Comfort & Cameron vs The Rational Response Squad

Unless you've been buried under a rock for the last week, you have probably heard that ABC news will host a debate over the question, “Does God Exist?” The debate will feature Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort of the Calvary Chapel Fellowship versus members of The Rational Response Squad, a non-believer activist group associated with Brian Flemming of the movie, “The God Who Wasn't There.” This group also posted the very successful “Blasphemy Challenge” on Youtube.

ABC doesn't say which members of the Rational Response Squad will debate, but they do post a photograph of Kelly and Brian. (At least, I think it's Brian. Anyone know?)

Although it was first billed as a “Live Debate”, now according to the ABC News website the debate will merely be posted to the ABCnews.com web site on Wednesday, May 9th at 1:00 PM (which timezone isn't mentioned). Wednesday night, ABC “Nightline” will air a segment from the debate.

I guess the question of eternal salvation or damnation isn't enough to earn a full slot in ABC's programming.

The Fresno Atheist group are discussing getting together to watch the debate.

I'm most interested in the comments to the announcement of this event on ABC's website. Reading through these comments leads me to believe that the average religious commenter hasn't thought things through very well, if at all. I thought about commenting there myself, but didn't want to go through the hassle of signing up. Also, I didn't think my comments there would do much good – I would be speaking to an entrenched religious position where many of the people don't bother using logic or basic intelligence to back up their assertions.

