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My Great Evangelism Adventure, Pt. 4: Meeting Ray Comfort

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Another part in a continuing series on how I discovered my “gift” of evangelism, met Ray Comfort, and had my boring Christian life changed forever. (You can start at part 1 by clicking here.)

I had been sharing my faith for over a year without much success. My daily evangelistic goal seemed fruitless; my witnessing method weak. My Pastor had asked me two questions: “Are you having any conversations? Is anyone getting saved?” Both were answered with a resounding “No!” Then he offered a suggestion: “You may want to get a hold of a man named Ray Comfort. I think he preaches up in Santa Monica each week.”

Who’s Ray Comfort? I mused. How can he help? I promptly wrote his name in my planner with the intention to call him immediately, but forgot about it.

For six months.

I plodded on with my daily goal, continued to write my E-vangie Tales, and considered teaching some sort of evangelism class. I was very zealous for the Lord’s cause, but extremely frustrated that no one would listen to me, at least to the point of making a decision for Christ. Didn’t they know that I had the words of eternal life? Didn’t anyone care? Was no one concerned that they may end up in a fiery Hell for eternity?

Then our church web design guy dropped a name.

I was teaching at a Sunday night service at the time and needed a guest speaker for one of the evenings. “How about we bring in Ray Comfort?” the design guy offered. Ray Comfort? Isn’t he the guy…? Uh oh! I forgot all about calling him. “Sure,” I replied, do you have any information about him?” He handed me a flier for a talk that Comfort would give called “Hell’s Best Kept Secret.”  The tag line read: “Learn the lost key that is guaranteed to unlock the heart of a sinner.”

Yeah right.

Every believer is familiar with the Christian come-on—books and tips and Cds that promise to make your life better if you will only purchase their exclusively Christian product: A Happier Marriage in Only 30 Days of Bible Reading!; Lose Weight with the Ezekiel Diet!; A Powerful Prayer Life in 10 Minutes a Day!; Your Best Life Now!—all with exclamation points, and the Holy Spirit’s unction. But you know what? None of them work. None. Why should I believe that this guy has the lost key?

I asked our web design guy to book Ray Comfort anyway.

On July 31, 2005, I sat in the back of our sanctuary and listened intently to “Hell’s Best Kept Secret”—for about ten minutes. My mind wandered. I fidgeted, checked my fingernails and looked up at the lighting, you know, like most Christians when they listen to a sermon. Then suddenly, I fixated on what he actually had to say. My eyes narrowed, mind expanding. I never heard this before. It made perfect sense.

The proverbial  light bulb when on over my head. I was hooked.

After he finished his message I understood how the use of God’s Moral Law, the Ten Commandments, actually shows a sinner what sin is. When you explain to a sinner that no one can keep God’s Law perfectly, which is His requirement, then the sinner can understand that there is a reason for God to sentence them to Hell: They’ve broken His Law! When a sinner hears the bad news first, it makes the good news, really good news! I got it. By Jove, I got it.

For the past eighteen months I had only given good news, but no one thought they needed it. Without the bad news, my good news made no sense.

I giddily shook Ray’s hand and thanked him. He smiled and gave me a gift: a pack of Million Dollar Bill Gospel tracts. Huh? What are these? He explained during his talk that these were great ice-breakers when initiating a Gospel conversation. “Hi did you get one of these? They are Gospel tracts. The million dollar question  is on the back; want to know what it is? If you were to die today, would you go to Heaven or Hell?”

I didn’t have to worry about how to start a conversation anymore; these tracts were the answer.

I even learned how to have a dialogue using a technique called “The Good Person Test.” By asking a few simple questions, sinners would have a clear understanding of where they stood before God. They’d hear about Judgment Day—and Hell. The Gospel would then make sense!

I couldn’t wait to try all this new information out.

On a vacation in Santa Barbara I approached three gang-bangers and gave each a million dollar bill. I was shocked at their response: They thanked me! They were concerned about the fact that they were going to Hell!

This never happened before.

Up and down State Street, people thanked me for giving them a silly million dollar bill Gospel tract.

