Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Response to Ray Comfort's "Something to think about"

Ray Comfort wrote:

"A personal note to all the atheists that seem to hang around the Light. I moderate this blog myself, and I have watched with amazement as patient Christians have lovingly answered your predictable objections. I have let most of the blogs through in the hope that you may soften your heart and listen, although, by the proud way most of you talk, that doesn't seem likely."

Can you please explain what you mean by "the proud way most of us talk", because I seriously doubt that you or anyone else can really differentiate between the way you and other Christians write and the way we do. You won't even acknowledge that the bible verses that you claimed "confirmed science" did nothing of the sort, and in fact, that a simple reading of the verses you listed revealed that they said nothing even remotely like what you claimed they did.

Ray Comfort wrote:

"We don’t need to prove to you anything about Christianity. We are very secure in our faith, because it's not founded on a "belief," but on the immovable Rock of Ages--Jesus Christ, before whom you will bow the knee."

People who promote creationism are far from secure in their faith. Ray, the doctrine that "if one thing in the Bible is wrong, then the rest of the Bible is in jeopardy" is the very reason why so many Evanglicals are so desperately trying to re-write science to be more in line with the doctrine of biblical literalism. If you trully were secure in your faith, Intelligent design, ICR, CRI and all the other creationist organizations wouldn't be working so hard and so desperately to force their opinion, and would have no reason to even exist.

If you and other creationists were secure in your faith, you wouldn't be going on TV to confront atheists with an alleged proof that science proves God. If you were secure in your faith, you would admit when you are just plain wrong, rather than say nothing, and hope nobody notices.

I think you need to seriously evaluate some of the stereotypical pabulum that you've presented as "light", and read your Bible to verify passages before you promote more lists of "amazing prophecies" that other people wrote, that represent bible verses for what they clearly never say.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

My Response to Ray's "Science Confirms the Bible"

Ray Comfort wrote:
I have noticed that some atheists have made blanket statements saying that the Bible doesn't contain any scientific facts. That is not true. Even though it isn't a "scientific book," the Bible does contain scientific facts. Many of these were written thousands of years before man discovered them, showing the supernatural fingerprint of God all over Scriptures. My apologies for the poor reformatting. They are taken directly from our tract "Science confirms the Bible" (

1. THE BIBLE: The earth is a sphere (Isaiah 40:22). SCIENCE NOW: The earth is a sphere. SCIENCE THEN: The earth was a flat disk.
2. THE BIBLE: Incalculable number of stars (Jeremiah 33:22). SCIENCE NOW: Incalculable number of stars. SCIENCE THEN: Only 1,100 stars.
3. THE BIBLE: Free float of earth in space (Job 26:7). SCIENCE NOW: Free float of earth in space. SCIENCE THEN: Earth sat on a large animal.
4. THE BIBLE: Creation made of invisible elements (Hebrews 11:3). SCIENCE NOW: Creation made of invisible elements (atoms). SCIENCE THEN: Science was ignorant on the subject.
5. THE BIBLE: Each star is different (1 Corinthians 15:41). SCIENCE NOW: Each star is different. SCIENCE THEN: All stars were the same.
6. THE BIBLE: Light moves (Job 38:19,20). SCIENCE NOW: Light moves. SCIENCE THEN: Light was fixed in place.
7. THE BIBLE: Air has weight (Job 28:25). SCIENCE NOW: Air has weight. SCIENCE THEN: Air was weightless.
8. THE BIBLE: Winds blow in cyclones (Ecclesiastes 1:6). SCIENCE NOW: Winds blow in cyclones. SCIENCE THEN: Winds blew straight.
9. THE BIBLE: Blood is the source of life and health (Leviticus 17:11). SCIENCE NOW: Blood is the source of life and health. SCIENCE THEN: Sick people must be bled.
10. THE BIBLE: Ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains (2 Samuel 22:16; Jonah 2:6). SCIENCE NOW: Ocean floor contains deep valleys and mountains. SCIENCE THEN: The ocean floor was flat.
11. THE BIBLE: Ocean contains springs (Job 38:16). SCIENCE NOW: Ocean contains springs. SCIENCE THEN: Ocean fed only by rivers and rain.
12. THE BIBLE: When dealing with disease, hands should be washed under running water (Leviticus 15:13). SCIENCE NOW: When dealing with disease, hands should be washed under running water. SCIENCE THEN: Hands washed in still water.

(1) Isaiah 40:22 does not say tha the earth is a sphere at all. It says "circle of the earth". A circle is not a sphere in any way shape or form. A circle is flat. Spheres are 3-dimensional. In other parts of the bible, it clearly confirms that the Hebrews believed the earth to be a flat disc.

Some evangelicals claim that the Bible contains at least three references to a spherical earth (Is. 40:22; Job 22:14; Prov. 8:27). But this is just wishful thinking and an obvious imposition of modern cosmology on the Hebrew world-view. The Hebrew word hug used here cannot be translated as sphere (which is rendered by a different word), but must again be interpreted as a solid vault overarching the earth. Therefore I follow the Anchor Bible translation of Is. 40:22: "God sits upon the dome of the earth." Job 22:l4 says that God "walks on the vault (hug) of heaven," again suggesting something solid. Hug can also refer to the circular perimeter of the sky-dome: "He drew a circle (hug) on the face of the deep...and made firm the skies above" (Prov. 8:27-28).

