Something to read with your Monday morning coffee

Everyone loves a good beatdown of those two adorable sad-sack clowns, Ray Cameron and Kirk Comfort. (Or is that the other way around? Oh, who cares!) And here, a fine young atheist writer named Nathan Dickey provides one for your reading pleasure. Enjoy.


Talking to Nathan on Facebook this morning, he brought up that he was inspired to take the opposite approach suggested by this post of mine from a year ago, in which I tried to encourage atheists simply to ignore Ray. My opinion then, which I still hold, is that the vast majority of what Ray says and does is every bit as much about self-promotion and aggrandizement as it is about evangelizing.

It’s nothing but a publicity stunt when Ray and Kirk do things like publish their own version of Origin of Species, or “challenge” people like Richard Dawkins to a debate (simply so they can crow he must have chickened out when he refuses). And Ray’s legendary dishonesty is so shameless in all of his dealings with atheists that for atheists to continue to seek engagements with him can only be seen as an act of futility. This is quite simply a man who cannot be trusted to show any degree of integrity whatsoever. He is a pathological liar, straight up, as we saw most recently in an exchange where Ray informed an atheist commenter to his blog that he would be delighted to phone in to AETV if we extended an invitation to him, as he did not want to invite himself. I immediately went to Ray’s blog and posted an invitation. Ray replied by posting a link to his “interview request” form, which would seem bizarre, considering that I wasn’t requesting an interview with him, only extending the invitation to call us that he had asked for. I say it would seem bizarre, until you realize that Ray is dishonest in every imaginable way. Then you realize this behavior is par for the course for him.

Weeks later, we were told by a reader that Ray was once again repeating the whole “Sure I’d love to call them, but they haven’t invited me!” thing, which makes him nothing less than a blatant, bald-faced lying sack of shit. So in this regard, yes, I still say, atheists should ignore Ray, because he has demonstrated through his every behavior that honesty at even the most basic level is just not part of his playbook.

But then, to do as Nathan has done, and critique the content of Ray and Kirk’s evangelism — well, that remains an entirely legitimate exercise in counter-apologetics. And a fun one too, as Ray and Kirk are without question the most laughable excuses for apologists alive — and when you consider the generally low intellectual level the bulk of religious apologetics is working in, that’s really saying something. So keep tearing apart their silly books and websites and TV programs. As Nathan notes, beating down Ray and Kirk’s drivel can be thought of as the training wheels for newbie atheists just learning to ride the counter-apologetics bike. It’s good sport, and good practice.

Kirk n’ Ray’s latest folly

By now I’m sure everyone knows about Kirk Cameron and Ray Comfort’s plan to give away their own edition of Darwin’s On the Origin of Species, complete with their own 50-page introduction packed with contemptible creotard lies, at 50 college campuses this November. UT-Austin is one of those campuses, and you can bet I’ll be there to get my copy! I heartily encourage Atheist Longhorns and literally everyone from the university’s Biology department to snap up copies as well, until they run out. And of course, make sure the uneducated drones giving away the book’s are appropriately humiliated and schooled. They evidently haven’t considered the likely consequences of showing up in an environment where people are, by and large, well educated, and trying to spread their ignorant twaddle. Let’s ensure they leave with a full understanding of those consequences.

Jim Emerson’s Scanners blog (Jim edits rogerebert.com, and both he and Ebert are outspoken science supporters) offers a very funny takedown of Kirk and Ray’s idiocy, and I think it’s a good thing that this whole exercise receives as much derision in advance of the actual event as possible. What an awesome thing it would be if those dispatched to give away these books encountered, at all 50 universities (and I’ve read reports there may be more than 100 universities by now), a horde of fearless and outspoken experts in science who calmly shoot down their foolishness and lies, like shooting clay pigeons out of the sky. This ought to be an event they live to regret.