I was so dang excited, I wrote my 64th “E-vangie Tale” detailing what happened at this water-shed moment in my life.

From here on out, my life would never be the same.

Click here to read part 5 in the series.

36 Comments

  1. Steve,

    A couple of things…

    First, do you not see the inherent problem in applying the ‘Moral Law’ to people who do not believe there is a God? You’re trying to convince people that they’ve broken a law when they don’t believe in the existence of the law-giver.

    I can see how this would work on ‘lukewarm’ Christians, but I fail to see how you can use it on an atheist who doesn’t recognize the existence of God, the divine nature of the Bible and therefore the binding nature of the 10 Commandments.

    As a side note, I actually do agree that this is a very good way of getting to the essence of the Christian faith (ie, you’re a sinner and here’s why. Now here’s what you need to do about it) I’ve got no problem with that. But first you have to demonstrate that ‘sin’ is more than just a made-up concept used to guilt people into accepting your doctrine. Surely?

    Secondly, you said;

    “I even learned how to have a dialogue using a technique called “The Good Person Test.”

    Do you really think this is a ‘dialogue’? You’re essentially reading from a script because you know full-well the answers that any person has to give (“have you ever told a lie? Ever?”, for example). I don’t consider that as being a dialogue.

    I’ve seen and read a number of these encounters and there’s nothing natural about them – they come across as incredibly contrived; like you’re (by ‘you’ I mean anyone applying the ‘Good Person Test’) not actually listening to what the other person is saying – just rattling through a mantra.

    I feel that this gives off a very disconnected vibe to the person on the receiving end – like a sales pitch where the salesman doesn’t really care if you buy the product or not because he gets paid by the hour, not on commission.

    Lastly, I’ve seen a few Christians, once they’ve gone through the moral law and the ‘Good News’ just walk away as if to say “my work here is done, now it’s up to God to do the rest”. Do you think this is an effective attitude to have? It strikes me as a symptom of my second point – not actually getting into a dialogue with the person – just talking at them. There’s a lot to be said for putting the time in and actually understanding what a person thinks/feels about a given issue – if you do that, you might get more insight into why they’re not already a believer and thereby improve your evangelistic techniques. As it stands it just seems too broad-brush to be effective.

    Anyway, food for thought.

    Cheers,

    Matt

  2. Steve,

    You assume I haven’t already listened to it. I have. I don’t find it effective; I find it logically fallacious. That’s why I asked the questions I did.

    Cheers,

  3. Okay then. I’ll try to answer some of your questions a little later. Still, me thinks that you will not be satisfied with my reasoning. Just a hunch.

  4. Well, let’s hear your reasoning and we’ll find out, won’t we?

    (your hunches/assumptions about atheists to date have been less-than-accurate, so there’s a good chance that your hunch is way off)

    Cheers,

  5. I gotta agree with Matt here (I know, shocker) that HBKS is really only persuasive to “lukewarm” Christians, and possibly non-Christian theists.

    To atheists, it comes across the same way as a description of the political situation in Babylon 5 would come across to people who don’t watch sci-fi.

    I understand why Christians would find it effective… but I don’t understand why Christians would think that nontheists would find it effective.

    I’m absolutely serious here; I really don’t understand why Christians would think that nontheists would find it effective or persuasive.

    I’m also very interested in reading your reasoning, Steve.

    Lastly, I also agree that the “Good Person” test comes off as a script when I’ve seen it… unfortunately, no one has ever given me the test! 🙁

    (I have taken it online at the needgod.com website)

    Here are my answers to the website test:

    Yes, yes, yes (the question uses past tense), yes, yes, yes, yes, technically no, guilty, neither (option not offered, so I had to pick Hell), no, N/A (option not offered, so I had to pick Yes).

  6. Thank you Steve for the post and I appreciate the thoughts that you all have posted. They are thought provoking but I believe that Ray Comfort answers them well using scripture.