(2) Jeremiah 32:22 says "As the host of heaven cannot be numbered, neither the sand of the sea measured; so will I multiply the seed of David My servant, and the Levites that minister unto Me."

In the original Hebrew, it says HOSTS, not stars. In fact, the only place I found hosts translated as stars was in the Douay-Rheims Bible and the "God's Word Translation". I mean just read the context. It's clearly God telling him that he will have more descendants than there are grains of sand on the beach. "Hosts of Heaven" are clearly NOT stars. This is proven by other appearances of the phrase "hosts of heaven", where stars are referred to as separate things in the same sentence. (Deuteronomy 4:19). The original Hebrew words that are translated as "hosts" or "stars" (tsaba, machaneh, and chayil), actually mean things like "armies", "congregations", "large group of people", "band of individuals". IN fact, "chayil" refers to a whirlwind -- such as a sandstorm, where many individuals converge in a circular pattern.

(3) Job 26:7 reads "He stretcheth out the north over the empty space, and hangeth the earth over nothing." This does not say that the earth floats freely in space, and your suggestion that "science" back then said it sat on the back of an animal is incorrect. Only the Japanese myth had the earth on the back of a turtle. The Hebrews believed that the earth was a flat disc that rested on 4 pillars, above the plain of sheol. It was covered by a metal dome that had the stars on it. A "firmament" (Genesis 1:6) is a solid mass. There is a firmament on earth (land) and a firmament in heaven (a dome in which the stars were imbedded).

See Amos 9:6, Genesis 1:17, Ex. 39:3, Job 26:11, Job 22:8, Psalms 18:13

(4) Science does not say that the universe is made of invisible elements at all. Atoms are not invisible -- just hard to see without magnification. All of the forces described by nature are properties of matter. Matter is not described by any modern science as elements of invisible forces. Everything in science boils down to atoms, subatomic particles, and the loops of energy that make those particles.

(5) 1 Corinthians 15:41 does not say anything that cannot be observed by ancient people with the naked eye. It's not a great scientific discovery. Read it. It simply states that some stars are brighter than other stars -- that the "glory" or brightness of all stars is different. Anyone looking at the night sky can observe this. I don'tknow why you presented this as such a great scientific revelation.

(6) Job 38:19, 20 does not say that light travels. It says "Where is the way to the dwelling of light? And darkness, where is its place, That you may take it to its territory And that you may discern the paths to its home?" If you read the WHOLE PARAGRAPH, you see (in job 38:15) "Wicked people are deprived of their light, and the uplifted arm is broken" (the arm refers to their pride). This is not talking about literal light, as in photons. It is refereing to Knowledge or Glory. It's referring clearly to "the path of wisdom" or "path of glory", which one follows to get to heaven or glory.

(7) Job 28:25 -- This does not say that air has weight. It says WIND has weight or force. It's referring to the force of wind. As for what science said back then, can you even show me some "ancient science" that claimed that?

(8) Ecclesiastes 1:6 -- Is it such a stretch to imagine that Hebrews saw sandstorms, tornadoes, and other circular wind storms? I desert "Habub", which is a typical sandstorm form the middle east (we get them in Arizona, too), is a circular cloud of rotating sand, when you observe it from the mountains. I've seen these things tons of times in the southwest. As for "science" saying that wind blew straight, I'd like to see how you conclude that.

(9) Lev. 17:11) Not a great scientific revelation. People have been aware of the relationship between blood and life since before there was writing. Your characterization of science recommending draining of blood is misleading. Greek and Roman physicians bled people with fevers because they knew that blood pressure was related to body temperature. They felt that fevers meant that the body was imbalanced, and draining blood did reduce fevers. This had limited success, and in fact, it is being revived in modern medicine with the use of medical leeches under controlled conditions.

(10) 2 Samuel 22:17 -- this says "And the channels of the sea appeared, the foundations of the world were laid bare by the rebuke of the LORD, at the blast of the breath of His nostrils." If you read the whole paragraph, it's referring clearly referring to a flood here. It doesn't say anything about there being valleys and mountains under the sea. It's referring to flood waters from the sea laying the earth bare.

(11) Job 38:16 -- There are no "springs" in the sea. The water in the ocean originated from ice melting on land, which flows as rivers to deltas, into the ocean. The volcanic vents do not produce water. The water around them super-heats and turns to steam, but it's not a spring in any sense that we usually use it.

(12) Lev.15:13 -- This is not referring to a disease! It's referring to a semen discharge. "And when he that hath an issue is cleansed of his issue, then he shall number to himself seven days for his cleansing, and wash his clothes; and he shall bathe his flesh in running water, and shall be clean." I'm sure that modern medicine would not recommend waiting 7 days before bathing one's entire body (which is what it actually says) treating an issue (semen). Leviticus offers some really absurd advice for other things, though. Read the following, and see how absurd their medical treatments were:

Leviticus 15:1 - 12 tells us that if a man has a discharge of seed (not a disease!), we have to isolate him, nobody is allowed to touch him, everything he touches must be pronounced unclean, ifhe touches any clay pots, they have to be broken and thrown away. Does that make any sense?

