Monday, September 06, 2010

Something to read with your Monday morning coffee

Everyone loves a good beatdown of those two adorable sad-sack clowns, Ray Cameron and Kirk Comfort. (Or is that the other way around? Oh, who cares!) And here, a fine young atheist writer named Nathan Dickey provides one for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.

Talking to Nathan on Facebook this morning, he brought up that he was inspired to take the opposite approach suggested by this post of mine from a year ago, in which I tried to encourage atheists simply to ignore Ray. My opinion then, which I still hold, is that the vast majority of what Ray says and does is every bit as much about self-promotion and aggrandizement as it is about evangelizing.

It's nothing but a publicity stunt when Ray and Kirk do things like publish their own version of Origin of Species, or "challenge" people like Richard Dawkins to a debate (simply so they can crow he must have chickened out when he refuses). And Ray's legendary dishonesty is so shameless in all of his dealings with atheists that for atheists to continue to seek engagements with him can only be seen as an act of futility. This is quite simply a man who cannot be trusted to show any degree of integrity whatsoever. He is a pathological liar, straight up, as we saw most recently in an exchange where Ray informed an atheist commenter to his blog that he would be delighted to phone in to AETV if we extended an invitation to him, as he did not want to invite himself. I immediately went to Ray's blog and posted an invitation. Ray replied by posting a link to his "interview request" form, which would seem bizarre, considering that I wasn't requesting an interview with him, only extending the invitation to call us that he had asked for. I say it would seem bizarre, until you realize that Ray is dishonest in every imaginable way. Then you realize this behavior is par for the course for him.

Weeks later, we were told by a reader that Ray was once again repeating the whole "Sure I'd love to call them, but they haven't invited me!" thing, which makes him nothing less than a blatant, bald-faced lying sack of shit. So in this regard, yes, I still say, atheists should ignore Ray, because he has demonstrated through his every behavior that honesty at even the most basic level is just not part of his playbook.

But then, to do as Nathan has done, and critique the content of Ray and Kirk's evangelism — well, that remains an entirely legitimate exercise in counter-apologetics. And a fun one too, as Ray and Kirk are without question the most laughable excuses for apologists alive — and when you consider the generally low intellectual level the bulk of religious apologetics is working in, that's really saying something. So keep tearing apart their silly books and websites and TV programs. As Nathan notes, beating down Ray and Kirk's drivel can be thought of as the training wheels for newbie atheists just learning to ride the counter-apologetics bike. It's good sport, and good practice.


  1. "Instead, you'll learn the forgotten biblical principle of bypassing the intellect (the place of argument) and speaking directly to the conscience (the place of the knowledge of right and wrong) — the way Jesus did"

    Every time I forget just how duplicitous these two are, I always come back to that statement.

  2. Righty-o. The whole "bypass the intellect" thing is something that causes me no end of hilarity. If you're going to come right out and say that the best way to sell people Jesus is to bypass their intellect, you're admitting some embarrassing stuff right off the bat. Such as, your religion is either unintellectual or just plain anti-intellectual, plus you lack sufficient intellect to defend it from people giving you inteelectual criticisms. Webster's defines intellect as "the capacity for knowledge" and "the capacity for rational or intelligent thought especially when highly developed." Ray and Kirk are essentially stating that Christian belief is antithetical to intelligent thought and the capacity for knowledge itself. In other words, to be a Christian you cannot and must not think.

    I guess that's worked pretty well for them. But why would they think I'd be buying?

  3. Weeks later, we were told by a reader that Ray was once again repeating the whole "Sure I'd love to call them, but they haven't invited me!" thing, which makes him nothing less than a blatant, bald-faced lying sack of shit.

    Comfort is lying on more than one level at that. What he is really saying is, "Sure I'd love to call them, but they haven't offered me any money!"

  4. Or, you could do a minute-by-minute critique of individual episodes as I've done here and here and here.

  5. Matt, you have far more intestinal fortitude for subjecting yourself to that than I do!

  6. I see I have lots of reading to do.

    Bypassing the intellect? Wow! If at least they were BSing by saying they were completing it or something. There is nobody more despicable than a thick man who is proud of it.

  7. "learn the forgotten biblical principle of bypassing the intellect"

    or... maybe it could stay forgotten?

    and then I can forget the whole banana 'atheists nightmare' thing...

    oh well.

  8. Martin, thank you for the promotion. It means a great deal to me, as a huge fan of the show and the other media you put out.

