Sunday, April 12, 2009

Ray Comfort: ‘Cults Sects and Questions’

‘This book gives a clear explanation of the Hare Krishna and Children of God movements, exposes the errors of Jehovah Witnesses, Mormons and Christian Scientists and answers questions such as “Where did God Come from?”, “Why does God allow children to stave?” and many more’.

‘Show me one [mistake], I get you can’t; in fact I’ll give you $100 if you can prove to me there is one mistake in the word of God’

‘If there is ever conflict between Science and Scripture, the problem must be on the science side’.

‘To withhold the rod is to put your hand in the hand of Satan and co-operate with him in sending your child to hell!’

‘Cults Sects and Questions’ is another of Ray Comforts late 70’s books (as I’ve indicated previously, frustratingly Ray didn’t deem it necessary to denote a date on any of these publications, but at I’m fairly sure this one was 1979)

Mercifully for yours truly it was an easier book to digest than the previous efforts I have reviewed.

This was because the format was broken down into Ray answering a series of self-imposed questions, one per chapter, 37 chapters over just 172 pages.

Major questions like ‘How can we know there is a God’? and ‘Where did God come from?’ intermingle with the less relevant & some of Rays ever-present pet hates ‘Rock Music’ and ‘Jehovah Witnesses’ – plus a new target ‘The Hare Krishna Movement’.

For anyone who is interested in cults and sects, the book would be a major disappoint to you, as it was to me. Cults fascinate me.

37 Chapters, just 7 were on cults and sects (I’ve included Mormons in that mix)

The way I approached the book was to go straight to the chapters, that interested me and see what Ray had to say on a whole range of poignant, deeply philosophical issues, and tackle them.

I have therefore spared you the evangelically orientated chapters like ‘Why do I need to go to Church?”, “What would you say is the key to successful Christian living?” etc.

So here we go, grab yourself a cup of coffee and an aspirin.

Most of the time I’m just repeating what’s written verbatim ,in an abridged form the original texts so we can get through the writings.

Trust me, this is enough.

My snide comments are in the brackets.

Chapter 1: ‘Where does God come from?’

We can not gaze into space and understand that space has no end. There is no brick wall at the end of space, because if there was, what would be behind the brick wall? It just goes on and on……never ending. The thought of infinity hurts my brain – I can not understand it [fortunately for mankind, those with bigger brains can] The Bible teaches us that God is eternal, without beginning and without end. We being finite, can not understand a world without time. Time is just a dimension that God has created and subjected man to [move-over Einstein, Rays in town] Eternity and infinity are too much for our tiny brains to comprehend.

Chapter 3: How can we know there is a God? Surely it’s naïve to believe in something you cannot see? [too bloody right!]

True we can not see God, but we can see the genius of God by works for His hands [if you can’t see him how can you be sure it’s a he and not the celestial version of a lady-boy from Phuket?] We can see by the order of creation that a Creator must exist; reason, logic and common sense point to that conclusion [even if science and that messy thing called evidence doesn’t] It is the epitome of foolishness to say our world with its seasons, weather patterns, trees, flowers, birds etc…was the result of some explosion in space of which our earth was a part [which bit of these scientifically quantifiable counter-arguments do you not understand there Ray?] How can we say that the human body “just happened” with no intelligent creator behind it? [earth to Ray, it’s because of guy called Darwin who explained the origins to mankind 150 years ago and advances in genome research shows us we are 98.3% identical to certain chimps] The motive for saying there is no God is deeper than just ignorance [Oh I see, for a moment I thought it was just me denying scientific evidence in place of religious rhetoric]

Chapter 8: Why does God allow evil?

Why does God allow evil? – quite simply, because if He punished it immediately I’m sure we would have been snuffed out the moment we were born. [God the infanticidal Judge Dread] God says our very thoughts are an abomination to him. If He punished sin immediately [the logical thing to do], there would be no one left [ death being Gods sole punitive option]

Footnote: Nowhere in this brief answer does Ray even attempt to answer the question posed.

Chapter 10: Why does God allow people to die of starvation?

Ten thousand people a day die of starvation, according to a United Nations survey. Thousands more die from disease daily: we have earth-quakes, floods. droughts and pestilence. These are only a few of the evidences which show us that something is drastically wrong with our relationship with our creator [and there I was thinking earthquakes were fault movements as the plates moved] All of humanity’s problems stem from rebellion to The Word of God. Since mans rejection of God we have lived in this fallen state, where our weather patterns are chaotic, animals devour each other [pray-tell how does a carnivore survive other wise?] our crops are diseased, and multitudes are suffering and dying from sickness and disease. These are stark reminders that what The Word of God says is true [if raining-down misery on mankind is part of your Gods providence, can I take a miss or choose another one?]

Chapter 13: Why is it that God doesn’t answer prayers?

It has been said that God always answers prayer. Sometimes He says “yes” sometimes he says “no” and sometimes He says “wait a while” [at statistically the same rate as praying to the moon or your favourite stuffed toy] Sometimes God will answer a prayer in a different way than we have first anticipated. [hey, that’s exactly what happens sometimes when I beg to my stuffed toy] The fact is, many of us pray for things that God knows would only hinder our walk with Him [like say a cure for cancer?] so for our own good He withholds them from us [die ya bastard!]