This gets even more bizarre. Read on:

Leviticus 15:14 - tells us that after the cleansing above, the man has to get 2 turtle-doves, and give them to the priest. The priest then burns one, and the other is sacrificed in a different way (possibly similar to the "treatment" for leprosy" found in Leviticus 14. Read it -- apparently, if a Leper is cured, birds' blood is to be sprayed all over a person's house. Does that make any good sense to any of you?

Seriously, whoever came up with this list didn't actually read their own bible. All it took was just going to each of the chapters listed, and every one of these claims is shown to be false.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My response to Ray's "An Important Question For Christians"

Ray Comfort wrote:

How many of you think that our faith stands or falls on the Scriptures--if the Bible is proven to be false, then Christianity falls? Please let me know your thoughts. Thanks. By the way. I thank God for the kind and polite replies many of you have given in the face of the condescending mockery that has been leveled at you in the blogs.

I think that whether or not the scriptures are true or not is irrelevent. Christianity is a mindset, a philosophy, a way of living, that depends on the practitioners/believers practicing it more than anything.

Even if we found smoking gun evidence that the gospels were fakes, people would still believe the Bible, and believers would continue to try to live up to the high standards that they aspire to, because your faith transcends the need to prove things.

You may think that it would be great if everyone thought exactly like you do -- if there was only one denomination of Christianity, and every Christian agreed totally on how every scripture is to be interpreted. I say such an ideal is not a good thing. For one thing, there would never be anything to discuss if everyone agreed all the time. People have to have diverse opinions on things, because by having diversity of opinion, we actually discuss things, and by discussing things, you actually are performing the role of a church. When I was a Christian, I went to Bible studies made up of people from about 6 different denominations, many of whom were former Mormons, Jehovah's Witnesses, Catholics, various fundamentalist sects, and the thing that was great was these different backgrounds created an atmosphere that made our readings memorable.

If everyone agreed on everything, church would just be one guy talking to everyone else, and everyone just nodding in agreement -- it would be boring and pointless.

But back to whether Christianity hinges on the Bible being true -- Again, I say no, because the principles taught by the Bible are actually older than the Bible, and a bit more universal. "Be kind to one another... Honor your parents... be hospitable to strangers... help one another... virginity/purity... be truthful..." these are values that most religions have, including the Roman Pagan religions. They are some pretty universal human values. Whether you believe the gospels are true or not does not alter what most people already believe is a good set of principles.

I don't know if this view trivializes anything in your opinion, but I don't think it should. I've heard some people speak of having no hope outside of their faith -- that if the Bible were not true, they would have no reason to live. I think that's a terrible way of thinking, because it's like putting all of your eggs in one basket. I think it's wise to have backup plans in case of a "philosophical disaster" (like losing faith or hope). It may be wise to start thinking "why is it important to believe this... that... the other thing," and then try to search for rational justifications. If there is a good reason to believe "thou shall not murder" outside of the Christian context, then you have lost nothing. You have gained reason. You have justified your beliefs in spite of things.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I got a response from Ray!

Ray Comfort wrote:

"Look at what you would do to preserve your precious life."

Do you not think that my life is precious?

"Such is your will to live. Yet, you refuse to humble yourself and sincerely look into Christianity."

What makes you think I've never sincerely looked into Christianity? You're presuming that I'm just being a prankster or something. I know you have good reasons for having such an automatic response to people who disagree with you, and it's well founded. However, to say that I've never seriously and sincerely looked into Christianity is false. I have read the bible cover to cover twice in my life. I've evaluated the writings of Josh McDowell and C. S. Lewis (I have most of their books), along with others, and quite frankly, I was never moved.

Ray Comfort wrote:

"You resign yourself to death. You just give up. What a tragedy."

I'm the guy who opts for toughing it out and trying to survive, and you're the guy who would just say "oh, well, I'm going to die, so I'll just get a few more converts in for extra credit, before the end," and you say I've resigned myself to death?

I mean look at it this way. If you don't cop out and just let yourself get killed by the disaster, you'll have plenty of opportunity to prosthelitize to even more people during the recovert period following the disaster. How many people do you think would get saved as they saw you running through stores or running down the street screaming "repent!" I'd guess next to zero (based on the effectiveness of street preachers in general) If you live through the disaster, you can reach thousands more in hospitals, shelters, and other places.

It's just simple math; common sense.

My Response to Ray Comfort's "Thought Provoking"

Ray Comfort wrote:

"If there was an announcement that a massive asteroid was going to hit the earth in one hour, what would you do with your last sixty minutes?"

As of this writing, not one person has even given thought to trying to survive, or trying to protect anyone during the disaster. it's like you have just given up -- you've reserved yourselves to the fact that this is the end, and you're all going to die. You essentially would just give up hope, and plan for the inevitable end.

