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Feb 10 2012

Ray Comfort Vs… Debbie Goddard?

African-Americans for Humanism — which is run by my friend, the awesomely cool Debbie Goddard — recently launched the We Are AAH campaign to raise public awareness of religious skepticism in the black community. And the Worldnutdaily and first-class moron Ray Comfort are trying to use it to sell books — and saying some really stupid things to do so.

“Atheistic evolution isn’t an intelligent belief, as atheists would have the black community believe,” said Ray Comfort, whose new project is “Hitler, God, and the Bible.”

“It’s a philosophy for the dumbest of the dumb, and it’s an insult to the black heritage to try and hoodwink them into believing that nothing created everything,” he said.

“That’s a scientific impossibility, and African Americans have got too much intelligence to believe such an insane worldview. That’s why there are so few black atheists. Most atheists are white, educated, and greatly lacking when it comes to common sense,” he said.

Yes, the man who thinks bananas prove the existence of god is calling other people dumb. You can’t make this shit up.

“Atheism almost always embraces Darwinian evolution, which would have people believe that they are merely animals, and that there are no moral absolutes. I have been going to universities and challenging students to convince me that evolution has a scientific basis. No-one can offer any proof, because Darwin’s evolution is scientifically baseless. All they have are theories that have to be received in blind faith,” he said.

Really? Maybe you should ask me, Ray. I can provide you with lots and lots of evidence that can only be explained by common descent. This is SOP for fundie nutballs like Comfort, to claim that no one can answer his oh-so-brilliant questions when, in reality, they’re quite easy to answer.

Comfort said the warning signs are explained in his book, which outlines the atrocities of Hitler and how the dictator’s worldview allowed him to destroy millions of lives because they weren’t really “human.”

Hitler was not an atheist, not by a longshot. In fact, he explicitly said that he was doing the work of God in killing the Jews. And it wasn’t atheism that made Germans susceptible for Hitler’s anti-Jewish madness, it was Martin Luther, who was a proto-Hitler who told his followers to burn down the homes and synagogues of Jewish people. Here’s a sample:

What then shall we Christians do with this damned, rejected race of Jews? Since they live among us and we know about their lying and blasphemy and cursing, we can not tolerate them if we do not wish to share in their lies, curses, and blasphemy. In this way we cannot quench the inextinguishable fire of divine rage nor convert the Jews. We must prayerfully and reverentially practice a merciful severity. Perhaps we may save a few from the fire and flames [of hell]. We must not seek vengeance. They are surely being punished a thousand times more than we might wish them. Let me give you my honest advice.
First, their synagogues should be set on fire, and whatever does not burn up should be covered or spread over with dirt so that no one may ever be able to see a cinder or stone of it. And this ought to be done for the honor of God and of Christianity in order that God may see that we are Christians, and that we have not wittingly tolerated or approved of such public lying, cursing, and blaspheming of His Son and His Christians.

Secondly, their homes should likewise be broken down and destroyed. For they perpetrate the same things there that they do in their synagogues. For this reason they ought to be put under one roof or in a stable, like gypsies, in order that they may realize that they are not masters in our land, as they boast, but miserable captives, as they complain of incessantly before God with bitter wailing.

Thirdly, they should be deprived of their prayer-books and Talmuds in which such idolatry, lies, cursing, and blasphemy are taught.

Fourthly, their rabbis must be forbidden under threat of death to teach any more…

Fifthly, passport and traveling privileges should be absolutely forbidden to the Jews. For they have no business in the rural districts since they are not nobles, nor officials, nor merchants, nor the like. Let them stay at home…If you princes and nobles do not close the road legally to such exploiters, then some troop ought to ride against them, for they will learn from this pamphlet what the Jews are and how to handle them and that they ought not to be protected. You ought not, you cannot protect them, unless in the eyes of God you want to share all their abomination…

To sum up, dear princes and nobles who have Jews in your domains, if this advice of mine does not suit you, then find a better one so that you and we may all be free of this insufferable devilish burden – the Jews…

That is from Luther’s On the Jews and their Lies. And Hitler, by the way, also explicitly rejected evolution in Mein Kampf.

Walking about in the garden of Nature, most men have the self-conceit to think that they know everything; yet almost all are blind to one of the outstanding principles that Nature employs in her work. This principle may be called the inner isolation which characterizes each and every living species on this earth.

