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May 10 2013

Manipulative Comfort

Ray Comfort is a very nice person in person, but there’s a price to pay: Heina warns us all of the deceptive uses of politeness. I agree, but then I’m from Minnesota, where assassination by niceness is endemic (we transplants are fully aware that “nice” is a wicked backhanded compliment when used properly, which native Minnesotans seem to be able do unconsciously and effortlessly).

Don’t worry, I’m not likely to forget that while he’s smiling at you to your face, Comfort is also disgorging toxic waste and ignorance out of his ass.

39 comments

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  1. 1
    Antiochus Epiphanes

    Bless your heart.

  2. 2
    embertine

    Let me guess; the biccies turned out to be stale. :(

  3. 3
    chigau (違う)

    dammit
    I wanted to say “Bless your heart.”
    So I will did.

  4. 4
    Stephanie Zvan

    Oh, no, embertine. That would defeat the purpose. A gift can be something someone doesn’t want or can’t use, but it mustn’t be defective in any way.

  5. 5
    Sastra

    From the article:

    He’s playing atheists and other pro-evolution folks quite skillfully with his faux-niceness, and most of us have fallen for it. It’s about time we stopped.

    I’m not sure that most atheists and pro-evolutionists have really “fallen” for the idea that Comfort is a nice guy just because he acts nice. We’re well aware of the sort of slimy tactics creationists need to use even on themselves. Creationism is a conspiracy theory coupled with a smug self-righteousness against The Damned. Not a recipe for honesty and trust.

    The creepy thought though is that there is still a realistic possibility that Comfort himself is by nature and upbringing a nice guy and has successfully managed to convince himself that his underhanded tactics against atheists either don’t really count or are done for our own good. And the free food and fruit baskets? Part of the usual schtick — like the “pizza parties” held for teenagers in order to reach out and convert them. Comfort, like most religious people, knows or suspects that the most effective way to recruit people is to make them want to join the club and become like the ‘nice’ people who believe. Beliefs follow after the body goes through the motions.

    By the way — my favorite “Minnesota nice” joke, which was told by actor William H. Macy, who learned it during the filming of Fargo:

    Q: How do you get six drunk Minnesotans out of the swimming pool?

    A: You say “Excuse me … could you all please get out of the swimming pool?”

  6. 6
    Trebuchet

    I trust you made your own video of the recent interview. Creative editing by Comfort is probably inevitable.

  7. 7
  8. 8
    alexshuffell

    A few months back on Facebook he was ranting about how he kept getting low reviews on his books on Amazon. Obviously an atheist conspiracy. At the end he said that five atheists who emailed him their adress would get a free signed copy of his book, ‘You can lead an atheist to water’, I was one of the lucky few. When I got it there was $10 inside. I really hope that it fell out of someones pocket and he wasn’t trying to bribe a good review, I wont lie like that. In my mind he went from being genuinely stupid to a horrific fraud. Getting an education would only put him out of business.

  9. 9
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    He’s playing atheists and other pro-evolution folks quite skillfully with his faux-niceness, and most of us have fallen for it. It’s about time we stopped.

    Personally, I think Comfort probably is a really nice guy. Or rather, thinks he is, because he really believes what he says he believes. When he’s trying to convert you, he’s not being irritating, he’s trying to save your soul. And he really wants your soul to be saved. When he says the gays caused hurricanes, that’s because to his twisted brain that makes perfect sense. God is benevolent, right? But God also controls everything. So why would God send the hurricane? We must have done something wrong, and this is him punishing us as any good parent would.

    I’ve met his type before. There’s not an ounce of malice or bad intent in them, and yet they can still contrive to do and (more usually) say horrible things, all the while believing that they are doing what’s in your best interest. They are intensely irritating, not least because it’s hard to be angry at someone who’s doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons.

  10. 10
    gmacs

    Hehe, lovers’ quarrels between two natives can be nasty. Not loud. No excessive swearing. Just deep-cutting, passive aggressive jibes.

  11. 11
    Kevin

    Comfort probably is a nice guy.

    Thing is, he believes in magic. And not just any magic, but super-duper-special magic. The kind of magic that happens only once, leaves no trace, and will never be repeated every … like Daffy Duck blowing himself up in the one cartoon.

    But even though this super-duper-special magic only happened once, left no trace, and will never be repeated, you have to believe in it. Otherwise, after you die, you’ll having something terrible happen to you. Not because you were a bad person — not because you were mean to your mom or stole candy from the store when you were six or lied about it.

    Oh no. The bad thing that happens to you after you die is a result only of not believing in magic. All that stuff you did when you were alive is meaningless in terms of what does or does not happen.

    It’s all about belief in magic.

