I Read the First Chapter of Ray Comfort’s New Book So You Don’t Have To

Bananaman and Crocoduck-proponent Ray Comfort’s has a new book out: You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can’t Make Him Think.

I read through the first chapter on Amazon. I’m sure you can’t wait to read some excerpts:

When someone becomes a Christian, he immediately cares about those around him. He cares about those unwanted in society — the poor, the bad, and the ugly (those who lack what society esteems). This is because God put His love within him the moment that he repented and trusted the Savior. (p. 4)

And before he’s a Christian?

Apparently, those people just spend their days beating up creepy-looking homeless people.

This is why I don’t spend too much time trying to convince anyone that there is a God. To do so is a waste of time and energy. (p. 9)

He says sin is the bigger issue. Strange… I distinctly remember a video of him trying to convince us about God’s existence… I don’t recall much mention of “sin” there…

I would be grateful not to be called “religious.” If you are a little confused as to why most Christians don’t like being called that, let me give you a comparison that you may think is extreme, but as far as I am concerned, it’s not. It’s like the difference between “African-American” and the “n” word. One is culturally acceptable. The other has extremely negative connotations. (p. 11)

Does that mean it’s cool for Christians to call each other “religious,” but we can’t do that?

And while Christians may not like the word “religious,” I’ve spoken to plenty of Christians who don’t like the word “Christian” either. Which leaves them with… what exactly?

Darwin was nothing but a blatant racist, a bigot of a man, who held to the belief that black people are inferior to whites. (p. 20)

It’s good to know some facts before making such absurd accusations.

So you are flogging a decomposed horse. (p. 21)

I’ll just let that out-of-context line speak for itself.

The book is currently #2 on the Amazon list of atheist bestsellers. That’s not saying too much — many new books jump to the top of the lists in particular niches when they are first published. It certainly doesn’t mean atheists are buying it; it just means the book is about atheism. Sadly, there are many religious people (*ahem* followers-of-Christ, I mean) who buy into this garbage.

I’m surprised to see the positive reviews on the Amazon page, though. Can’t we fix that? Surely someone can write up a well-written smackdown of the book. Let the first chapter be your guide.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    I would be grateful not to be called “religious.”

    I think out of decency, we should comply. Let’s call them “superstitious” instead.

  • Miko

    No, don’t write a review of a book based on just the first chapter. It’ll be obvious that you haven’t read it and you’ll just come across looking like an intolerant idiot.

  • Mark C.

    I suggest admitting that you’ve only read the first chapter, and honestly saying that you think you can extrapolate to the rest of the book’s contents, based not only on that chapter, but upon prior exposure to Mr. Banana’s claims.

    It’s not like he’s going to intentionally turn around after the first chapter and contradict everything he said in the first.

  • http://bornagainblog.wordpress.com Justin

    I’d rather like to know why Comfort continues to get any kind of attention from intelligent people. Somewhat more important and relevant would be to have hourly updates on the drying of the paint on a wall somewhere.

    Comfort is a liar and a con artist, if not an idiot madman. Anyone who notices him sees it, or if they don’t, they’re unreachable to begin with. Let’s quit paying attention to this utter waste of a human and do something else.

  • Jeff Satterley

    I suggest admitting that you’ve only read the first chapter, and honestly saying that you think you can extrapolate to the rest of the book’s contents, based not only on that chapter, but upon prior exposure to Mr. Banana’s claims.

    Unfortunately, people on Amazon jump all over that sort of thing in your replies. I reviewed Jenny McCarthy’s nonsense about immunizations and autism by just reading through the excerpts given on Amazon, and it just gave people ammunition to call me intolerant and close-minded, since I wouldn’t read the whole book.

    I guess it’s possible that many other people read my review and understood why I was able to write it only reading a chapter (I have been following vaccination debate for a long time), but none of them ever commented on my review.

  • http://frodology.blogspot.com/ FrodoSaves

    Does that mean it’s cool for Christians to call each other “religious,” but we can’t do that?

    And soon an atheist’s dream will be to have a Christian call him “religious”.

  • http://www.sheeptoshawl.com writerdd

    I guess I won’t write a review because all I can think of to say is “this is nothing but a big pile of horse shit.”

    The not religious thing is a crock. Hahah. Yes, religiosity has a negative connotation but they still want to BE religious, they just don’t want to call themselves that so they can escape the negative reputation that their own actions have created.

    OK, that was easy to rant about but I don’t think it’s really true. From my own past experience as a born-again Christian, the real reason many Christians say they are not religious is because their faith is real and true and everyone else’s is just man-made dogma and ritual. Hence true faith (or a relationship with the one true god) versus man-made religion.

  • inkadu

    I know plenty of Christians who refer to “the church people” as a bunch of intolerant, smug, superior assholes, contrary to Comfort’s claim that accepting Jesus makes you a hippie.

  • inkadu

    I don’t think a bad review is necessarily helpful since we’re not the target audience.

