Thanks, Ray!

I did that brief interview with Ray Comfort last weekend, and today I find a nice gift basket waiting for me.

giftbasket

It looks a bit picked over already because I picked it up just before heading off to a division meeting, so I opened it up and encouraged my colleagues to help themselves. Then I sat back and watched their physiological responses after sampling. Departmental politics can be brutal.

(Nah, just joking, I wasn’t at all worried. Ray Comfort is a total ditzwaffle when it comes to science and logic and reason, but I think he’s probably a better socialized ape than many scientists I can think of.)

Comments

  1. Josh, Official SpokesGay says

    Oh, don’t let’s snark (I know, I know, that’s rich coming from me!). That’s just a gracious and civilized thing to do. We need more of that in the world.

  2. Dee Phlat says

    Careful… he may have hidden a communion wafer amongst the normal crackers

  3. says

    I’ve heard that about Comfort — that he’s very gracious to his opponents, buys them dinner, etc. Whether you find that a praise-worthy way to keep a debate civilized and non-personal, or a passive-aggressive way of making himself look good while disarming the opposition, depends on your view of the man’s character. Having never met Comfort in person, I have only his public persona to go by, which I find smarmy and disingenuous.

    So yeah, cynical bastard that I am, I’m going for the latter.

  4. mikeyb says

    That’s great. Now you need to return the favor, Ray Comfort style, repent of your sins before the end times come.

  5. yazikus says

    The world definitely needs more gift baskets. Seriously, how nice would it be to get a gift basket every now and then? Although, every decent gift basket should include some stone ground mustard, and I don’t think I can see any in this one.

  6. gridironmonger says

    Ray is just pseudo-tithing.

    He’s going to take that interview, edit it like crazy, throw in a bunch of other garbage, and make money off of it. With his worldview, he always owes the source a cut. Usually it is Jebus-Daddy, who is the source of all things, but today it is PZ also.

  7. grumpyoldfart says

    Today he’s probably at some youth club telling kids they’re going to burn in hell.

  8. changerofbits says

    If only Ray could see that the Christian world view is an immoral, parasitic blight on his natural human goodness…

  9. Akira MacKenzie says

    It’s a cheap attempt at witnessing. I saw a video put out by one of comfort’s zombies where she was at a fast food joint’s drive through and she pays for the person behinds her and tells the cashier to give them a stack of fundie propaganda when they pull through. The idea is that the driver is a gullible enough to conflate this “good deed” with the screeds they’ve been handed and GLORY HALLELUHJA and lamb joins comfort’s flock!

    I’d send it back with a bill for postage and a nastily-worded note. I recommend something along the lines of “FUCK OFF YOU LYING SUB-HUMAN PILE OF CHRISTIAN SHIT!

  10. anteprepro says

    Awww. He may be dumb and dishonest, but at he’s got a heart even if the state of his brain is questionable.

  11. consciousness razor says

    Probably not many of the parties with sub-humans. If I had to guess.

  12. Sastra says

    Comfort food.

    This doesn’t surprise me — many religious people are genuinely nice. They tend to assume there is some direct connection to religion there, though. Either they are nice because they are religious … or they are religious because they are nice. But it’s far more likely that they would also be nice if they were atheists. Many people are genuinely nice.

    Many people are also genuinely inconsistent, too. Watch out for that. Smile and cut you — for your own good.

  13. Brandon says

    Many people are genuinely nice.

    That’s basically my thought as well. Sure, I can hunt for ulterior motives all day, but it’s a lot easier to just say, “boy, that’s a nice thing to do”. I find that I’m happier with that approach, and there’s very little harm in it.

  14. hrichmon says

    I would like to suggest that you ask Ray Comfort – Since the Creator did such a good job on the banana, which is not mentioned in the Bible, could He not have done a little better by the pomegranate, which is mentioned 30 times in the Old Testament?

  15. gussnarp says

    It seems like Ray probably is basically a nice guy when he’s not busy proselytizing. Probably doesn’t even know that his “are you a good person” shtick is insulting. I think this really should become a war of niceness. Respond with a thank you note with a nicer basket. Always escalate the niceness. He can’t possibly top a Minnesotan for niceness.