    So, Ray’s job is to get you to believe in magic. Magic that only happened once, left no trace, and will never-ever-ever be repeated. Ray calls that “faith”.

    The rest of us call it “credulity”.

  12. 12
    Argle Bargle

    Kevin @11

    The rest of us call it “credulity”.

    Some of us call it “delusion”.

  13. 13
    ajbjasus

    9 and 11. Sorry but I disagree with you guys – I think Comforts “niceness” is a carefully constructed act, underpinning his money making, and the cynicism needed to maintain that is quite disturbing, in my mind, even he rationalises it to himself as “the end justifies the means”.

    Our politeness is the thing that allows these types to thrive – just look at the vox pop stuff that underpins all his “cinematic” work – most victims only tolerate him due to their innate good manners.

  14. 14
    theignored

    Ah, yes. I was looking for this:

    The staunch atheist has the zeal of a religious fanatic. He is fundamentalist in his belief that there is no God—and, armed with basic Richard Dawkins phrases, he is ready for a fight. For him, atheistic evolution is a hill to die on, because that worldview opens up a pleasurable world of immorality. He thinks that it gives his license for fornication, pornography and every other sinful pleasure his wicked heart desires. To him, there are no moral absolutes, because there is no God, and therefore no Moral Law. He is unreasonable, angry, and he is bitter at God and will color his speech by blaspheming the name of the God he doesn’t exists. The atheist is someone who pretends that there is no God.

    Just something to remember while this asshole is pretending to be your “friend”: He will insult and deride you like your worst enemy would hesitate to do.

    So next time you meet an atheist, see if you can buy him a hamburger. You will not only silence his mouth with food, but you will show him that you love him.

    At least he notes how nice they all were when he paid their bill. I just hope that they read what he actually thinks about people like them/us.

  15. 15
    Eamon Knight

    That’s the dinner story I recall reading about at the time, and yes it really is rather nastily passive-aggressive. It creates a social debt to someone you really don’t like (for good reasons), thereby inhibiting the very strong criticism said person richly deserves. Yet Comfort even boasts that that’s his intention and sees nothing wrong with it. I agree (and I basically said this on the other thread) with those who think that, in his own mind, he’s perfectly sincere and kind and loving — which just shows that he’s as much of a moral imbecile as he is a scientific and philosophical one.

  16. 16
    theignored

    God, I’m a moron. That’s what that entire link that PZ gave was about! Well, it’s nice to have at least one of my hopes come true. And so fast too! Must be a miracle.

  17. 17
    Akira MacKenzie

    Thank you Heina!

    Back during the four years I spent in Hell (i.e. high school) I had to deal with to kinds of bullies: the first is your average jock or metal-head who just enjoyed beating the shit out of me. Then there were much subtler types who used a veneer of “niceness” as they would talk-down to me about any aspect of my life that didn’t pass their standards of “cool,” being sure to throw in some veiled insults along the . Of the two, the latter was far far worse because the teachers were far less likely to do anything about them as opposed to an overt act of physical violence–not that they did much to stop my occasional pummeling. As my vice-principal once told my parents, they “were educators, not security guards.”

    Ray Comfort’s act reminds me a lot of those assholes. The same tone. The same attitude. I can’t watch or listen to him without balling up a fist and fanticize using it repeatidly on his person.

  18. 18
    Argle Bargle

    He [the atheist] thinks that it gives his license for fornication, pornography and every other sinful pleasure his wicked heart desires. To him, there are no moral absolutes, because there is no God, and therefore no Moral Law.

    What Comfort is ignoring is he and his Christian buddies can fornicate, pornograph, indulge in other sinful pleasures, and be as immoral as they want. When they’re done they drop on their knees, say “Forgive me Jesus, I believe in You!”, and they’re all better. When we do something immoral then we have to live with the consequences. Forgiveness only comes from other, not Jesus.

  19. 19
    Travis

    I had no idea any atheists thought he was a nice guy. From his actions, and his words I thought it was clear that he was a manipulative slime ball pretending to be nice.

  20. 20
    Khantron, the alien that only loves

    What the hell is Gmacs @10 on about?

  21. 21
    Eamon Knight

    @20: I believe xe’s referring to lover’s quarrels between native Minnesotans (ie: discoursing on the theme of passive aggression and faux-niceness, rather than on Comfort specifically).

  22. 22
    Ing

    If you think Ray is nice your probably think your Ford dealer is your BFF

  23. 23
    SallyStrange

    This is exactly why civility fetishism is so dangerous.

    Hear that Fincke? Your civility is not only useless, it’s dangerous! Damn.

  24. 24
    Kevin

    @18: Yes. That’s essentially what I said earlier.

