Christian Miraculously Survives Dinner with Atheists

Ray Comfort took the Orange County Atheists up on an offer to join them for dinner. From the way Ray describes it, it’s like he wants to be praised for simply accepting the invitation and coming out of the IHOP (referred to as the “International House of Prayer” — zing!) without any visible bruises:

I accepted their invitation and decided to take my manager with me (Mark Spence is the Dean of the “School of Biblical Evangelism”). Before we went I got permission to also take a handheld HD camera. I was determined not to go there to win an argument, but to simply show that I deeply cared for them as people, as most atheists seem to have the impression that Christians don’t like them. We arrived about five minutes early, shook hands and sat down. After the orders were taken, I quietly approached the waiter and told him to give me the bill for the entire party. When he brought it to me I was almost shaking with excitement.

When they found out that I had personally paid the tab they were very grateful, polite, pleasant, kind, and extremely thankful (see 1 Peter 2:15).

That’s a nice gesture (even though it reeks of some sort of superiority complex). He says some kind words, too. I wonder, though… 1 Peter 2:15. Which verse is that…?

Because it is God’s pleasure that foolish and narrow-minded men may be put to shame by your good behaviour.

Huh.

A subtle jab.

So much for Ray’s kindness.

He ends with this:

Then we posed for pictures and left, almost bursting with joy after such a wonderful opportunity to meet and talk with these dear people. Maybe the next time they meet for dinner (at the International House of Prayer) hundreds will show up saying “We heard that this is the atheist group where you get a free meal.” Seriously though, please pray for the “Orange County Atheists.”

To paraphrase:

We *totally* converted those atheists because of our amazing evangelical skills. I pity them. Seriously though, they’re going straight to hell.

Ray’s readers are very impressed by this extraordinary feat of being in the company of the atheist evildoers:

Praise God, Ray! I don’t know if I’d have the guts to do that.

Because, typically, atheists stab anyone who infiltrates their meetings.

This commenter also enjoyed some subtle humor:

Praying that one day they will meet as “The Former Atheists Group”

The FAG. Very clever, commenter…

I’m not sure what the big deal is about all this. It’s nice of Ray to pay for dinner. And I’m sure the atheists had a good time debating someone who disagrees with them.

But really, that’s about the extent of it. No one changed their minds. No one is going to.

Michael, the Orange County Atheists’ president, leaves some kind words on Ray’s site:

Ray and Mark, thank you very much for coming to our meeting. We really appreciated the chance to meet you both. Your generosity will allow us to donate several hundred more dollars to our local charity of choice, doing good work in southern Orange County.

For everyone posting comments, I’m the president of Orange County Atheists. We had a great discussion and are looking forward to the video as much as all of you.

Knowing what I know about my group, I doubt largely that there’ll be any conversions, though. To Ray and Mark’s credit, there wasn’t any hardcore witnessing going on, just a lot of questions. Thanks again, guys!

Also a nice gesture from Michael.

(Is anyone else wondering whether they ordered banana splits for dessert?)

Speaking of Ray and his goodwill gestures, here’s one more quotation from him:

He who doesn’t fear God, has either never been in a good lightning storm, is blind, or is severely mentally challenged.

A kind-hearted man, that Ray…


[tags]atheist, atheism, Kirk Cameron, Living Waters[/tags]

  • http://off-center.tatuskofam.com Drew

    Nice bait and switch. Christians also take atheists out for dinner just because… It happens! But I guess those Christians like me are probably going to a lower spot in hell anyway so we may as well drink our way down together :-)

  • Mriana

    He didn’t convert anyone and he is not only being arrogant with that Biblical verse, but he is also being ass with his behaviour. He’s making an ass out of so many better behaved less arrogant Christians with his behaviours. He is the epitomy of the Christian I don’t like, esp with the unrealistic picture he is painting of atheists, esp with his lies about converting people. :roll:

    I’m sure it will be a lot warmer in Hell than it is around him. His behaviour so cold that one could get sick from it. Oh wait, some people do get sick from such behaviour. IF there is a god, and IF he is worth his salt, maybe Ray will be the one freezing with all the people he was so arrogantly cold to. :roll: GEEZE! What an ass!

