Ray Comfort Lies Again

Now, Bananaman Ray Comfort is not just lying about the definition of an atheist; he’s lying about my friend.

First, Ray talks about a random person who claims he was once a Christian and then became an atheist:

… Hold it there for a moment. He was once a strong Christian? Let’s analyze what he is saying. A Christian is someone who knows the Lord: “And this is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent” (John 17:3, see also Hebrews 8:11). So our atheist friend is admitting that he knew the Lord? He is admitting that God is real and he has turned his back on Him? If confronted with such a thought, he will predictably say, “I thought I knew the Lord.” If that’s the case, then he was never a Christian. He thought he was, but he wasn’t. He was a false convert.

Strangely enough, I’ve heard the same thing said about Kirk Cameron, when he claimed to once be an atheist.

Anyway, Ray goes on…

There is one well-known atheist who has an itinerant ministry, who says that he was a Christian pastor for 17 years. That’s impressive. Judas only managed to fake it for three and a half years. This man faked it for seventeen years–in a pulpit! His name is Dan Barker. A number of years ago I emailed Dan and explained about the Judas thing. Barker bit back that if I ever contacted him again, I would hear from his lawyers. Wow! I must have struck a roar nerve (deliberate spelling).We often call these people bitter “backsliders.” However, they aren’t backsliders, because they never slid forward in the first place. The correct term for them is “false converts.” They are mentioned in Mark chapter 4, and in the Book of Peter, where they are likened to a pig that goes back to it’s filth, and a dog that returns to its vomit.

Well, that’s just plain false.

Dan Barker, who is co-president of the Freedom From Religion Foundation, doesn’t use lawyers against individuals, only the government. And that’s only when they break the law.

Plus, he’s an incredibly nice guy who would hardly “bite back” at anyone.

Oh. And he really was a Christian pastor who believed everything a Christian does. He writes about it in his book Losing Faith in Faith. He didn’t “fake it” for 17 years. It was only toward the end of that stretch, when doubts seeped in, that Dan felt that he wasn’t being honest to himself anymore and he left the pulpit.

I asked Dan if Ray’s comments were accurate.

His response (via email):

Actually, I found the email correspondence between me and Ray Comfort from 2001. I did NOT say he would be hearing from my lawyers. I said I would contact his provider to complain about using email for harassment. I asked him to stop emailing me, after we hit a dead-end, and he continued, after being asked not to continue.

No lawyers at all. Just Ray being annoying and Dan asking him to stop. Dan posted a comment on Ray’s blog correcting this lie.

As of yet, that comment has not been approved.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • Karen

    Ray being annoying? Geez, that’s so hard to believe! ;-)

    Fundamentalists like him always pull out that “you were a false convert” bit when they are confronted with former Christians who are now atheists. They can’t handle the cognitive dissonance and so they come up with a convenient (albeit utterly false and offensive) answer that lets them sleep at night. I’ve had that one thrown at me probably a dozen times – I’m used to it and I’m sure Dan Barker is too.

  • http://skepticsplay.blogspot.com/ miller

    Ray probably thinks the existence of Christians proves God.

    If Ray was ever an atheist, how come he can’t get the definition right? My bet is that he was a very confused atheist.

  • http://http:/myspace.com/jamieguinn Jamie G.

    I am reading Dan’s book now. It isn’t what I expected. I expected it to basically tell only his deconversion story. But when I got the book and saw how thick it was I was impressed. I am almost done with it now and admit that I am really enjoying it. My wife claims she is an agnostic searching for answers, I think this book will help her decide.

  • http://hjhop.blogspot.com Bing McGhandi

    Ray Comfort. I could watch him fall down the stairs all day.

    HJ

  • Old Beezle

    What would be a solid atheist response to RC’s statement: “you were a false convert?” (besides the glaringly obvious, ‘You’ve got bananas for brains, Ray.’)

  • Karen

    There are several bible verses that warn Christians not to try and judge the state of another person’s belief (“heart”), but to leave the judging up to god.

