresponding directly to the laws we just rejected above as unjust. It orders the killing of those working on the Sabbath, gay people, and women who show insufficient evidence of virginity on their wedding night. It kills 70,000 people when David takes a census at Yahweh's request, and kills almost all land animals by flooding for human wickedness. It hardens the heart of the pharaoh, the Egyptians, and the King of Heshbon through mind control to enable their defeat and destruction. It sends a powerful delusion to make certain people believe a lie just so they can be condemned. And it deceives prophets into giving false messages, then punishes them for doing so. Having stated that no child shall be killed for the sins of the father, it orders the killing of children for their fathers' sins, the killing of the Amalekite infants, the killing of children without pity, and at least three books in the Bible have Yahweh committing perhaps the most vile atrocity we can think of: making parents eat their own children.
If a person argues that God works in mysterious ways, ways that utterly contradict our notions of moral behavior, then its nature is clearly not the source of our morality. If according to the Bible, Yahweh's nature is that familial cannibalism is a just punishment, but we call any human who provides such a law depraved, then these positions are in direct conflict. And invoking divine mystery does nothing to resolve that conflict. Responding to these atrocities with examples of mercy does not work either, it just shows that the Bible contains both atrocities and mercy. Comfort deliberately ignores the obvious immoral monster that is Yahweh and focuses on the "good" sides of God by saying he gave us life, existence, tongues and ears. It goes without saying that people enjoy their senses, but is this really the best God can do? According to Comfort, God is omniscient and omnipotent. This means he knew eons before he supposedly created humans that suffering would surround our lives, and on top of that established several laws as described above that we just agreed are distasteful and immoral.
Where In The Bible Does It Say That God Is Our Enemy?
Comfort quotes Colossians 1:20-22. Next, he quotes John 15:14 ("You are my friends, if you do whatever I command you") and points out that we are God's enemies as long as we remain friends with the sinful world.
Take note of the piece "if you do whatever I command you." This is basically repeating the divine command theory, which implies that whatever God commands must be the morally correct course of action. Therefore, if/when God endorses genocide, infanticide, animal sacrifice, slavery, or rape, those things are good, whereas if/when he forbids eating certain foods or working on certain days or having certain kinds of kinky sex, those things immediately become bad. This makes divine command theory a subjective theory of morals, one which is arbitrary and can change at God's whim.
One way of countering this argument is to say "God wouldn't do that", but this doesn't help at all. For one, in many religious traditions he does do such things. For another, if God is the source of morality, he can do whatever he wants and it would still be just as "good" as anything else.
Your Fear-Based Relationship Is Not With A Benevolent Being, You Are Fear Mongering
Comfort says he believed in God for 22 years as a non-Christian, and his belief was not based on fear. He says his father died, "but it was no big deal" because after he had a heart attack he became a Christian. Since he was born shortly after WWII, his Jewish mother put "Methodist" in fear of a future holocaust. Without any instruction, Ray still believed in God. His point: all it takes to believe in God is a brain. Logic told him there was a Creator. To share this with the "slow" readers, he looks up the definition of "creation" and "Creator" (name of the dictionary not provided);
- Creation: noun, "The Creation, the original bringing into existence of the universe by God."
- Creator: noun, "The Creator, God."
Next, Comfort says "While 'fear-mongering' is bad, never discount 'fear' itself as being bad." Comfort gives examples of how fear stops you from being endangered (stepping off a cliff, burning yourself, etc.). You should fear God because he is to be feared.
This may be nitpicking, but how horrible that Ray Comfort can overlook the passing of his own father as "no big deal" simply because he died a Christian.
Moving on, it takes a brain to use simple logic, and simple logic seems to be completely absent from the pasty organ that passes for Ray Comfort's brain. It is difficult to count how many times it has been thoroughly and slowly explained to him that he is using faulty logic and complete wishful thinking. It may be pointless to repeat this again, since he has no intentions whatsoever to change his dogmatic mind for the sake of honesty, but the lay reader who remains unaware of Ray Comfort's verbal trickery should be better informed.