  • http://www.thereturncoc.blogspot.com JP Manzi

    What??? Christians will pay for dinner and not all atheists are ravage beasts?

    Sign me up.

    Wow. You learn something new everyday.

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

    I’m sure Ray is pretty nice in person. Most people are.

    But in writing, he’s a tad condescending… Many Christians are willing to eat with me, but they don’t go around using it as proof of how nice they are.

    Anyways, why is it that people think that acts of kindness contradict the atheist worldview?

  • Chris

    But let’s be honest–IHOP is one of the cheapest restaurants in the country, second only to Waffle House. I’m pretty sure IHOP’s most expensive omellete runs around seven bucks. If you’re trying to gloat about buying food, take them to Ruth’s Chris or Smith and Wollensky, THEN you’ll have bragging rights.

  • QrazyQat

    The verse from Peter is a demonstration that he gave not out of niceness, but with a selfish motive. This, and the fear Comfort imagines all must constantly have, is the essential difference between Christians and atheists. Atheists do nice things because they’re nice.

  • Stephen

    Haha, Ray Comfort has no class. What a surprising turn of events.

    Some Christians really are living in some sort of bubble cut off from reality – a bubble in which atheists are slimy mutant people and having a civil meal with them is a Herculean feat, apparently.

  • Siamang

    Let me say right off, as long as Ray’s paying, I’m willing to accept any and all free meals at Ruth’s Chris. He can even preach at me the whole time if he lets me order the big steak.

    But yeah, this sounds like it was a great accomplishment for him. What’s the big deal, I go to churches? I talk to Christians all the time. I have dinner with Christians at least once a month (my parents). I blog for a Christian ministry. He seems impressed with himself.

  • http://www.travisjmorgan.com Travis

    Is that their new tactic, bribery? Now they think they can buy their way out of selling fiction as fact?

  • Jen

    Man, all those times I have been to an IHOP, and I just ate pancakes. Clearly, I was supposed to be stabbing Ray Comfort.

  • Daniel

    Hrmm, that’s weird. Usually when my atheist group invites a christian to dinner, we actually eat him. That group is slacking and Mr. Comfort got off easy.

  • http://supercheetah.livejournal.com Rene Horn

    Well, obviously atheist groups in the future should make Comfort agree to pay for only his food and no one else’s as that clouds the post-debate discussion, and gives him unwarranted bragging rights.

  • http://www.runicfire.net ansuzmannaz

    Who needs prayer when you can have pancakes?

  • Richard Wade

    Ray, go comfort yourself.

    What a pompous, pretentious, self-important ass. His ego is so big it has completely devoured what little intellect he had. He took a camera and there’s going to be a video? Oh I’m sure that well-edited little piece of work will be fair and balanced. Ray the hero being “kind” in his so superior way to the miserable offenders. He’s not just an embarrassment to Christians, he’s an embarrassment to all primates.

    I suppose he had IHOP’s banana pancakes.

  • Maria

    Ray, go comfort yourself.

    What a pompous, pretentious, self-important ass. His ego is so big it has completely devoured what little intellect he had. He took a camera and there’s going to be a video? Oh I’m sure that well-edited little piece of work will be fair and balanced. Ray the hero being “kind” in his so superior way to the miserable offenders. He’s not just an embarrassment to Christians, he’s an embarrassment to all primates.

    I suppose he had IHOP’s banana pancakes.

    LOL! I was going to say something similar, but I can’t say it better than that!

  • stogoe

    Huh. I guess the moral of the story is, atheists are regular people, and despicable jerks can’t stop being despicable jerks.

  • severalspeciesof

    As for Ray’s last quote that Hemant wrote, does living near the path of a tornado that occurs in January require me to become a believer? If destroying and damaging over 50 homes is your forte, I want NO PART of that god!

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Okay, I’m gonna put my neck on the line (I have Christian friends who visit the site) and say that most Christians have an agenda.