    According to what Ray teaches and the Bible, the Ten Commandments would actually be effective on an atheist because the law is written on his heart. It is part of his conscience, so he naturally knows that it is wrong to lie, steal, murder, commit adultery, etc. Romans 2:14-15 attests to this. It says “Even Gentiles, who do not have God’s written law, show that they have know his law when they instinctively obey it, even without having heard it. They demonstrate that God’s law is written in their hearts for their own conscience and thoughts either accuse them or tell them they are doing right” (NLT). The atheist doesn’t believe in the law giver but the law is still on his heart. Therefore by using the Ten Commandments you will be speaking to his conscience, the God given light within him. I have seen on different occasions, atheists and agnostics soften up because they know of their own guilt according to God’s law.

    I agree with you ExPatMatt about the need for dialogue with people. It helps us to become better witnesses and it shows people that we are genuinely interested in them. I have seen that it is effective to also use the good person test in the midst of dialoging. In reality with the test you are going back in forth with the person, getting their thoughts and helping them to understand the gospel. This can be done in a bad uncaring way, but there is I believe a right way to do it which is in dialogue about with the person. I think that the sales approach can be avoided by listening and showing compassion as we take people through the good test. I have found it to be very effective.

  7. Nohm and ExPat: Samuel pretty much summed up what I was gonna say. If you need more clarity, I’ll answer further.

  8. Samuel,

    I appreciate your response and I’m sure Steve does too! (you were just about to say that exact same stuff, weren’t you Steve?!) 😉

    So, your answer to the question; why should an atheist, who doesn’t accept the divinity of the Bible, take any notice of the 10 Commandments….. is to tell that atheist that the Bible says that he already has the 10 Commandments ‘written on his heart’?

    You don’t see any problem with that?

    I also note that, when talking about the Commandments that are ‘written on the heart’, you stick to the ones (lie, steal, murder, commit adultery) that are generally accepted as being wrong by everyone anyway – regardless of Christianity. It’s all good and well to claim that these are wrong because the Bible says so, or because God says so, but it’s merely a claim that that is the basis for this. Anyone can make that claim. If you want anyone to take it seriously, then you’ll have to back it up.

    There are a number of reasons for why we consider those actions to be wrong and none of them require a law-giver. They just require us to be social creatures who better survive in cohesive groups.

    But, to continue, you stay clear (as everyone always does when referencing the ‘Good Person Test’) of the Commandments that say I am to love God, or that I am to keep the Sabbath holy. Those should be ‘written on my heart’ too, should they not? I can assure you that they are not. I feel no pangs of guilt when I work on a Sunday (or a Saturday, or whenever the Sabbath might be!) and I feel nothing in my conscience when I contemplate that, not only do I not love God, I don’t even think He exists.

    So, it seems to me, you are trying to back up the idea that it’s an atheist is going to listen to what the Bible has to say, because the Bible says he should.

    I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to dig a little deeper on that one my friend, because it just doesn’t quite cut the mustard.

    Cheers,

  9. Thanks for responding ExPatMatt.

    I’m saying that the atheist will in large part agree with some of the Ten Commandments because they are written on his heart whether he believes that the Bible is inspired or not. The bible even says that there is no excuse for the person who says that there is no God (Psalm 19:1 and Romans 1:20). God’s existence is clear. He has left evidence of Himself through the things that have been made. Sure it seems to be your presupposition that your conscience wasn’t given by a law giver even though the Bible clearly says that it does. If it doesn’t come from a law giver where does it come from? And why do there seem to be some things that are universal? If that is what you believe I cannot change your mind by a clever argument, however you are as the bible says suppressing God’s truth.

    Why do you not believe in God if you don’t mind me asking?

  10. Samuel,

    Yes, the atheist will agree with ‘some‘ of the Ten Commandments. So? I’m pretty sure all those things are in a number of other holy texts too – does that mean that if I agree with them then that renders those holy texts as the source for my feelings regarding lying, stealing, etc?

    You’d probably say no. But the adherents to those other religions would undoubtedly say yes. So from the outside, how is an atheist to decipher which of the these conflicting holy texts is the source of his conscience? (Or none at all?)

