Sometimes one of my earlier posts will attract a long comment, long after the original blog entry has been posted. Some of those comments deserve closer scrutiny than they would get, hiding away from the light of the front page of my blog.
I got one such post the other day from a woman identifying herself as Bre, as a comment to my article on Comfort, Cameron, and "The Way of the Master" (Part Two).
This comment doesn't deserve to stay buried and unanswered, so I'll quote her comment, and then make my response.
Well, I didn't really read your entire article...but i just thought since by the comments i have read, you don't have any opponents, i would try to be one...Hi Bre! It's too bad that you didn't spend any time reading my blog entry. That sort of statement damages the credibility of the rest of your comment. For example, I never said that all of the Calvary churches are using the “Way of the Master” techniques; and your assertion that anything could be a sales pitch, while true, misses my point that Ray Comfort is using high pressure sales techniques mixed in with some cult recruitment tactics in a way that I consider to be borderline immoral at best.
Well not really but you know what i mean.
I am a Christian, and i also go to Calvary Chapel. I'll be quite honest with you, i didn't know (and still don't) very much about how the church started, although i have been going to calvary chapel since i was two.
I also didn't realize "Way of The Master" was a program that ALL of the CC's were following.
At any rate, my husband and I are firm believers in this teaching.
And i have heard Ray Comforts CD on how to witness to others MANY times.
The thing of it is, you can really apply the argument that it's a "sales pitch" to anything. In fact, i could say, you are trying to sell atheism to me...you are obviously passionate about what you believe, however not as aggressive as others, but you are still getting your opinion across.
The fact is, it's a sad truth that most of us "christians" believe this: EVERYONE WILL GO TO HELL. WE (as in us christians too) ARE ALL GOING TO HELL. But, Christ loves us and has died for us to save us from that. There is only one way to avoid the fate of hell, and that is to accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.
But the sad part is, those who really truly believe that have (in my opinion) become REALLY SELFISH. If we all REALLY TRULY BELIEVED that all of our unsaved friends and worse FAMILY, are going to hell, you would think that we would be screaming from the rooftops, trying to save everyone we know.
But we don't. Alot of us even hide the truth that we claim to believe so deeply. We have become ashamed instead of unashamed, we have become afraid instead of confident.
The thing is, is Ray EXTREMELY convincing, or as you would say, AGGRESSIVE and too much like a salesman? Is he pushing really really hard to save the unsaved...YES. Because in reality that's what us Christians should be doing.
If you have looked at the wayofthemaster webiste you will probably see the letter from the atheist.
All i'm trying to say to you is, all this time that we Christians have just watched our unsaved friends die, (worse...family) and go to hell, IS BAD.
We know we will be persecuted for witnessing, we know we will be hated. We will be unpopular. We will be laughed at, humiliated.
For those TRUE christians, that would be an honor. We should have the desire to save everyone from the impending judgement.
Say what you will, but judgement WILL COME. You can deny it coming, you can laugh at it, you can try to ignore it, but it will come.
Ray Comfort doesn't believe in preaching the "God Shaped hole in heart" thing for a reason.
Being a Christian is hard thing to be. Not to say I'm "a better person cause i go through it everyday"...no that's not what i mean. Once you make that real commitment you realize alot about what's wrong and what's right.
Well i'm going off on a trail...
Anyway, my point is, if he wasn't aggressive (like most lukewarm uncaring Christians) you could say, "Wow, Ray, you're telling me i'm going to hell...no...most of the world is going to hell, but you don't want to push that on me, and you don't want cramp my style?" I mean, really, you don't think it's insulting that Christians these days don't have enough heart to tell you they believe you are going to die? You don't think it's sick, that we TRULY BELIEVE you're going to hell if you don't accept Jesus Christ but we don't even take five seconds to say that to you?
If I were to use Comfort's “Way of the Master” sales pitch technique on you to “sell” Atheism, I would corner you at your door or on the street, take control of the conversation, and lead you through a sales script while applying pressure and refusing to allow you time to think. I would try to force you to make small, reasonable concessions that add up to a conclusion that you may disagree with. I would also make it very difficult for you to walk away without seeming rude and becoming the 'bad guy' of the conversation while I act innocent and bemused.
But I won't because I think the “Way of the Master” is a manipulative technique that uses people as a means to meet your own religious requirement – namely the requirement that you “witness” to the unsaved.
As a Hell believing Christian, you must also agree with Jesus most people are going to end in Hell (Matt 7:13-14). Your sentiment of “screaming from the rooftops” in order to save us sinners is commendable, but I want to ask you something. Out of all of your family and friends, there is no way you can say for sure that all of them will make it to Heaven. The chances are pretty good that you will lose someone close to you to the depths of Hell. Who will it be? Your parents? A sibling? Your Husband?
Let's just say, for the sake of argument, that you make it to Heaven, but your adult son is condemned to Hell. Not because he was evil but just because he didn't quite 'make the grade.' My question is, will you really and truly enjoy your eternal afterlife in Heaven knowing that your beloved son is tortured forever in Hell, and knowing that nothing you do or say will ever change that, for the rest of eternity?
This isn't like getting the death sentence for being a murderer. No, it is more like being tortured as a prisoner of war for shoplifting a candy bar! Except the torture never stops, and the person being tortured can't die! Bre, please tell me if you could really enjoy eternal bliss knowing that this sort of thing is happening to your beloved son? Personally, I think that sort of hateful cruelty would make me sick to my stomach – If I were in your shoes, I'd spend the rest of eternity in Heaven throwing up.
You see, this sort of lack of empathy for others is one of the many, many reasons why Christianity doesn't make sense to me – it mandates infinite punishment for finite and minor transgressions.
The “sad truth” Bre, is that Ray Comfort is aggressive, but unconvincing. He writes hateful little barbs at Atheists and then steps back to admire the hate that he wrote.
The good parts of the New Testament describe a 'good' Jesus - this is someone who would show up at a Gay bar, have a beer, tell jokes and earn the trust of the patrons, who would then wish to emulate Jesus. This sort of Jesus would become friends with prostitutes, and show up at Atheist meetings to have an open, honest two-way talk. He would build long-term relationships based on trust and respect.
Comfort is the kind of guy that would stand outside of a Gay bar and harangue the people going in and out until the bouncer forced him to leave. Then Comfort would act like the offended innocent – the poor “kicked puppy” who was doing nothing wrong.
And if you are faithfully using the techniques that Ray Comfort is teaching, then you are just as manipulative. When you fail to win any converts here you'll gather your hurt innocence around you - secure in your absolute belief that I've said nothing of consequence. And that's truly sad.