What I would do, and what people really should think about, is finding shelter, preferably an underground one, and having some basic supplies on hand. An asteroid hitting the earth is not unlike planning for a hurricane, a tornado, an earthquake, a flood, or a nuclear war. They all essentially call for the same "disaster recovery kit" (food for a week, first aid, protective shelter, clothing, survival manuals, fuel for fire and cooking...

One never knows in advance exactly where an asteroid will hit. The chances of survival increase away from the epicenter. Remember, the earth has been hit by devastating asteroids in our prehistory -- the impact craters can be found in different places on earth, and their size indicates that when they hit, upwards of 70% of anything alive would have died. The point is that life survived on after these impacts, and it's possible that life can survive after the next one.

Sure -- life will be less pleasant after an asteroid impact, but it's like that with any natural disaster -- you have to adjust to things.

You never are sure that it's the end. There is always hope. You seem to have less of it than I do.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Response to Ray Comfort's "What is reality?"

Ray comfort wrote:

In the days when Communists were called “reds,” a man named Rudolph Strauboroff and his wife were looking out of the window of his large wooden mansion in Moscow. As he stared at the freezing conditions he said, "It's beginning to rain." His wife quietly informed him that it was snow, and not rain. He looked her in the eyes, and gently said, “Rudolph the Red knows rain dear.” Yes, I know how bad that is, but it leads me to a serious question on the subject of “knowing” anything. What do we know in this life--of what can we be sure? To find out, I have some strange questions for you. Here’s the first. When is “now”? Tell me if you can. I’m serious.

Pinpoint “now.” You can never pinpoint when it is, because by the time you do, it's gone. "Now" is as elusive as evidence for species-to-species evolution. In an instant it becomes “then.” Here’s another dumb question. Where is “here?” Point to it. If you say it’s where you are, six billion others on earth would disagree with you. “Here” is where they are, and to them, where you are pointing to, is “there.” Another one: Which way is “up”? If you point towards the sky, millions of folks Down-under would disagree with you. If they would point to the sky to show the direction of up, they will point in the opposite direction to which you are pointing.

Remember, we live on a big round ball. The same applies with the direction of down. If you point to the soil to show the direction of “down,” people on the other side doing the same are pointing in the opposite direction, and people half way around the world (at the equator) would be pointing in a completely different direction. Here’s another one. What color is the sky on a cloudless day? If you said “blue,” you are wrong. There’s no color to it. It’s colorless. If you don’t believe it, check it out from space. There’s no “sky” at all. How about a “sunrise.” Have you ever seen one? No one has. The sun never “rises” or “sets.” Remember, the earth turns while the sun just sits there. So, of what can you be sure in this life? Some say “death and taxes.” That’s not true either--plenty of people avoid taxes. So if we can’t be sure of anything but death, what on earth is reality (truth)?

If you leave God out of the equation, you have no answer. What is truth? Is there any such thing? Do you know? Again, if you ignore Almighty God (the “I AM” who transcends time and space), you will end up as lost as the misguided Pilate of Scripture as he stood bewildered in front of Jesus Christ. The Roman Governor asked the rhetorical question “What is truth?” Pilate gazed on Him who was reality itself (see John 14:6), and you are just as close to Him (See Romans 10:8-9). Are you going to wash your hands of Jesus Christ? Or will you obey Him, and know the truth of the words "And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free"?

HI Ray, I have to ask you something about Science, just so that I have a clear perspective on why you have so many doubts about evolution.

(1) What is your background in science? Would you classify it as

(a) Grammar school level (You have what the average 8th grader would have)
(b) High school level (You took the mandatory science courses and have what a high school senior tends to have)
(c) College level (you actually took some level 2 science courses, and performed lab experiments)
(d) advanced (You actually worked within a scientific discepline as a profession)

(2) Where do you get your primary science information?

(a) Christian sources (like the discovery Institute, Christian media, etc)
(b) Mass Media (TV, Radio, popular magazines)
(c) Industry trade/scientific journals
(d) close personal friends or associates who keep me informed

(3) Reguarding fact-finding, do you believe that there is a clear-cut method of finding out facts, and determining a truthful fact from a false fact, which is secular, and does not require one to have any particular philosophical beliefs?

(4) Do you think that the scientific method is a valid, working method for fact-finding, or do you believe it is broken, and needs to incorporate some new rules or principles?

(5) What creationist authors have been the most influential to you in denying evolution?

(6) Do you believe that the scientific community is inherently dishonest, deliberately promoting a series of complicated, inter-woven lies to artificially prop up evolution, and that the reason they appear to convince so many people is because they are really clever at making really effective lies and false evidence?

(7) Is it possible that scientists who believe in evolution are correct, and a bunch of people who have no professional science experience, and who mainly are occupied in preaching (in other words, people who are not really science experts by their history and profession) are simply mistaken?

(8) What makes you so sure that that evolution is wrong -- what do you consider to be the smoking gun evidence?

(9) If I recall, you once had a debate where you claimed that you could prove the existence of God, scientifically, without making any reference to scripture or faith. Do you still make that claim? Also, during that televised debate, the first thing you said when asked to make your case, was to quote from the 10 commandments, and other parts of the Bible. Why did you do that, when you claimed you could prove God without doing that?