But I do want to show my readers what people commenting to this announcement use as arguments to convince non-believers like myself. So I snipped out some of the more interesting statements and I will reply briefly to them here. Click "Read More" to see them.
  • It takes less faith to believe in a God than it does to believe that no God exists at all.
But I don't believe that God or gods do NOT exist, I just don't bother to believe that they DO exist. I do not DIS-believe, I merely LACK belief. One is active, the other is the act of passively waiting for evidence.
  • If there is no God then who is to set the standards of right and wrong? And if man sets these standards then why can't man just do whatever he or she wants
This is a great question. Social scientists have been making a lot of great strides in answering the question of evolved human morality lately. Studies of Bonobo and Chimpanzee tribes show that individuals of these species have systems of morality that are, in many cases, similar to our own. Which leads to an interesting question, do monkeys go to Heaven?
  • There is no such thing as an atheist. If the existence of God is not provable by science, then the non-existence of God also cannot be proven.
This is a non-sequitur. The second sentence does not follow the first. The first statement is easily disprove. I exist, I'm an Atheist, therefore Atheists exist. The second statement is also logically unsound because it does not take into account the possible existence of other Gods. The non-existence of the Invisible Pink Unicorn also cannot be proven.
  • A beautiful BMW was created by a big bang. Of course not. The car has a maker.
In other words, all complex items must have a maker. Who is God's maker?
  • To those who do not believe in God Do you believe in the wind? you can't see it, you can't feel it, you can't touch it but you can see the effects it has on the trees, dirt, grass and flowers. The wind blows them. You know it's there by it's effects. You can Jesus is real because you can see healing, you can feel his presence, you can the effects he has on the lives of people both the believer and unbeliever.
Oh for crying out loud. What a lousy argument! Of course I can feel the wind, I feel it on my skin, I can measure it, I can even create it with a fan. How this is supposed to lead me to Jesus I really don't know!
  • Piltdown Man was proven a fraud, not by Believers in God, but by Non-believers! (And therefore, God does exist).
You've been reading too much Jonathan Wells. Science is self-correcting. Unfortunately Christianity keeps spitting out the same tired old lies. Check out this link. (Talk Origins)
  • You'll never KNOW God unless you open your heart and mind to BELIEVE.
I completely agree! You are just being selfish by not opening your heart and just BELIEVING in Allah!
  • Everyday people place their faith in lots of different things. When I get in my car I do so believing I'm safe, when I eat at a fast food restaurant I'm trusting the people who work there, when I go to the Doctor I place my health and life in his hands. The question is not if people have faith, but rather, what is their faith in?
Sorry, you've confused faith with trust. Two different things there. I trust the sun will come up today because I've got 45 years of evidence that it has done so in the past. I trust my car will run today because it was running fine all week. I trust a restaurant because if they break my trust they will lose business – and may even be subject to legal penalties. I place my trust in evidence, as do you.
  • history proves itself a man named jesus exist and rose from the dead. no one found his body, not even the romans who wanted to get rid of christianity, after he died.
So since no one found his body, he existed? Hey, maybe if his body wasn't there, perhaps it was never there?
  • I have seen enough evidence that I believe in the God of the Holy Bible (the 66 books, Genesis to Revelation); God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. I have to ask anyone who doesn't believe in God, what if you're wrong? If I'm wrong, I can still go to the grave knowing I lived a life of following Christ's teachings, which everyone knows are loaded with wisdom for living life! So it comes down to this; if I'm wrong, I'm wrong, no loss. I still lived a life of honesty, purity, holiness, forgiveness, righteousness, as best as I could. There's nothing wrong with that. If you're wrong, you have everything to pay/lose.
Two parts to this. You realize that different Christian religions believe in bibles with a different number of books in it, right? Second, Pascal's wager is a poor wager. What if I believe in God and go to the Islamic hell? Shouldn't you hedge your bets by believing in Allah too? Of course, the two religions are mutually exclusive, so worshiping them both won't work.
  • Faith is a gift. Some people choose not to accept it. This particular subset (atheists) of the population has been offered an incredible gift from their Creator, and chosen of their own volition not to accept it. To enter into any arguments or discourse with such people is unreasonable, assuming they are familiar with God's Word. Since the very connotation of the word implies that they knew God and His Son before they decided to turn their backs on Him, they have had their chance to believe and have chosen to not believe for whatever reason(s). Therefore, in my opinion, the best and only tactic with these people is to pray for them. Most of them seem to have sour, bitter souls where God is concerned.
Wow, I guess being insulting to Atheists is the “Christian” thing to do. I would like to point out here that many non-believers in history who refused to accept this gift were tortured or killed. I'm so glad that modern Christians have changed tactics and decided to pray for me instead of using red-hot pincers on me.
  • Why do so many people who reach their lowest point in life turn to God and pray for help? Why aren't they looking for an atheist to help them?
Well, perhaps because cults seem to prey on those of us who have hit low points in our lives. It's a good way to win recruits to your cause. Of course, Atheists do help those in need. We just don't see the need to crow about how much help we're giving.
  • The laws of Physics prove that the odds of any particle at any given time being organized into something are extremely rare in the extreme. That's allot of time and allot of particles. At some point God must be science. Sorry
Sorry?! You should be! Theories (not LAWS) show that particles are somewhat random and chaotic at a quantum level, but at a higher level they lead to forms of matter that are self-organizing. Given enough energy at the starting point, matter will continually, predictably, self-organize into forms of higher complexity. Go take a basic physics or astronomy class!
  • It’s obvious that God exists and even the most depraved mind knows this. And it’s apparent that even those denying Him know He exists because if He did not then why would there be such interest in disproving His existence.
Insults again. It almost sounds like you're saying that God exists because I deny his existence – wow, that's power! Atheists created God! Anyway, your argument is so poorly stated that I really don't understand it.
  • "If there was no God, then there would be no Atheists"
And if there was no Santa Clause there would be no children who believed in him. Oh, wait, I've got one... if absolutely everyone believed in God there would be no Christians! Yes, that works!
  • There is tons of emprical evidence that supports God in this world. lets start with all the archeological digs over teh years. thousand and thousands of them and not a single one that has yet to disprove what hte Bible has thought, many have thought that they have but all have been refuted.
Yes, like the Shroud of Turin. Or a chunk of Noah's Arc. Great evidence there. Hey, I've got an idea, since Peachtree Street in Atlanta Georgia is shown to exist, isn't it evidence that Scarlett and Rhett Butler's house existed too? Have I just proven that Scarlett O'Hara, from the book “Gone with the Wind” actually existed? Or wait a minute, what about London England – isn't that proof that Harry Potter exists? The Bible does hold archaeological truths, but so does much fiction.
  • Dear Atheists, Have You Ever Seen Your Brain? Answer NO Then How Do You Know You Have One. Chances Are You Do Not Have One, Good Luck You Are Going To Need It Forever In Hell Is A Very Long Time
Dear Christian: First point, use a good word processor – it will help with your capitalization mistakes. Second, I've seen my wife's brain – via CAT scan and MRI. Oddly I wasn't able to see her soul. Lastly, which Hell are you referring to? There seem to be many – and no way of choosing the correct religion to stay out of Hell.
  • In my own mind, (I have a sound mind ... I hold a Master of Science Degree from University of Dundee in Scotland and a B.Sc. from University of London) people who believe that they are evolving chemicals are brain dead. From a scientific point of view.... the only sense made is that God created the Universe. I am in good company with scientists such as Isaac Newton, Einstein, Maxwell etc all believeing in God. If you study history, archeology, biology, physics, chemistry, cosmology, histology, geography, .... just about anything with a brain and without accepting what you are told and THINKING about it all, you can not come to any conclusion different from the theist viewpoint.
And yet others with similar (and better) qualifications than yours have gone the other way. Odd that. As for a "sound mind" evidenced by your degrees, I know of several people who are well educated and still mentally impaired. Also, even if you come to the scientific conclusion that there must be A god, you still must prove that said god must be the Christian god.

Oh, and you misspelled “believing”, Mr. Smarty-pants.

