This is a bit late, that is a week late, but I thought I’d share my thoughts on Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron’s debate with the atheists on Nightline on ABC. I believe you can watch the whole debate, if you so desire. I should preface my comments by saying that I totally realize that they didn’t show the whole context of the debate and were perfectly able to show the parts they wanted to. There was plenty that was said that wasn’t shown in the small amount of time they gave to it.
The first observation i wanted to make was just my skeptical attitude towards the event as a whole. I’m just not sure this was the best way to go about it for the following reasons.
1. I’m highly skeptical of saying that you are going to prove God apart from the Bible. General revelation presents enough to condemn man, but not save him. That calls for Special Revelation. Comfort was attempting to force General Revelation on people as if it would operate as Special Revelation.
2. Even he was able to prove that there is a God, all you have accomplished is having them trade one form of idolatry for another. You’ve just swayed them to Theism, not Elohim. In human terms, this may bring them closer to a saving knowledge of God, but matters of salvation are not discussed in human terms.
3. Ray Comfort is an evangelist, not a debater. There is a distinct difference. he wasn’t going to add anything to the debate that has been going on for ages. And if the atheists were going to be prepared at all, they could guess what he would do to make his arguments. You could have guessed that he’d do his soda can and banana analogies. You could have guessed that Kirk Cameron was going to do his ‘mising link’ pictures.
One interesting side observation on the debate was the spirit of those who were debating. The atheists came across as sarcastic,
condescending, and hateful. They got very worked up and did not come across as caring and loving as Comfort and Cameron did. They said that they regretted the way they interacted with Comfort and Cameron and that they were a little tough on them.
As a side note, later that night I saw a replay of Oprah (I see so many things I normally wouldn’t while staying up with Micah). She was doing a thing where she provided applause to those that are doing great things without much recognition. She featured the story of a woman who organized the adoption of 570 babies that were going to be abandoned otherwise. it was truly an inspiring story. But it got me thinking of how much applause and love this one lady received, but Comfort and Cameron got blasted and yelled at. here they are giving their lives to preaching the Gospel and warning people of the Hell to come, and they get mocked for it. Just an interesting observation.
Another observation was a question from the audience that really shed a lot of light on their argument of atheism. She asked how a loving, Creator God could create something like cancer. Comfort responded by saying that there was a lot of suffering in the world, and they all jeered him, apparently upset that he was being too general and skirting the question. So he spoke for a bit about the problem of evil and the loving God.
What was interesting was that at that point, the debate ceased to be one about Atheism, but a debate against the idea of the christian God. The question of a good God and evil is irrelevent when it comes to the debate of whether God exists. At that point you have conceded that God exists, but you are now debating his nature. I don’t think anyone realized this, when it happened.
in the end, there really wasn’t that much progress made. Sure, some heard the Gospel, but they had to leave it up to the editing of ABC to get it through. If you want to hear a sweet debate, go and listen to the Bahsen vs. Stein debate. Greg Bahsen smears the floor with the guy, showing that Stein stubbornly held to a untenable position.