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An Interview with Ray Comfort, Author of You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can’t Make Him Think

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Ray Comfort is represented by Pump Up Your Book Promotion, an innovative public relations agency specializing in online book promotion.

Did you know there are good and bad atheists, and that in recent years, there has been an increase in bad atheists?

That's the opinion of Ray Comfort, author of the new book, You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, But You Can't Make Them Think, available from WND Books.

We interviewed Ray to find out more about his new book and his controversial book that has non-Christians in an uproar.

Thank you for this interview, Ray. Can you tell us a little about yourself and how long you’ve been writing?

I am the author of more than 60 books, including, God Doesn’t Believe in Atheists, How to Know God Exists, Evolution: The Fairy Tale for Grownups, and The Evidence Bible. I was a platform speaker at the 2001 27th convention of American Atheists, and in 2007, I appeared on ABC’s Nightline (with actor Kirk Cameron) debating “The Existence of God.” I also co-host an award-winning television program, and have a daily blog called Atheist Central. I've been writing full-time for 32 years.

At what point in your life did you make up your mind you were going to become a published author?

In 1977 I looked back on my surfing days and realized that five of my old surfing buddies had strayed into drug use, and had tragically died. I was horrified that so many had needlessly died at a young age, so I wrote a book called My Friends are Dying! (now called Out of the Comfort Zone). It was a dramatic story and received national attention in my home country of New Zealand. The book became a best-seller and paved the way for me to keep on writing.

Can you tell us a little about your latest book?

I’m a Christian. I love God, and I also love atheists. I had dinner with 40 of them (at their request) early in 2008 and was treated with respect. I was flown across the country by American Atheists, Inc., to be a platform speaker at their 2001 annual convention. I was treated with respect there also. I have a blog called “Atheist Central” and it daily attracts a mass of atheists. Most of them are nice folks, who obey the rules that say “God” must have a capital “G.”

However, there are good and bad atheists, and in recent years we have seen an increase in bad atheists. These radicals go out of their way to try and censor the Bibles from being given to school children, and who sue Rick Warren because he was asked to pray at the Presidential Inauguration, or protest the presence of a nativity scene. Their agenda isn’t to promote atheism. It is the God-given right of every American to be an atheist if that’s what he chooses. But the new atheist’s agenda is to undermine the rights of those who have the freedom to worship the God who gave them life and liberty.

I wrote this book for the many fence-sitters who have been hoodwinked into thinking that a belief in God is just some sort of blind faith. There is a massive amount of credible evidence that proves God exists. There’s creation. You can’t have a creation without a Creator. It is scientifically impossible. That should be enough for us, but there is much more evidence. However, this will only be seen as evidence by those who have the ability to think. That’s why I called the book You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence But You Can’t Make Him Think.

What kind of research did you have to conduct to write your book?

I was in the unique position of having hundreds of atheists ask me questions via my daily blog, Atheist Central. I felt honored that they would bother to ask me how I know God exists, or why there is suffering, or how I can be sure that there is an afterlife. These are questions that almost every sane person asks, but few seem to answer in a meaningful way. I have tried to do that.

How do you deal with rejection?

Quickly. It’s part of writing.

Do you write mainly by day or by night?

For 26 years I have been getting up around 1:00 A.M. most week nights, and writing until around 3:30 A.M.

Do you ever get writer’s block and what do you do when that happens?

I am very fortunate, in that I rarely get writer’s block. If I do, I have a bowl of cereal and get on with life.

Can you tell us a little about the publisher who published your book? How have they been to work with?

This is my first book with World Net Daily. So far they have been wonderful.

Do you blog? If so, what can you tell my readers about the advantages of blogging as a useful tool in book promotion?

My blog is not only useful in book promotion, it is a wonderful provoker of thought.

Do you have a website? Do you manage it yourself or do you have someone run it for you?

It's called Living Waters. It is managed by my staff.

What’s next for you?

I am publishing two unique Bibles: The Atheist Bible (unauthorized version) and The Charles Darwin Bible (200th birthday edition). Both of these are published by Holman Bible International Outreach. These should come out early in February, 2009.

Thank you for this interview, Ray! Do you have any final words you’d like to share with my readers?

