Recall that, in response to the announced atheist strike, Ray Comfort said oh well, he has a hundred more "questions" from atheists to get to. So whom does he turn on today? One of his fellow Christians, of course!
A Christian named "Rose" apparently wrote something to Ray, denouncing him for being judgmental, praised human tolerance, said that there are people of multiple faiths who are in heaven, that hell is not a literal place of torture, and other things often espoused by more liberal Christians.
Ray posted the communique, in its entirety (or so I presume -- I have to, since Ray didn't bother linking to the source), without comment, and in fact without any indication at all that it was the words of somebody else, except for the "--Rose" at the bottom. I was rather confused by it at first, thinking it was a very un-Rayish message, until I realized they were someone else's words.
Now, granted that Ray has things to talk about besides atheists, despite the new name of his blog. And granted that he might want to address other Christian theologies. But why would he post someone else's words, without comment and without a relvatively clear statement that they were not his words? Another reader, one not entirely familiar with Rayism, could see that post and easily think that they were expressing Ray's own sentiments, even if not his exact words. Why did Ray not bother with anything more than a cut and paste?
The answer can be found in the comments section.
"Tinina Marie" wrote:
I like many of the christians that read this blog rarely post comments; this post or comment is a perfect example of why. I pray that God reveals himself to Rose and that the Gospel pricks her heart.
this is the problem that we are facing in the Church today. so many people only know a few scriptures and don't have a understanding of what it actually means to be a Christian.
"Robin Baker" said to Rose:
You should examine yourself and whether or not you are a true believer in Jesus Christ after a post like that.
"berean wife" commented:
Witnessing and sharing with those like Rose who say they are saved is so hard. Of course they always throw in a few "judge not" accusations.
Now how do you turn around and witness to this lady? She thinks she's Christian. Now what?
Ray's motives now become clear: in the absence of atheists, he has turned his blog into a true "echo chamber." He's not talking to atheists, or even to other Christians, but to his own fans. He posted something that he, and his fans -- is there a common usage nickname for them, by the way? Rayniacs? Raybrains? Just plain idiots? -- clearly disagree with, and he knew that the Ray-philes would come through for him, turn against Rose and praise Ray.
I doubt it hurt his ego any.
But I'm not writing this merely to comment on Ray Comfort's ego, massive topic though that is. I'm concerned with a more serious issue:
For many decades now, humanity has been marching -- slowly, and with not a few setbacks -- toward a culture of human tolerance and pluralism, of mutual understanding and acceptance. Futurists regard this as a good thing, a necessary thing if humanity is to successfully advance, both technologically and culturally.
Rose's theology -- which, don't get me wrong, I otherwise regard as only marginally more intellectually acceptable than Ray's -- is in keeping with that trend. Perhaps it is even an objectively good thing, a necessary stepping stone on the path to creating a secular, humanistic society.
And perhaps Ray and the Rayettes have seen this already, and that's precisely why they're bent on denouncing it. They regard it as a social force that will overthrow everything they believe, and that is therefore not only undesirable but supremely evil. Literally! "sassy chic" writes:
The easiest deception Satan has is to make you believe you are just fine. Works with the athiest (sic) as well as the so called "christian". You are fine, I am fine, there is no hell, there is no God...
So Rose is not only wrong, she's (unwittingly) a follower of Satan, the Main Bad Guy in the bad video game backstory that is Christian fundamentalism. She believes in God and Jesus and sin and salvation, but because of what she believes regarding the peculiar nature of salvation, she herself is to be damned.
According to these people, you not only have to be a Ray-type Christian to be saved, you have to believe that everyone who is NOT a Ray-type Christian will be damned in order to be saved. So according to Ray and Ray's Rats . . .
Christians believe that only Christians will be saved.
And what is a Christian? It's a person who believes (among other things) that only Christians will be saved. So, unpacking the above statement, we get . . .
Only those who believe that Christians will be saved will be saved.
And unpacking again, we get . . .
Only those who believe that only those who believe that Christians will be saved will be saved will be saved.
And continuing to unpack as necessary, we get . . .
Only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe that only those who believe . . .
. . . will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved will be saved.
That sentence is the essence of fundamentalist Christianity. The first part ends in an infinite regress, and the last part begins with one, but if you look at the connecting part, the middle of it all, you will see that there's nothing there.
That is the essence of Christianity. It is, at its very center, nothing at all. It is a void surrounded by a very dense shell. It is a Tootsie Pop without the Tootsie. It is -- please forgive me, I know it's a cheap shot and an obvious one, but I simply cannot resist -- Ray Comfort's skull.
At this point, no doubt, Rayheads will echo the words of Lauren to Ray:
Blessed are you when men revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.
Which, of course, is what Ray does to atheists every day, yet few of the Rayskulls would consider us blessed. I guess it's a selective thing. Like the Bible itself.
But the saddest part of the whole thing is that these Christians are blind to the evil of the hatemongering that they are perpetuating, that they see nothing wrong with it. In response to Rose's comment that for every person drawn to Christianity by Ray's brand of evangelism, nine people are pushed away, "jason" said:
Exactly, and Jesus explicitly told us this would be the case: 'Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.' (Matthew 7:13-14)
In other words, it's okay to spread hate and intolerance, because anyone who is offended is headed toward "the wide gate" anyway. And in the middle of this bigot-fest, what I think is the most telling comment of all, from Lauren again:
Does anyone think it's hilarious that the athiests (sic) are gone? It's so beautiful and peaceful here today.
There you have it: hatred is beautiful, and intolerance is peaceful. That, in the end, is what fundamentalist Christianity is: a thin shell of happy rhetoric and flowery hope for salvation, surrounding a thick mantle of hatred, bigotry and inhumanity, wrapped around a central core of nothing at all. That's what they want us to swallow. That's what they want us to be physically tortured for should we refuse.
I disagree with Rose's metaphysical beliefs no less than Ray's, but at least, in the grand march of human progress, she is marching in the right direction. Perhaps she will catch up to us someday. As for Ray and the Rayskulls, well, one way of looking at it is that they're going in the wrong direction, and trying to drag us with. But a more optimistic view is this: Humanity is finally leaving them behind. Let's hope we do so quickly, lest they bring the whole damn thing to a halt.