Even a superficial glance is sufficient to show that all the innumerable forms in which the life-urge of Nature manifests itself are subject to a fundamental law–one may call it an iron law of Nature–which compels the various species to keep within the definite limits of their own life-forms when propagating and multiplying their kind. Each animal mates only with one of its own species. The titmouse cohabits only with the titmouse, the finch with the finch, the stork with the stork, the field-mouse with the field-mouse, the house-mouse with the house-mouse, the wolf with the she-wolf, etc…

From where do we get the right to believe, that from the very beginning Man was not what he is today? Looking at Nature tells us that in the realm of plants and animals changes and developments happen. But nowhere inside a kind shows such a development as the breadth of the jump, as Man must supposedly have made, if he has developed from an ape-like state to what he is today.

And Hitler said many times that he was motivated by his Christian faith. From a 1922 speech:

My feelings as a Christian points me to my Lord and Savior as a fighter. It points me to the man who once in loneliness, surrounded only by a few followers, recognized these Jews for what they were and summoned men to fight against them and who, God’s truth! was greatest not as a sufferer but as a fighter. In boundless love as a Christian and as a man I read through the passage which tells us how the Lord at last rose in His might and seized the scourge to drive out of the Temple the brood of vipers and adders. How terrific was His fight for the world against the Jewish poison. To-day, after two thousand years, with deepest emotion I recognize more profoundly than ever before in the fact that it was for this that He had to shed His blood upon the Cross. As a Christian I have no duty to allow myself to be cheated, but I have the duty to be a fighter for truth and justice…. And if there is anything which could demonstrate that we are acting rightly it is the distress that daily grows. For as a Christian I have also a duty to my own people…. When I go out in the morning and see these men standing in their queues and look into their pinched faces, then I believe I would be no Christian, but a very devil if I felt no pity for them, if I did not, as did our Lord two thousand years ago, turn against those by whom to-day this poor people is plundered and exploited.

And in 1933:

Except the Lord built the house they labour in vain…. The truth of that text was proved if one looks at the house of which the foundations were laid in 1918 and which since then has been in building…. The world will not help, the people must help itself. Its own strength is the source of life. That strength the Almighty has given us to use; that in it and through it we may wage the battle of our life…. The others in the past years have not had the blessing of the Almighty– of Him Who in the last resort, whatever man may do, holds in His hands the final decision. Lord God, let us never hesitate or play the coward, let us never forget the duty which we have taken upon us…. We are all proud that through God’s powerful aid we have become once more true Germans.

Now, I don’t think Hitler was really a Christian. I think he used anything at his disposal to convince people to go along with his insane plans. He exploited religion, as madmen often do. In other situations, he appealed to science to support his twisted ideology. It all depended on the audience.

35 comments

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  1. 1
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    See, the thing is, Ray Comfort has been told many, many times about the scientific basis of evolution, about Hitler’s beliefs, about atheism basing morality on doing good for other people, and so forth. It’s not that he hasn’t heard that stuff, it’s just that he refuses to listen.

    No matter how many times you tell this man anything – he’s already formed an opinion on it, his opinion is correct, and you can’t convince him otherwise.

  2. 2
    Deen

    “Atheism almost always embraces Darwinian evolution, which would have people believe that they are merely animals,…

    What does he mean, merely animals? What’s wrong with being animals? Animals are awesome.

    … and that there are no moral absolutes.

    Which has nothing to do with Darwinism.

    I have been going to universities and challenging students…

    Just students? What about talking to actual scientists? Too much of a coward for that?

    … to convince me that evolution has a scientific basis. No-one can offer any proof, because Darwin’s evolution is scientifically baseless.

    Considering that he still doesn’t understand that science doesn’t deal in “proof”, but “evidence”, he clearly hasn’t been listening to any scientists.

    Besides, he might want to start with offering some “proof” for his assertion that there are moral absolutes.

  3. 3
    slc1

    Re # 1

    To put it another way, Mr. Comfort’s mind is made up, the facts are irrelevant.

  4. 4
    d cwilson

    That’s par for the course for more active creationists. They know that all of their arguments have been refuted by the evidence, they just don’t care. They believe that if they ignore it, it will go away. And if they have to repeatedly lie to get people to see the “greater truth”, then so be it.

  5. 5
    Curt Cameron

    Comfort here is explicitly saying that the reason that African-Americans are more likely to believe in God is that they’re more intelligent than whites.

  6. 6
    d cwilson

    Considering that he still doesn’t understand that science doesn’t deal in “proof”, but “evidence”, he clearly hasn’t been listening to any scientists.

    Besides, he might want to start with offering some “proof” for his assertion that there are moral absolutes.

    As is often the case when dealing with people like Comfort, the problem we have is that we expect words to have consistent meanings, whereas in Comfort’s world, definitions are far more slippery.

