Ray Comfort, author of Hell’s Best Kept Secret and God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, is challenging two atheists to a debate. Comfort claims he will prove the existence of God without using the Bible or speaking about his faith. The debate is sponsored by ABC and will be recorded on May 9th.
Many Christians are really excited about this. Ray is their hero and they think he’s going to blast these guys out of the water. Well, I’m a Christian and I’m not excited about the debate. I’m not excited because I don’t think it’s possible for to "prove God" without talking about faith.
Scientifically, we can at best say God’s existence is probable, but we can’t prove his existence like we can prove the existence of gravity. Belief in God requires more than our scientific evidence. It requires philosophy, testimony, experience, science, theology — all built upon an adequate epistemology.
However, Comfort says he will present "undeniable scientific proof" for God:
"I am amazed at how many people think that God’s existence is a matter of faith. It’s not, and I will prove it at the debate – once and for all. This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists."
If you know anything about Ray Comfort, this isn’t surprising. He’s been claiming he can prove God in three minutes for a while now. But I guess this is the real showdown. He’s going to do it "once and for all." It appears he is going to reveal new scientific proof that only he knows about.
But of course that’s not going to happen. Comfort isn’t a scientist. He’s an evangelist whose ministry produces gospel tracts such as "The Wallet" that tricks people into picking them up.
How has he been "proving God" in the past? Consider his most popular example, what he calls "the atheist’s nightmare." He picks up a banana and shows it to the audience. He shows how it has a "non-slip surface," how it fits so well in our hands, how it has an easy-access tab. That, he says, proves there is a God. (Actually, it proves man is pretty good at domesticating wild bananas.)
What? You think I’m kidding? I wish I was. Here’s the video if you want to see it yourself:
Of course they’re not just going to leave it at proving God’s existence:
[Kirk] Cameron will use the event to also speak out against evolution, which he thinks is not credible and a major contributor to the growth in atheism.
"Evolution is unscientific. In reality, it is a blind faith that’s preached with religious zeal as the gospel truth. I’m embarrassed to admit that I was once a naïve believer in the theory,” said the former television star in a statement. “Atheism has become very popular in universities – where it’s taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn’t be surprised when there are school shootings.”
So they’re going to prove God with "undeniable scientific proof" and at the same time show that evolution is "unscientific." I fear this will be one embarrassing debate.
Update (May 11): If you are interested, you can watch the debate here. Unfortunately it was worse than I expected. Even though Ray said he was not going to use the Bible or talk about faith, he went into his predictable 10 commandments-based gospel message. He gave no “undisputable scientific evidence.” It was, in other words, a classic bait-and-switch technique.
Ray offered three arguments for God’s existence: argument from design, the existence of a conscience, and conversion to Christianity. As you will immediately notice, none are undisputed. The design of our world can be explained through evolution. Our consciences have not been scientifically proven. Conversion is not a scientific argument at all. This was a very weak case for God’s existence combined with a simple gospel presentation.
In fairness, neither side had strong arguments or seemed prepared. The atheists were amateurs at debate (especially Kelly the Atheist) and were often inconsiderate when Ray and Kirk were speaking. But Ray and Kirk were the losers in this debate, because they did not offer what they promised (undisputable scientific evidence) and used what they said they would not (faith and the bible).
In the end, both sides rely on faith. Brian the Atheist said he knew that matter and the universe are eternal, yet he criticized Ray for knowing God was eternal! Both of these positions require faith. Neither theism or atheism can claim to have “undeniable scientific evidence.”
For those interested in serious arguments for God or what a real debate looks like, these two books may be helpful: