Ray Comfort Says We’re in the End Times® (2 of 2)

House fire

Let’s wrap up Prophet Ray Comfort’s Top Ten list of surefire clues that “the end of the age is happening now,” as he puts it. We’ve explored the first half in part 1. Let’s finish up to see if Armageddon really is around the corner.

Ray’s Bible verse #6:

For [although] they hold a form of piety (true religion), they deny and reject and are strangers to the power of it [their conduct belies the genuineness of their profession]. (2 Timothy 3:5, Amplified Version)

Fortunately, we have Ray to translate: this means that religious hypocrisy will be prevalent. He illustrates this by interviewing people on the street who claim to be Christians but who attend R-rated movies and have premarital sex. This is hardly a statistically sound study showing that hypocrisy within Christians worldwide is markedly greater now than it was in the past, which would be necessary to show that conditions have gotten much worse. (I’m beginning to sense that scientific rigor isn’t one of Ray’s goals.)

In the last days scoffers will come. . . . But they deliberately forget that long ago by God’s word the heavens came into being and the earth was formed out of water and by water. By these waters also the world of that time was deluged and destroyed. (2 Peter 3:3, 5–6)

So in the last days, people will deny that God created everything and flooded the world.

Ever the evolution denier, Ray scratches his head trying to figure out the logic behind panspermia. He interviews people who also don’t understand it to make his point. (No, I don’t see the relevance, either.)

Ray asks, “Do you think 70% of the earth being covered with water is a good clue that there was a worldwide flood?” Nope. The water likely came from comets, the earth may have been seeded with the components needed for abiogenesis from planets with different initial conditions than earth (that’s panspermia), and there is no evidence of a worldwide flood.

Next, Ray defends the plausibility of the Noah story. He says that the ark was enormous and that only representatives of biological families were taken on board, not species. (I’ve written about the many problems with taking the Noah story seriously here.)

Ray is right that people reject the ridiculous Flood story, and they’ve been doing so ever since science provided an alternative. I wonder, though, if gullible acceptance of Bible stories is more prevalent in recent decades with the success of fundamentalist Christianity. Ray’s concern on this point may be unfounded.

People will faint from terror, apprehensive of what is coming on the world, for the heavenly bodies will be shaken. (Luke 21:26)

In this long description of how the end will unfold, Jesus says six verses later, “This generation will certainly not pass away until all these things have happened.”

Didn’t happen. Apologists have tried to reinterpret this to avoid the embarrassing fact that the Son of Man was wrong, but their attempts are themselves embarrassing. The real test is to imagine Jesus actually saying this and then asking how his followers would have interpreted it—obviously, that the end would come within a few decades.

Awkward.

… in the last days scoffers will come, scoffing and following their own evil desires. They will say, “Where is this ‘coming’ he promised? Ever since our ancestors died, everything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation.” (2 Peter 3:3–4)

Good question! Where is this imminent “coming” he promised 2000 years ago? Of course there are scoffers. Given the Bible’s poor track record, what else would you expect?

The rest of this chapter clumsily tries to rationalize away the problem. You see, God has a different sense of time than we do. And isn’t it handy that the end has been delayed since it allows more people to be saved? Still, you must be ready! It could come at any minute!

As it was in the days of Noah, so it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. For in the days before the flood, people were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage, up to the day Noah entered the ark; and they knew nothing about what would happen until the flood came and took them all away. That is how it will be at the coming of the Son of Man. (Matthew 24:37–39)

Ray takes this as license to give his famous Ten Commandments test. He asks people if they’ve ever stolen something (even once), ever lied (even once), and so on. He concludes by declaring that, by their own admission, each person is a lying, thieving, blasphemous adulterer at heart. The next logical step, apparently, is to assume God’s existence and ask these sinners how God should treat them on Judgment Day.

Sorry, Ray. The Ten Commandments test assumes what you’re (ineptly) trying to prove. Your Top Ten list of Signs of the End is no better.

Religion is regarded 
by the common people as true, 
by the wise as false, 
and by the rulers as useful. 
— Seneca the Younger

(This is an update of a post that originally appeared 4/15/14.)

Image credit: Modern Event Preparedness, flickr, CC

 

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  • Tony D’Arcy

    Nice one Bob ! And no, – I haven’t ordered the asbestos swimming trunks ! If you will excuse my language, I hate these fucking Christian nuts scaremongering. Jeez, there’s enough real stuff to be scared of without them a preachin’ about hellfire !

    Reality 10 Banana Man 0.

    • Greg G.

      I finally eyeballed your avatar a little closer. I like that.

  • JustinL

    I love this response to Ray’s “you’ve lied, so you’re a liar”: I’ve told the truth, too. Does that make me a truth-teller?

    • https://www.jonmorgan.info Jon Morgan

      Is that “speaking truth to power”? Or isn’t Ray powerful enough?

      • TheNuszAbides

        it certainly is pathetic that he’s even arguably influential, though i’m not aware (and would be quite saddened to discover) that anyone actually changed their mind in favor of any of his claptrap simply because they listened to him.