Yes. I wish them God’s richest blessing for 2009.

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About Dorothy Thompson

  • Glenn,

    Any preacher can say they’ve been ‘sent’. Which preacher, if any, you believe is telling the truth is a matter of faith.

    And the other faiths you looked at were ‘obviously false’ why? I suspect your Judeo-Christian bias may have had something to do with your conclusion.

  • The Episcopalians believe that sprinkling – preferably at birth – is the only right way to baptize, and the Baptists believe in immersion at the age of understanding.

    These two beliefs are incompatible with each other, yet both sects believe the other is still on the path to salvation.

    There are at least two inaccurate statements here! First: Episcopalians don’t believe that sprinkling is the “only” right way to baptize. With many other groups, they believe that sprinkling, pouring, or immersion are all valid forms of baptism, with roots leading to Old Testament practices.

    Second: Many, many Baptists don’t believe that Episcopalians (or most Episcopalians, at least) are on any path to salvation.

    Other than that, it’s an interesting theory you have about sent preachers vs unsent preachers, but it’s also extremely uncommon, not representative of any major group within Christianity I can remember. Similarly, you fail to distinguish between the mode or form of a thing and the thing itself, which is interesting. Finally, you fail to distinguish between essentials and non-essentials, which seems to lead to no end of confusion.

    Anglicans have a saying: in essentials, unity; in non-essentials, liberty; in all things, charity. Essentials for Christians generally include those things listed in the Apostle’s Creed, and non-essentials generally include everything else. So the importance of baptism is generally regarded as an essential, while it’s mode generally isn’t (except by some, like many Baptists).

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Have you really heard the word being preached? Truly?

    Please read Romans 10 – in there you should see that sealing only comes with belief, belief only comes with hearing the word being preached, and that preaching can only be done by one who is sent.

    In other words, if you heard preaching by one who is not sent, then you haven’t heard preaching at all.

    Now – would God send preachers to preach conflicting doctrine? My favorite example is a contrast between the Episcopalians and the Baptists (I was baptized as both, btw). The Episcopalians believe that sprinkling – preferably at birth – is the only right way to baptize, and the Baptists believe in immersion at the age of understanding.

    These two beliefs are incompatible with each other, yet both sects believe the other is still on the path to salvation. That begs the question – if one sect believes that its style of baptism is the only true baptism, how can it accept that another sect is also on the path to salvation if that sect’s form of baptism is completely different?

    So as I see it, by accepting the other sect as being sufficient for salvation in spite of being in total disagreement on perhaps the single most important moment of the adherents’ lives…NEITHER sect can possibly be the true faith…and neither can any other sect who accepts these sects as being on the path to salvation.

    I cannot accept that the God of Abraham – in Whom I do believe – would accept multiple forms of baptism, just as He would not send preachers who would preach conflicting doctrines. All the doctrines must be in complete harmony with each other.

    So in response to your statement, yes, there IS a logical reason why you should choose messenger A over messenger B. The trick is knowing which one is truly sent IAW Romans 10…and all others who preach differently must be false.

    I do hope you understand that I am not condemning anyone, and I am certainly not one who is sent to preach.

    Lastly, you mentioned my ‘Judeo-Christian’ bias. As I’ve often stated, after being in several different protestant sects and even exploring Catholicism, I explored other belief systems as well – and all of them were obviously false. I eventually became agnostic and was very close to being an atheist. Perhaps I was – memory fades as the years pass. I was therefore strongly skeptical of the INC when I was first invited…but I listened, and listened some more, and spent many months and then years ruminating over the INC doctrine. There is no complaint against the INC or her doctrine that I am unable to answer honestly. I can disprove all except for the INC…and atheism.

    I hope that I’ve given you some things to think about, and I hope just as much that you see that I bear no malice towards those who do not share my belief.

  • The Bah’ai faith, if I gather correctly, holds that all the world’s religions are facets of the human quest towards ultimate truth. In that sense, to them all expressions of faith are valid, although they will eventually converge to where the Bah’ais stand.