    You also ignored my comment about the Commandments regarding the Sabbath and ‘loving the Lord thy God’. Why are they never mentioned in the Good Person Test? Are they not moral laws too?

    “God’s existence is clear. He has left evidence of Himself through the things that have been made.”

    Ah, that would be Ray Comfort’s classic; “Creation is 100% proof that there was a creator” line, wouldn’t it? However, for those of us that don’t already believe in a creator-god, what we see is the natural universe. There’s no ‘Made by God’ stamp on anything and the Bible’s description of the how the world came to be does not match up with what we see when we actually look at the world – so where is this ‘evidence’ you speak of?

    “If it doesn’t come from a law giver where does it come from?”

    Morals are an emergent property of our highly evolved brains. Empathy is a useful survival skill for an intelligent and social creature like an ape. That is the root of all our morality.

    “Why do you not believe in God if you don’t mind me asking?”

    I lack a general belief in gods because I see no compelling reason to believe in them. The more specific the description of a particular god becomes, the easier I find it to say I actively disbelieve in their existence (as opposed to merely lacking belief). For example, the Young Earth Creationist God is one that I can safely put under the bracket of ‘I don’t believe that God exists’ because it simply does not comport with reality as I understand it. The deistic god, however, is one that can co-exist with reality as I understand it, so I merely lack belief in the existence of that god and could be persuaded otherwise given sufficient evidence or a persuasive-enough argument.

    Why do you believe in God? 😉

    I hope that was clear! Feel free to ask any more questions you might have.

    Regards,

    Matt

  11. Samuel,

    I sadly have to agree with ExPatMatt on this. You have to be able to use reason, make them think logically. That’s a trap we fall into sadly. The problem is that we take the Bible as God’s Word and truth. The atheist doesn’t see that. We have to tell them WHY we believe that. We too often just give them the what without the why.

    Let me give you an example: my job and neighborhood has me encountering teens daily. I often try to witness to them. When I tell them that if they’ve looked on someone with lust, they’ve committed adultery in their heart. They respond by saying “But I am not married. Adultery is sex between a married person and someone other than their spouse. So how am I guilty?”

    Now that is a very valid question. it wasn’t asked in a mocking tone (the teen even said “I’m not trying to be wise”). Now I was stumped, so I told him that and I’d get back to him. I asked Ray Comfort many times and he hasn’t answered my question (Steve, maybe you can?). The point is, I could’ve gone on by saying that the Bible says it’s wrong. From his point of view, the Bible isn’t truth. It’s our job to show them why, or at the very least, point them in the direction where they can learn why.

  12. Bizzle,

    Thanks for the thought. I understand that it is important to tell someone why we believe or why the bible can be trusted. I have spoken to countless numbers of atheists on college campuses in which I have used reason and logic to get them to consider the Bible as God’s Word. However intellectual discourses alone will not bring a person to faith. I believe that it will set them in the right direction to do their own searching and consideration in which God will reveal Himself, but it can be a mistake to let go of my presupposition when dialoging with anyone. God’s Word of is sharper than any two edged sword according to Heb 4:12. I stand on that truth, though reasoning with someone is important.

    Hey ExPattMatt,

    In regards to your first question I think it can be expanded to which text is actually inspired. It is true that other religious texts contain morality that any person can agree with, but that does not mean that the text is ultimately the truth about God, morality and the afterlife. I would argue that the Bible itself self apart from the other texts in its claims, prophecy, manuscript copies reliability, and archaeology. Also, it has changed the lives of millions of people including my own.
    Over two thousand times the writers of the Bible claimed that the words that they have spoken were given to them by God directly. There isn’t even a hint of the idea that it was man’s own idea or a tool to control people as some believe. Many of the things that the writers wrote down in the Bible were about future events which are historically recorded as actually happening (ex. Jewish 70 yr captivity, Assyrian fall, Alexanders conquest, Babylonian fall, Persian empire, Birth of Jesus of Nazareth, rise of the Roman empire etc.). In addition to these things there are thousands of copies Bible manuscripts and all of them agree with one another in content. I’m not sure of any other ancient manuscript that has this many copies preserved. The cities and graves of some of the Biblical figures are also known!