When we are first born into God’s kingdom we generally get our prayers answered immediately [there’s thousands of studies which prove this] but as we grow God teaches us patience by letting us wait.

Chapter 14: Why do Christians suffer?

Nowhere in the Word of God does God promise that living for Him will be easy. The fact is, Christians do have problems, they do get sick, but god heals us when we are sick and takes us through our problems [try telling that one to an amputee] The non-Christian suffers in vain, the Christians with a purpose [very reassuring I’m sure for a Christian suffering the ravages of disease]

Chapter 15: Why believe the Bible when it’s full of mistakes?

Show me one (mistake), I bet you can’t; in fact I’ll give you $100 if you can prove to me there is one mistake in the word of God [Leviticus describes bats as birds, Moses tell us insects all have 4 legs etc etc. But what the hell did a bunch of primitives know? And by the way is that USD or NZD? With the exchange rate the way it is I’d prefer it in USD, thanks Ray] There are plenty of seeming contradictions, but no mistakes. I not only believe it is infallible, but I believe every word of it, literally [in case the world hadn’t noticed] - for example about Adam and Eve, Noah and the Ark, Jonah and the whale etc. I believe it because I understand that God has chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise [WTF are you talking about with this God creating foolish things?]

Read the book of Job for its scientific accuracies about the moon not having it’s own light, the earths free float in space, the treasures of the snow, Read in Isaiah 40, written 3000 years before Christ, about the earth being circular [ perhaps Galileo should have used it in evidence in his infamous heresy trial]

Chapter 16: Science tells us that the earth is millions of years old [make that billions] – doesn’t this conflict with the Bible?

In reference to this question I see no conflict between the Bible and science, because the Bible doesn’t say how long it was before Adam fell. Because there was probably no ageing or decaying process when man was first created [if you are flummoxed at this, think The Flintstones]
he may have been on this earth for millions of years before he sinned [throwing rocks at other units of chimps, I bet] Another thought [oh God no, not another one! Please no more, have mercy on the rational!] is that when God created man He would have created him with an appearance of age. If a biologist had appeared two minutes after man was created, he would therefore have judged the man was fully mature, probably about 30 years of age [I got the feeing he was making this up as well] The same process would apply to all creation. If a geologist had appeared on the scene two minutes after the creation of a mountain he would have said [using radiometric dating I’m presuming?] it was millions of years old, because it was created with an appearance of age.

If there is ever conflict between Science and Scripture, the problem must be on the science side.

[By now I was struggling, with the book, and went-out and walked the dog, to get some fresh-air]

Chapter 26: What about the heathen in darkest Africa who have never heard of the name Jesus Christ – surely they won’t be condemned to hell because of their ignorance?

Every person ever born has a conscience: we all know right from wrong and God will judge us all as we have lived in regard to that conscience. The Bible tells us every man will give an account to God. If you are really concerned about the heathen, become a Christian and go tell them yourself [ like say starting a syndicated Evangelical TV programme in a poor needy country like Mozambique , rather than California?]

Chapter 30: What authority is there for or against women being prominent in Church work?

There is no authority in the Bible for a woman to have a place of supremacy in the church. When she takes it she steps out of her right place. She goes against the plain teaching of The Bible when she takes the place of the authoritative teacher in the church. [get back in the kitchen bitch, and cook me some eggs]

Chapter 34: Recently in Sweden it was declared illegal for parents to physically discipline their children – do you agree?

In this chapter Ray writes, under the subheading ‘How to Chasten your Children’ the following pieces of Christian enlightenment and child-rearing tips, could be found …..

-Always inflict the punishment so as to make him cry. This sounds cruel, but if he doesn’t cry he will harbour anger and resentment [oxymoron time folks] Tears bring release.

- I realise that discipline is not easy; it must be consistent and it must start early.

- My own mother is always telling us how well behaved our children are, but little does she know how we got them that way! She would turn grey if she knew, I cane her perfect grandson, but she loves the result.

- The Word of God says that if a father provides all other necessary things to raise a child and yet fails to discipline him, the child is a bastard and may as well not have a father.

- To withhold the rod is to put your hand in the hand of Satan and co-operate with him in sending your child to hell!

As you can appreciate by the end I had well and truly, had a guts-full of this load of crap!
My blood pressure should be down by the end of the week.


Rufus said...

Question number 26 really bothers me. Even if everyone has this god given conscience, the Bible says that being a Christian is the only way to be saved. An unknown number of people have died without knowing about Christianity. It's just more of Ray Comfort avoiding the question. What an asshole.

henwli said...

The part about disciplining your child made me flash back to an uncomfortable episode of Ray's radio show (Way of the Master Radio), where Todd Friel instructed all the good parents to spank their children until they REALLY cry.

Watch out for them crocodile tears! Them be the tears o' the Debul!

Thank you for subjecting yourself to Ray's books. It's a convenience since I much prefer to suffer pain through a proxy.