    And your question (as I think you meant to phrase it!) shows some Judeo-Christian bias. For some faiths – Hinduism and Buddhism, for example – eternal life is not a choice. We all live forever no matter how we act. In fact, the ultimate goal of Buddhism is to find a way not to exist at all!

    Also, you ask as if the world’s major faiths were monolithic and uniform. They’re not: there is an entire spectrum of interpretations of scripture across the Christian, Muslim and Jewish faiths. Some denominations say that only they have the truth; others say that all faiths have validity; most sit somewhere in between the two extremes.

    And on your other point, we’re starting to go around in circles. I have heard the Word being preached – or so the various churches at which I have attended services over the course of my life would claim. There’s no logical reason why I should believe Messenger A over Messenger B.

    I have a lot of respect for people like C.S. Lewis and T.S. Eliot, who arrived at their faith not through the intervention of choirs of angels but by long hard thought. Nevertheless, deciding to accept the teachings of any particular church as the Ultimate Truth is really nothing more than a leap of faith – which is as it should be.

  • Glenn,

    Could you rephrase that first question? I think you might have put one or two too many ‘not’s in there!

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    First question – can you think of any religion that says that it is not the true religion, and that does not say that those who do not agree with its teachings are still on the road to eternal life?

    There are some I’m sure – Bah’ai is one such, I think – but among the world’s major religions there are none.

    Concerning your second question – I asked the very same thing when I was first learning the doctrine of the Church. See Romans 2, wherein it states to the effect that those who have not heard the preaching of the word (which Romans 10 makes clear is essential for belief and salvation), but who by nature follow the will of God, are ‘a law unto themselves’ and may still be saved.

    I’ve known about the religious tolerance website for years – not a bad place for most information. You’ll notice there is no official INC website, and this is because of our belief (again, IAW Romans 10) that one cannot be led to salvation just by what they read, but only by listening to the preaching of the word of God by one who is sent to preach the word.

  • The Torah Code is the watermark of G-d.

    Then instead of embedding forecasts of the future in the text, why didn’t he just embed “© God 500 B.C. All rights reserved”? 🙂

    The McCain one… oh, well. Might still come true, I suppose. Stranger things have happened*.

    * Although at the moment I can’t think what those are.

  • Glenn’s comments are in may ways reflected in the Jewish view of prophecy. In my articles, I attempt scenarios, ways that might fulfill x, y or z prophecy, but I’m never so arrogant as to claim that I have got it down pat. I simply do not know.

    Indeed the Torah Code, which uses encoded information in the Torah to demonstrate how events that were then “in the future” were encoded in the Torah, like the discovery of penicillin or insulin, or the election of J. Kennedy, as president of the United States DO NOT FULFILL PROPHECY. There was also a Torah code array that stated that Nixon would be president, and which stated that McCain would be president.

    The Torah Code is the watermark of G-d.

    I’ve not read Comfort’s book, but from the description in the beginning of the article, making a big splash in the non-Christian world, I was underwhelmed. Until I saw this article, I had never seen who Comfort was, and I suspect that many Hindus were equally underwhelmed. I was also of the impression that this interview was more of a puff piece than anything else, but the author has an agenda, hustling highlighting for the general public Christian literature. So I cannot hold that against her. I push a Jewish view, after all….

    But I’ve noticed a lot of militant atheists running around on this site, trying to put the screws to believers of various denominations (or demonizations, for the militant atheists).

    Glenn, I’ll have to look up some of the stuff you talk about.

  • Glenn,

    I want to do some more research (particularly on the Religious Tolerance website, which is an excellent resource) before commenting specifically on the merits or otherwise of the INC. All I’ve had a chance to look at so far is the Wikipedia entry, which is, to put it mildly, a work in progress.

    But I’m highly skeptical of churches like yours, the Mormons, the Moonies, the JWs and others who say that they are the One True Church and that all others are wrong. Firstly, the argument usually doesn’t amount to much more than ‘We hold Belief X, which no other church believes in, therefore we are the true Church’. Why should I accept that over Belief Y, which is held by a rival church and is also not part of any other church’s doctrine?

