Ray Comfort is a vacuous chode. This isn't exactly new but I had to say it. I don't hate the guy, I've never met him. I think his views are skewed and his polarizing opinions are nothing but damaging but I don't hate him. Heck, there's even a chance, albeit slim, that we might get along as long as things stayed completely neutral on religion. Anyway...

He's changed the name of his blog to "atheist central", which is probably true considering the number of links his site gets from atheist bloggers laughing.

Aside from a recent post regarding his "revolutionary" thought that man and mice might have a common ancestor (no shit, really?!) he's put up what he calls "The Atheist Starter Kit".

I won't link to his blog as I don't believe anyone can be as ignorant as he pretends to be. I honestly think 1/2 the things he blogs are just to get a response from atheists so he can laugh manically at responses. If he is honestly as confused, uninformed and dim as he appears I feel a little bad for him. The information he constantly hacks, misinterprets and lies about isn't exactly a secret or graduate level material. If your curious, you'll have to Google it, I refuse to give him a trackback.

I do, however, want to address the 'starter kit'. It's a 10 point list of things that 'beginner' atheists should know... it shows exactly how clueless this man is in terms of what an atheist 'is' and how very polarized his views are in regard to what he's so veimently opposed to.

His in bold italics, mine is regular text.

If you are a beginner atheist, there's a belief system you should embrace and a language you should learn, or you will find yourself in trouble. Here are ten suggestions for the novice:

1. Whenever you are presented with credible evidence for God's existence, call it a "straw man argument," or "circular reasoning." If something is quoted from somewhere, label it "quote mining."

I don't think anyone has ever been presented with credible evidence for God's existence as there isn't any. As for labeling arguments, it's done because your form of debate calls for it. If the shoe fits, wear it. Not all quotes are mined, you might want to look up what quote mining is. A well mined quote can make damn near anyone appear to agree with any viewpoint you might have. People from both camps do this. We see quotes from Einstein and Stephen Hawking on your blog and you'll see atheists doing the same with bible verses.

2. When a Christian says that creation proves that there is a Creator, dismiss such common sense by saying "That's just the old watchmaker argument."

Creation proves there is a creator? Well, yeah. There's no argument that something created has someone or something that created it, it's cause and effect. If that's an argument, you're arguing with a moron. There's no evidence to support the Earth was created, thusly, a supernatural creator is moot.

3. When you hear that you have everything to gain and nothing to lose (the pleasures of Heaven, and the endurance of Hell) by obeying the Gospel, say "That's just the old 'Pascal wager.'"

People invoke Pascal's Gambit (wager...etc) because it's a solid argument in terms of faith. The statement you make about "nothing to loose and everything to gain" is exactly what Pascal was addressing. You've basically reinforced the argument with ignorance (or just trying to piss people off...either way, well done).

4. You can also deal with the "whoever looks on a woman to lust for her, has committed adultery with her already in his heart," by saying that there is no evidence that Jesus existed. None.

This is totally out of left field but I'll bite. If you're trying to debate the existence of god with an atheist and you use bible scripture you're not doing yourself any favors. It's like trying to prove leprechauns exist because there's one on a box of Lucky Charms. What you have here is a moral play presented by a book, not a topic of debate for someone that doesn't believe what you do. Why anyone would answer this with "there is no evidence that Jesus existed" is beyond me.

5. Believe that the Bible is full of mistakes, and actually says things like the world is flat. Do not read it for yourself. That is a big mistake. Instead, read, believe, and imitate Richard Dawkins. Learn and practice the use of big words. "Megalo-maniacal, sadomasochistic, capriciously malevolent bully" is a good phrase to learn.

There are people whom make informed decisions. While there are reactionary sheep on both sides of the fence, you're being a bit dramatic if you think that all atheists haven't bothered to crack a religious text or two. People using that "the bible says the world is flat!" argument are either uninformed or just plain stupid. The bible mentions "the ends of the earth" and "the four corners of earth", which some like to use to support this argument. Taken literally, yes, it seems to suggest that the Earth is flat. The phrase "ends of the earth" isn't uncommon in modern times...it's a stupid and malinformed suggestion. There are probably those out there that would do as you suggest and 'imitate' Dawkins. If that's what they want, so be it, some people are ok with taking a side and not being completely immersed in it. I wouldn't be terribly surprised at all if there are some that consider themselves christian and don't have a full understanding of it, yet, will defend it tooth and nail.