Kirk Cameron to Host Atheist Experience

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In a press conference today, Matt Dillahunty, host of The Atheist Experience, announced that he would retire and hand over the reigns to film actor, long-time atheist, and master comedian Kirk Cameron.
The 38 year old Cameron is a former child actor who starred in the hit comedy series Growing Pains, before going on to perform in popular Christian apologetics movies including Left Behind and Fireproof. “I’m thrilled and honored to be joining the cast of the prestigious Atheist Experience,” Cameron told reporters today. “This apologetics thing has been a great joke to pull, but I think it’s time for me to move on to a new challenge worthy of my stagecraft.”
Cameron staged a fake conversion to Christianity in 1987, at the height of popularity for Growing Pains. He went on to deliberately alienate many of his friends and coworkers by loudly complaining about the “immorality” and “pornography” on the family sitcom.
“I’m a lifelong fan of Andy Kaufman,” explained Cameron. “Even after a few years had passed, the world was still abuzz with stories about Andy’s death.  The guy had terminal cancer, and still everyone believed that he faked it. I mean, his practical jokes were legendary — the myth has long outlived the man. Once I grew out of my ‘cute kid’ stage, I knew that my acting career was in danger of stalling out. That’s when I decided that the best way to jump start it would be to take on the role of a lifetime. I had to convince the world that my whole personality had changed.”
Cameron went on to ingratiate himself with unsuspecting Christian filmmakers, conniving his way into several promising film projects and ultimately ruining them. “This was my gift to atheism,” said Cameron. “I’m just relieved that I can finally say what I really think on The Atheist Experience, and stop playing a double role.”
Some of Cameron’s dupes took news of the prank in good humor. “Now there’s an actor,” gushed Left Behind director Vic Sarin. “Everybody else seemed to recognize that the script we were working with was complete crap. But Kirk approached the project with such apparently sincere excitement that we kind of felt bad… we were all just collecting a paycheck. Now I understand that his awful hack performance was all part of a grand meta-theater project of his own devising. What an artist!”
Not everyone took the news kindly, however. New Zealand evangelist Ray Comfort, 59, was shocked by Cameron’s revelation. “I’m simply stunned by this turn of events,” Comfort told reporters despondently outside his home in Bellflower, California. “My goodness gracious, I’ve known the bloke since 2001. The crocoduck was his idea when we debated the Rational Response Squad. We bloody well worked on every episode of Way of the Master together. To receive news like this out of nowhere? I mean… crikey.”
When told of Comfort’s distress, Cameron was nonchalant. “Yeah, you kind of have to feel sorry for the guy… but come on, fooling Ray was not exactly the feat of the century. I mean, he fell for Christianity.”
Cameron then added: “God damn it, where’s the nearest bar? I haven’t been laid properly in 22 years. I can’t believe I passed up on that Julie McCullough chick for the sake of a joke. Now she was one fine piece of ass.
“What can I say? I’m dedicated to my craft.”

Fireproof

Here’s another Kirk Cameron movie that I’ll never have to watch now. Thanks, Everything Else Atheist!

After a heroic rescue and doctor drama, Cameron’s at home again, on the Internet looking at boats, an established hobby. An ad pops up – “wanna see? Click here!” Adblock plus and firefox will take care of that little annoyance, I tell you. I think it leads to porn, but since they dance around it and never say the word porn, it’s a bit hard to tell. Maybe the sexy girl in the photo wants to show him her enormous Jenga collection, maybe it’s a rickroll. We will never know, because he flips out, gets up and emotionally beats himself for thinking about clicking on that link. With the help of the advice book, he decides not only to not click the link, but to take his computer outside and destroy it with a baseball bat.

Honestly… who among us has psychological problems that can’t be solved with a simple baseball bat?

Kirk Cameron, ACTOR!

I want to give a shout out to this great post on Slacktivist. Fred has been doing a long critique of the “Left Behind” series of books, and he’s recently turned to the first movie as a break from reading.

I thoroughly enjoyed his merciless critique of Kirk Cameron as an actor. Here’s just a taste:

This is where Cameron confesses that he doesn’t believe or understand that virtue is a craft and craft is a virtue. Cameron describes his life before his conversion:

“There was this aching, empty feeling that left me very disillusioned with the business I was working in,” he says. “What else was there? What else did I have to shoot for? I’d basically reached the top of the ladder, and I was 18.”

He had “reached the top of the ladder,” Cameron said. And he still seems to believe that this is true.

That’s an astonishing thing for him to believe when you realize that at this same time he was being introduced to the newest member of Growing Pains’ cast: Leonardo DiCaprio.

Now certainly DiCaprio’s work as Luke Brower-Seaver, the show’s Cousin Oliver, wasn’t on the same level as the quality of work he would later go on to do, but he was already clearly a talented and committed actor. Just one year after Growing Pains was canceled he was astonishingly good in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape, so I think it’s safe to assume that he was already an obviously better actor than Cameron at the time they worked together.

So for at least one year of his professional life, then, Kirk Cameron was confronted, regularly, by an example of what a real actor his own age should look like. And yet he spent all that time on the same set with and in the same scenes as DiCaprio without apparently learning anything — without even seeming to realize that he needed to learn anything.

I really have to admire how much this post hit the nail on the head in terms of what bothers me about many Christian testimonials — often they are simply incredibly arrogant about how successful they supposedly were before their conversion. The whole thing about how “I had everything, and I felt so empty.” Come on, seriously. There’s always more you can do. You never have everything. Especially if “everything” to you is being an actor with the talent level of Kirk freaking CAMERON. (I neither endorse nor reject Fred’s opinion about Leonardo, however.)