My first exposure to Ray Comfort and WOTM was on the internet. I was boppin' around on the web, looking up some newsy kind of stuff, when I saw a video that immediately perked my interests.
Head to Head: Does God Really Exist? Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron debating with the Rational Response Squad.
I was excited. I mean, why shouldn't I be? I love Jesus, and people need to know that he's out there. No debate will ever be the thing that makes any one convert, but at the very least a national broadcast of this debate can show the world that willful ignorance and stupidity are not prerequisites to Christianity.
And then, I watched the videos.
There are basically five overall problems with the methods that they used.
Firstly, never ever claim that you can prove God's existence without using the Bible, only to turn around and quote the Bible. Ray and Kirk did this in the opening statements, even before the actual debate started. Once you claim to be able to do something, you will be held to it by those who are trying to prove you wrong, and failure to follow through is a mark against God, not you.
It's a really bad idea to try talking about God without using the Bible to begin with. At some point, you have to describe the God that you're discussing. What is the authority on God's Character? Where do we, as Christians, go to discern truth from lies concerning the creator of the universe? What is the "yard stick" by which we measure all other experiences in our faith?
The canon. The Bible. talking about God without it is not likely to ever be a successful endeavor, because unless the evidence is shown to line up with the God of the Bible, then the evidence doesn't line up with anything at all.
Secondly, realize what kind of person you're talking to, and adjust your speech accordingly. Talking to scientific people in "Christianeese," or overtly spiritual terms, is always a bad idea. Things get lost in translation. It produces an image of "holier-than-thou." It creates a separation between the believer and the nonbeliever to whom they are speaking. That is a devastating mistake, because no one cares what you know until they know what you care.
What the heck does it mean when you say "God is eternal," "He dwells outside of time?" People in Christianity know, but nonbelievers who haven't been surrounded by the Christianeese terms may not be thinking the same thing we are.
Also, if you meet a person who is overtly spiritual, then talking in scientific terms is equally as bad an idea. You have to adjust your speech to the person you're talking to. That's part of communication.
If you know that an important discussion is coming, prepare for it. I have walked into a conversation many times, only to walk away with "let me read up on that and get back to you," but if you know what their arguments are in advance, then why not go ahead and prepare accordingly? I can't describe to you how angry I was that Kirk and Ray were so unable to answer simple questions as "Who created God?" "But the Bible says that you will be forgiven for whatever you ask forgiveness for, right?" Most of their questions were based off of scriptures that are taken out of context. Their assumptions, such as the assumption that the Bible MUST be inerrant and literal in every single verse and word, are faulty. If you're "preparing" for a conversation, know what the other side thinks as much as possible. If the other side has a website on the internet, then look at it and base your points around their beliefs.
A woman took a statement that Ray made which was something like "It's clear that God made man because man's body is designed so well," and asked the obvious question. "If God designed humans so well, why is there cancer?"
Now, if you look at this woman as she's asking, it is very clear that this is a personal question. This woman is hurting. She is in pain. The absolute worst thing to do in this scenario is to take an obviously personal question, and generalize it. Rather than direct your answer to the world, direct it to her.
Let me explain this further. Ray started his answer by looking at the entire audience and saying "There is suffering in the world because..." and the woman repeatedly interrupted him and said "NO, NOT suffering, I'm asking about CANCER!" He did this two or three more times, with the woman interrupting him two or three more times before he finally asked the woman to stop butting in. Yeah, he used those words.
The way to help a person in pain is to treat them like a real person. Look her in the eyes, and talk about why there's cancer in the world. Don't talk to the world about all of the world's suffering. Talk to her about her suffering. That's the way to bring people healing.
People don't care what you know until they know that you care.
Throughout the entire ordeal, Kirk and Ray gave off copious amounts of holier-than-thou vibes. There is nothing wrong with showing the world that you're a new creation. I hope and pray to God that people can see that I'm different in some way. There is nothing wrong with telling people that without God, they are sinners. It's all about how you do it. That's what makes the difference. If you impress people with how righteous you are, they won't care what you have to say.
Because people don't care what you know until they know that you care.
I hope to contribute more to this site about Ray's beliefs and methods that I take issue with. I don't want to bash Ray, but it seems that I can't critique and question Ray without him refusing to answer and his bigger fanatics jumping my case.
I welcome any discussion. Go.