    I would like to return to your question about the Good person test and using the the Commandments about God. I would say that the a person who doesn’t believe in God is just suppressing that truth as I posted last time. When I use the test I do take people through at least one of the commandments about God. If God does exist then I think most people would think it’s wrong to use his name irreverently or to ignore Him all together. But as I said before my foundation of truth says that no person has any excuse to say that God doesn’t exist. You say that you see no evidence for God’s existence but I say that it is all around you in nature. Coming from your point of view you would have to conclude that everything ultimately just came into being and built itself. Non-life somehow gave rise to life which to my knowledge no one is clear on how that happened. We don’t see things today just appearing or life just coming out non-life. There must have been a cause. Life only comes from life.

    I personally believe in God because it was something that I was taught as a child and it made sense. I went to church with family, but we stopped going. It wasn’t until I came to college in 2004 that I became a Christian. I was invited to go out to a church, and I was amazed at the lives of the people there. They were very loving, and I thought it was very strange. A few weeks after going to this church service I went to an event that the church held for feeding the homeless and it was there I faced the question of “am I really a Christian?” I had found that I too had done bad things in the sight of God. I had lied, I got into fights, I lusted, I cursed God’s name, I hated people, I was jealous, I dishonored my parents, I had stolen, and I knew that I was not right with God and was destined for hell. I was reminded that God had sent His Son Jesus into the world to pay the penalty for the bad things that I had done through death on a cross, and that He had raised Jesus up from the dead as proof for His validity. I then prayed to Jesus for the forgiveness of my sins and put my trust in Him. From there he totally changed my heart. He gave me new desires and a new nature that had not been there before. My belief in God had just moved from head knowledge to experience.
    You ExPattMatt can experience this forgiveness as well if you put your trust in Jesus.

  13. Bizzle,

    Well, Ray did answer your question….he just didn’t answer your question. He’s good at that.

    But yes, you seem to understand what I’m getting at. Every attempt to back up why I should believe what the Bible has to say is based on what the Bible says. I just don’t see how that’s effective.

    PS. I’d still like to hear your views, Steve.

  14. I have a reply to this, but I won’t be able to get to it until tonight.

    Short version: Samuel listed lying, stealing, adultery, and murder as things that we can agree on to be things that are wrong. I notice that Samuel did not mention “blasphemy”, which is often one of the questions of the Good Person Test, and one that nontheists would probably disagree with it being a known wrong thing.

    Also, the Good Person Test (including the online one at needgod.com) does not directly ask about murder and adultery; the Test asks about hatred and lust, and then states that Jesus claimed that hatred is equal to murder and lust is equal to adultery, when there’s no reason for a nontheist to see Jesus as an authority. In other words, “Ok, that’s Jesus’ opinion, but it’s not mine, so what of it?”

    I’ll talk more about the issues I have with all of that later this evening.

    Be well.

  15. If it [your conscience] doesn’t come from a law giver where does it come from?

    I’m with Matt here: the answer I’ve found is “emergence“.

    And that’s why I keep bringing up that word to you, Steve.

  16. Samuel wrote:

    I would argue that the Bible itself self apart from the other texts in its claims, prophecy, manuscript copies reliability, and archaeology. Also, it has changed the lives of millions of people including my own.

    and

    Over two thousand times the writers of the Bible claimed that the words that they have spoken were given to them by God directly. There isn’t even a hint of the idea that it was man’s own idea or a tool to control people as some believe. Many of the things that the writers wrote down in the Bible were about future events which are historically recorded as actually happening

    Muslims can make the exact same claims about the Quran.

    Also, about this part:

    Many of the things that the writers wrote down in the Bible were about future events which are historically recorded as actually happening

    Much like “Scientific Miracles of the Quran” (google it), it requires a lot of post-event re-reading and re-interpreting to get “future events”.

    In short, it never directly talks about things like Alexander’s conquest; only after knowing about Alexander’s conquest can people go back and say, “oh, this means that and this other thing means that other thing and see, it’s like totally about Alexander’s conquest… just ignore that the actual pertinent details are completely missing.”