We will allow him to keep his narrow definitions of the words "creation" and "Creator." The first big objection, and ultimately the Achilles heel of Ray Comfort's line of thinking, is simply Comfort's wishful thinking that this universe is a creation. (To add this: this isn't "logic" that apparently led Ray to "deduce" there is a god, but a whim, similar to a child saying the Earth is flat because it looks/feels like it) All Comfort has done is simply label this universe as a creation without giving the slightest shred of evidence that this universe was put together by some divine being. Instead, the evidence points the other way. The laws of thermodynamics state that the universe is made of matter and energy, which cannot be created or destroyed, so already we know that the universe cannot be created.
Simply repeating "this is a creation! this is a creation!" in a rather childish manner does not change reality. Simply asserting that the observable environment must have a creator is completely without any rationality. For instance, we see design and patterns in snowflakes, but we do not assert that there must be a supernatural snowflake man in the clouds who manufactures each flake individually. No, rather we understand (after doing enough research to know the cause; before this, we can merely formulate a few hypotheses about the possibilities of the answer, which would then be proven or disproved with evidence) that snowflakes come about naturally through natural processes without any intervention from the supernatural. Likewise, we can explain the origin of the universe without invoking the supernatural.
Another problem with Ray Comfort's line of reasoning is that it begs the question. If you could establish there is a Creator, that gives no indication whatsoever that the creator is Comfort's specific version of God. For all we can tell, the Creator could be universal eternal sky pixies, the Flying Spaghetti Monster, Thor, Aton, Allah, and so on and so on.
Why Would the Bible Compare Us To A Worm (Job 25:6)?
Comfort suggests it is because we are helpless. Like a worm who cannot run away from being stomped on, we are just as helpless as death is about to stomp on us. Your only chance to avoid being stomped on is to accept Jesus.
Everything Dies, Rots And Is Reused. There Is No Need To Resent That
Comfort says that skeptics talk in absolutes in regarding no one can know God or know if there is an afterlife. However, these claims, according to Comfort, reveal their lack of knowledge. For a skeptic to say "no one knows what happens after death" must have access to every human mind and thought to check to see if anyone ever did. Basically, his knowledge is limited, and he is forced to answer "I don't know." Likewise, an atheist cannot say "There Is No God" rather he should just say "I don't accept there is a God. I just don't know." Therefore, an atheist cannot say with certainty that there is no God, heaven, (or more importantly) hell. Likewise, one cannot say that "everything" dies, because God cannot die. Plus, God said if any human comes to him, they will not die. If you don't believe it, "that is your problem." You may believe in secular science, but try to soften your heart and take a little faith in God.
However, there are some things we can know for certain: we know that spherical cubes are impossible. We do not need to search the entire universe to prove this. Likewise, atheists often argue and demonstrate that the traits and characteristics associated with God (particularly Comfort's God) are internally contradictory — similar to spherical cubes. Likewise, we can know if one can survive after death. For something to survive, it must be alive, and there is no indication or a scrap of evidence that there is a non-physical living entity in our bodies that survives death. Therefore, it is not necessary to examine every thought known to man to confirm this. Also, millions to billions of people have come to God in the past couple millennia, and so far every one of them has, in fact, died (or is still within the normal span of a human life), so his statement above is counterfactual.
Death is final, even the Bible says so, so I will just live my life to the fullest
Comfort says people who say this not only believe in the Bible simply because they quoted it, they are also gambling with their eternity. If death is equal, then you will meet the same end as Hitler without any (Divine) punishment. And if men like Hitler are not punished, then God is unjust, "which is unthinkable" (how fair reality is, governed by a god or not, impacts in no way its validity). Comfort says that those who make this claim are in for a shock because THERE IS going to be a resurrection and judgment.