    The problem with citing bible verses, however, is that there are so many contradictory verses that can be thrown back about how true believers can never lose their salvation, about how spirit-filled Christians have certain attributes that show they are saved, etc. Then there’s always the “you took that out of context” or “that’s not the proper interpretation” comeback as well.

    In general, this is why I find arguing with Christians over scripture to be a waste of time. You can find just about anything you want to in the bible if you look hard enough and use enough interpretations of meaning.

  • http://www.runicfire.net ansuzmannaz

    What would be a solid atheist response to RC’s statement: “you were a false convert?” (besides the glaringly obvious, ‘You’ve got bananas for brains, Ray.’)

    You’ve got bananas on the brain, Mr. Comfort.

  • Graeme

    The funniest thing is, for poor old Ray, that his god, if it ever existed would:

    Not believe in a higher power – as it’s power would be highest or it would not be God,

    Not believe in the super-natural, and,

    Not get it’s morals from a higher power.

    In short, it would not believe in all the same things we don’t believe in, and hence, by any meaningful definition of the word, it must be an Atheist.

    Now, of course, if Atheism is good enough for God, it’s good enough for me.

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    Sounds like Ray is a false convert himself. I bet a True Christian™ would never lie to promote his or her beliefs.

  • Chris C.

    I’ve heard this line many times. I specifically remember my mother asking, “Do I need to pray for your salvation,” when I told her I didn’t believe in gods. That one threw me…

    A good argument is to ask Ray (or any party involved): Do you believe in Santa Claus (or the tooth fairy, or Easter Bunny, etc.)? He would say, “Of course not.” But at some point he probably really did believe that one or all of these ficticious creatures existed. Only now he’s come to his senses. So that means he never believed in the first place? Obviously he truly believed and has now been persuaded otherwise.

    I dont know why but I almost get defensive when people accuse me of never being a true Christian before my deconversion. I want to say, “No, trust me, I did earnestly waste all those years of my life and you better give me credit for all that wasted time!”

  • Mriana

    Now why does Ray sound like a hypocrit, as well as a lier? He is one of those Christians I cannot stand. I don’t know how anyone would want to be his definition of a Christian. Seems like a big turn off to me. :roll: Dan Barker is a far better character.

  • http://fundypost.blogspot.com/ Paul Litterick

    How does Ray know that Judas was faking it? It doesn’t say so in the Bible. But then, Ray knows so many things, like God’s plan for bananas.

    Quite when he was an atheist is a mystery. Years before he imposed himself on the USofA, he was preaching this sort of nonsense in New Zealand. Yes, he is one of ours. Sorry.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    You know, it’s funny, but you atheists pay way more attention to Ray Comfort than any Christians I’ve ever met. In fact, I don’t think I could name any Christians that I know personally who have ever even heard of him. I certainly never had until Hemant mentioned him.

  • Mriana

    I didn’t hear of him either until Hemant mentioned him. I prefer to pay more attention to Bishop Spong, IF I’m going to pay attention to a religious minister. In fact, I have him on my blog, including a homily by him. :lol: You won’t find Ray Comfort there though.

  • Maria

    I never heard of him before either. He’s scary!

  • JeffN

    This whole dialog was actually sort of amusing. Thanks for the entertainment. :)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    MikeClawson said,
    … In fact, I don’t think I could name any Christians that I know personally who have ever even heard of him.

    Unfortunately, I personally know of many Christians who agree with Ray’s thought-patterns even if they may not know of Ray.

    It may be that Mike knows a better crop of Christians (which would be a good reflection on Mike himself considering his vocation).

  • Mriana

    I agree with you, Jeff. Of course, he hasn’t met my relatives. UGH! I don’t know if he would delight in a religious conversation of any sort with them.

  • Billy

    I do not find it surprising that a christian would lie to defend his faith or to denegrate another person. If there is one thing that christianity keeps forcing down peoples throat, it is the idea (vice Augustine) that we are all low-down sinners but, through exactly the right belief, we will be saved. Now if I lie, I pay the consequences for that lie in this life (I try not to lie). If a christian lies, the consequences on earth are non-existant, but, through proper belief, the lie will be forgiven by god and he can wave palm branches for eternity. Christians (yes, I know that I am generalizing here) think that bearing false witness is an integral part of being human. If it is an integral part of being human, then why not lie to convert others to your faith or to denegrate the thinking of people with whom you do not agree?

