Hip and Thigh: Smiting Theological Philistines with a Great Slaughter. Judges 15:8

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

The Atheist Nightmare

Oh, why not? One more stupid video

Back in mid-April I linked to a story about Ray Comfort the co-host of Way of the Master program challenging the atheist hacks of the Rational Response Squad to a debate on Nightline. Ray's challenge to the atheists is that he can prove God's existence without using the Bible and only using scientific evidence.

The debate is suppose to take place this evening (May, 9th).

I know there are many folks excited to see this debate go forward. I am not, however, one of those people. I believe a potential PR disaster for God is looming on the horizon (to coin a phrase from Hank).

Let us just pray Ray doesn't employ his banana illustration, what he terms "The Atheist's Nightmare." After watching this clip, tell me if this is a credible argument for the existence of God.

The Atheist's Nightmare

What is Ray's take on plantain bananas which need to be sliced open with a knife and fried before they can be eaten? (One of the greatest ways to prepare bananas, by the way. Of course, pretty much everything dipped in batter and fried tastes good).

Does the existence of plantains disprove the existence of God given Ray's banana evidence? And let's not even get started talking about artichokes.

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Blogger ThirstyDavid said...

Whoa--I'll bet that really shuts the mouths of atheists!

1:12 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Gummby said...

I think Ray needs a few lessons on presuppositional apologetics.

2:23 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Joanna Martens said...

good post fred-
from what i know about ray's example, was that it was a visual for the "design" elements in nature- how things are specifically designed. In his book, "God doesn't believe in Athiests" he continues his arguement by the detailed order adn design in creation. like, this blog post did not come out of nowhehre, that a plastic and electricity just appeared out of nowhere adn suddlenly became a computer screen and words...but rather that soemthing with design- such as a banana- came from a creator. it just seems a little hasty and critical to attack ray's method to prove God's existence b/c of his (weak) analogy... I'm sure he would assure you that the plantain bananas woudl not disprove God, but rather prove Him even more in some other way.
just a thought.
joanna "banana" martens :-)

6:55 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Nathan said...

I for one have long struggled with how a good God and beets can coexist.

7:01 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger Gavin said...

For an atheist this is not a credible arguement for the existance of God. (An Atheist could argue that a banana fits just as well into a monkeys hand as a humans hand therefore people are decended from monkeys).

For me it is a reasonable arguement for the existance of God - A banana requires a "banana designer". A problem with Rays analogy is that many edible things that grow on plants require more effort to get to what can be eaten. (ie : Walnuts)

Regarding the recent debate - Ray said the main thing he wanted was for people to hear the Gospel. (Way of the Master podcast May 7 hour 2 - time 43:40)

9:26 PM, May 09, 2007  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

On the WOTM radio show I did hear an atheist call in and challenge the banana scheme. Todd Friel said that the other fruits such as coconuts were either corrupted in the fall or God created them that way. Todd said that Ray's point with the banana joke was to show the cause and effect. Ray's point was to show that things don't come from nothing.

6:12 PM, May 10, 2007  
Blogger Fred Butler said...

Joanna, Thomas,

Just so that you guys don't misread me, I do appreciate the evangelistic outreach Ray and Kirk wish to get across on their program. Where I believe their ministry derails is with their apologetics. Ray in particular seems to be a classic evidentialist. I am not sure about Kirk. He does go to Grace and if the Lord's willing and I have opportunity to chat with him, I will ask him about it.

I agree that design arguments are important and if utilized appropriately can supplement a person's apologetic to an unbeliever. However, there are much better design arguments than eating a banana. Additionally you would want to use those "evidences" to challenge the unbeliever, particularly the atheist who presupposes materialistic naturalism, to provide a coherent explanation that comports to reality utilizing his naturalistic worldview, that rationally explains those design evidences. If anything, design evidence only shuts the mouths of unbelievers, they don't lead to conversions.

I have never seen or heard Ray utilize evidence in this manner. Instead, Ray seems to think all people can look at the same evidence and draw the same conclusions as he the Christian theist. But this is hardly the case, and in point of fact, I have heard him get angry and frustrated with a smart thinking atheist who would had been shut down completely if Ray would have challenged his presuppositions. He didn't, but kept trying to get the guy to admit that he was a lying, thieving, womanizer and he wouldn't. Thus the conversation was unprofitable except to demonstrate that the "Hell's Best Kept Secret" method of using the 10 Commandments is not a silver bullet method.

The video would had been more compelling if Ray would point out intricate design and then critique the naturalistic worldview explaining where that design came from and expose the folly of Darwinian evolution. Maybe he has and I haven't seen it, but from what I have seen, his arguments are more of a disappointment than anything else.


5:50 AM, May 11, 2007  
Blogger thomas4881 said...

I agree with your points Fred. It would be extremely beneficial for Ray to furthur study the issue of the philosphy of science. Ray only uses that banana and other "gimmics" to open the way to for the gospel. Ray says that apologetics are bait that catches attention so he can hook them with the WOTM Method. I don't fully agree with his method and think I need furthur study on evangelism. I do think Paul's defense in ACTS 26 does agree with Ray's comments on repentance being taught by Jesus as a part of the gospel.

6:59 PM, May 11, 2007  
Blogger Robert said...

I do agree with you on the weak "evidence" that Ray puts out there...but I will say in his defense, that I believe he's correct in his underlying assumption.

IF man is dead in sin, and that all men suppress the truth, and that they are enemies of God, then no amount of good "evidence" will change their mind...only God does that and only through the preaching of the cross...that's the vehicle by which this miracle happens.

I realize that the banana thingy is weak...but that's not the point...it's just an "ice breaker" to the gospel.

As far as the WOTM method goes...I don't have a problem with Ray trying to get that guy to admit that he was a liar, thief, and adulterer, or what have you...because he IS! Though he would not admit it...he is.

Conviction of sin, admittance of guilt, that's what Ray was getting at.
I dont' think anyone at WOTM would say that the method is a "Silver bullet," that would be saying that we can do anything to make salvation happen, we cannot. We are to proclaim the gospel, and the WOTM is just a way to get the gospel out there in an understandable, well rounded framework, using the main principle of "Law to the proud/grace to the humble"

Just my two cents.

3:56 AM, July 05, 2008  

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