  • watcher_b

    “He asks people if they’ve ever stolen something (even once), ever lied (even once), and so on.”

    And thus you are deserving an eternity in torture by a god that “loves” you.

    • Bob Jase

      But he will forgive you if you grovel and beg. Or just give him money.

      • adam

        No matter what you did.
        You rape a baby, carve up that baby and shove that cooked baby down her mothers throat, killing the mother too, then rape the mother, carve her up and eat her as well.

        All forgivable

        https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/c5445e273728092c84dc583a4e5d5b4272a1e62c42654b930aa001a7c5c86900.png

        • Benny S.

          And yet, if that baby, six years later, grabs an extra cookie off the table when the mother warns beforehand “no” and the child denies / lies that s/he did grab the cookie, and then, later that very same night, the child dies in his / her sleep, that very same child will suffer in hell forever for the sin of lying to his / her mother about the damn cookie.

  • Bob Jase

    I hear the bible says that fortune tellers/witches should be put to death – why have good Christians allowed Ray Comfort to live?

    • Kevin K

      False prophets as well. I’ll get the stones.

    • TheNuszAbides

      damn, someone misplaced the Prophecy Exception Clause – i mean, uh, Diocletian ateburned it!

  • RichardSRussell

    And isn’t it handy that the end has been delayed since it allows more people to be saved?

    The Bible says that only 144,000 simon-pure Jews (12,000 from each of the 12 tribes of Israel) will make it to Heaven, so all that’s happened in the intervening years is that billions more have been consigned to Hell. Great work, “loving” God!

  • Kevin K
    • TheNuszAbides

      well, arguably not your whole life, just huge chunks of your curiosity, imagination, and other sundry means of independent thought. but i get that that could be too wordy for a nutshell.

  • epicurus

    I’ve been hearing “we’re living in the end times” stuff since I was old enough to know what that meant in the early 1970s. But that’s roughly 45 years ago. And each decade they talk like it’s going to be any year now.
    No one ever says what constitutes a “times.” Understandable on the one hand, you don’t want to get nailed like Jesus did for giving a definite time period – within a generation. But the supposed signs are either too vague or have occurred so many times in history -every era really- that they have become useless as predictors.

    • Kevin K

      “We’re living in the End Times” is the signature prophetic claim of Jesus of Nazareth. So, the claim has really, really long legs.

      • epicurus

        On the very rare occasion ( thank goodness ) when a street evangelist asks me if I know who Jesus is I say yes – failed apocalyptic prophet.

        • Kevin K

          Exactly so. If he were alive today, he’d be long-overdue for a stoning.

        • epicurus

          In the same way that most people in the Christian cultured world,whether true believers or not, would be freaked out by the idea of Jesus probably being buried as a criminal in a shallow grave where his remains would be eaten by scavengers, the idea of Him being stoned as a failed or false prophet would probably make people cringe because of all the incarnate, Trinitarian baggage that has been heaped on Him. But, his predictions didn’t turn out, so there you have it.
          I bet anyone in history who has been killed as a false prophet would love to be able to say “Oh, but just wait, 2000 or 3000 years from now -it’ll happen

    • Benny S.

      I remember in the late 1980s, when I was heavily involved in church, one elderly lady who couldn’t have been younger than 89 years old at the time telling the congregation that: “the Lord has revealed to me that he will return in the last days before I die.” Well, here we are 30 years later. I sometimes wonder how that 119 year old lady is doing. I hope she’s still able to watch her Lawrence Welk reruns.

    • TheNuszAbides

      they have become useless as predictors.

      yep, pretty sure Aesop covered this annoying and entirely mundane phenomenon way ahead of messianic schedules:

      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Boy_Who_Cried_Wolf

  • Cozmo the Magician

    I just had a thought.. There KINDA WAS a ‘world wide flood’… If you think of much colder earth having a big % of its surface covered by FROZEN water. But that is called an ice-age and the water is called glaciers. And i think it took a bit longer than 40 days and 40 nights. And i cant imagine anybody sailing a boat on a glacier. And most of the animals would have frozen. And um…. Come to think of it, never mind.

    • Greg G.

      You’re thinking of Polar Noah.

      • TheNuszAbides

        it’s too easy to forget to divide Noah by Kinds.

    • Michael Neville

      Never heard of ice boats? I’d show you a picture of one but I’m on a computer in a hotel lobby and navigating on this thing is not easy.

      • Greg G.

        Never heard of ice boats?

        Sure, they are something like gravy boats but for ice cubes.

        Is it too late to apologize?

      • Cozmo the Magician

        LOL, yeah.. Actually when i was around 12 i road in/on one. Froze my little chestnuts off. Was NOT dressed warm enough for the wind combined with the speed of that thing. Was exciting though.

  • TheNuszAbides

    Ever since our ancestors died, eEverything goes on as it has since the beginning of creation“, except for the the things that don’t.

    fixed for accuracy

  • Lerk!