Anyway, Ray, if you want to have an open, friendly, polite discussion about evolution and science, I'm open to it. Mind you, I can't prove anything to you -- to prove anything to anyone requires your consent, and likewise,you can't prove anything to me without my consent. We have to agree to some basic ground rules of proof and facts, and conduct, because if we both use our own rules, we won't get anywhere. I look forward to hearing from you.

Friday, January 11, 2008

A letter to Ray Comfort

I've been responding to Ray Comfort's blog for about a week now, and I can see that I've managed to get noticed. Ray is taking pot-shots at my posts, passively, by referring to my posts without identifying me, and my continued prescence has definitely annoyed him, as his anti-atheist rhetoric has become more frequent -- the topic of atheists and atheism seems to be all he can talk about now.

So I wrote this, hoping to make some headway, and see if we can develop an understanding with each other, and talk above the jabs and pot-shots, so that Ray understands atheists more, and is less inclined to just respond to us in annoying jabs. After all, he said he's reaching out to us atheists -- wouldn't it be ironic if I actually helped him accomplish his goal, at least in part?


I thought I'd take this time now to try and explain things as I see them, and possibly see if I understand your issues with atheists accurately. I'd like you to let me know if the first part of this essay accurately describes what you see as problems with trying to reach out to atheists, and the poor reception you feel that you get. If I hit the nail on the head, then that means I at least understand where you're coming from, which means we've built an understanding.

I wrote this letter for him, to see if I can develop an understanding.

Here is the issue as I see it.

Ray comfort and other Christians let the Bible dictate that atheists (or unbelievers in general) are all liars with evil motives, who are secretly out to turn them against their God, and generally do them harm. This idea is always floating in the back of their minds, and is a constant blockage to fully having an open discussion. This belief makes them stay on guard, aloof, and suspicious.
On top of that set of beliefs are the scoffers and ridiculers from the atheist message boards on the internet, who play games with Christians, and insult them, and badger them, which only serves to confirm their preconceived notions about atheists. These people aid the self-fulfilling prophecy that Christians have, that all atheists are evil.

I have to admit that there are a lot of atheists online who just tease Christians mercilessly, and these people are misguided, and I would prefer to see more level-headed and less-insulting comments from them. I sympathize with the Christian on this issue, because a lot of them have honest comments and valid things to say, but they get sniped by these drive-by atheists.
Ray and other Christians can't help but express their supressed true feelings for atheists. All of the badgering, ridicule, and rough treatment has soured them, but they try not to show it in public (and rightly so, because it is evidence of weakness of faith), but they let it slip from time to time (because they are, after all, only human).

Now if the Christians, and Ray, agree that my above assessment accurately describes the situation, here is my atheist perspective for them, so that they know what we see.

(1) First of all, Chrsitians should know that we atheists tend to not believe in the concept of the supernatural. We believe that "the supernatural realm" has never been substantiated with any valid proof, and anything that is explained by "supernatural" explanations is pretty much automatically assumed to be invalid. We also do not consider the Bible, or any other holy book, to have any power or authority. We merely consider it to be an ancient book, written by primitive and superstitious tribalistic people, and that it is only of historical value only (as it gives us a good perspective on the lives and customs of the people who wrote it). We do not believe that it offers the modern world the kind of useful advice that is often claimed by it's believers. Therefore, when you quote from it, we do not consider that it's any different than if you said it yourself. I personally believe that this issue (The validity of the Bible) is a difficult issue to overcome. I recall in Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron's debate on TV that it actually hampered their case, because they actually promised to prove God "without reference to the Bible or faith", then started right away quoting the Bible.

(2) The reason for this is Science, and the scientific method, and the principles of logic and rational thought. It is often said that "science removes the fear of the gods". Once you understand atomic theory, chemistry, biology, astronomy, history, and other disceplines, you sort of look at everything in a different way. I no longer think that birth and death are these mysterious miraculous events that are full of magic -- I still have a profound emotional appreciation of a baby being born, and an old man on his death bed, but gone is the thought that these things have any kind of magic or mysterious nature to them. My appreciation is a form of understanding these things, and empathizing with the people on a human level that transcends religion and science.

(3) Just as there are many hypocritical, badgering, and fowl-tempered atheists who harrass Christians, there likewise are similar people who harrass atheists under the guise of being Christians. These negative posts are just like the ones that Christians are offended by, but directed at us, instead. The results are the same, though -- we are soured against Christians by the people among them who badger us or disrespect us.

(4) Many of us have been schooled in science, philosophy, and logic (This is not to say that Christians haven't) -- logic 101 and symbolic logic are subjects that people in the sciences often find themselves forced to take in college as part of their degree program, and well, many of us are well-versed in how logic works. The average person on the street isn't well versed in logic, and people who have never had an education on the subject will make lots of mistakes and use common fallacies when trying to reason their positions, and we have a lot of repetitious and frustrating times trying to explain to people why their statements are illogical. It's equally frustrating to them, too, because they took time to write what they considered a thoughtful post, and here we are telling them that they're wrong and illogical. Unfortunately, many of us atheists are "NERDS" -- science and technical professions tend to do that to people, and as a Nerd myself, it's quite hard to break out of the stereotype.