  • Steven Carr

    Comfort discounts people like Dan Barker as ever being Christian.

    Strange, because theists often claim that 90% of the world believe in God.

    And this statistic is used to beat atheists about the head.

    And now we find that many of these ’90%’ must be false believers…

    If it suits Comfort to exaggerate the number of Christians, everybody who has ever looked at a church is a Christian.

    If it suits Comfort, then even people who spent 17 years in the ministry were never Christians.

    The hypocrisy of Christians never ceases to amaze me.

  • Karen

    You know, it’s funny, but you atheists pay way more attention to Ray Comfort than any Christians I’ve ever met.

    That’s because he specifically targets atheists for his “ministry” – he’s not preaching to the choir. Thus most Christians haven’t heard of him like they have heard of evangelists who spend a lot of time writing books for and speaking to people who are already Christians.

  • http://www.skepchick.org writerdd

    There’s a reason that they can’t fathom that there’s really such a thing as an ex-Christian. That’s because the born-again experience is supposed to be a magical, supernatural thing that happens to you where your soul and/or spirit are literally changed. So how can that be undone? How can you not be a Christian any more? It’s really difficult to fathom if you don’t view becoming a Christian as a psychological change but as a spiritual birth. If God gave you new life, how can that be reversed?

    So by me saying now that I’ve come to realize that my own born-again experience was not God touching me and giving me spiritual life, but rather some sort of phsychological experience that I went through, is in effect admitting that I was not “really” born-again in the first place, since to be “really” born-again is to be touched by God.

    What’s the alternative? I can no longer say that I think God did anything to me, because I don’t believe that God is a real entity. So my my own admission, I am saying that I was not really ever a Christian, given the definition of “Christian” that is accepted by evangelicals.

    It’s twisted and I don’t actually agree with what I just said, but I can completely understand how people can come to this conclusion.

  • http://thatatheistguysblog.blogspot.com NYCatheist

    Writerdd hit the nail on the head. If you assume the existence of a non-material soul that can be changed through divine means then claimed deconversions must be false.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    That’s because he specifically targets atheists for his “ministry” – he’s not preaching to the choir. Thus most Christians haven’t heard of him like they have heard of evangelists who spend a lot of time writing books for and speaking to people who are already Christians.

    Good point.

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  • Doug Indeap

    OMG!! That banana bit was for real! I can hardly believe it. When I saw that video some months ago, I got a good laugh at what I thought was a clever parody of creationism. Really, I thought it was a joke–and a good one. It never occurred to me that it might be real. To now learn that the comic in that video is no comic at all, but rather a guy named Ray Comfort who intended it SERIOUSLY just blows me away. Now . . . I don’t know whether to laugh or cry. This guy may have ruined parody for me forever, because the least subtlety will have me wondering what’s real and what’s not.

  • http://blog.lib.umn.edu/fole0091/epistaxis Epistaxis

    You know, it’s funny, but you atheists pay way more attention to Ray Comfort than any Christians I’ve ever met

    Some years ago I was in a college freethought group, and Todd Friel (of the Cameron-Comfort-Friel trinity) debated Dan Barker. The auditorium was absolutely packed with some three or four hundred Christians who came because Todd told them to on his radio show. There were many amens when he spoke, and a little bit of hissing when Dan talked about having been a believer (which, of course, Todd said was a big lie, and that made Dan upset). We shouldn’t paint Christians with a large brush, but that’s because there’s every kind of them out there, including the loonies as well as the moderates.

    On the other hand, I’ve met another minister-turned-heretic from a less radical denomination, who said he actually knew several other preachers who didn’t really believe everything they were preaching. Wolves in shepherds’ clothing, as it were.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    Epistaxis said,
    …I’ve met another minister-turned-heretic from a less radical denomination, who said he actually knew several other preachers who didn’t really believe everything they were preaching…

    I am not surprised. Being a Pastor is a fairly specialized profession and it would be challenging to change careers at mid-life (or later) if one lost his/her faith. I suppose there are some out there that continue on with their jobs even while no longer believing. Altogether, I hope the percentage of pastors doing this is small. It would be hard psychologically.