It should go without saying, as anyone with a shred of common sense would know, that simply quoting a verse from a text doesn't mean that the person secretly or openly accepts it. If a Christian quotes the Qu'ran, that doesn't mean they are secretly a Muslim. An atheist may quote from one of Douglas Adams' books, but that doesn't mean they believe it's a true story. Ironically, Comfort himself has quoted more than once a famous atheist or a book about atheism or anti-theism (some against Christianity in particular); that would mean by the same reasoning that he's an Anti-Christianity atheist.
Comfort goes on to say that if there is a just God, he would punish people like Hitler. However, according to Ray himself, we are not judged by our works or deeds, rather we are judged by our faith. Hitler was a Christian of sorts (who could have easily repented at his death), which would mean he would be completely forgiven by God. So God will give anyone a pass, and anything is permissible. You can engage in genocide and infanticide. Wait, it gets better, because God may specifically order you to commit those atrocities. Does this sound like a just God? The only honest answer is NO. So apparently, according to Comfort, if the Bible's God does exist then the "unthinkable" is true: God is unjust.
I firmly believe Christianity would not have gotten so big without the fear of Hell, but I also fully know the negative psychological impact this has on children
While Comfort says that claims that the psychological impacts may be legitimate, the promise of heaven is unspeakably wonderful. While Comfort cannot speak for another person, he assures that his children (as well as his friends' and neighbors' children) are not psychologically damaged. Rather it is the opposite, since they do not fear Hell because Jesus has removed that fear. What does an atheist say to their dying child when he says "Daddy, I don't want to die."? Do they say that is just the way it is or do they say concentrate on the goodness of life? Next, Ray goes on about all the things Christians will tell their children they were created all the way to living again in the afterlife (all while pointing out "you don't know"). Comfort says adults are psychologically damaged by their fear of death, and they resort to alcohol, drugs, a psychologist's couch, and suicide. Comfort says the tragic thing is that fear could leave them if they accepted god.
So Comfort thinks that his children are not psychologically damaged? While we cannot know for sure, and we would hope not, if they are anything like Ray Comfort then unfortunately they probably are. Comfort's sense of morality, common sense, consistency and honesty are absent. His fear of an imaginary fiery realm has driven all his sense into the gutter and has guided his life to be swallowed in a delusion of fantasy and wishful thinking.
The source of sin and hell come from the very book it claims to be saving us from. If you cannot prove hell, then go away with your empty threats
(page 56 - 57)
Comfort states Hell is not an empty threat. Comfort says the only response is to claim God is not real and forsake your God-given common sense (simply because you just don't want to believe in God). You can go a step further and deny history, the wind or love since those things cannot be seen. "The key to being a committed atheist is to be totally unreasonable." You can present clear and obvious evidence as creation (which requires a Creator) but this will not do anything with the unreasonable. If you are reasonable, then you should accept that hell is real. Why? Because God is real and he is righteous, and he wants us to go to heaven. Since he is a just God, there must be punishment for the wicked. That punishment is hell. Thus, hell is proven.
Hell is an empty threat, and rather completely imaginary without a shred of proof. Before we go there, unlike God and hell, history can be revealed and documented. The wind can be seen and monitored, and love can be observed under an MRI. We have absolutely nothing to prove there is a hell, rather we know the history and evolution of the concept of Hell from Hellenistic ideals which we dismiss as a complete myth.
We have already established that we do not live in a creation, and by Comfort's logic therefore there is no Creator. Even if we allow the argument that there is a Creator, we cannot verify that the creator is Comfort's narrow version of God. Suppose that the Creator only punishes theists and rewards atheists with an afterlife? Or suppose (as Homer Simpson suggested) the Creator is a different god entirely, one who is angered by those who worship a different one, such as the Christian God? Basically, Ray Comfort is placing all his evidence for Hell based on his presupposition and faith that there is a God of a particular version. This is not proof whatsoever, this is merely begging the question. This makes all of Ray Comfort's worldview and works based on nothing more than simple fantasy.