    Secondly, one thing I notice about such churches is that they’re all new kids on the ecclesiastical block – even the Roman Catholic Church no longer claims that there’s no other way to salvation. Are we really supposed to find it credible that in the entirety of human history God would not have provided a route to salvation until (to take the example of your church) 1914, and that every single person who lived prior to that time is in Hell?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    In the Filipino, it’s “Iglesia ni Cristo” – in English it’s “Church of Christ”. We are in no wise affiliated with any denomination, sect, or other religion. We believe we are the one true Church…and that all others who make such a claim are wrong.

    I know that sounds arrogant…but I believe it to be true. I should mention that I had belonged to several trinitarian churches and had explored other beliefs as well before I was introduced to the Church…and IMO the evidence all points towards the INC.

    We are currently found in about 90 nations and territories on six continents. Chances are there’s one an hour or so away from you.

    I assume that you will Google the name, and should you do so you’ll find several forums and anti INC sites. I would caution you that despite what you will see, make no assumptions until you hear both sides – or all sides – of the story.

  • Glenn, here’s the thing: I’m absolutely fine with the notion of God, and I deeply respect the life’s work and teachings of Jesus, among other prophets*. I’m just not all that crazy about religion. I’ve tried it, and it doesn’t feel right to me, and precisely for the reasons you state.

    The Earth is – and has been since we developed brains big enough to wonder about more than where the next meal was coming from – teeming with folks who are sure they have The answer as to how to get right with God – and who usually insist, contrary to all logic, that everyone else is therefore wrong.

    It leads to some very woolly thinking: I’m almost amused, for example, by the Muslim (and other) extremists who don’t find it at all odd that a being powerful enough to construct entire universes would need some of his puny creations to protect him from a few insults.

    Stepping back from the clamor, it seems rather unreasonable and silly to expect one to pick a route to God based on the belief system of (for example) an obscure Middle Eastern nomadic tribe over all the thousands of others.

    I’d remind you, too, that by no means all of the choices involve some form of ‘salvation’.

    I prefer to keep an open mind; and I figure that if God (assuming there is such a person) wants my soul badly enough after my body is finished with it, he/she/it/they/! will let me know in due course and in no uncertain terms what I need to do about it.

    If I choose to disregard that message when or if it comes, that’s my lookout. As you acknowledge, what I don’t need is some wiseass telling me that a certain book, thing or event is the message.

    P.S. Out of curiosity, Glenn, if you don’t mind my asking, what church do you belong to? I’ve been wondering about this for some time.

    * I’m using the word ‘prophet’ in the sense of those in history who have been regarded as God’s emissary or messenger, not in the sense of those who claim to foretell the future.

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Doc –

    Every time a ‘preacher’ says “This prophecy will be fulfilled literally”, or “This prophecy will be fulfilled in the way I say it will be fulfilled”, that ‘preacher’ is assuming that he knows the mind of God…and if you see a man assuming he knows the mind of God, I suggest you run as far away as you can.

    Remember when Jesus was at the temple and referred to a prophecy in Isaiah? He said, “This prophecy has been fulfilled in your hearing.” The people were obviously shocked because none of them expected that prophecy would be fulfilled in the way it was fulfilled.

    Doc, you’re a good man – that much is obvious from the courtesy and honest objectivity I’ve seen in your posts. I hope you understand that the discussion of our eternal salvation is the most important of all possible subjects, and you cannot afford to be wrong about the path to salvation. I strongly suggest that you examine your beliefs (assuming you follow a particular religion) and see if the doctrines of your religion truly jive with what is written in the Scripture you follow…and whether the history of your religion is compatible with what your religion preaches.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Ah, but do YOU know precisely what happens when the seventh seal is broken? Do you really?

    Absolutely not, which is pretty much my point.

    Do you really think that the two most horrific times in human history would not have a place in the Bible?

    Again, I have no idea.

    The prophecy as accepted by your Church isn’t mine, Glenn. It’s yours. So I’ll repeat my question again:

    You say the Church you attend is the “only one” with that “fulfilled prophecy” as a part of their “doctrine.” I guess what I’m curious about is exactly what that prophetic word means to your Church and why is your Church so sure that is has been “fulfilled” or that it even can be?

    You and your Church are functioning with certainty, not me.