    Review time is better spent on things like the Lego security check point set, and Family Circus collections.

  • http://religiousliberal.blogspot.com Dwight

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27 Where in all of Christian history or scriptures for that matter does the word “religion” become something to disassociate yourself with? Evangelicalism confuses me sometimes.

  • Steve

    And don’t forget, Amazon has be criticized in the past for being deliberately selective when publishing reviews of books.
    Anyway, I’d just as soon refer to the ‘religious’ folk as ‘idiots’ – that’s the briefest term that comes to mind.

  • Richard Wade

    The terms “religious” and “Christian” have acquired a strongly negative connotation because so many practitioners have earned it. Re-branding, slapping on a new label for the same old thing won’t fool anyone who can rub two neurons together. As writerdd says,

    …the real reason many Christians say they are not religious is because their faith is real and true and everyone else’s is just man-made dogma and ritual. Hence true faith (or a relationship with the one true god) versus man-made religion.

    That, right there is part of the negative connotation in practice, the assertion that they’re superior and others are inferior, with nothing more to support that stance than those they disdain. Even as they try to distance themselves from their bad reputation, they earn it.

    People can always come up with new euphemisms for themselves, but changing their bad behavior is what is important. You are what you do, and a religion is what its practitioners do. Comfort is uncomfortable with the now pejorative term “religious” but there are few better examples than himself. Think of the adjectives that come to mind when you consider the most negative connotations of the terms “religious” or “Christian”:

    ignorant, closed-minded, conceited, dishonest, false, bigoted.

    Which of these do not fit Comfort’s long-standing behaviors?

  • Todd

    This is why I don’t spend too much time trying to convince anyone that there is a God. To do so is a waste of time and energy. (p. 9)

    Am I right in thinking this book is only 9 pages long?

  • SASnSA

    Well, I wouldn’t feel comfortable writing a review of a book without actually reading the whole thing myself so I could give a completely unbiased review.

    But I’ll be damned before I’ll actually waste time and money to read that piece of trash book by an author that actually thinks that a crocaduck is actually something that could have come into being as a result of evolution.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Hemant Mehta

    I should note I read only the first chapter because that’s all that was available online.

  • Siamang

    Oh poor Comfort. Calling him religious is EXACTLY like calling someone the N word.

    Poor persecuted him.

    “One has extremely negative connotations.”

    GEEE… I wonder how that could have come about?

    It’s like Blackwater changing their name to “Xe”. Or Phillip Morris changing their name to “Altria”. Because really, it was the name that was the problem.

    Dwight said:

    “Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

    Dwight,

    Don’t you know that the proper fundagelical response would be to look up the greek word and refute that?

    The word in greek isn’t “religion”, it’s hreskeia: ceremonial observance, worship.

    See! It’s easy to be a fundie!

  • Jeffrey Smith

    “When someone becomes a Christian, he immediately cares about those around him. He cares about those unwanted in society — the poor, the bad, and the ugly (those who lack what society esteems).”

    If you ever actually saw how the poor are treated by most of the “faith-based” charities, you’d be shocked. Poorly disguised contempt is the most polite way to put it.

  • llewelly

    I’m cheered to find that even hardcore Christians perceive ‘religious’ as a negative label.

  • Steve

    He actually says on page 4: “(atheism is the epitome of stupidity)” wow, not surprising that he thinks so, but I thought he was (not so)covertly trying to convert us.

    Ray simply lacks the imagination and critical thinking skills to question his every house has a builder, therefore everything has to have a creator – which seems to be the basis for all his early arguments (at least as far as I got in chapter 1 before I couldn’t take it anymore). In other words, he denies the natural self-organizing properties of matter.

    There’s no way to argue with him about this because he will stand by his assumption that a god instilled matter with those properties. I’m not sure he’s worth the trouble anymore… he’s frustratingly thick, but to his credit he seems rather even tempered in his responses. This is probably because his deluded mind give him a sense of misguided superiority and he simply falls back to his basic assumptions about creation needing a creator…childish thinking.

  • Cafeeine

    The word in greek isn’t “religion”, it’s hreskeia: ceremonial observance, worship.

    See! It’s easy to be a fundie!

    I would love that! If they try that with me, I can correct them that ‘threskeia’ also translates to religion. Then, I would refuse to let them use any more bible verses in english, just in the Greek. I have a kick of a time when I tell fundies to read the NT in the Greek as I have before giving me bible verses. They either clam up, or call em a liar and/or ban me.

    (In truth, its not that I have exceptional scholarship in the matter, just being Greek I have a home field advantage)

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    I read the first page of the first chapter and I can project that Ray is an idiot.

  • http://www.rationalitynow.com Dan Gilbert

    Sadly, Ray’s constant tripe gets him WAY too much attention… but if left on his own, he’d continue to use his lies to spread his message.

    Perhaps some people have realized that, by his own teachings, he’s going to Hell, what with all that blatant lying he does (and at this point, it can’t be just ignorance).

