Subscribing to Ray Comfort on Facebook was probably a bad idea. There are nearly half a dozen posts on his page a day, ranging from longwinded rants to fairly short and meaningless phrases designed to just make people feel better about believing his own brand of Christianity (aka, the stupid, unthinking variety). There is so much wrong coming out from him that each posts makes me want to go racing to a blog, or comment section, and then dissect it.
Then I realise that it’s probably pointless to do so.
With 100,000+ followers, Ray’s page is the kind where conversation moves fast. By the time even I see the post, it’s amassed 1,000 comments already. A good proportion of them are his followers blinding saying “AMEN”, which I’m sure used to be a nice way to end a prayer, but in this context seems more like a chant of “OBEY, OBEY, OBEY!”
And clearly, his supporters simply are obeying and unthinking, because much of what he says is easy to refute and easily shown to be fallacious. Even a brief moment to stop, step out of a bubble of belief (you’re free to step back into it afterwards), and think about what he says proves it to be stupid.
He tries to defend slavery in the Bible by focusing on debt-slavery (which, apparently, “doesn’t count”, but is certainly in there) but glosses over all other mentions of what the Bible endorses doing to non-Hebrews. He claims that someone using the word “belief” in the context of the phrase “believe in evolution” somehow means it requires faith – but, frankly, saying what’s wrong with that would go well over the heads of anyone involved in the conversation. He also tries to say that someone mentioning that they “hate God” because “God is clearly vile” proves that they think God is real, because, you know, me saying “Joffrey Baratheon is a right cunt” implies I think Joffrey Braratheon is a real person in the real world where real things reside. His most recent jaunt is saying that a US Supreme Court ruling that atheism “is a religion” proves that it is a religion – there’s so much Not Even Wrong about this assertion that I’m not quite sure where to start. Needless to say, it’s probably beyond Comfort and the people (“And the sperm and egg came from where first?”) who follow him.
He has no respect for, or even concept of, the use-mention distinction – any “foul” language, which includes using the acronym “BS” will result in an immediate ban. That, and also the immediate assumption of you being an atheist. I don’t know how many Christians he’s caught in his indiscriminate net, but maybe a good portion of the 700+ people he’s proudly banned. When he raises the number of people banned, he mentions “posting pornography” as a reason – rather rudely implying that such a thing is a common occurrence, whereas in reality 90% of his blocks are probably for posting nothing more obscene than the word “fart”. By golly gosh.
He will ban people for using the word “banana” – because his most famous video claiming that the banana was an perfect example of intelligent design has been so widely mocked and refuted (yes, the modern banana is, in fact, intelligently designed, because it’s been selectively bred by humans over thousands of years) that he’s resorted to claiming that it was “a joke” or “a stand up routine”. Except the original video is still available online to watch; there’s no sense of “stand up” about it, the original was serious, and there’s even a video attacking atheists for taking it out of context (you can see this “apology video” in here). Ray Comfort repeatedly lies about the nature of that original video, and his followers lap it up and accept this revisionism.
His understanding of atheism and evolution can hardly be called understanding at all. He makes no attempt to even try to understand these completely unrelated ideas, instead conflating them and then making up his own assertions about what they mean. He regularly ignores everyone who tells him otherwise. Instead, when he does find time to respond to someone calling out his bullshit he cherry picks the most minute wording of the least-informed responses and focuses on them instead – managing to make even more simplified straw man arguments out of arguments that weren’t that great to start with (and yes, there are bad arguments for atheism and evolution). I know this because I’ve dropped in very direct questions while he was in the middle of responding to ones around him and been ignored. Perhaps he missed me, or perhaps the word “naturalistic” had too many syllables in it for him to process without having to have a long sit down and a cup of coffee first.
So, in all, Ray Comfort isn’t that bright. I wonder why people bother with him, because although time consuming it’s not difficult to point out the myriad flaws in everything he says. Then you notice; 100,000+ followers; millions of YouTube views; thousands more he speaks to and addresses when invited to speak. People take him seriously. Seriously.
He’s considered one of the best that his “side” has to offer.
He is taken seriously, and referenced by others, like Eric Hovind and Ken Ham, as someone to respect and pay attention to.
A man that demonstrably stupid and dishonest is considered, amongst his followers, a go-to guy for his religion. This isn’t just some random twerp going derp-a-derp into a webcam, to his brand of evangelical Christianity, he is as Dawkins is to evolutionary biology and Hawking is to physics. That’s the single scariest thing I’ve thought of for a while.