You abuse people's bad behaviors, make them feel bad, then go on about Jesus suffering to make them feel sad. Using emotional pulls like this, you are manipulating people
(page 57 - 58)
Comfort says that if a person is in danger, he must warn them, and he is doing the same with people and hellfire. Comfort admits he has broken all the Commandments, which is why he needs a Savior. Comfort says he never judges anyone he interviews; he barely knows them. If a person admits they are a liar, Comfort believes them and carries on the message of the Bible out of love and nothing more. Comfort then states "there is one though that skeptics don't seem to take into account. What if hell does exist? What if the Bible is right? What if God is holy and just and will punish murderers and rapists in a terrible placed called hell? What if every single person will get what's coming to them? If what we say is the gospel truth, then what we are saying is justified and most necessary."
The big problem with this argument is that there's no evidence whatsoever that anyone is in danger when they die. There is no scientific evidence that there is a piece of us that survives bodily death. Also, simply breaking the rules of a particular religion doesn't mean therefore the religion is true and you must get right with it. For instance, Ray himself has broken all the 5 Pillars of Islam and the tenets of Scientology, but that doesn't worry him in the slightest. Repeat the question in a different manner: what if you are wrong about Allah? This doesn't worry Ray Comfort, nor should it—but by the same token, God and Hell shouldn't worry anyone else.
Comfort ends this argument with the old Pascal's Wager — a long-debunked argument that assumes there is a 50/50 chance there is a God, so you should go with the God option because you lose nothing or gain everything. However, this is easily refuted by the fact that there are over 30,000 denominations in Christianity alone, so to be a Christian you have a 1/30,000 chance of being right. On top of that, there is also Judaism and Islam, each with hundreds of denominations, etc., add the odds of all the major religions today with all their denominations. Keep going, add in the gods for every faith-based belief ever known to mankind throughout history. One last step, there are basically an infinite number of different deities that could theoretically exist. So your chances of being right about God is 1 divided by (effectively) infinity — which is nearly absolute zero. Also bear in mind that Christianity is a poor bet because it specifically requires you give the finger to all the other deities. Add this to the mix: what if there is a God but he only rewards atheists? Or what if he rewards skepticism and punishes blind faith? Or maybe more plausibly, what if he judges people's behavior rather than their belief, as many Christian sects believe?
Chapter 4: Salvation in Christ - The Promise of Heaven and Eternal Life
Chapter 5: The Testimony of Holy Scripture
Chapter 6: What Sets Christianity and Christians Apart?
Ray Comfort begins this chapter talking about his ongoing goal to reach atheists and nonbelievers. Ray says that nonbelievers do not know genuine Christianity. Rather they have seen empty Catholic churches and hypocritical money-grabbing pastors (like himself perhaps? His God may not judge people for their works, but other people certainly do).
Ray says atheists are bitter and angry, then moves on to mention the "bitter and angry" atheists he and Kirk Cameron debated on Nightline. Before the debate, Ray received letters from mothers whose children are atheists.
How do you know you have the right God?
(page 90) Ray says this is a good question, and then looks at other religions (Greek, Aztec, Mormon).
Hope for a "True Atheist"
(page 90) This is a section in the page, but it is one big quote addressed by Jacques Reulet, who claims he was a "true" atheist. Here is the piece in whole,
"I was a true atheist. I was addicted to pornography and a big fan of torture. I hated the Bible and literally looked at 'contract killer' as a career option. I favored Darwinian abortion of potentially disabled children and agreed with the majority of Adolf Hitler's statements about the disabled and invalid. I fantasized about murder and contemplated suicide and held nothing but hatred in my heart for anyone who told me I was wrong. In short, I was the most degenerate scum to ever walk the Earth. That God saved me is still far beyond my comprehension. I have to wake up everyday and think 'wow.' Nowadays I work at the church I once hated going to. I greet daily a pastor I once did everything in my power to ignore, and I serve as an assistant to a youth leader I once despised. I play in the Sunday band and teach drums to the young boys in the congregation for extra income. I teach Sunday school and am a regular fixture at the weekly prayer meetings and church events. People who have known me throughout the process have told me how astonishing it is to have seen the transformation. But no one is as impressed as me with how God has changed my heart and life. So that's me. I'm a 6'6 nineteen-year-old motorcyclist who plays drums, carries a Bible, vacuums a church, writes scripts that will never be made into films, and carries around a hefty supply of Way of the Master on his iPod."
