Good day and welcome to today's special edition of Ray-a-Day, written by me, Gordon, master and commander of this defunct blog. Much thanks and hugs should go to the wonderful Ziztur and Flimsy for hosting this book review party. Please grab a comfy seat, a stiff drink and try not to spill anything on their upholstery.
Today's "angry skeptic" is somewhat peeved at Ray Comfort over something:
I just wanted to let you know that you're an @$#!! You start out talking to people by questioning them on their bad behaviors, then you tell them they're gonna burn in hell. After scaring them with this method you turn around and start running your mouth about Jesus and how he died for them and how you don't want to see them go to hell, which then makes them sad. You think you're getting results when you do this? You think you're changing lives? Maybe for those couple of seconds when you twist people's emotions around and warp their mind into believing they are terrible people and they will die and go to hell. You talk to them like you're the @!#$& higher power! And you have the nerve to talk about self righteousness? You're a joke, take a good look in the mirror before you go out judging others. Who knows, that may be you burning in hell's eternal flames, and your little %$@!# buddy too...
Allow me to begin by confessing, I have no idea what this person is referring to when he/she is slagging off Comfort. My only exposure to Comfort prior to reading Ziztur's review of his book, is a clip of Comfort performing this comedy routine:
Seriously, to this day I still believe this was a silly attempt at Poe-rady, and I harbour half a hope that Ray and Kirk would pop up one day and say, Python-esque: "Sorry, ladies and gents, that was all for a lark. Wasn't it tip top stuff, eh?". That's the thing about Poe's Law, there's always a non-zero percentage chance that this would happen in the future.
But thanks to this book review assignment, I am forced to dig up Comfort's other works, better known as "The Way of the Master" ministry. A sample of what they... em... "do", is in videos like the ones below:
After witnessing these few videos I am even more convinced Comfort is a parody and, as the "angry skeptic" have pointed out, a joke. How anyone can attempt such a blatantly transparent three card trick in this age is certainly laughable. (Thunderf00t offers a simple refutation of this clumsy ploy, from 02:30-07:20, or what I like to call "The Heathen's Gambit")
Yet Comfort and his crew of evangelists seem to win many fans amongst their quarter, so for the moment I shall grant him the benefit of doubt and treat him as a serious preacher and not as some sly street-corner snake-oil salesman.
Comfort's reply to the "angry skeptic" is as thus:
It's true that I do ask people about their bad behavior, and I do tell them what the Bible says about hell. But how could I not? If I am fully persuaded that someone is in terrible danger, I have to at least warn them.
There is one thought that skeptics don't seem to take into account. What if hell does exist? What if the Bible is right? What if God is holy and just and will punish murderers and rapists in a terrible place called hell? What if every single person will get what's coming to them? If what we say is the gospel truth, then what we are saying is justified and most necessary.
Ahhh, the familiar yet severely vulture-pecked carcass that is Pascal.
Ever since I was a little kid, I often wondered what is the deal with the theological preoccupation with this Hellfire thing, and why is it at all frightening? Sure, eternity is a long time ;-) , but being roasted continuously... hmmm... on a pain scale of one to ten register no more than a mere six. And it doesn't score much on the imagination scale neither.
If I was to be scared of hell, it would a hell where 10,000 volts are jolted through every one of my appendages, whilst I am languishing in a sea of Sulphuric Acid, at the same time crushed on all sides by a tonne of radioactive fissionable Plutonium-239, where they easily achieve critical mass to cause a nuclear chain reaction around my material body... as well as within my immaterial soul... for all of eternity. Now that is a ten out of ten kinda hell!!
Now for argument sake, I am "fully persuaded" that:
- The almighty Flying Spaghetti Monster exists, and he presides over this Electric, Acidic, Nuclear HellTM.
- The noodly FSM considers anyone sporting any facial hair to be a abominable sinner.
- The merciful FSM will send all such sinners straight into this special HellTM.
I am duty bound to warn Ray Comfort that his afterlife is in peril and he must repent to FSM, to shave off his moustache and do the chicken dance after downing 14 shots of vodka. If he doesn't, a grim radioactive annihilation awaits him.
So should Comfort follow the bidding of the lord FSM? I certainly hope not.
For fear not, young Ray Comfort, this HellTM have as much evidence for its existence as your standard garden-variety fiery hell. And if any fundamentalist FSM worshippers try to convert you with such a shallow sales pitch as "What if HellTM does exist? What if the FSM is holy and just and will punish the beardy and the moustachy in a terrible place called HellTM?", you are well within your rights to laugh vigourly at their faces, like any rationally thinking folks will do for you.
Ray continues by insisting he is able to critically examine himself when it comes to his own sins:
... I am as bad, if not worse than most of the people to whom I speak. I have broken all of the Ten Commandments, in spirit if not in letter. I have committed a multitude of sins, and that's why I need a Savior. Being a Christian means that all that sin is forgiven.
Sorry, come again?
Being a Christian means that all that sin is forgiven.
I just want this statement to sink in a little bit here.
Which brings us back to this point, there is something truly appalling about this whole enterprise which can arbitrarily set the definition of a sickness, a sin, and then arbitrarily prescribe a cure only they can administer. But for Comfort to parade around his contemptuous banner of "I am saved, but you will burn (if you don't do as I say)", is compounding the bile that rises in my throat.
Only now can I truly appreciate what this "angry skeptic" is railing against, the comedy act that is Ray Comfort is beyond a joke. A hypocrisy dressed up as a self-righteous pretension. You sure can lead an atheist to evidence, but so far all I can witness from Comfort is an argument of "neener-neener-neener, God likes me better than you".
And this makes his "Banana ergo Deus" argument positively cerebral.