Ray Comfort is the man responsible for the recent distribution of Charles Darwin’s On the Origin of Species (with a 50-page introduction explaining why it’s all junk science and how Darwin is connected to Hitler) at college campuses across the country. He distributed the books a day earlier than he said he would. On Tuesday, he announced that his ministry will be giving away a million more copies of the book.
He’s also the man speaking alongside ministry partner Kirk Cameron in the infamous video about “the banana: an atheist’s worst nightmare.”
You asked questions and Ray responded.
A few notes:
- This is uncut. I added in links when appropriate. I also fixed a couple grammatical things, with the goal to preserve the intended meaning at all times.
- All emphases are his.
- I did not ask Ray many questions about Creationism in general, because any Creationist could answer those. I tried to stick to questions which only he could answer.
And with that, here we go:
Hemant Mehta: Why did you distribute the books a day early? Do you think that was deceptive?
Ray Comfort: Whether or not it was “deceptive” depends on your point of view. We originally intended to give the books out on the 19th but because of the threats of book burnings, of “unilateral resistance,” and the many threats to tear out the Introduction, we changed our strategy. I believe it was a strategically good move. Many atheists had planned to disguise themselves as students and collect multiple copies themselves to stop students from getting the books. One atheist benevolently said, “I wish people would stop ragging on him distributing the books early. It’s a good strategic move to try to pre-empt our events, themselves intended to oppose his . . . it’s a legitimate tactic, no matter how frustrating.”
Hemant: Why did the first editions of your book not include four important chapters from Darwin’s book? (They are in the second printing, you have said, but why not the first?)
Ray: When laying out the book for the first print (30,000 copies), the publishers found that it was over 400 pages and a book that size was too expensive to be a free publication. I therefore randomly removed four chapters and Darwin’s Introduction, saying within the book that they could be freely downloaded at www.originextra.com. But for the second print (175,000 copies) we dropped the text-size, and that reduced the entire book to 304 pages, making it affordable as a giveaway. It was the second print that we made available to students.
Hemant: Similarly, why reprint a first edition of Darwin’s book and not the sixth edition (which contained corrections and an additional chapter)?
Ray: I published the first edition because that’s what we were celebrating — 150 years since the publication of the first edition of On the Origin of Species.
Hemant: The arguments you make in the introduction to the Darwin book have been stated before — and refuted repeatedly by scientists. So why repeat them? Are you interested in hearing atheists’ responses to your questions?
Ray: I don’t deny that the arguments I have used have been addressed many times. However, it’s only atheists that believe that they have been “refuted.” I don’t. I listen to arguments and if they don’t hold up, I don’t accept them.
Hemant: In your own words, how would you describe how evolution and natural selection are supposed to work according to the theory that is broadly accepted in the life sciences? (In other words, can you explain what evolution is before trying to debunk it?)
Ray: Someone who believes in the theory of evolution believes that life started simply and over millions of years evolved to the complex state we now see. The process of change is supposedly brought about by something Darwin called “natural selection.” Evolution has no explanation for the genesis of life, and it has never been “observed” to take place. Nor has it been scientifically proven — because it’s never been “tested” in a laboratory. Evolution, as you have conceded in your question, is simply a theory. Darwinian evolution is often confused by believers with a species adapting within its own kind. Transitions within a species (a kind) is not Darwinian evolution.
Hemant: What is the strongest evidence you can think of in support of evolution by natural selection?
Ray: There is no indisputable evidence for species to species evolution. All “evidence” comes down to faith — does the believer believe the dating process or the information given by other believers in evolution. The mantra is that there are millions of fossils that scientifically prove evolution. I am often sent long lists of missing links. But as I investigate each one, they are not true missing links between kinds. There are millions of fossils that reveal adaptation within kinds, but there are no undisputed fossils that show one species (kind) evolving into another species (kind). The links between kinds were missing in Darwin’s day, and 150 years later they are still missing. To date I have seen no evidence for the theory of evolution.
Hemant: What evidence would you need to see in order to accept evolution?
Ray: If you can think of something new that you think is credible, please let me know and I will be happy to consider it.
Hemant: Many atheists say you make a lot of errors when talking about science. If you heard us saying false things about Christianity, odds are you wouldn’t take us very seriously. Why should we take you seriously?
Ray: Many atheists believe that I make a lot of errors when talking about science. Let me correct them just a little. I have made errors about the beliefs of evolutionists. I am told that I am in error by using the phrase “the law of gravity.” If that’s unscientific, I’m not alone. Many scientists also use the phrase. I am told that I believe that the earth is 6,000 years old, when I have said many times I don’t have any idea about the age of the earth. Those who believe it’s 4.5 billion years old have to have faith in radioisotope dating techniques. I don’t have that sort of faith.