Yes, I just potentially called some other atheists stupid and misinformed, we're not all best friends under one banner.

6. Say that you were once a genuine Christian, and that you found it to be false. (The cool thing about being an atheist is that you can lie through your teeth, because you believe that are no moral absolutes.) Additionally, if a Christian points out that this is impossible (simply due to the very definition of Christianity as one who knows the Lord), just reply "That's the 'no true Scotsman fallacy.'" PLEASE NOTE: It cannot be overly emphasized how learning and using these little phrases can help you feel secure in dismissing common sense.

The old 'immoral atheist' card! I'm glad this one popped up. You've heard it a million times Ray, some people don't need a book to tell them what is right and wrong. And yes, there are no absolutes. I think knowing that is a pretty "cool" part of atheism because I know that morals differ regionally, culturally and globally. If you want to paint it black and white and call anyone whom doesn't believe as you do 'wrong', so be it, that's your problem opinion.

7. Believe that nothing is 100% certain, except the theory of Darwinian evolution. Do not question it. Believe with all of your heart that there is credible scientific evidence for species-to-species transitional forms. When you make any argument, pat yourself on the back by concluding with "Man, are you busted!" That will make you feel good about yourself.

People prescribe to Darwinian Evolution because there is credible evidence. The 'evidence' you might ask for doesn't exist because your apparent understanding of the subject is near nil. It isn't 100% certain, there are still plenty of things we've yet to learn and discover. I'm not even going to address the "Man, are you busted!" comment.

8. Deal with the threat of eternal punishment by saying that you don't believe in the existence of Hell. Then convince yourself that because you don't believe in something, it therefore doesn't exist. Don't follow that logic onto a railway line and an oncoming train.

People won't walk onto train tracks because there is evidence that the train is quite real and speeding towards them. Atheists don't believe in hell because there is no reason to do so. They likely don't need to convince themselves that it's nothing more then a glorified bedtime story. Though, in the extreme case you are right, you can give us all a big "I told you so!" from on high. Some would rather live their lives as they see fit, without being in constant fear that they're not doing it "correctly". You obviously have a personal problem with people not thinking the way you do, which again, is your problem to deal with.

9. Blame Christianity for the atrocities of the Roman Catholic church--when it tortured Christians through the Spanish Inquisition, imprisoned Galileo for his beliefs, or when it murdered Moslems in the Crusades.

Why would anyone do that? Just blame the Catholic Church, the historical record supports it. This is another case of misinformation, misunderstanding and/or sheeping.

10. Finally, keep in fellowship with other like-minded atheists who believe as you believe, and encourage each other in your beliefs. Build up your faith. Never doubt for a moment. Remember, the key to atheism is to be unreasonable. Fall back on that when you feel threatened. Think shallow, and keep telling yourself that you are intelligent. Remember, an atheist is someone who pretends there is no God.

This speaks for itself. You've made an ignorant and misinformed over-generalization of a group of people that isn't even really a group. If you really think this way about all atheists, I'm sorry. I know there are plenty of people whom would make similar generalizations about christians and I feel a bit sorry for them too. People allowing themselves to be polarized by faith or a lack there-of will be our downfall. If everyone did "fall back" and agreed to disagree about something so trivial the world would be a much better place.

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Comment by Tim Lewellyn on September 3, 2008 at 9:14am
Just a thought about old Ray and his banana theory.
If the banana is such a well "Designed" shape for hand and mouth, then why are religious people so against maturbation?
I mean talk about perfect fit for the hand.
Oh yeah and another thing if god didn't want any gay sex why didn't he make a small change in designe that would prevent that?
Like I said just a thought.
Comment by Jude Johnson on August 7, 2008 at 5:24pm
Thanks for posting that Hess -- I too am glad not to go to the moron's website.