  • How many of the numerous religions in the world, aside from Christianity, worship a savior, a messaih, prophesied to come many, many years in advance. To be born of a virgin whom was Divinley impregnated and had his own astronomical beacon, the star of Bethlehem, for those who follwed the prophesy to find Him and worship Him. Whom came to preach Truth, Love & Peace, whom performed MIRACLES not unto himself, but in the name of the Father, the only true God, and whom willingly & obediently gave his life for every generation to follow so that their eternal souls may be saved? Which of these religions worship such an unselfish and loving Savior?
You really got me there. Oh, maybe not – check out this link, or this one. Wow, there seems to be quite a few saviors of virgin birth who were resurrected after death - it's almost like a common story told over and over, hundreds of years before 33 AD!
  • God send people to hell because we are evil and we sin. If a judge let a murderer go because he was a nice judge, you would say he's unjust and you would be mad right? God only punishes sin. HOWEVER, because He loves us, He sent His Son to die on the cross and take our punishment for us so we don't have to go to hell.
So lets say some billionaire pays off a judge to let the murderer go free. Even if the murderer has a true change of heart and will never commit murder again, isn't that a gross miscarriage of justice? What is worse is that the judge must impose the same sentence on all lawbreakers. Did the defendant murder someone? Then sentence him to torture for all of eternity! Did the defendant steal a candy bar? Then sentence him to torture for all of eternity! This isn't merely a miscarriage of justice, it is a travesty of (ahem) “Biblical Proportions!”
  • Ask any true Christian if they have been changed by following Christ. I can attest that I have been changed beyond what I could have ever accomplished on my own as a result of my following Jesus Christ. And that change is %100 positive.
And I have a friend who was changed by converting to Islam, with 100% positive results. You have a point? Oh, and by the way, what exactly is a "True Christian"? All of you Christians seem to point fingers at each other and declare each other to be false. Who is an Atheist to believe?
Does anyone out there have any better arguments than these? I'd love to hear them! I certainly hope that Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron come off better than this.

But I don't expect them to do so.

17 comments:

wallwd said...

"I'm so glad that modern Christians have changed tactics and decided to pray for me instead of using red-hot pincers on me."

Christians do not torture or kill. some call themselves Christian do bad things but Jesus and God will not.

Calladus said...

Sorry Wall - that's a "No True Scotsman" fallacy.

http://www.logicalfallacies.info/notruescotsman.html

Gilbert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Calladus said...

Sorry for the deletion folks. I really do detest comment spam. Please don't advertise commercially in my blog - or I'll be forced to turn comment moderation back on.

MLD said...

calladus,
Based on your comment, I think you make the case for religion.
"Studies of Bonobo and Chimpanzee tribes show that individuals of these species have systems of morality that are, in many cases, similar to our own."

That's the problem with modern man, we have the morals of sub species. Perhaps we can do better.

Calladus said...

Hi mld!

I hope I'm doing better at making the case for evolved morality! Compassion, cooperation, empathy all go toward group fitness for survivability. I'm sure others can explain it better than I in a short comment.

But if there were an Afterlife, I'm not sure I'd want to get in if my dogs weren't allowed! And Cetaceans! The afterlife has to allow in whales or I'm not going!

As for morals, I do think we're getting better at building a sound ethical system. I just believe we are doing so in spite of Christianity, not because of it.

MLD said...

Hello to you calladus,
you probably never had Christianity explained to you in a real way.
See, we have very high standards - we are told to be perfect in the same way God is perfect.
As you can probably guess, none of us can reach that goal. Not only can't we attain the goal, we don't even try. In fact if we try we go deeper into sin. That's why we need a savior. If it wasn't for someone intervening in our life, heaven would be an empty place.

So, through no effort on my own, God starts working on us, and man's reaction to God's call is always to run away and reject God (He gets in the way of our fun).

Now the difference between our world views is that I see us as dreadful creatures capable of doing all kinds of evil and say that we fall short of God's will whereas you look at the same thing and figure we must be getting better.

I could be wrong, but I would rather set my sights on God vision for us rather than acting out like the monkeys.

And who told you that there wouldn't be dogs in heaven? :-)

Calladus said...

Now the difference between our world views is that I see us as dreadful creatures capable of doing all kinds of evil and say that we fall short of God's will whereas you look at the same thing and figure we must be getting better.

This is a telling statement of how you see your fellow humans. If you expect the worst from people, then you'll never be disappointed.

As for your "No True Scotsman" fallacy, if you had Islam explained to you in a 'real way' then of course you would understand and leave your blasphemous religion.

And I got that dogs don't go to Heaven from the Bible. You know, the same book that expects me to laugh it up in Heaven while my loved ones are in Hell?

Bluefreak57 said...