    It should also be recognized that pastors work for the church. The pastor will almost always be better educated on theological matters than the congregation. But due to the expectations of the congregation, the pastor may feel compelled to preach certain literal biblical interpretations that he himself believes/knows to be only metaphoric or allegorical.

  • Richard Wade

    Doug Indeap,
    Yeah, he really means it. Sometimes reality is so ridiculous that parody just can’t keep up. We’re all waiting for Comfort to use the same “Ad Bananium” (Argument to the Banana) to explain pineapples.

  • DLB

    Chris C said: A good argument is to ask Ray (or any party involved): Do you believe in Santa Claus (or the tooth fairy, or Easter Bunny, etc.)? He would say, “Of course not.” But at some point he probably really did believe that one or all of these ficticious creatures existed. Only now he’s come to his senses. So that means he never believed in the first place? Obviously he truly believed and has now been persuaded otherwise.

    That wouldn’t be a “good” argument.
    The Christian theology centers around a knowing Jesus Christ personally, not just believing a God exists. So therefore, all Ray, or any Christian would have to retaliate with is:

    “I did believe that the Easter Bunny, Santa, the Tooth Fairy existed. Just like I still believe that God exists. The difference is, I eventually stepped out of the realm of just believing in God and into the realm of knowing God. That is an absurd thought with the other 3 characters, because they are truly “unknowable.”

    Perhaps some of you have heard Ray’s heater analogy (with a child, his dad, and a heater) that explains this exact scenario.

    Now, that still may seem like a “radical” idea to you, but I’m just saying, that’s probably what would be fired back. That is also largely the reason that Ray (and other evangelical Christians) say that people are false converts. That is, they lived purely with a belief, and never a knowledge. (There is Bible scripture to back up this idea, but I suppose you aren’t interested – and Karen – it isn’t a twisted interpretation of a verse, just a plain statement).

    Like I say, that may seem like an off the wall idea, and totally ridiculous, but that’s a different topic.

    I am not advocating for Ray, just trying to help. I enjoy reading your guys thoughts.

    -A Christian

  • Felix

    I just came across this page via a google search. Today, Ray Comfort posted this as his blog entry:
    “Years ago I emailed the world’s most amazing atheist. No, it wasn’t Richard Dawkins. Let me give you a clue as to his identity. He was an ordained minister for 19 years, and during that time he even wrote songs about Jesus, from which he still receives royalties today.

    I upset him to a point where he said that if I ever made contact with him again, he would have my email account shut down. He was really mad.

    I can’t tell you his name because he is lawsuit-crazy, but I can tell you what I said to him. All I wrote was, “Judas lasted three and a half years. Yet you managed to fake it for 19 years! Amazing.” etc.

    Isn’t it great how he exhibits Christian behavior by plagiarizing himself and kicking after people for years? The man has issues.
    I have submitted a comment at his blog, but I doubt he’ll allow it posted.

  • Christian

    To explain why people who have accepted faith and fall away read the following from Mark.

    Mark 4: 13-20
    And he said to them, “Do you not understand this parable? How then will you understand all the parables?

    The sower sows the word.

    And these are the ones along the path, where the word is sown: when they hear, Satan immediately comes and takes away the word that is sown in them.

    And these are the ones sown on rocky ground: the ones who, when they hear the word, immediately receive it with joy. And they have no root in themselves, but endure for a while; then, when tribulation or persecution arises on account of the word, immediately they fall away.

    And others are the ones sown among thorns. They are those who hear the word, but the cares of the world and the deceitfulness of riches and the desires for other things enter in and choke the word, and it proves unfruitful.

    But those that were sown on the good soil are the ones who hear the word and accept it and bear fruit, thirtyfold and sixtyfold and a hundredfold.”

    Thanks!


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