    Unless we are willing to let go of the idea that we’re the only ones who are “saved” and “going on to eternal life,” the love we give has an agenda of trying to convert everyone who are outside of that. There’s no way around it. The Christians who claim that is not so are lying to themselves. Either that, or they have no intention of developing a relationship with the people they are talking to.

    Now, don’t accuse me of judging my own people. I’m not judging. Just observing. I come to this conclusion by constantly digging and looking into myself. I believe if I cannot expect someone to be genuine with me unless I’m willing to be genuine with them.

    That’s why I trust the people who oppose me more so than the people who claim to love me. At least the opposition is genuine. The disagreements are genuine. I hate people who are pretentious. I hate people who put on a smile for you then turn around to judge you. Judge me to my face if that’s what you feel.

    Ray Comfort? I’m sure you are a nice person and you think you’re doing everything out of love, but don’t you dare expect me to trust you.

    There, I’ve said it. 8O

  • Tom in Iowa

    It’s a shame that Ray didn’t continue with his quotation from 1 Peter 2, the part where the author admonishes all to obey the law, and for slaves to obey their masters, regardless of how cruel they treat them.

  • Karen

    I give a lot of credit to the OC Atheists group who took the positive step of inviting Comfort to dine with them after his group “tract-bombed” them at one of their meetings.

    Eating and talking with them is a classy response, and it shows them off in an excellent light even if Comfort comes off like an ass in his article. But what else is new?

  • http://filmriot.com Andy

    Of course Ray should have picked up the tab. His wallet is fat with ill begotten cash. I would have stared at him until he took it.

  • Richard Wade

    I think the Orange County Atheists are going to regret letting this snake into their midst with a camera. They will not think that the impression the film leaves is representative of what actually happened. It’s all in the editing. In any filmed complicated event such as this, the truth will be found on the editing room floor. Comfort is positively giddy on his blog:

    The experience was a highlight of my life. Then about ten of us huddled around a table and talked about the things of God for about an hour. It was up close and personal. Mark answered every question and objection they had, calmly and eloquently. It’s all on film and we hope to be able to make it available through the ministry (to them and you) in a month or so. I took copies of my new book, How to Know God Exists, and all the folks at our table wanted one (it’s a strange feeling signing books for atheists).

    So he brings along a theological hired gun presumably because he knows argumentum ad bananum won’t cut it with these guys, and all that “calm and eloquent answering of all their questions and objections” will be cut and pasted into a tableau of evangelical victory over the pathetic atheists, and the book signing sequence will make the atheists look like they’re falling all over each other to get ahold of His Holiness’s sacred text. Start practicing your anger management skills. This film is going to be an outrage. I hope I’m wrong about all this but I doubt it.

    That last parenthetical statement about how it’s a strange feeling signing books for atheists sounds like, “It’s a strange feeling, signing books for the Black-blooded Man-eating Fang Masters of Planet Doom.” He’s portraying himself as Daniel in the lion’s den, and he’s milking it for all it’s worth. The fawning “Oh you’re so brave, Ray” comments of his blog acolytes are truly nauseating. Don’t read them without having a paper bag handy.

    Even in his short, self-congratulatory blog post Comfort has not portrayed atheists as “dear people.” He has strengthened the image in his devotees’ minds of atheists as dangerous demons.

  • http://filmriot.com Andy

    I think Richard nailed it! Comfort is a slimy snake if there ever was one. He’s going to make those poor folks seem like a group of drooling rubes!

    I think men like Comfort are best handled at arms length. You can not have a meaningful debate with someone who has proven to be untrustworthy time and time again.

  • Siamang

    If anyone knew what they were getting into with Ray, it was the OC atheists. I wouldn’t get too worked up about it. Ray is a street-preacher, and a pop-culture figure in the OC. I’d have wanted a book signed by him as well.

    If Banana Boy Ray reedited me to look like I thought he was brilliant and loved his mojo, I’d post a copy on YouTube and send a tape of it to all my friends. It’d be awesome! It’d be like getting fake punched out by a pro wrestler.