    I listened to him being interviewed by a couple of atheists once (they were very polite to him, BTW). When they tried to get him to cite evidence for the existence of God, his reply was “common sense”.

    There you have it. That’s Ray Comfort’s standard of proof. God exists because it makes sense for him to believe that. That’s why no college student can ever offer him contrary proof about evolution. Stories about talking snakes and magic apples make far more sense to him.

  7. 7
    a miasma of incandescent plasma

    “… evolution, which would have people believe that they are merely animals,”

    Does bananaman propose we are something other than animals? Special little snowflakes?? How scientific of him…

    “I have been going to universities and challenging students to convince me that evolution has a scientific basis. No-one can offer any proof,”

    Since he seems to embrace a form of scientific review, then next time this “experiment” he’s trying can be peer-reviewed and duplicated by multiple un-connected scientists and we can determine if his results are both reliable AND valid. I’d bet he’d be up for that, right??

  8. 8
    Chiroptera

    It’s a philosophy for the dumbest of the dumb….

    Well, to be fair to Comfort, that should be a topic on which he’s an expert!

  9. 9
    Sqrat

    Now, I don’t think Hitler was really a Christian.

    That raises the perennial question of what it means to be a “real Christian” or, for that matter, a “real atheist.” Is it a matter of public profession, or of private belief which might be the polar opposite of one’s public profession?

    Wikipedia actually has a rather nice article on “Adolf Hitler’s religious views,” which notes that in Oct. 1933 Hitler declared, “We were convinced that the people needs and requires this faith. We have therefore undertaken the fight against the atheistic movement, and that not merely with a few theoretical declarations: we have stamped it out.” It’s a peculiar atheist who boasts about stamping out atheism. The same article quotes Goebbels as believing that Hitler was “deeply religious but entirely anti-Christian,” which I think might be a reasonably accurate statement. Goebbels would have been in as good a position to know as anyone.

    Let’s just say that the case that Hitler was an atheist in terms of his public profession is patently false, and the case that Hitler was an atheist in his private views is highly dubious. If Ray Comfort wants to talk about an evil atheist, we’ll give him Joseph Stalin — the man whose troops finally cornered Hitler in that Berlin bunker in 1945.

  10. 10
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @slc1:

    Exactly. I spent a good few months on Comfort’s site, just getting angry. After one post when he made caused me to cry (it was a really bad reminder of my Christian-raised childhoof) I left and never looked back. No matter how many times I stated the same exact stuff, he pretended he never saw any of it before.

  11. 11
    Chiroptera

    …and that there are no moral absolutes.

    And how does the belief in moral absolutes help? Seeing how different religions have a very different idea of what these moral absolutes are (the 9/11 terrorists beleived in moral absolutes, after all, and whether or not Hitler was Christian, he seemed to believe in moral absolutes), it seems that in practice your average Christian is in no different a situation than your average atheist.

  12. 12
    matty1

    So Mr Comfort is not an animal, that means he is either plant, fungi or one of the unicellular kingdoms. Since he is apparently large enough to hold a banana we can probably rule out the last so which is he a plant or a fungus?

  13. 13
    slc1

    Re Sqrat @ 39

    Albert Speer, in his memoirs, quotes Frankenberger as stating that the adoption of Christianity by the German populace was a mistake and that Shintoism would have been a better choice. Frankenberger was a great admirer of the Bushido aspect of Shintoism which he considered more appropriate for a warlike race such as he considered Germans to be.

  14. 14
    Avo, also nigelTheBold

    @Katherine Lorraine, @slc1:

    I’ve often wondered how much of Comfort’s willful ignorance is based on not just emotional investment, but on income as well. Here he is, shilling his book. Isn’t he always shilling something?

    He makes a pretty decent living, and all he has to do is keep spouting the same damned disproven lies.

    The capacity for self-delusion is vast when your livelihood is at stake.

  15. 15
    Sqrat

    Albert Speer, in his memoirs, quotes Frankenberger as stating that the adoption of Christianity by the German populace was a mistake and that Shintoism would have been a better choice.

    According to the Wikipedia article on Hitler’s religious views to which I referred, “Albert Speer quotes Hitler stating, ‘You see, it’s been our misfortune to have the wrong religion. Why didn’t we have the religion of the Japanese, who regard sacrifice for the Fatherland as the highest good? The Mohammedan religion too would have been much more compatible to us than Christianity. Why did it have to be Christianity with its meekness and flabbiness?’”