(5) As a corolary to (4), there are a lot of what we call "Urban Legends" or "Urban myths". These are folktales based on modern themes, and are often repeated and propagated over the internet, verbally, and even in publications and sometimes in official speeches. The stories are patently false, and usually promoted as commonly known facts. Much of creationist literature plays on several famous urban legends, and many people, from all faiths (including some atheists) repeat these stories a lot in the online community. It's very tiring to deal with people who keep dredging these myths up, and when we tell people that the stories are false, and direct them to, they think we're lying. Like I said, dealig with this stuff is frustrating mainly because of the amount of people who pass urban legends around.

(6) We believe that the common attributes of humanity, our emotions, our customs, our common laws, our music, our arts, and our values, are similar from culture to culture, because we all share the same genetics; All human beings have the same basic DNA, and it has been proven that behaviors are encoded into our DNA. All of us have the same basic DNA, therefore all of us have the same basic set of behaviors, therefore, many of our customs and traits are the same. This idea is not at all incompatible with Christianity, because you can easily say "God created us all, therefore we have the same DNA..." (I've actually heard that said by a few Christians).

So I hope this gives you (Both atheists and Christians, especially Ray Comfort) a broader perspective on the problems we may face when talking to each other. My goal in writing this is simply to put a bridge over the existing canyon of common misunderstandings and attitudes on both sides.

My response to Ray Comfort's "Beware of Wolves"

Ray Comfort wrote:

I noticed that a dear Christian was going through a trying time, and a “kind”
atheist gave his two cents worth. All he was trying to do, in the name of hugs,
love, and concern for her well-being was to sow seeds of doubt about the
promises of God. The woman needed to hear the exact opposite. Needless to say,
his blog was stopped by the delete button. This graphic and typically wonderful
quote from Charles Spurgeon will stir a hornet’s nest, but it is applicable to
the situation: “A smooth tongue is a great evil; many have been bewitched by it.
There be many human ant-eaters that with their long tongues covered with oily
words entice and entrap the unwary and make their gain thereby. When the wolf
licks the lamb, he is preparing to wet his teeth in its blood.”

Since you did not provide the context of what the "evil atheist" was telling the poor suffering Christian, it is impossible for anyone reading your story to objectively see if your description is accurate. But suppose for a moment that the person who was being given advice was a pagan or a new-ager, and the atheist was telling her that science has completely de-bunked crystals, astrology, and other occult stuff, and that what she really needs is a good friend who can offer her a shoulder to cry on and talk about her feelings to.

I'm sure you wouldn't have a problem with such advice. After all, good advice can be of a secular nature. You don't need to turn to the Bible or to a religious ceremony for every kind of human emotional issue. All human emotional issues that you have in life -- self doubt, grief over the death of a loved one, lost jobs, failing a test, being rejected -- are all best treated by talking to a good, sympathetic friend who cares for you.

Again -- I'm speculating on what the atheist was telling the believe that was so bad it could not be repeated, but my own experience offering believers secular advice follows what I just wrote above.

I find you very passive-agressive, Ray, with your comment "When the wolf licks the lamb, he is preparing to wet his teeth in its blood.”

On the one hand, you keep talking about how you want to reach out to atheists, and develop understanding, but on the other hand, you turn around and make these comparisons that boil down to "all atheists have ulterior motives... lie to you... are plotting against you... speak with forked tongues...".

Passive-aggressive behavior refers to passive, sometimes obstructionist resistance in interpersonal or occupational situations. It can manifest itself as resentment, stubbornness, procrastination, sullenness, or repeated failure to accomplish requested tasks for which one is assumed, often explicitly, to be responsible. It is a defense mechanism and, more often than not, only partly conscious.

I believe that this behavior that you exhibit will prevent you from making progress towards your stated goals. I find it impossible to believe that you could possibly be serious stating that you want to reach out and develop understanding after seeing this consistant passive-aggressive behavior. I guarantee you, though, that if you chage, and cut the passive-aggressive stuff, that you will make progress towards the goal that you are stating.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

My Response to Ray Comfort's "Hornet's Nest"

Ray Comfort wrote:

We have decided to drop a cartoon of a hornet’s nest now and then with some of
my blogs. These seem to stir the buzz. Take for instance my saying that if
someone had been in a good lightning storm and didn’t come out of it fearing
God, they were either blind or mentally challenged.

Okay, Ray, re-read your comment, because you pretty much start off by saying that that's what you said.

Ray goes on to say:

That stirred some stinging responses. Atheists felt that I was saying that they
were mentally challenged
Now read your first quote, and then the second. Use some logic, here. If you say "people who don't fear god after watching a thunderstorm are either blind or mentally challenged", why are you so surprised and dismayed that we thought you meant that people who don't fear god after watching a thunderstorm are blind or mentally challenged? What else should we have thought you meant?

Ray goes on:

when the truth is that they fit into the “blind” category, as we once did (see 2
Corinthians 4:1-2).