    Comfort has developed a whole riff on this. He tried to start it on PZ, but PZ wasn’t buying. The “have you ever lied” gambit is directly tied to “well, then you’re a liar and worthy of judgment” move which leads directly to the “but wait! you can get out jail free as long as you believe in magic” payoff. At which point, you’re supposed to fall on your knees groveling because “how could I have not appreciated all that wonderful magic before” because “I don’t want a bad thing to happen to me after I die”.

    It’s as transparent as the finest plate glass. But over and over and over again, people fall for it, otherwise Comfort et al (he’s certainly not the only preacher who uses this line) wouldn’t try it anymore.

    Believe in magic and everything will be OK. Doesn’t matter what you do or will ever do; just believe in magic.

  25. 25
    Ing

    If I ever talk to Ray I’m going to say no I’ve never lied. prove otherwise. curious how’d that go

  26. 26
    yazikus

    If I ever talk to Ray I’m going to say no I’ve never lied. prove otherwise. curious how’d that go

    You can ask him, “Were you there when I lied?”

  27. 27
    kagekiri

    @14 theignored:

    To be fair, that crap Ray spews about atheists is actually just regurgitated lies from Romans 2. Paul poured out the non-believer hatred in that bit, accusing them of all sorts of evils, and said they were disbelieving just to feel guilt-free as they sinned.

    So Comfort’s not the only one who does it; that anti-atheist bigotry is part of their religion (also see: “fool believes in his heart there is no God”, and various verses claiming that creation makes God self-evident, so those who don’t believe deserve the punishment they get for ignoring the evidence).

    Which doesn’t make it any less hateful or hurtful (my parents have thrown the accusation at me, “for my own good”), but at least you know they’re being “Biblically accurate” assholes.

    As such, we can comfortably oppose the Bible at every level of belief, confident that it’s bullshit all the way down.

  28. 28
    twas brillig (stevem)

    re gays= hurricanes:

    {tangent alert}Why would God send a hurricane at Haiti because of all the gays in NY? To make the gays in NY feel guilty, guilt while alive is worse than hell everafter, doncha know? I mean, why would God just kill the gays and send them to hell directly? It must be more fun, for Him, to see those many gays moping and feeling guilty for causing that hurricane attacking that faraway island.

    Religion is all about “guilt”, Catholicism and Judaism are especially {ah} prominent dispensers of guilt over anything you do (except pray). E.G.:”How many Jewish mothers does it take to change a light bulb?” –{Mom’s voice}”Don’t worry, I’ll just sit in the dark.”
    /tangent

    Apparently that’s Comfort’s plan too. Hoping you’ll feel guilty for hating him after he was so nice to you.

  29. 29
    buffybot

    Remember that he’s originally a New Zealander.

    Friendly and nice is what kiwis do, but there’s often a concealed undercurrent of passive aggression and hostility.

  30. 30
    Stacy

    Friendly and nice is what kiwis do, but there’s often a concealed undercurrent of passive aggression and hostility

    So New Zealand is the Minnesota of Australasia?

  31. 31
    myeck waters

    I think we’re getting our Ham confused with our Comfort food.

  32. 32
    Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity

    I’m always baffled when people label us Kiwis as friendly and nice. As someone who is a New Zealander and has grown up around other New Zealanders I think we have a rather high rate of asshattery.

  33. 33
    karley jojohnston

    I just can’t give two damns about politeness when he posts shit like this:

    http://twitpic.com/cpnpjg

  34. 34
    robster

    The religiously afflicted use their niceness as a trap to get more gullible suckers for their cause. Like salespeople, nice ’till you’ve signed up, then the truth comes out, then it’s too late. Be warned, nice religious people are not really nice, they’re nice for a reason, that reason is not your well being.

  35. 35
    Steven Brown: Man of Mediocrity

    Wow… Just wow.

    I’ve never liked the guy but now I detest him. That is just sickening.

  36. 36
    theignored

    To kagekiri at number 27:

    To be fair, that crap Ray spews about atheists is actually just regurgitated lies from Romans 2. Paul poured out the non-believer hatred in that bit, accusing them of all sorts of evils, and said they were disbelieving just to feel guilt-free as they sinned.

    I knew that was where they got that particular piece of arrogance from: I’ve had that verse thrown at me many times in online “debates” while they rationalize that bigoted bullshit.

    Yep: Anti-athiest/non-believer-bigotry is built into their religion.

  37. 37
    dalehusband

    I like to refer to the ministry run by Comfort and his fellow idiot Kirk Cameron as either “The Way of the Bastard” or “The Way of the Masturbator.”

  38. 38
    ronrosenthal

    “Nice” and “Good” are two different things.

  39. 39
    Thumper: Who Presents Boxes Which Are Not Opened

    @ronrosenthal

    Possibly the most insightful comment here… good point.

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