    Lastly, Samuel wrote:

    I would say that the a person who doesn’t believe in God is just suppressing that truth as I posted last time.

    Look. I know that you guys believe this. I know that your Bible (well, actually, iirc it was Paul… a preacher who had good reason to try to demonize non-believers to his intended audience) says this.

    Here’s the problem: your statement is a non-starter. You’re telling us that we don’t think what we actually think. You’re telling us that you know what we think better than we do. You can feel confident in thinking this, but it only appears silly to us non-believers.

    Beyond the silliness in telling us what we think (when we don’t think that), there’s also the sheer stupidity in it; why in the heck would I choose to deny an all-powerful being who has the power to send me to eternal punishment in a lake of fire? I mean, really! Just how dumb would I have to be??

    You say that you see no evidence for God’s existence but I say that it is all around you in nature.

    Ok, as they say on the Atheist Experience, please give us your BEST piece of evidence, if it’s “all around [me] in nature”.

    Samuel, is it possible that you haven’t searched for other answers, and therefore what you see as obvious evidence for God “all around us”, we see as obvious evidence for things like emergence?

    Samuel also wrote:

    Coming from your point of view you would have to conclude that everything ultimately just came into being and built itself. Non-life somehow gave rise to life which to my knowledge no one is clear on how that happened. We don’t see things today just appearing or life just coming out non-life. There must have been a cause. Life only comes from life.

    Sigh. And then there’s this. Look, I understand that you think you know what we think.

    I want to stress something to you, Samuel: you have no idea what we think. You appear to have no idea what the actual answers we have are.

    You say: “There must have been a cause.” Ok, why must there be? And, if there must be, why is God exempt from this “must be”? In other words, why is God exempt from having a cause?

    You say: “We don’t see things today just appearing or life just coming out non-life. … Life only comes from life.”

    Again, why is your God exempt from these? Is God alive or not alive? If he’s alive, then your statement that “Life only comes from life” must apply to Him also, unless you explain why he’s exempt from this also.

    Lastly, Samuel, how much research have you done regarding “life”?

    Here’s the fundamental issue for me when it comes to evangelists, and I understand that I’m repeating a cliche: if you can’t get things right that I actually know about, how I can I possibly assume that you’d be right about things that I have no idea about?

  17. Btw, I’m with Matt in that I’d still like to hear your point of view, Steve.

  18. Samuel,

    I don’t expect you to lose your presupposition. And I apologize if I wasn’t totally clear. You need God’s word, first and foremost, but if you don’t have reason, you can expect to begin to convert atheists.

    Steve, may I formally ask if you could answer my question regarding lust? I can’t seem to get an answer from Ray. Thanks in advance for any help you can provide!

  19. Steve,

    So first you use Samuel’s words, now you’re using Tony’s. I know that you can speak for yourself, so why is this so hard for you?

    Cheers,

  20. “Also, I want to be careful what I say lest I get inundated by a thousand more follow-up questions. Patience.”

    Don’t bother, Steve. Tony’s essay made it clear that you’re not interested having a conversation; so what’s the point?

    Take it easy mate, I’ll see you around.

    Regards,

    Matt

  21. Awwww, Mat, c’mon. David Byrne once sang, “Patience is a virtue, but I don’t have the time.” (Talking Heads)

    I really am focused right now on a sermon for this weekend (4 services) dealing with Romans 1: 18-32, which deals with the “suppressing the truth” issue and the fact that you already know the truth.

    I will probably right a post addressing your concerns, but not until next week. As you can see, I’m posting “pre-fab stuff” in the meantime because I don’t have the time to respond. Hang in there. I’m willing to dialogue, but time is limited on this end. I do enjoy having you guys here.

  22. Steve,

    There’s no dialogue to be had when you’re just going to assert as ‘fact’ that atheists are “suppressing the truth”.

    How about this:

    The fact is that you know there is no God, but you pretend there is because you’re scared of death and by pretending that you believe in God you’ve convinced yourself that you’ll go to Heaven instead of dying and ceasing to exist.