  16. 16
    Ingdigo Jump

    No matter how many times you tell this man anything – he’s already formed an opinion on it, his opinion is correct, and you can’t convince him otherwise.

    I remember one interview where someone was praising his books and he made a wry joke about “it’s really just the one book we give different titles to”. Now maybe it’s just my naivety with this, but something about his body language said guilt to me. He knows he’s bullshitting. It’s for the money.

  17. 17
    KathyO

    Bananas, the ultimate creationist argument. Good for demonstrating intelligent design and for stuffing in your ears to avoid counter arguments.

  18. 18
    Modusoperandi

    You people are monsters! Ray Comfort is a saint! While not as beautiful as, say, Ken Ham’s rigid YECism(*1), Comfort and those like him have done more for atheism than atheists possibly could.

    *1. Comfort, if memory serves, dodges on the subject of age. (I assume that’s because, even in the depths of his idiocy, he knows that to declare Man/Earth/universe is 6K old is to instantly lose the argument)
    *2. Or, if you prefer, done more to push Christians away from the kind of theism that looks comically stupid when the lights are pointed at it (for example, see every argument he has ever made). Anti-intellectualist groups aside, most people, I should hope, don’t like being associated with morons(*3).
    *3. That’s why I don’t hang around me. And I only give myself a lift to work because I’m my ride.

  19. 19
    Trebuchet

    So Mr Comfort is not an animal, that means he is either plant, fungi or one of the unicellular kingdoms. Since he is apparently large enough to hold a banana we can probably rule out the last so which is he a plant or a fungus?

    You’re forgetting the the third leg of the old childrens’ game triad: Animal, Vegetable, or Mineral? He’s certainly dumb as a rock.

    Hitler may have been No True Christian (TM) but he undoubtedly thought he was.

  20. 20
    Kevin, 友好火猫 (Friendly Fire Cat)

    @nigel:

    I think, 100%, it’s because of his bottom line that he ignores the refutations of his positions.

  21. 21
    Akira MacKenzie

    @Miasma…

    “Does bananaman propose we are something other than animals? Special little snowflakes??”

    As far as I can tell, the fundies are offended by the notion that humans are “merely animals” because for precisely that reason. To them an “animal” is a soulless, uncivilized creature that defecated, copulates, kills, stampedes about, etc. without any thought or moral accountability. An animal is something you kill and eat or harness up to your cart. To compare “people” who they believe we’re specifically created with a “soul” by, and in the image of, their deity is a horrible insult to their precious egos.

  22. 22
    kacyray

    Ed,

    Ray Comfort is a textbook example of the Dunning-Kruger effect in action.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dunning%E2%80%93Kruger_effect

    Since he lacks the cognitive ability to formulate a strong argument, he also lacks the cognitive ability to distinguish between a strong argument and a weak one.

  23. 23
    Chiroptera

    Akira MacKenzie, #21: To them an “animal” is a soulless, uncivilized creature that defecated, copulates, kills, stampedes about, etc. without any thought or moral accountability.

    Unless that animal doesn’t have gay sex. Then it becomes a Shining Example of Natural Law that we must emulate.

  24. 24
    acroyear

    Well, the thing about the Nazis and Darwin is that there is conflicting history involved. Hitler rejected Darwinism as an actual biological, but did on occasion misquote and misrepresent Darwin when making some of his speeches, particularly those co-written with Himmler. But as many have said, Darwinism didn’t create Himmler – Himmler merely found, by twisting the words of the common interpretation of Darwin (not the true scientific meaning), “evidence” to support what he already felt, a German racial superiority complex that had existed for centuries before Darwin. In the same breath as misquoting Darwin, his statements would also credit “God-given” rights and privileges to the German people. As the saying goes, “whatever works”.

    Anti-semitism certainly predated Luther, who merely codified it. Pogroms against Jews in German lands go back to the events surrounding the First Crusade.

  25. 25
    lofgren

    It’s a peculiar atheist who boasts about stamping out atheism.

    It’s not that Hitler was an atheist, it’s just that he didn’t care about anything except end results. I doubt he believed much of anything very strongly that wasn’t self-serving (the only possible exception being the extermination of the Jews, which he pursued with the furor of a fanatic), and both the man and the party showed more than a willingness to abandon any idea or ally once it stopped being useful. This also explains how Hitler could appear to support so many apparently contradictory beliefs.

  26. 26
    lofgren

    Also I suspect Hitler was influenced by Darwin about as much as the X-Men were. You couldn’t really have opinions on race post-Descent of Man without in some ways taking (typically a mangled, unscientific version of) Darwin’s theory into account. But Hitler’s prejudices being indirectly fed by Malthus via Darwin is no more an argument against evolution than Stan Lee being wrong about the effects of an irradiated spider bite is evidence against the atomic bomb.

