The Latest from Ray Comfort

In a recent YouTube interview, evangelist Ray Comfort somewhat surprisingly admitted that certain things in the Bible — things like the talking snake and Jonah and the whale — are “crazy,” and even “intellectually offensive.” This doesn’t mean he’s becoming more enlightened: Comfort fully believes that the stories involved are veridical. However, he has an explanation for why these things happened.

According to Comfort, God “chose foolish things to confound the wise.” Those who have too much intellectual pride to accept such nonsensical-sounding stories will reject them. But those who are sufficiently humble will believe them in spite of their better judgement — and that’s what God wants. As Jesus said, you must become like little children to enter the kingdom of Heaven.

Thus, instead of concluding that the crazy stories must be false, Comfort thinks we should suppose that we are being intentionally misled by God, as a test of our humility. This makes Comfort’s deity a bit like Descartes evil demon. It is also reminiscent of Philip Henry Gosse’s view that God created the world a few thousand years ago with “pretend” fossils already in the ground.

I guess as far as Comfort is concerned, being humble means having the will to doubt even our strongest convictions. A man living for three days inside a whale seems crazy, but if we don’t have any pride in our reasoning abilities, accepting such nonsense is easy! But now, if we are to be this skeptical about what we can be sure of, shouldn’t Comfort be skeptical of his “knowledge” that the Bible is God’s word? Or that any of it is true?

Link to the Comfort interview

Franz Kiekeben is a former lecturer in philosophy and the author of two books on atheism, The Truth about God, and Atheism: Q & A. He has also written for Skeptic magazine and published academic articles on determinism and on time travel.