Oh, that makes what you said so much better. Because I do not cower in my boots at the scary
lightning, which (to you) is obviously a display of God's power, and instead use my evil science to appreciate what thunderstorms really are, and look at them with a non-cowering sense of wonder, I'm somehow blind. Yes, I went to school, and learned about meteorology, and how static electricity works, and had many myths about lightning disspelled, so I now know that it's nothing to really be afraid of, and somehow this makes me blind. So what are you suggesting, Ray -- should we really should forget everything we know, and just fear everything big and loud?

Then Ray says:

Another angry response flew at me from an atheist who spent some time saying
that pigs were not unclean animals, and how they made great pets (don’t forget
bacon). Then he went into a delirious frenzy because the Bible said that people
who go back to their sin were likened to pigs. Why was he so upset, when he
believed that pigs were the best thing since sliced bread?

First of all, I have to ask -- what makes you assume that I was angry? Did I use a lot of exclamation points of type things in all-caps? Did I shout invectives? Did I hurl insults and slander your way? I don't think so.

Ray, there is a gigantic difference between simply disagreeing with you, and being angry at you. There is a gigantic difference between being critical of your post, and being angry. I am disagreeing with you and being critical of you. This is not the same as being angry. Criticism and disagreement is not anger. However, if you are annoyed, or angry, then you need to learn how to deal with it without playing the victim game.

Secondly, I think I stated perfectly clearly why I objected to your constant comparisons of atheists to various animals. Do I have to repeat myself? Your post makes it look like you're in denial of what I was writing, and you're spinning it like a politician, which I find to be quite disingenuous (what, Ray Comfort disingenuous? That's impossible! or is it?)

By comparing groups of people to animals, especially to negative stereotypes of animals (and you've been pretty clear when you explain your analogies, so it's not like I'm misinterpreting them), it is a form of dehumanizing these groups of people. Again, I have to ask, what if I compared Christians to pigs, dogs, and rats -- would you assume I was flattering you?

Ray, I don't know if you are honestly in denial, or if you are trying to spin your way out of legitimate criticism. It doesn't help you. I've been nothing but straightforward and honest, and polite with you so far, and I have not been insulting or used invectives. I think that you need to re-read what you've been writing and see if my criticism makes sense. After all, you said that you want to reach out to Atheists, and that you seek understanding as to why you get so many negative responses. In My criticism, I am telling you exactly what it is you are doing that is generating the unfavorable results you are getting. You should use this information to help you change how you communicate, because as far as I can see, that is the issue -- your way of conveying your thoughts in writing is in need of some improvement. You need to develop better writing skills.

If you want to reach out to someone, because you feel they need your help, or they need god, you do not accomplish this goal very well if you constantly condescend them, and refer to them as dogs and pigs.

I believe you need to find some humility, Ray.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

My response to Ray Comfort's "Dying Dogs"

Ray Comfort wrote:
There is a temporary disadvantage for the Christian in that he or she is
confined to having to always speak the truth. In a sense, we have to fight with
one hand tied behind our backs. However, there are no holes barred for those
that don’t fear God. Their weapons of warfare are lies, exaggerations,
statements made out of context, hearsay, rabbit trails, misquotes, and false
accusations. The unsaved fight against the claims of the Gospel because they
love their sin and distain God's righteousness. They are a like a dying dog
stuck in an ice cold river, who viciously snaps at his rescuer. Let them bite .
. . we will still reach out while there is hope.

I am extremely curious as to why you think that Christians are disadvantaged having to speak the truth. Are you using "speak the truth" as a figure of speech, as in "you always have to preach the word of God", or are you simply using it like I interpret it -- "you always have to be truthful and be frank and honest with people."

See, I wonder why this is a disadvantage for you, as opposed to an advantage, because I believe that it's simply the best policy, and I endorse it. I don't feel it's a disadvantage to tell the truth all the time. I try to.

Why on earth is "telling the truth" like "fighting with one hand behind your back"? If that's how you see it, then surely, you must not have confidence in the truth you are telling.

You then say something that I find extremely ironic. You claim that "Their (the unsaved, presumably atheists included) weapons of warfare are lies, exaggerations, statements made out of context, hearsay, rabbit trails, misquotes, and false accusations. Why do I find this ironic? Because I see these "weapons" as you call them, used ALL OF THE TIME by the people who are claiming to be on God's side of all the issues. Whether it's Karl Rove, George W. Bush, Rumsfeld, Pat Robertson, or any one of the people from the Discovery Institute and other creationists, I see lies, half-truths, misquotes, and false accusations being told with just plain ordinary lies all of the time. This is why I have contempt for them -- because I detect the lies, and remember them. I actually check the facts, and find that these people are untruthful more than the people I tend to side with.

So basically, you're claiming that people like me lie, and mislead all the time. Gee, Ray, thanks a bunch! You're really writing very stereotypically, and that is trully what your main problem is.

Oh, yeah, and I like the added touch of comparing all unbelievers to dying dogs. First you compared us all to pigs a few blogs ago, now we're dying dogs -- and you wonder why you haven't had a lot of luck with atheists.

Maybe you should get off of your high horse, and speak about atheists as though we're your fellow human beings, instead of the bad animal of the week.