  • Glenn, that does raise the obvious question: if prophecies can only be looked at in retrospect, then what on earth is the point of them?

  • Glenn Contrarian

    Ah, but do YOU know precisely what happens when the seventh seal is broken? Do you really?

    You see, that’s one of the great faults of trinitarianism – for how many times have they said, “the prophecy will be fulfilled just like so!”. By doing so, they’re pretending they know the mind of God. What the true Church does, however, is NEVER to say how a prophecy will be fulfilled, but to look back to history and say, “this is how this prophecy was fulfilled.”

    Now were the prophecies meant to be fulfilled literally…or metaphorically? Do you really think that the two most horrific times in human history would not have a place in the Bible? And one more question – WHAT was the deadliest four months in human history? (Clue – it’s not during WWII, nor in medieval times)

  • Jordan Richardson

    Interesting that you mention that “prophecy fulfilled with such accuracy” that you cannot deny it. If I’m not mistaken, that half hour of silence in “heaven” took (takes) place after the cracking of the seventh seal?

    As I recall, the opening of the seventh seal stood for God’s judgment and wrath. Commentaries and other notations I’ve read have concluded that the half hour of silence was, in many ways, a half hour filled with the horror and terror of those “heavenly bodies” seeing God’s wrath poured out over all the earth. It’s interesting that up until that point in the whole “seal opening process,” for lack of a better phrasing, that heaven was apparently filled with songs and shouts of praise. At that moment, though, there was silence.

    Many have also said that the silence is said to demonstrate great reverence or “respect through admiration” as God metes out or prepares to mete out his judgment on the sinful world.

    So your assumption of prophecy appears based on the idea that the notion of “a day in heaven is a thousand years to us” is to be taken literally, first of all.

    I guess I’m just a little confused how you can take such a logical leap to assert that the “prophecy” is accurate simply because it was transferred to our world’s greatest atrocities. What if other, greater atrocities are still to come that would surpass those? Or better still, what if Revelation and indeed none of scripture was intended as literal or prophetic word of any kind?

    You say the Church you attend is the “only one” with that “fulfilled prophecy” as a part of their “doctrine.” I guess what I’m curious about is exactly what that prophetic word means to your Church and why is your Church so sure that is has been “fulfilled” or that it even can be?

  • Glenn Contrarian


    Me, I’m a Christian. Been a deacon for about a decade. I go to Worship Service twice a week without fail…and then there’s a meeting on a third day of every week…and at least three times a year I really do go to Church every day of the week and twice on Sunday. I believe in God, and I believe in Jesus Christ (who is NOT God (wait for the howls from the trinitarians…)).

    But I also believe in evolution. How can I not? I majored in geology my first time in college – and it’s pretty doggone obvious that the world’s much older than 6K years. All those dinosaur bones gotta come from somewhere. And I can see with my own eyes how the human race is changing as a whole…generally taller. There’s simply too much empirical evidence FOR evolution…and almost NO empirical evidence against. The ‘evidence’ claimed for Noah’s flood is obviously not much more than a grasp for straws to keep the belief that the flood was literal and not metaphorical.

    So how does one reconcile the two? First of all, seven days in the Bible doesn’t mean seven days in human time. Furthermore – and if this sounds weird to you then do the research before you refute it – many physicists today (including Stephen Hawking) believe in something called the ‘Many Worlds Interpretation’, or MWI. You see, there is some evidence that whenever a quantum particle changes state, it changes not to just one of its possible states…but to ALL of its possible states – and each different state is in a different reality.

    If it is true that when every quantum particle in the universe changes states, they change to every possible state…then this means that everything that CAN happen, DOES happen. Read that again – everything that CAN happen, DOES happen…

    …and that means that our particular existence, the one that you and I feel right now…is completely predetermined, and ‘predestination’ has long been the province of religion.

    So is that absolute proof of God? Of course not…but it does lean the balance a bit more in His favor.

    But why Christianity instead of, say, Buddhism? After all, mainstream ‘Christianity’ has killed more people in the Name of God than any other religion in human history.

    Why? Easy. The ‘Christianity’ with so very much blood on its hands is comprised of all those who follow trinitarian doctrine…and its roots can be found in the Baal-worship (yes, Baal, and not the God of the Hebrews) described by Herodotus and in the Catholic Encyclopedia.