    In Churches of Christ (and some others, I’m sure) they get around all of that by claiming that the “last days” stared on the day of Pentecost in 33AD, and we’re still in them. The Church is the Kingdom (or, the part of the kingdom that’s on earth). (This is explained by showing that in the Gospels the kingdom is always spoken of as future, and in the rest of the NT it’s spoken of in present tense. I don’t know if that’s 100% true or not, but that’s the argument.) So “last days” just means “final dispensation,” which is the Christian dispensation. Et voila! It all happened while those people were alive, just like Jesus said! Of course that doesn’t explain why Paul was still looking for Jesus to come back any day now.

  • Mr. A

    These end times predictions are so vague that any front against christianity can be taken as a sign to them.

  • http://skepticseeker.blogspot.co.uk/ Skeptic Seeker

    “…hypocrisy within Christians worldwide is markedly greater now than it was in the past,…” Christian hypocrisy is actually on the decline, as is christianity. They’re a direct correlation between the two.

    “Apologists have tried to reinterpret this to avoid the embarrassing fact that the Son of Man was wrong,..” 2,000 years of any day now. Surveys show that people still expect to see the second coming before the end of their lifetime.

    Technically, we will always be at the end times, because this is where the past ends.

  • Kimmy Tramell

    I read the article, because even as a Christian, some of the false prophets terrify me. I have extreme anxiety issues. Extreme meaning that these people with their “end is near” theories can leave me stuck on my couch, unable to breathe or think or speak. As a mom, this isn’t helpful. And who wants to live their life on medication just to live? So, from time to time I have to search out these articles for clarity. I have been closing in on a bad anxiety attack for three days. Three days if torture, feeling like my chest is caving in on my lungs. I cannot stand these “end times now and here’s how” people!

    But, like I said, I’m Christian and I wanted to share something with you all that the guy mentioned in the article didn’t: It is no one’s business which sins you committed. None of us are perfect and none of us can judge. Not all of us are like this guy (as I’m sure you know), and we don’t all truly think that God has it out for us humans. Heck, in my humble opinion, I think He’s waiting for us to stop treating each other so badly before sending Jesus back down here. Think about it … Would you wanna send your kid somewhere that is full of angry people just itchin’ for a fight?

    • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

      Thanks for sharing your personal experience. Maybe find a more moderate Christian community? Some people seem drawn to doomsday thinking. But like a moth drawn to a flame, that may not be a good thing.

      I agree that Ray Comfort doesn’t represent all Christians or even most Christians. Unfortunately, in the US, he has a measurable influence and is worth pushing back against.

      Were the rebuttals in the post useful?

      • Kimmy Tramell

        Very much so! I love how you used Biblical references as well as scientific and historic mentions to back it up. It’s just sad that there has to be someone to debunk these claims. While I’m not dumb enough to fall for Nibiru, the so-called Christian p.o.v can be overwhelming.

        I’ve kinda made my own network of Christians, and try to call some out on their bs when I see it. The problem with people like Ray is that they’re to a point that they cannot see past their own thoughts. If you call them out, they use as “proof” to their claims.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          If it’s useful to you, hang out here and more some more posts. Or look up topics when things come up. Maybe reading posts here will give more science and skepticism to help support a more logical, healthy worldview.

          Good luck.

    • Kodie

      There is no thinking about what god would do to his son, but also himself, Jesus. The issue with Christians not being like that other Christian is part of the problem. Maybe you think you make more cultural sense, your beliefs aren’t so far-out crazy extreme and stupidly ignorant of science, or whatever. In your humble opinion, you just made up a technically new god according to what you think makes sense. That’s why other Christians think you’re not a true Christian or why you think they’re not being a true Christian for being too adherent to a literal bible, despite reality. That’s how it starts.

      • Kimmy Tramell

        First, I’m hoping you got some kind of feel good outta that, because it did nothing for me. And the problem starts when other Christians are too afraid to seek knowledge. Proverbs tells you that. How other Christians or other non-Christians see me doesn’t bear any significance. I follow Christ’s teachings. I share His message.

        Do you know what happened directly before He ascended to heaven? He told His disciples to share the good news of His resurrection and God’s love. Do you know what happened directly after He ascended? The angels themselves chastised the disciples for doing what so many still do. Staring into the sky and watching for the signs He mentioned.

        If they weren’t supposed to do that then, why start now? Spread His love, don’t stop living your life.

        Also: I commend you on seeing someone with mental issues and trying to push them further into despair. That’s a truly noble act.

        • Kodie

          I’m sorry if you’re not able to receive responses right now. I’m just trying to tell you how it looks from over here. I’m not trying to make you feel worse, but using your illness as a shield is taken note of.

        • http://www.patheos.com/blogs/crossexamined Bob Seidensticker

          Do you know what happened directly before He ascended to heaven? He told His disciples to share the good news of His resurrection and God’s love.

          This may be a tangent, but Jesus was speaking to the apostles, not to you or any Christian today.

          Do you know what happened directly after He ascended? The angels themselves chastised the disciples for doing what so many still do. Staring into the sky and watching for the signs He mentioned.

          They can be excused. Jesus made clear that he would return within their lifetimes.