I mean, Ray, if I were to constantly compare Christians, or you, personally, to dogs, pigs, vultures, wolves, or other animals, would you think I had anything valid to offer you? I don't think you would.

Your own bible says "By THEIR Fruits You Shall Know THEM. By YOUR Fruit We Shall Know YOU." This works two ways. By your fruits, we know you. If you keep up your trash-talk against atheists, they are going to see that you only have trash to offer them.

I really hope this sinks in, Ray, because there are thousands of Christians who trash-talk against their perceived enemies all the time, and they look like ignorant idiots as a result -- I seriously hope you seek to separate yourself from people like that, because the more stuff of yours I read, the more it looks like their stuff, albeit, a tad more polite.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Response to Ray Comfort's "Cheated Atheists"

Ray Comfort wrote:

"I love thunder and lightning, especially when a boom is so loud that it makes
the house shudder. I love to see massive lightning flash across the sky, and
make a pitch dark night as light as noon day. I love it because it puts the fear
of God into me, and the fear of God is good for any human being."

I love thunder and lightning, too, Ray. I love sitting out on my porch in Tucson, Arizona, watching the lightning strike nearby A-mountain, which is right across the street from me. I am not afraid of the lightning. I learned in science class when I was a kid that you don't need to fear the lightning, because it tends to strike the tallest objects, and if you're in a building that's properly grounded, you have nothing to worry about. I am fascinated by lightning because it's like fireworks. It's a great spectacle, created by nature. Why do you fear lightning? Most people who are struck by it survive.

Then Ray goes on to write:

"The atheist has convinced himself that God didn’t create creation. For him
“creation” doesn’t exist, because if he calls it creation, logic demands a
Creator. We are instead surrounded by “accidentation” (yes Mr. Atheist, I just
made up another word, especially for you). Everything is a big accident. No one
caused it and no one is in control."

But Ray, haven't enough atheists already told you that that's not at all what we think? Nobody who believes in evolution or in standardized modern science in general would describe everything as being accidental or random. Nothing in nature is caused by accident or by chance. Everything has a cause. If people cannot locate the cause of something, due to a lack of information or evidence, we either say "God did it", which is just a mde-up excuse, open to many interpretations, or we say "we don't know, but HERE are somepossible answers...", which is more honest.

I know, you'll probably say "well, what caused the universe? It had to had to be caused by something!" I would aanswer you by saying that we currently don't have enough information to give an answer to that question. God is nothing more than a speculative answer to that question, and does not help us understand anything about the universe. It's just an artificial dead-end.

Ray goes on to say:

"So when he hears a boom of thunder, or sees an incredible flash of lightning,
the thunder doesn’t awaken him and the lightning doesn’t give him light as to
what is going on."
Well, I'll confess that I've slept through many a
thunderstorm, Ray. but I attribute that to how tired I was at the time, as
opposed to being afraid of God's wrath.
"He, because of what is called
“willful ignorance,” cheats himself of perhaps the greatest of all benefits in
this life—the fear of the Lord, which is “the beginning of wisdom.” Without
having the “beginning” of wisdom, he will keep thinking that nothing created
everything from nothing. Such thoughts only make sense to someone who hasn’t got

Ray, I'm going to say right now that it appears to me that you don't make sense, yourself. You confused yourself over this issue, as do many creationists, because you refuse to accept science for what it is, and you made up a nonsensical answer that just came out sounding more confused. In the end, you only ended up not making sense yourself, and revealing what a terrible, terrible ignroance you have about science, about atheists, and about rational debate.

My response to Ray Comfort's "Hey, Mr. Atheist"

Ray Comfort wrote:
I have a couple of questions for you. What is it that you trust in to give you
peace and joy? What gives you your sense of security for the future? Let me see
if I can guess where your faith is directed. Is it money? Do you love it? Come
on, admit it. Does having money in the bank give you a sense of peace and
security? Is it your source of joy? Of course it is. Listen to what Jesus said
about your attitude to money (mammon) and to God: “No one can serve two masters;
for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will be loyal to
the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon” (Matthew 6:24).
Mr. Atheist, He’s right isn’t He? You can’t fault the words of Jesus. I dare you
to try and find something that He said that was erroneous. Bet you can’t.

Bet I can. I do not receive peace and joy from money, despite what your holy book proclaims. I receive joy and comfort from family and friends, from other people that I work with, and from learning new things and applying my knowledge to living. I recieve peace and joy from playing music, and making art, especially when I am playing with a group of other musicians, and entertaining an audience.

Seriously, what makes you think that atheists are only interested in money? We're human beings, for crying out loud. We have all the same desires in life, and all of the same feelings. Quit trying to pawn yourself off as something superior to other people, just because you have a certain set of beliefs. You're not my superior; you're my equal. You're just a regular person like I am. Your blood is red. You have to eat and drink. Are you going to let the Bible dictate to you where I get my comfort and joy from, and accuse me of not being truthful when I tell you that the Bible is wrong about me, or are you going to accept that your interpretation of the Bible can be wrong from time to time, because you're just an ordinary, flawed human being who makes mistakes?