What a string of non sequiturs! Let's take them one at a time, shall we?
- Pornography isn't related to atheism. This bit seems to be a result of the mindset that "anything outside my particular sect of Christianity = atheism".
- Torture also isn't related to atheism. In fact, the biggest fans of torture in the Bush Administration were committed Christians.
- Hating the Bible is really more anti-theist than atheist, though plenty of atheists are anti-theistic.
- Seeing "contract killer" as a career option has nothing to do with atheism, and everything to do with being a sociopath.
- Favoring the killing of the disabled and invalid is eugenics, not atheism. Or evolution, for that matter. Eugenics is animal husbandry applied to humans, aka artificial selection, whereas evolution involves natural selection; in fact, artificial selection is a way of interfering with the process of evolution. Also, in the days when eugenics were popular, it was advocated by plenty of Christians—which isn't to say eugenics=Christianity, but it does mean eugenics isn't equal to atheism.
- Fantasizing about murder - see "sociopath" above.
- Contemplating suicide - people of all religious inclinations do that. That's a sign of needing help, not (specifically) religion.
- Feeling hatred for anyone who said you were wrong - see "sociopath" above.
So in short, he was messed up and in need of some help, but labeling that as "atheism" doesn't change what it really was. And it doesn't reflect on atheists as a whole, either (though there are exceptions).
According to the statistics, Christian regions are far worse than secular regions
Ray says this is interesting, but dismisses it and blames the church for teaching a "false gospel" - basically the No true Scotsman fallacy. Ray says the false gospel tells people that their lives will improve upon conversion, but Ray says the opposite will happen (there will be trials and hardships). However, according to said statement, the Christian regions suffering from a bad situation would be those preaching the "true gospel", which should be bringing hardships to its practitioners (or maybe Ray is improvising inconsistent random claims on the spot). It should also go with mention that the claim is more often that countries with a high degree of religiosity—not necessarily Christian—suffer from poorer conditions. The Muslim world, in fact, provides plenty of examples, and atheists making this point often use Islamic states as examples; this isn't specifically an argument against Christianity.
TESTIMONY OF GENUINE CHRISTIANS
Here is the first quote Ray posts. It starts off: "I think at whether the scriptures are true or not is irrelevant. Christianity is a mindset, a philosophy, a way of living that depends on the practitioners/believers practicing it more than anything...When I was a Christian...." Ray says that this person should have written was "when I professed to be a Christian" or "when I was a false convert." Ray says that this interpretation of Christianity is false: "A Christian is someone who knows the Lord." Ray says that Judas is a great example of a false convert, "faking" his faith for years and being a thief (John 12:6). Ray says that Jesus knew he would be betrayed from the beginning, citing John 6:70. Ray says Judas had no idea who Jesus was, that Judas thought Jesus was not worth the valuable ointment that Mary rubbed on Jesus' feet and thought "that the money should have been given to the poor." Ray says Judas later hanged himself, which is written in one New Testament verse but contradicted in another.
Ray then addresses the concept of deception: the thing is that the deceived does not know he is being deceived. "That is why we need God's Word as a guide." It apparently does not occur to Ray that same guide is a deceiver and Ray does not know it.