    That, and the Church of which I’m a member has shown me a prophecy fulfilled with such accuracy that I cannot deny it. Check Revelations 8:1, where there is silence in Heaven for ‘about a half hour’. If a day in Heaven is a thousand years to us, then the interval between the two most terrible times in human history – WWI (and the far worse flu pandemic) and WWII – was 99.785% of that ‘half hour in Heaven’.

    Again, is that absolute proof? No…but the fact that the ‘half hour’ so very closely matches the interval between the two most terrible times in human history DOES makes the balance lean even further towards the Church, for the Church of which I’m a member is the ONLY one that has that fulfilled prophecy as part of doctrine. There’s much, much more – but that should be enough to raise some hackles and/or tempers out there….

  • Hmmm, maybe I shouldn’t have come in here. I see the BC creation-bashing comment tag team is out in full force, as per the usual.

    In any case, I’m no Ray expert though I have been entertained and encouraged by two of his vintage videotaped sermons a friend lent me.

    I wish the interview had been a bit juicier, it was pretty basic fact-sharing.

    As far as name calling goes, it’s unfortunate from either side. Folks tend to forget their grandma’s advice – you catch more flies with honey than vinegar. Or as the Bible says to believers:

    1Pe 3:15 But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and [be] ready always to [give] an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:

    Yep – meekness and fear, didn’t see name calling listed there.

  • Jordan Richardson

    what I’ve heard before today has been less than impressive.

    Yeah. And get him in a room with Kirk Cameron and he gets even worse. Eww.

  • Jordan Richardson

    Exactly what I was going to say, Warren.

    The God Delusion, etc. certainly also make a point of being condescending and insulting towards people of faith. Frankly, the two untenable positions deserve each other. Maybe they can go fight it out on an island somewhere and stop crowding bookshelves with annoying overbaked and overdone arguments that are thousands of years old.

  • Warren

    “I’m being as nice as possible, but he sure does like to be corky and insulting to atheists, repeatedly calling them stupid, blind, dumb, childish, etc.”

    I’d say turnabout is fair play. Haven’t atheists of the Dawkins stripe been calling Christians all those things for years? Pot, meet kettle.

  • Nice leading questions, Marty. You’re not Jeremy Paxman in disguise by any chance, are you?


  • marty

    This interviewer was gracious to a fault. Some questions that shold have been asked:

    1. Do you worry about being sued because of all the outright lies you tell in the book?

    2. If you can’t have a creation without a creator, can you have a snowdrift without a snow shoveller? Or a mature tree without a full-grown-tree builder? Why can’t you accept that some things just happen, either due to inherent processes or natural laws?

    3. Do you really think atheists are afraid of bananas? You realize, of course, that the ripe yellow banana you hold up as proof of God is actually a man-made hybrid–natural bananas are green and lumpy.

    4. Do you really think that intelligent people don’t see through your lies?

  • I got a review copy of this book from Comfort’s publisher and am presenting a complete review of it – and by complete, I mean that by the time I am finished, I will probably have enough material for a longer book than his book, ha.

    I’m being as nice as possible, but he sure does like to be corky and insulting to atheists, repeatedly calling them stupid, blind, dumb, childish, etc.

  • Given the lack of respect Comfort displays toward atheists (as evidenced by the titles of his books), I’d say they’re way nicer to him than he deserves.

  • Joy

    “Most of them are nice folks, who obey the rules that say “God” must have a capital “G.””

    Wait, don’t you really mean this?

    “Most of them are nice folks who obey OUR rules…”

  • I’m with Dreadful. This is by far the most coherent I’ve ever heard Comfort. Admittedly, I haven’t heard much, but what I’ve heard before today has been less than impressive.

  • How so? Aside from his extravagant claim that there was a Creation (unproven assumption) therefore there must be a Creator (doesn’t follow) Mr Comfort seems admirably lucid.

    If nothing else, you must admit that ‘The Atheist’s Bible’ and ‘The Charles Darwin Bible’ sound intriguing.

  • 100% 1984 Doublespeak.