I have to suspect a lot of Comfort's stupidity is a ruse (although he's definitely not one of the smartest one of us, is he?) If he were half as ignorant as he pretends to be, I'm not sure how he could survive and function. (Eg. Why not fish the toast out of the toaster with a butter knife. After all, electricity is scientific and probably untrue.)

It really gets me, and I'm sure I'm not the first to notice: Idiots like Comfort and Cameron repeatedly say they don't think evolution is true because they've never seen it happen in their lifetimes -- have they seen god in their lifetimes?!? I'll be happy to believe - if they can produce him! Unlike them, I'm seeking the truth -- WHATEVER it is!
Comment by Hessenroots on August 7, 2008 at 4:13pm

I think it comes down to semantics and how people self identify. In the case of Comfort, he's gone so far as to comment on how 'fellow christians' aren't doing it right. As if there's some kind of scale of holiness. He seems to see himself as setting the bar.

I say Pascal's Wager is a 'solid argument in terms of faith' in the most generic sense possible, I should have been a little more clear on that.. Perhaps it's just another case of semantics and how people self identify, in which case the conversation would border on getting redundant. If the parties involved can't even agree on what the definition of the topic is, there can't be much of a debate.

Theological debates and/or conversations can get messy simply because it's hard to clearly define the terms when people have different ideas of what those terms are.
Comment by tiberius on August 7, 2008 at 3:56pm
How can this Maroon Mr. Comfort distinguish between the Catholic Church and Christianity? #9 could just as easily read "Blame Christianity for the atrocities of the Christian church--when it tortured Christians"

Pascal's Wager is not even a solid argument in terms of Faith. You could "obey the gospel" and say you "believe" to satisfy the terms of the wager but would that not be transparent to an Omniscient God who wants you to , as the Christians say, "give your heart to him"?
Comment by CriticalMessiah on August 7, 2008 at 3:26pm
"The Abrahamics need to realize that if they're going to try to "prove" thier creation myth that means not only will they have to attack the theories of science, but the creation myth of every other religion on the planet... unfortunately the same arguments they use to support their version could also be used to say.. support the Hindu creation story."

Now that's just silly. Everyone knows those other religion's stories are just fairy-tales!
Comment by Neece on August 7, 2008 at 3:25pm
Excellent points, Hess. But I do think you're too kind. This guy is beyond ignorant. He's dangerous because he spoon feeds sheeple exactly what they want. Pureed simplicity for feeding their ignorance. This kind of stuff makes me so angry, because this is exactly the fodder that is used to take away my basic constitutional rights.
Comment by Hessenroots on August 7, 2008 at 3:23pm
I've actually seen "Way of the Master" in its entirety. My eyes bled a little and I may have dropped into a slight coma but I can recall most of it. My above comments about ignorance and misinformation apply to any feelings I have about that little propaganda film.
Comment by Eli on August 7, 2008 at 3:13pm
It seems as though Mr. Comfort believes that "Atheists" are a group like any other religion. My favorite is #7, if you've seen clips from Way of the Master, you'll note that he and lap-dog D-list celebrity Kirk Cameron attack those who who have knowledge of evolutionary theory for using words like "suppose", "think", "probably" and other non "100% certain" language.

Also as to number 2, and this is one I hear a lot from those that like to beat on my door at 9AM on a Saturday... is that there is a Creator, and that creator is a series of natural processes... I create feces every day... does any conscious effort come into this creation? Of course not not all things which are "created" require a willful and intelligent creator, many things that are observed every day are created by natural processes...

Of course it's all a false dichotomy. The Abrahamics need to realize that if they're going to try to "prove" thier creation myth that means not only will they have to attack the theories of science, but the creation myth of every other religion on the planet... unfortunately the same arguments they use to support their version could also be used to say.. support the Hindu creation story.

In summation, great blog post, nice to be able to get a chuckle off this nonsense without actually putting any traffic on Ray's site.



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