  16. gussnarp says

    UnknownEric – Yeah, but the yellow box suggests white chocolate or an assortment. I think I see a red wrapper in there, that’s peanut butter. Only the blue (dark chocolate) and black (really dark chocolate) wrapped ones are worth eating.

    Akira- Hmmm, maybe I’ll start paying for the car behind me in the drive through and asking the drive through employee to hand them a little note that just says, atheists are good people, too!

  17. UnknownEric the Apostate says

    Only the blue (dark chocolate) and black (really dark chocolate) wrapped ones are worth eating.

    Au contraire! I love me the white chocolate ones. Those are my favorites.

    I thoroughly dislike white chocolate M&Ms though. Those were a real disappointment.

  18. yazikus says

    @gussnarp

    Hmmm, maybe I’ll start paying for the car behind me in the drive through and asking the drive through employee to hand them a little note that just says, atheists are good people, too!

    I love this idea! I missed out on a recent chance to “do nice”. I was at a gas station and the woman in front of me was going to buy top rolling papers and a lotto ticket. She wanted to use the cash side of her food stamp debit card (cash side is for whatever, not just food) and the clerk denied the purchase. I should have offered to pay, but didn’t. As she drove away the clerk noticed that one of her car windows had plastic wrap instead of a pane, and was like “God, she can’t even fix her car”. I was like “Dude, cars are freaking expensive.” It was a depressing day.

  19. Akira MacKenzie says

    You know folks, I’m done with “nice.” I’ve been on this planet for 38-fucking-years and all being nice and polite has ever gotten me is walked all over by those with more luck, more money, and more chutzpah than I will ever have.

    I’m angry. I’m angry about a lot of things. In this case, I’m angry that smarmy little shits like Ray Comfort can make a very nice living dealing the “opiate of the masses” with impunity because their bullshit is legally protected by some scribbles on a 200-year-old piece of paper. I’m sick that people are allowed to believe lies like “God” or an afterlife, but their is no obligation to accept facts like evolution. I’m outraged that the delusions of Stone Age savages still have respect and deference in the 21st century! I,m angry that I’m supposed to stay silent and let the rubes who grovel before will-o-wisps have their faith.

    Fuck that, and fuck “civility” too while we’re at it! So screw his gift baskets! This gesture on Ray’s part was not out of kindness, they never are. This is Eddie-Haskell-style condescension (e.g. “Gee Prof. Myers, that’s a nice sweater you’re wearing…”) and I wouldn’t give the smug bastard the satisfaction by accepting it.

    Fuck “nice.”

  20. Kazim says

    Having had that on-air debate with Ray and Matt (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zyzF8SMQOxU) I’m gonna add another data point to the “Ray’s arguments are a joke but he is charming” point.

    At the end of the show, I say “We’re out of time! Ray, would you like to put in a plug for anything? A website, a book?” Ray: “Yeah, watch the Atheist Experience, they’re a great bunch of guys!” Whenever people ask me what he was like, I tell that story.

  21. a_ray_in_dilbert_space says

    I draw a distinction between being “nice” and being kind. Ray’s gesture is kind. I don’t see an advantage in making disagreements personal.

    Ray Comfort may have found relief in a delusion. He may try to share that delusion with others, but I think he does so in trying to share the relief and meaning he has found. He doesn’t understand that this is not an option for those of us who want to actually understand the world as it is. In a way, his name is destiny–he looks for comfort over truth.

  22. ealloc says

    Aww, that’s so nice! I’d much rather meet Ray than Jamy Ian Swiss.

  23. says

    I must say, I respect Akira’s position on this.

    It was nice of him. Ray is a nice guy. But sometimes, you just gotta say, “Fuck nice.”

  24. Akira MacKenzie says

    I’ m sorry if I’m being an asshole, it’s just that I’m dealing with some REALLY heavy shit right now (i.e. getting laid-off by the end of the year, still living with my right-wing jerk of a father because I don’t make enough for rent, car is on its last legs and I can’t afford another if it goes, etc.) and I’ve just about had it with life. I’m a cynical, pessimistic bastard by nature, and don’t see the “nice” in Ray’s gesture; more like “I’m a Christian giving a gift basket to someone I think deserves to be punished forever! See what a morally superior person I am!”