Hemant: What are the last few books about evolution which you’ve read (written by people who accept evolution, I mean)?
Ray: Evolution For Dummies (I’m sure some would say that that is an appropriate book for me). As usual, the explanation [as] to why we have 1.4 million kinds with both male and female was ignored. The Wild World of the Future talks about future evolution speculation, as opposed to the usual evolution speculation of past. The last book I read was On the Origin of Species. I read it from cover to cover and found it a difficult read because most of it is pretty boring. I have heard atheists say the same thing. However, thanks to our generous giveaway of a total of 205,000 copies, others can read for themselves what Darwin actually believed, and make up their own minds.
Hemant: The banana. Do you stand by the argument in your video? Do you regret saying what you did? Do you like when people associate that video with you? Was it a joke? Are you aware that the banana in your video is genetically modified while a “natural” banana would be virtually unrecognizable? (There are several other questions regarding the Banana, but these are the overall themes).
Ray: I deeply regret doing the banana routine on television without a live audience. I have been doing it for live audiences for more than 20 years, and it’s never failed to get a lot of laughs.
Regarding genetic modification. There isn’t any evidence that the banana has changed its shape in the last 2,000 years. The anonymous creator of the well-publicized YouTube clip used a picture of a modern banana that was shaped like a potato, to make me look like a fool (and he did a pretty good job). To see evidence that the banana hasn’t changed shape, go to the bottom of http://www.livingwaters.com/origin/presskit and click on the PDF of “The Banana Controversy.”
Humbling though it has been, the subject has worked in my favor. Being “The Banana Man” has left me with a very low bar to reach. People are quite amazed when I’m able to string a complete sentence together.
Hemant: Many countries with high numbers of non-religious people have lower rates of crime, spousal abuse, divorce, etc. Doesn’t this go against the idea that non-theism is dangerous?
Ray: Theism or non-theism isn’t the issue. For example, religion has caused terrible atrocities throughout history (and still does today). It comes in at the number two spot. Number one is atheistic communism, which has been responsible for an estimated 100 million deaths throughout history*. So the problem has little to do with religion or atheism. The root problem is people that use whatever means possible for their own evil agenda. Crime is all over this world, because sin dwells in every person.
[* Footnote: “Communism has been the greatest social engineering experiment we have ever seen. It failed utterly and in doing so it killed over 100,000,000 men, women, and children, not to mention the near 30,000,000 of its subjects that died in its often aggressive wars and the rebellions it provoked.”]
Hemant: You write on your website that “It is impossible for a Christian to convert to atheism because a Christian is someone who knows God.” People have sent me letters talking about how extremely devout and Christian they used to be, even though they are now atheists. What do you make of their testimonies? (Are they liars? Are they not really atheists? Were they never truly Christians?)
Ray: These people are the results of the horrible manipulative practices of modern Christianity. Many of these spurious converts fall away from the faith and (understandably) become very bitter. Some become atheists. Some stay in the church and give God lip-service (they play the hypocrite). If this doesn’t make sense, take the time to listen to the two free audios (“Hell’s Best Kept Secret” and “True and False Conversion”) on www.livingwaters.com. Hopefully they will help to shed light on what has been happening because of the practices of modern Christianity.
Hemant: Can you name some other Christians you believe are doing good work to spread Biblical word? (In other words, what other Christians do you respect and support?) What do you make of Fred Phelps and the Westboro Baptist Church? Are their actions and beliefs consistent with the God you believe in?
Ray: There are millions of Christians (and thousands of Christian organizations) that I love and wholeheartedly support.
I know that many atheists will disagree with me when I say that I love atheists. But if I didn’t, I would have paid for the meals of 40 atheists when they invited me to dinner, in Orange County. Why would I give Red Lobster meal vouchers to atheists on my blog? Why did I give away 120 hard cover books to atheists? I don’t hate anybody. I think that the people at Westboro Baptist church are terribly misguided and that they are misrepresenting Christianity.
There has been a lot of talk about Hitler using Christianity for his hate filled agenda. But he perverted the message of Christianity, which says to love your enemies, and to do good to those that hate you. But Hitler spoke about evolution in his autobiography and then used it correctly for his own ends. He took survival of the fittest to its logical conclusion. Richard Dawkins says that evolution is “survival of the fittest,” and that he is thankful that we don’t instigate Darwin’s theory in contemporary society, where we care for the elderly. You can see Dawkin’s saying this in an interview on the Press Kit on www.livingwaters.com
Hemant: When scientists uncover million-year-old fossils or discover evolutionary “missing links,” do you think they are lying to themselves or somehow misinterpreting the data?