Ray warns the reader to be careful when they dine with atheists, because they will serve you delicious food that will contain poison that will "go straight to your heart." Ray claims atheists will feed people Bible verses out of context, misquotes, and half-truths. That's rich, coming from the guy who still quote-mines Charles Darwin on the evolution of the eye. Ray certainly understands how to misquote.
Are Christians not really Christians until they are born-again?
A person asks if Ray if he thinks that Catholics, Methodists, Lutherans, etc. are not really Christians unless they are born-again. Ray answers that the Bible does not have these names, rather it has only two: just and unjust. The just are those God has made right with through faith in Jesus Christ while the unjust still live in their sins.
On the issue on who is justified, Ray mentions Martin Luther who asked that question long ago. Luther discovered through reading the Bible that we are all justified. The criminal is guilty, but the judge pays the criminal's fine: "that's called mercy." Ray later uses 1 Timothy 2:19 to declare who are true Christians (This becomes hilarious considering what he said about atheists quoting the Bible out of context two pages ago).
Gandhi said that he likes Christ, but not Christians
A person shares a quote that Gandhi likes Christ, but not Christians because they are nothing like their Christ. Ray Comfort responds that nobody is like Jesus Christ, because Christ was sinless.
I was a believer, but got no response to prayers
A person says they believed in God, but his fellow believers never got a response to their prayers. Ray says that there is a difference in being a believer and a Christian. "Every sane human being is a "believer" in God's existence. Some pretend he does not exist (atheists) but they know He does." (Note that this guy's actual point is that "everyone should worship MY god, but those who don't must be in denial, so I will start by labeling them as atheists since they can be also seen as irrational by some theists of any religions". Another fallacy, the "no true Scotsman" fallacy, is that Ray assumes that everyone who was a theist (a Christian theist, in their opinion) but left their religion has done so only because they did not hear voices in their head. Not to mention that replacing the Abrahamic god with, for instance, the Invisible Pink unicorn, by saying everyone knows deep inside it exists but some deny it, would be just as valid.)
Ray says that the reason why believers do not get a response is because they have not done what they have been commanded to do by God. Ray compares this to not believing in cell phones because no response is heard (all because they did not follow the instructions and turn the phone on). Ray says the procedure and instructions to being heard is to repent and trust in Jesus Christ. He claims that he gets a response every time he prays: sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes "please hold." Does he also know that any person can get the same results by praying to a milk jug, their left shoe, or the Flying Spaghetti Monster? Even the non-genuine Christian who does not follow the procedure Ray is responding to can get the same exact results Ray gets, their claims of being able to communicate with said god being just as valid as him; furthermore, some Christian theists who do everything a "true Christian" should do (in Ray's opinion at least) can still say they do not hear their god's vocal answer, or suffer from a kind of schizophrenia in general.
Chapter 7: The Witness of Jesus Christ and of God's Holy Spirit
- You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can't Make Him Think (Strolling with a skeptical biochemist) This is a good online discussion of how Ray gets stuff wrong.
- Book Review: “You Can Lead An Atheist To Evidence, But You Can’t make Him Think” by Ray Comfort Very critical review
- You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can't Make Him Think The Atheist Experience on Ray Discomfort
- ISBN 9781935071068
- It was available free to self-professed atheists for a limited time  (5/13/09) - as of 5/18/09, 109 had taken advantage of this offer  though it appears to have run out.
- The "book" itself, page xi
- The book this article is about, page xii
- Page number?
- See this video
- False analogy: We can actually readily deduce the phone's existence and presence, whether it works or not, so it would be more accurate to say: "I don't believe the person whose number I'm repeatedly calling to no avail exists". Likewise, the phone would be more comparable to prayer than a deity, despite the sort of prayer Ray speaks of is meant to have only ONE receiver (the Abrahamic God). The deity's "lagging response" can be excused with any number of assumed pretexts, while a phone's overall functionality can be empirically tested by using it to call some people, and analyzing how efficient it was.