    He gives apologetics a bad name.

    I’m also WAY amused that one of the testimonials on the back cover is from Ken Ham. There’s credibility for ya! ;-)

  • Steven Carr

    ‘When someone becomes a Christian, he immediately cares about those around him. He cares about those unwanted in society — the poor, the bad, and the ugly (those who lack what society esteems).’

    Seeing what the percentage of people is in America who are Christian, the only question that is left are how do they find enough homeless, poor people to help?

    There must be some sort of waiting list, where Christians can put their name down to help a poor, homeless person , the next time one becomes available.

  • http://gaytheistagenda.lavenderliberal.com/ Buffy

    Ray Comfort is a bigoted idiot. I studied Psychology and spent 20 years working in human services. It had nothing to do with any god telling me what to do or making me feel anything. I did it because I cared about people and wanted to help improve their lives. While I don’t currently work in the field I still give generously to various charities.

    If you need a god or book to compel you to help others how is it genuine or moral? And if that same book influences you to hate and/or harm others, then again how is that moral?

  • Beth B.

    At first I was heartened to see that he had included actual anti-creationism arguments in the Amazon excerpt, like (paraphrase) “why call it a creation? this language presupposes from the outset that there is a Creator”.

    I was heartened somewhat less by the fact that his answers to nearly all of these questions consisted of an unholy mixture of assertion and ignoring the important points of the arguments.

    I also notice him falling into the puddle fallacy with his discussion of Adam and Eve having a world so perfectly adapted to their needs.

  • bob

    Back before the movie came out, my friends minister preached four Sundays on why and how Dan Brown’s book, “The Da Vinci Code” was wrong. He started the first sermon by saying, ” Now, I haven’t actually read the book” :)

  • Luther Weeks

    Hey we can call them members of the “Faith biased community”

    They they can be jealous when we say we are from the “Fact based community”

  • http://newref.blogspot.com/ James

    When someone becomes a Christian, he immediately cares about those around him. He cares about those unwanted in society — the poor, the bad, and the ugly (those who lack what society esteems). This is because God put His love within him the moment that he repented and trusted the Savior. (p. 4)

    Wow, that’s the exact reason WHY I left the church after 20 years of devout service: churches spending hundreds of thousands on multimedia projector systems, gymnasiums, etc. in spite of a growing homeless problems. A loyalty to politics over values and morals – churches support a government(s) that tortures and wages illegal and unjust wars (“serving two masters.”) Widespread discrimination and denial of basic human rights. For example, the NC Southern Baptist Convention funneled thousands of dollars to a political action committee who lobbied to defeat an anti-bullying bill for public schools based on the idea it would promote “homosexual agenda.”

    “Religion is an insult to human dignity. With or without it you would have good people doing good things and evil people doing evil things. But for good people to do evil things, that takes religion.” — Steven Weinberg

  • inkadu

    James — I’m with you. If Christians took all the money they spent building churches and rectories and built housing for the poor, there would no homelessness.

    I have been to several churches in my life. There has not been one, not a single one, that wasn’t trying to buy a new building, contruct a new churh, or put on an addition. It’s really disturbing.

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    People like helping other people. It’s in our DNA. Churches need people (and converts) to survive. Therefore churches do charity work to attract people. It’s the getting of the people (converts) that is important to churches. Charity work is just a means to an ends. Churches then claim exclusive rights to everything good in order to keep and control their flock. tithe tithe tithe. It’s an interesting but disturbing social phenomena.

    Ray Comfort is just a mouthpiece to help keep the existing flock in line with arguments that appeal to the embedded early childhood conditioning of the faithful.

  • http://www.otmatheist.com hoverFrog

    Thanks for reading the first chapter Hemant. I had no intention fo going even that far. I’m sure there are much more interesting religious authors more worthy of attention if I want to read arguments from the “other side”.

    Siamang wrote

    The word in greek isn’t “religion”, it’s hreskeia: ceremonial observance, worship.

    I have a question about that. What language was the bible originally written in? As far as I am aware there is no “original” bible, only early Greek translations. Who is to say that hreskeia wasn’t mistranslated from some Hebrew or Latin word with a similar meaning or spelling?

    What is the Hebrew for “banana” anyway?

  • Siamang

    dude, I don’t know. All I know is that if you pin a certain type of fundajelical down on a word, they go to the greek.

  • SASnSA

    Ray seems to be spreading himself thin these days. I just noticed he’s become the “Anti-Atheism Examiner” on examiner.com. This may be a good place to watch if you have a penchant for fighting stupidity

  • blue13

    You atheists just dont want to be held accountable to a higher being, you wanna go through life thinking YOU are doing everything right. we are humans, our minds are limited. Its funny that you guys dont believe in God, santa claus, unicorns and leprachauns. Although.. how can u hate something you dont believe in? Why do u hate God and not all those other things?? Its proof that hes real cuz He even said He makes it known to us through His Creation that he exists, you CANT have a painting without a painter.


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