  25. consciousness razor says

    I must say, I respect Akira’s position on this.

    It was nice of him. Ray is a nice guy. But sometimes, you just gotta say, “Fuck nice.”

    Seriously? Sure, fuck nice. I’m completely on board with that. And while we’re at it, fuck calling people “sub-humans” too. That doesn’t get my respect.

  26. Amphiox says

    Nice, eh?

    In some cultures, gift giving is an assertion of social dominance, and gift acceptance is a gesture of social submission.

    So, sometimes, gift giving is an act of pure aggression.

    Then, of course, we get into gift arms races, and ever escalation ping-pong battles of ever more extravagant gifts, and ever more elaborate schemes to not accept the gifts, without appearing ungracious, impolite, or ungrateful (because that too, is an admission of submission).

  27. says

    Dude, FREE MUNCHIES. And they’re high-quality munchies, too. How about accepting the gift, sending a “Thank You” note with a subtle “fuck you”, smoking a bowl*, and demolishing the munchies?

    *or not, I respect your choices in regards to intoxicating substances.

  28. Crimbly says

    Of all the things to get in a tizz about, a gift basket? Really?

    He hasn’t exactly sent you a “fuck you” note here. I mean, he’ll say the equivalent of “fuck you” in his future publishings, but then again, you too will continue to say “fuck you” in so many words to him and his ilk over the course of lectures, conventions, talks etc… it’ll even out in the public sphere.

    It merely gives the impression that atheists are nasty bastards whose reaction to a gift from an adversary is not to go “…oh, how civilized, I should reply thanking him for his gift”, but rather to – in an almost knee-jerk reaction – splutter “FUCK YOU!”

    At least let a veneer of civility cover your antagonism. Atheists would like an honest conversation about faith, and we might as well do it aggressively but politely.

  29. thumper1990 says

    Aw, that’s really nice of him :) why is it that nice people are capable of holding such dangerous, ignorant and offensive ideas? That’s why sincere Christians are so irritating; they’re usually so goddamn nice that it’s difficult to tell them what a fucking idiot they are.

    Still, that was a nice thing for him to do.

  30. thumper1990 says

    @Brandon #20

    Sure, I can hunt for ulterior motives all day, but it’s a lot easier to just say, “boy, that’s a nice thing to do”. I find that I’m happier with that approach, and there’s very little harm in it.

    Ditto. Maybe I’m just not cynical enough yet, but I find I’m happier this way. At 22 years of age, I don’t think it would be right for my faith in humanity to be dead already. It’s severely injured, but not dead :)

  31. says

    @41: So, my problem is I’ve got a 30 year head start on you in the Cynicism Olympics? ;-)

    Seriously, I don’t claim to know what goes on in Comfort’s head. I expect he — and by far most of the apologists — are subjectively sincere. They’ve got a fuckton of motivated reasoning rationalizing their beliefs and activities. The gift basket is likely motivated by “Do good to your enemies, thereby demonstrating the love of Christ” and/or it’s what he usually does for interviewees. But that doesn’t make it benign, either — even the Bible hints at the use of such kindness as a manipulation technique (and just to add another layer of complexity: that’s not always a bad thing either. The civil rights movement under MLK used it to advantage.)

  32. Holms says

    I’d send it back with a bill for postage and a nastily-worded note. I recommend something along the lines of “FUCK OFF YOU LYING SUB-HUMAN PILE OF CHRISTIAN SHIT!

    Jesus Christ you’re an arse.

    I must say, I respect Akira’s position on this.

    It was nice of him. Ray is a nice guy. But sometimes, you just gotta say, “Fuck nice.”

    Probably a bit late after having partook of the gift. I bet you enjoyed it too you sicko!

    In some cultures, gift giving is an assertion of social dominance, and gift acceptance is a gesture of social submission.

    So, sometimes, gift giving is an act of pure aggression.

    Sometimes? OK, I’m sure there are loads of other occasions where you would be perfectly correct, but what about this one?

    Honestly, I’m completely on board with the idea that religious ideas deserve zero respect and so forth, but why do people feel that they should strive to be an unremitting fuckhead about it?