    Yes there are people who believe whatever Ray tells them. There are also people who think Pro Wrestling is real. Best not to argue with those folks, unless you’ve got a buddy who knows you’re doing it just to make them say funny things and snicker.

    In short, best to interact with folks like Ray for sheer entertainment value. If you want a serious debate, choose a serious theologian. If you want a thoughtful two-way dialogue, choose someone whose ears work.

  • Richard Wade

    Siamang, you’re very wise.

  • http://emergingpensees.com MikeClawson

    In short, best to interact with folks like Ray for sheer entertainment value. If you want a serious debate, choose a serious theologian. If you want a thoughtful two-way dialogue, choose someone whose ears work.

    Yes, very well put.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    I need to retract the word “hate” from my previous comment. I meant to say “I don’t have time for.” And I shouldn’t have generalized. I should have said “most Christians that I know personally…” And they are generally evangelicals that live in the Bible belt, so they hardly account for “most” Christians in the whole scheme of things, do they?

    Again, I only see things from my narrow view. I suppose it’s not a fair assessment of Christians as a whole. How is it that I’m harder on the very people that I call my brothers and sisters than some of the atheists are? hmmm… Time to re-evaluate… (just thinking out loud.)

  • Siamang

    Linda, noone can frustrate you like a brother or sister.

    Or so I’ve heard. I’m an only child. But I suspect that the frustration you feel is amplified by sharing the same roof.

  • http://ohthethinksyoucanthink.blogspot.com Linda

    Thank you, Siamang!

    You’re thoughtful. :) Yeah, I guess you’re right.

  • Siamang

    Ray Comfort would tell you that when an atheist says nice things to a Christian, I’m a wolf licking a lamb.

    So watch out if I suddenly say “U haz a flavor.”

    ;-)

  • grazatt

    MMMMMM, lamb!

  • http://leoquix.blogspot.com Quixie

    Well . . . . . bless his little heart!

    :)

  • JF

    hmmm… you atheists don’t sound so friendly

  • Foosh

    I’m a Christian and I think Ray’s an ass. Him, Kirk, and Todd Friel are stuck in the 80′s with their “you suck and are going to burn” evangelism which can’t be found anywhere on Jesus lips except for when he talked to ‘religious’ leaders.

    Hopefully the post-growing-pains generation can act (not speak) louder in our representation of Jesus than them.

  • Richard Wade

    Hi JF,
    Being friendly does not mean “making nice.” By friendly we mean we are willing to engage in a positive and respectful dialogue in good faith, assuming that the other party actually has similar intentions. If he or she repeatedly demonstrates that they are disingenuous or are consistently snide, condescending or manipulative then we will treat that individual with the suspicion and disdain that they have earned by their behavior. That is only reasonable. Some Christians are fond of calling atheists fools. A fool will continue to expect respect and sincerity from someone who has time and again failed to deliver. We don’t do that.

  • Jeff

    Richard, You are confusing respect and affirmation with approval. Atheists speak with as much hyperbole about Christians as Ray has used here. Ray is not being disingenuous by pretending to be one way but in fact being another. He is a fully persuaded believer. What would you expect him to say? “Wow, even though I know God I will respect your right to claim He doesn’t exist, even though you don’t (know Him).”

    That would be like you holding meetings to claim my wife doesn’t exist. Since I know her I have every reason to believe you are delusional. I may feel sorry for you (in your condition) – have pity for you – love you – care for you, etc., but I don’t have to respect your obviously erroneous conclusions, or your feeble reasoning.

    Ray was pleased for the opportunity to represent Truth (capitol T) to a normally unreasonable (non-reasoning) crowd. He quoted his life’s authority (The Bible) just as many atheists on this blog quote each other, or well-known atheists authors. As far as I’m concerned that doesn’t make anything he did less caring or genuine. When Dawkins, Harris, Myers, et al write uncharitable words about Christians, which are then quoted by others, my assumption is not that therefore any interpersonal interaction I have with an atheist is disingenuous and suspect.

    Both sides think the other is defective in their ability to reason soundly that’s all.


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