    A minute-by-minute deconstruction is exactly what I had in mind for this episode and possibly some others that strike my interest. Like Matt, my intestinal fortitude is high when it comes to such things. I subject myself on a regular basis to religious resources of all kinds (literature, radio, television programming, etc. to the extent that I'm confident nothing will be misrepresented or taken out of context.

    This is why I love communities such as yours and invaluable resources such as TAE to fall back on for much-needed proverbial breaths of fresh air.

  9. Wow... these guys (Comfort and Cameron) are even dumber than I'd thought. :-O

  10. Thunderf00t had a chat with Ray and had posted it on his Youtube channel. Thunderf00t told him it was just going to be a discussion, not a debate. After a little prodding, Ray accepted. Free of charge.

    Either it was because Ray knew that it wasn't going to be a heated debate or that he knew Thunderf00t was not a skilled debater.

    I think Ray had seen some of your videos on Youtube and realizes that you guys will just humiliate him. He would rather talk with someone with less skills.

  11. I haven't heard from those guys in awhile, when is the next "debate". Thanks for the post, I am going to follow Nate's blog...good stuff!

  12. For AETV you got a good theist last cos you were trollin it up with "I've never met a pastor that wasn't a parasite on society". More of this and a bit of "good cop, bad cop" role playing will make the theists line up to call.

  13. I recently took a stab at Ray myself, just for kicks and giggles.

    I answered his questions that atheists can't answer.

    Peace of cake actually.

  14. Am I the only who is both entertained and disgusted that both Kirk and Ray both consistently tell people that they must be complicit in a 2000 year old murder to be absolved for lesser crimes?

    It never fails to amaze me that people find the entire concept somehow feasible...

  15. @Jeffrey

    It's much worse than that. Really, the thing we need absolution for is not our little everyday crimes. Hypothetically, they could be avoided. A person could go through life not committing any sin, and still go to hell.

    The big bad crime that all humans are guilty of is Original Sin. In other words, we are guilty simply because we exist.

  16. Very nice work, Nathan.

    I too, have previously done some point by point refutations of the writings of Ray Comfort, one of which can be found here:

    I tend to get angry when discussing Ray, however, so my refutations end up being half rants as well.

    I actually did an entire week (well, almost, I fell a couple days short iirc) dedicated to pwning Ray Comfort. The series of blogs in 'Ray Comfort Week' were written in the last week of July/very beginning of August of this year.

    Having written about him several times, and having commented on his vacuous, smarmy, and embarassing blog several times, I think I have reached my endpoint. I don't believe I have the intestinal fortitude to spend much more time, if any at all, writing about, or to, this joke/asshole/liar/scumbag.

    It's amazing how adept he is at appearing to listen when he's really just waiting for his turn to speak. I mean, he has been corrected on so many specific points so many damn times, often right to his face, yet he can be seen/heard/read repeating one of his go to rhetorical belches which acts as though those corrections never happened.

    His strawman conception of evolution by natural selection, for example, has been corrected a gazillion times, with all sorts of different approaches and through various mediums, and still he falls back on the same old misconceptions.

    And what kills me is this guy is making BANK doing this. He makes more money in a month than many honest, hard working people make in a year, and all h does is lie and deceive for a living. It's amazing that the culture in America permits this, when he's so incredibly, insanely, and easily demonstrated to be, DEAD WRONG on so much of what he says.

    He also commands an audience, and engenders all sorts of respect and admiration, by people who put their trust in him, and people like him. These people wield such tremendously understated power over people, and it's all predicated on lies and deceit.

    It's hard not to think of this and just despair....

    And I bet he doesn't give a flying fuck about anyone he tries to save in the first place. You can see clips of him street proselytizing on youtube. It seems as though he's more concerned with 'winning' against a detractor/skeptic than he is 'saving their souls.' It's amazing how callously and calmly he can inform someone that they are going to hell for eternity when they die. He might as well be informing them that their shoes are untied.

    You'd think that if people like him really believed that, they'd be showing signs of despair. They'd be frantic in their endeavour to 'save' us, and, really, they should be gathering en masse to knindly ask their supposedly loving, moral, parental figure and creator god to, I dunno....change the damn rules so people need not needlessly suffer?

    That's just me though...

  17. Just an idea: one of you guys should first get a disguise and only then try to invite him to a debate. If you look silly enough, he may accept. And when he can't run away anymore, you can humiliate him the way he deserves. (That means A LOT of humiliation... At least five years of it uninterrupted.)


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