Calladus,
Christianity is not just like every other religion, it is about a relationship. It is about a GOD the creator of everything (who doesn't need anyone to create Him because He is God, that is a human way of thought), that loved His creation so much that He gave them the freedom to choose to love Him. Just like I can tell my child to repeat like a parrot they love me, it means so much more when they say it on their own. God's freedom for humanity enables both right and wrong and the ability for people to choose heaven or hell (not choosing is still choosing). He is righteous and perfect and we are not, we need some way that will allow us to be with Him. In order for sin (evil, wrong doing, missing the mark of perfection) to be resolved there must be sacrifice. For every action there is a equal reaction. Sin = death, and that death is ours to pay. As a christian I believe that God sent His son Jesus to pay that price for all the world, so that again the choice would be ours. My "religion" does not require me to meet a certain set of rules, or regulations as do other "religions". My God says that if I accept, trust in, believe, that His son died for me I will have the ability to spend eternity with Him. Out of this relationship these "works" rules etc... will spur I will desire to be more like God and so my character will change which results in a higher standard of morality. Each of the other religions that you would like to discuss do have a lot in common with christianity just as any copycat would with the original. Yet find me another "religion" where God makes himself approachable by all people and offers a personal relationship with no strings attached.

Calladus said...

You want your child to tell you, of his free will, that he loves you. You don't want him to parrot it, or to have it forced out of him.

So why would you threaten him with a gun?

This is what I see in your religion. God has a "Hell Gun" pointed right at your head and has commanded you to "Love me, of your free will, or I'll pull the trigger."

And here's the worst part of it. He is going to pull the trigger of that Hell Gun on the people that you love. People who are good people, who's only "sin" is that of disbelief.

You love your child. After you are both dead (hopefully after a long, full life) how will you be able to cope with an eternity of Heaven if your child didn't 'make the grade'?

And this is a religion of hope and love?

Bluefreak57 said...

Calladus,

I will feel horrible if one day my child chooses to rob a bank but according to the law I will have to let the punishment for that take place. How is this any different than not choosing heaven and therefore choosing hell. If you go outside and fall you can be angry all day at gravity, but it won't change it from happening.

Besides God has given us all so many chances and still does to choose Him, I am positive by the time all of us die whether today or 50 years from now we will have been given more chances to accept his gift of love than we can begin to fathom.

Bluefreak57 said...

Calladus,

One more thing to add, I am not sure if you understand exactly what sin is. I would think that unbelief is just the tip of the iceberg for just about anyone

Calladus said...

Yes, obviously I don't understand what sin is because I was never really a Christian.

If I were really REALLY a Christian, I would obviously never have fallen away from the one, true faith to be an Atheist now.

So, who do you think has the true faith? Methodists? Catholics? Pentecostals? I want to know which of these conflicting doctrines are exactly right. I don't want to get aboard the wrong bus, you know?

Bluefreak57 said...

Calladus,

You sound passionate and I hope that you aren't angry.
You said "So, who do you think has the true faith? Methodists? Catholics? Pentecostals? I want to know which of these conflicting doctrines are exactly right. I don't want to get aboard the wrong bus, you know?"

Well as you probably know you have a mix of 2 denominations of protestantism and catholicism listed there. If you would really like to discuss their similarities and differences I would be more than happy.

The real question in all of this is Why can't there be a loving God who really doesn't want to shoot His "Hell Gun"? Again I am not here to debate doctrinal issues, theological ramifications of eschatological systems. I am merely asking you to consider this that there is a God who loves you. For most it is so hard to think of eternal anything i.e. Love, Life, Death, because we are so temporal. Yet God Loves Us (You, Me) even if we don't believe it or accept it.

MLD said...

calladus,
Now you are not being truthful. I searched all through the Bible and could not find a passage that said that there were no dogs in heaven.

Also, your comment to bluefreak57 is just as incorrect as the above.
"Love me, of your free will, or I'll pull the trigger."
that says God sends us to hell if we don't love him. Where do you get this stuff?
Our command is to put our trust in the work that Christ did for us on the cross (I am not asking you to accept this - I just want you to know what the Bible says.) That act is what "saves" us. There are many times that I am not loving God, but that doesn't undo the work of Jesus.

Also, your statement "People who are good people, who's only "sin" is that of disbelief."
You have accepted another fallacy, that people go to hell because they do not believe in Jesus - far from true. People go to hell because they sin against God and for that reason alone.
It is Jesus that saves us FROM Hell, not that we go there because "we haven't heard or we rejected Christ."

Someone needs to hit the books.

Gilbert said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Calladus said...

Gilbert,

You really are an ass. How Christian of you to blog-spam advertise your Christian Bookstore in my blog, even after I told you not to do so.

It's creeps like you that force bloggers to turn on comment moderation.

Sorry folks. I've got to turn the moderation back on. You can all thank asshat Gilbert for that.