    Anyway the obvious counter example is to look to the Soviet Union, a country that explicitly rejected evolution and nearly starved itself to death as direct result.

  27. 27
    Ichthyic

    See, the thing is, Ray Comfort has been told many, many times about the scientific basis of evolution, about Hitler’s beliefs, about atheism basing morality on doing good for other people, and so forth. It’s not that he hasn’t heard that stuff, it’s just that he refuses to listen

    I’ve seen this man in action.

    It’s not at all that he refuses to listen. It’s that he listens, and then lies about what he heard.

    Ray is a conman, nothing more.

    It’s been his career since before he left NZ.

  28. 28
    Ichthyic

    It’s a peculiar atheist who boasts about stamping out atheism.

    he also boasted about stamping out:

    Jews
    Gypsies
    Catholics

    …and basically anyone or anything that either would get him more support from the general populace, or eliminate his detractors directly.

    I never have gotten why people try to plaster religious, or even a-religious, motivations to people like Stalin, Mao, and Hitler.

    Their motivation was purely authoritarian in scope, affect, and practice.

    They all thought that the only way to successfully create a lasting empire was through brutal authoritarianism, period, and that they really did know what was best for their countries in the long term.

    they were all deluded megalomaniacs.

    religion? atheism? completely irrelevant except as specific political tools.

    frankly, this is really how they are used 99% of the time in global politics anyway.

  29. 29
    Chiroptera

    Comfort said the warning signs are explained in his book, which outlines the atrocities of Hitler and how the dictator’s worldview allowed him to destroy millions of lives because they weren’t really “human.”

    I’ve said this before, Hitler wasn’t using evolution in his programs. Evolution is a theory about how brand new species arise from old ones.

    Hitler wasn’t trying to create a new species.

    He was trying to “protect” and to “improve” an already existing “race.”

    By using the selective breeding techniques that have been used by farmers for thousands of years, and that are acknowledged by everyone to work.

  30. 30
    Sqrat

    he also boasted about stamping out:

    Jews
    Gypsies
    Catholics

    Jews and Gypsies maybe, but Catholics? Surely not.

  31. 31
    timgueguen

    Trying to decide what Hitler’s religious beliefs were is in a way an unnecessary distraction. Whatever his beliefs were doesn’t change the fact that the majority of those who took helped produce the atrocities of Nazi Germany considered themselves Christian.

  32. 32
    John Hinkle

    …said Ray Comfort, whose new project is “Hitler, God, and the Bible.”

    ACHTUNG!

    ALLES EVOLUSCHONISM TURISTEN UND NONSCIENTIFICANISH LOOKENPEEPERS!

    DAS SCIENCE IST NICHT FÜR DER GEFINGERPOKEN UND MITTENGRABEN! ODERWISE IST EASY TO SCHNAPPEN DER SPRINGENWERK, BLOWENFUSEN UND POPPENCORKEN MIT SPITZENSPARKSEN.

    IST NICHT FÜR GEWERKEN BEI DUMMKOPFEN. DER RUBBERNECKEN SIGHTSEEREN KEEPEN DAS COTTONPICKEN HÄNDER IN DAS POCKETS MUSS.

    ZO RELAXEN UND WATSCHEN DER BLINKENLICHTEN.

  33. 33
    John Hinkle

    Aww damn, I accidentally tabbed to the submit button and off it went. I had more edits to do that old favorite to make it funnier. Verklempt bin Ich.

  34. 34
    exdrone

    Well, Ed. If you’re going to be pissy with Ray Comfort, you can kiss good-bye any chance of getting an interview with Kirk Cameron. I hope you’re happy now.

  35. 35
    ttch

    Comfort just repeats his lies, no matter what is said to him. He rarely even bothers to re-formulate his nonsense.

    Most anyone who has followed a blog or message board is familiar with such characters. They are called trolls. Some even have their own blogs and make patently-absurd claims to increase public interest.

    Add Christianity to the mix and they can solicit contributions while getting a tax exemption.

    Comfort has found a way to turn trolling into big bucks.

    The traditional answer to trolls is not to them but instead to their responders: “Do not feed the trolls!”

    So, Ed, maybe you should consider deleting this thread?

  1. 36
    NEWS: Whitney Houston Has Died (UPDATED) – Aran Orin online

    [...] Ray Comfort to black people: Don’t believe in evolution like those stupid whitefolk. [...]

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