    Now, you know this is a fact, but you’ll never admit it because that would bring the self-delusion crashing down.

    I know this as a fact.

    Fact.

    Let’s talk about it.

    It’s a fact.

  23. The fact is that the vast majority of people are not atheists. Even here in Godless Europe. And people have a sense of right and wrong, knowing deep down that they have sinned. On occasion I ask people about creation (could your wrist watch have happened by accident? Could that building have evolved over billions of years? You are much more complex etc etc) and that often does the trick.

    The fact is, I usually don’t get into arguments about God’s existence on the streets. It mainly seems to be on blogs like this!

    Steve – you are a real blessing and encouragement to me. God bless you.

  24. McMurdo wrote:

    On occasion I ask people about creation (could your wrist watch have happened by accident? Could that building have evolved over billions of years? You are much more complex etc etc) and that often does the trick.

    Probably because they didn’t know of all of the logical fallacies contained within Paley’s Watchmaker argument.

    I do.

    I encourage you to look it up on wikipedia, where the fallacies are listed and described, in detail. I’m not saying that it’s therefore incorrect, but you’d at least understand why some people, like myself, have a very difficult time taking a person seriously when they use this argument.

    And that doesn’t even touch on what I’m betting is a fact that you cannot define the word “complexity” in a way that it can be quantified, which makes the statement “You are much more complex” a statement of ignorance.

    Secondly, McMurdo wrote: “The fact is, I usually don’t get into arguments about God’s existence on the streets. It mainly seems to be on blogs like this!

    Well, I think that there are multiple reasons for this, and the most likely is “politeness”. We nonbelievers realize that your religious beliefs have an emotional connection to you, but the concept of religion doesn’t usually have an emotional connection to us; it’s an intellectual study. Because of this, I don’t tend to get into religious discussions with my religious friends or co-workers.

    In other words, in religious discussions, it’s far more likely that YOU will get offended, than I will get offended, because there’s not an emotional connection there for me.

    Also, I think that the vast majority of nonbelievers just don’t care about such discussions. As I described in another thread, I *do* care, but not because the people are religious; I care because I enjoy talking with people who think differently than I do.

    Lastly, I think such discussions are more common on computers for the benefits gained by using a computer; we’re not currently in a rush, we have a better ability to research information, and we can edit what we write.

  25. Right, almost everyone I know in real life is essentially an athiest, I am probably the only one who chats on blogs about it. Most people just don’t care.

  26. I think BT answered it better than I did: most atheists and nonbelievers just don’t care to get into such discussions.

    My dad’s side of the family are all nonbelievers, but they’d never get into a discussion with a believer about religion.

  27. Bizzle: The lust question is valid, even if one is single. Adultery starts in the heart. Why is it wrong? Jesus says so. All we do is state the demands of the Law. Whether people agree or not is there problem ultimately.

    And does looking at someone ith lust value or devalue a person?

  28. Steve, thanks for an answer, especially your last sentence. It doesn’t answer my question exactly, but I think will allow me to make headway with the teens.

  29. Yep, there’s nothing like telling teens that their natural impulses are an affront to Jesus!

    Seriously; adultery is one thing, luting after someone while being young and single is another thing entirely. I’m afraid Jesus was just plain wrong on this one.

    One more thing; I’m pretty sure that ‘the heart’ is not where adultery starts…

  30. The problem I encounter is the definition of adultery, which is sex between a married person and someone other than their spouse. Since the teen and the person they are lusting after are single, they don’t understand how it’s wrong. So if I go with Steve’s last sentence, then maybe I can make them see how it’s wrong. I am trying to inject reason. I want people to be saved, not just hear the message.

  31. Bizzle,

    I can’t tell you how refreshing it is to hear your desire to inject reason into this discourse.

    It’s the difference between what you’re saying when you wrote “I want people to be saved, not just hear the message.“. and Tony’s I’m a herald, not a negotiator” (i.e., “I’m gonna talk at you, not with you”).

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