Ray: The Theory of Evolution is like a puffy summer cloud. It changes almost daily. It is nebulous, and can be as large or as small as the imaginations of men. I have said many times that its language is the language of speculation — using words like “believe” “suppose,” “probably,” and “perhaps.” Nothing is sure, because “science” is forever changing its position as it searches for truth. Today’s “missing link” is discarded for tomorrow’s, and something that was 300 million [years old] years ago can become 400 million years [old] overnight. So much is based on faith in dating methods and unscientific beliefs of men who have an erroneous presupposition. I don’t have faith in the same things in which evolutions have faith.
Hemant: On your website, you’ve mentioned some nasty things people have been saying about you. But you never link back to the original postings. Is there a reason for this? Wouldn’t it be good practice, so readers could see the context of the quotations for themselves and judge the statements for themselves?
Ray: This question was asked by “Linzee Binzee,” who quoted someone saying that they hated me, and wished that I had a heart attack. Then Linzee said, “Quote-mining is a tactic Comfort is constantly guilty of, and in this instance he used it to defend his pathetic cowardice.” The quote in question was from the comments section of my own blog.
The general rule is that if it is a scientific claim, you will find “Notes” at the bottom of my posts (you can check on this by looking at previous posts). But when people say negative or hateful comments, it has no academic importance and it’s a simple thing to Google and find the source.
Hemant: You spend a lot of time talking to and writing about atheists. Yet, people of other faiths (Muslim, Hindu, etc.) also don’t believe in your god. Surely, they’re facing the same perilous future as the atheists. Why not spend energy on them as well? Why focus solely on the atheists?
Ray: I have preached open air more than 5,000 times. That took a lot of energy. Most of those times I was addressing people outside the atheist community. I have also written 60 or so books, most of them have nothing to do with atheism. If I seem to focus on atheists it’s because they won’t leave me alone. They hang around my blog like bugs at a camp fire, and when I go to give books out at universities, they are waiting for me. But I love and honor them, and count it a privilege to speak with them.
Hemant: Why have Christians like Francis Collins accepted evolution so wholeheartedly?
Ray: I will answer this by quoting from a recent entry on “Atheist Central” (note the “Note” at the end):
A Christian can believe in fairies, if he wishes. While I wouldn’t doubt the salvation of one who did, I may doubt his sanity. This is because Christianity doesn’t come from what you believe (although that is part of the equation), it comes from who you know.
Let me back up a little to explain what I mean. The Bible teaches the Jesus Christ was pre-existent before He was manifest in human form. He claimed to be the source of life, saying things like “I am the life” (see John 1:4, 11:25, 14:6). When someone repents and believes the gospel (that Jesus Christ died for his sin and rose on the third day), he places his trust in the Savior and comes to “know” God. Then God “seals” the believer with the Holy Spirit. Jesus Christ “who is our life” dwells within the believer (see John 14:16-18). The Scriptures say “Christ, who is in you” (see Colossians 1:27). Jesus said that he would come to and would actually dwell within the Christian through the Holy Spirit (see John 14:21).
Here now is the bottom line. If you have Jesus Christ, you have life, irrespective of your denomination. God knows those that love Him. If you don’t have Jesus Christ (through the new birth of John 3:3), you don’t have life. You are still dead in your sins and justly under the condemnation of God (see John 3:17-18). Here’s the pivotal verses:
“He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life. These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, that you may know that you have eternal life…”(1 John 5:12-13).
That said, if you have the Son of God, then the Holy Spirit will lead you into all truth (see John 16:13). Your theology in time will become “sound,” and you will align your beliefs with those truths revealed in Holy Scripture, because it is God’s revelation to mankind. If the Old Testament says there was a literal flood (Jesus did also), the Christian cannot believe otherwise. If the Bible says that the earth freely floats in space when “science” of the time said that it didn’t (see Job 26:7), the Christian quickly sides with the Bible.
In the case of evolution, Scripture is very clear that God made man in His image (not as a primate). He made him and all the animal kingdom as male and female (“Evolutionary biology is unable to reveal why animals would abandon asexual reproduction in favor of more costly and inefficient sexual reproduction.” ), and He gave them (and every living animal) the ability to reproduce “after their own kind,” and not to evolve in time into other “kinds” or species of animals. We see the truth of all of the above both in the fossil record and in the creation that surrounds us.