This is a copy of the testimony I posted over at Atheist Central under the "What's the Big Deal" Thread. It came out more profound even than I was expecting.
I'm feeling a bit philosophical at the moment, so I'd like to make points against a few of your beliefs and where they lead, Mr Comfort. Please note: the following is way out of line for me. I usually limit my comments to scientific claims, because I really don't have an objection to modern Christianity. But occasionally, I decide to tell it like I see it.
I don't actually want to spark any deconversions here, though it may seem that way, but I do want to make it clear why I don't consider Christianity any better than any other religion.
This comment is directed at anyone who shares Ray's beliefs.
You believe that all humankind is tainted by sin, and that the only way to remove that sin (and gain eternal peace) is by accepting your Lord into our hearts. We are miserable, pathetic, sinful wretches, living out a meaningless temporary existence on a tainted world before passing into eternal punishment. Only His mercy and sacrifice can spare us this fate, and bring us to eternal peace in heaven.
What hope is there for the future then? None on this planet, certainly. Indeed, your bible portrays an endless spiral into sin, until finally God steps in on Judgement day and destroys it. Our descendants cannot hope for a better life than ours: they will be born into a progressively more and more sinful world, until the final generation is burned off of the earth in God's final act.
So all of your hope is regulated to the afterlife: where God will purge you of your sins and keep you in eternal peace. This existence, means nothing compared to that, right? You have sold the only life you will ever have to slavery to religion, to an invisible Lord, in return for the promise of eternal life. But you have no way to ensure that promise is kept: you have no way to ensure that promise was even made in the first place. Even worse, as part of this slavery, your Lord demands that you do not question the promise, condemning any doubts rather than allaying them.
You claim we are all miserable sinners: worthy only of hatred from God, and eternal punishment. How then can you love another human? Rather than seeing them as beautiful, you see them as hateful sinners, evil by nature. God can forgive us only with eternal mercy: do you claim to have the same level of mercy for your loved ones? Do you compare yourself to Him?
Love is a shared respect for the other individual, an acceptance of everything that they are, including their 'sins'. To steal a quote from the 2004 Hellboy movie: "we like people for their qualities but we love them for their defects." How can you accept another’s sin, when even God's infinite mercy can only go so far as to forgive it, and even then only if we accept Him first? I hate to ask this, but are you even capable of love?
What about logic, and reason? The only feature that sets us human apart from the animal kingdom is our brain, and your Lord expressly forbids using it. Look at Adam and Eve's tale: they ate from the tree of knowledge, and they and their descendants were cursed for all eternity with the very thing your God so despises: sin. If this isn't a metaphor for the promotion of blind obedience to authority, nothing is.
In comparison, those philosophies based on atheism generally promote the use of logic, reason and curiosity. The modern scientific endeavour descended from those philosophies. Us atheists see hope in progress, in the ability to make life better for those who come after us, or at least not make it worse.
We don't see life as wretched, the twisted result of perfection lost: instead we see it as beautiful, something complex that has come out of the relatively simple laws of nature to make the universe its own.
Our life is the only one we have: it is something that cannot be replaced. In that we find value: how can we justify taking something impossible to replace? Where you see something temporary and meaningless compared to eternity, we see something that, despite it's brevity and seeming insignificance, has more meaning than anything else in the entire universe.
You have sold your only life, your hope for the future of this world, your logic and reason and your ability to love another to the dictates of a 2000 year old book, in exchange for an empty promise from someone you can not meet in this world that He will spare you from punishment after death. You hang every speck of your hope, not on the beauty and nobility that is life, but on death, and the afterlife beyond it.
It is your choice to continue to worship death. I choose life.