Air Time for Ray Comfort/ Kirk Cameron Atheist Debate

It looks like my little post on the Christianity vs. Atheist debate has generated more blog visits than I would have expected.

One new visitor asked when the debate would air and I could not find an answer anywhere. I wrote the email that came with the press release and the author was so kind to answer me quickly. He said as follows:

ABC just confirmed that the debate is going to be at Calvary Baptist Church in New York City on Saturday, May 5, 2007 @ 7:30pm (EST).

The full debate will air on on Wednesday, May 9, 2007 @1:00pm (EST). The Nightline piece will air that same night at 11:35 p.m. (your local time)”

If you are interested, tune in May 5th. I am quite interested, but a wise person in my life has questioned the effectiveness of debating an atheist. He claims that showing love and living out life in front of an atheist is far more effective. I can see an arguement for that, (and it was a good one,) but I also know that God urges us to have a response for questions of our faith. I have actually come across quite a few of those scriptures lately. But this is a person that used to be obsessed with Apologetics and can probably recite ever argument he has ever heard on the subject! This friend is one that has seen many come to the Lord and he is both a relational evangelist and a more conventional evangelist. He has no problem sharing the gospel with anyone anywhere.

My guess is that God can work through any of it should he choose too. We’ll have to see how it goes.

I am interested in feedback on this. My Atheist readers/friends please feel free to comment as well. Does it help to argue? or does it hurt? Is relationship better? OR are they both important?


20 Responses to “Air Time for Ray Comfort/ Kirk Cameron Atheist Debate”

  1. 1 the Grit May 2, 2007 at 5:13 pm

    Hi mz,

    Debate, discussion, or dialog is useless where religion is concerned. You are running on faith. I’m not. While I might be able to convince you (as in the generic religious person) that your beliefs are only superstition, it would take an act of God to convince me that he/she/it exists.

    On the other hand, my wife learned long ago to forbid me from conversations about religion. In the past I have reduced Baptists to tears, caused Catholics to cross themselves and rush off to confessional, and, my greatest achievement, forced Jehovah’s Witnesses to snatch back the copy of The Watchtower they had forced on me and flee my property while muttering about “the antiChrist.” Of course, having once belonged to their cult, I had an advantage that most don’t.

    I admit it; I’m evil.

    the Grit

  2. 2 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 5:41 pm

    Hey Grit, thanks for your input. It’s good you have your wife around πŸ™‚ I had no clue you were JW once. Interesting story I bet.

    I’ll be praying for that act of God for you. And I know that won’t bother you since you don’t believe there is anyone I am praying to anyway πŸ™‚ πŸ˜‰

  3. 3 misi May 2, 2007 at 8:10 pm

    I am also praying for you and I have seen a few like yourself turned onto God by prayer so, watch out buddy He’s coming for you. You would have a wonderful testimony!
    E, I personally agree with the argument that it is best to show your faith by living it out. Jesus would not argue and try to outwit someone and in essence humiliate them just to get His point across. Yes, we should be ready to answer questions about our faith but I don’t think He meant it in that way.

  4. 4 Neil May 2, 2007 at 8:40 pm

    I envision debates as being more for the audience – especially the middle ground – than the opponent. For example, I’d love to debate pro-choice leaders anyplace, anytime. Will I change their minds? Not likely. But I’ll take my chances with the middle-grounders and the undecideds. They’ve been fed a steady diet of soundbites by the 90% pro-choice media. I know every one of their arguments and where the flaws are.

    In the same way, I think we should always be polite and loving towards everyone, even our ideological opponents (though it is hard, and I don’t obey those rules all the time!).

    But it is obviously worth having the debates if they are done properly. Undecided people may be swayed. Perhaps the debate opponents as well.

    But too often Christians are unequipped to answer the atheists’ objections and the Christians resort to bad reasoning or silly statements like, “Well then you’re just going to Hell!” Those reactions are foolish and counterproductive. If we don’t have the answers we need to humbly say, “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” If we do have the answers we should share them kindly and with confidence.

    Check out the book of Acts and the rest of the New Testament. Believers used fact and logic to share the truth of the Gospel.

    Do we have the right worldview? Yep. Jesus really lived, died and rose from the dead. He is the only way to salvation. We just need to do the hard work of conveying that to a world that desperately needs to know it. If people reject it we can move on to others.

  5. 5 Heidi Jo May 2, 2007 at 8:59 pm

    i love st. francsis’ quote:

    preach always. use words when necessary.

  6. 6 momlovesbeingathome May 2, 2007 at 10:07 pm

    I think Neil hit it right on. It’s what could happen with those watching that’s important. In this debate they are probably not going to change the mind of the atheist but who knows how many people will be reached who are watching!

    I love that quote too, Heidi Jo!

  7. 7 mommyzabs May 2, 2007 at 10:50 pm

    Wow guys I am absolutely loving the feedback, such good stuff. Neil you are so right on with the book of Acts come to think of it. In the epistles paul often reasons in his writing as well… HE said something I read in

    2 corinthians 10:9-11
    I do not want to seem to be trying to frighten you with my letters. For some say, “his letters are weighty and forceful, but in person he is unimpressive and his speaking amounts to nothing.” Shuch people should realize that what we are in our letters when we are absent, we will be in our actions when we are present.

    For some reason I just found that really powerful. There is a place for each. Neil i think you hit it right on when you said, “I envision debates as being more for the audience – especially the middle ground – than the opponent.”

    Neil- I also really like the posts you have taking on questions about God. Your answers are very reasonable and clear.

  8. 8 Neil May 3, 2007 at 5:31 am

    Thanks, I appreciate that! If people have sincere questions about Christianity I think we should take the time to answer them or point them to other resources. But if the questioners are “hostile” atheists (those that aren’t sincerely seeking the truth and are just trying to make Christianity look bad) then I don’t spend much time with them, at least on a one-on-one basis. I’m afraid I’ll polarize them further.

    I like that St. Francis quote as well, because it reminds me that my actions had better be at least somewhat in sync with my words. Though I also try to remember that St. Francis also used words, as did Paul . . . and Jesus.

  9. 9 mommyzabs May 3, 2007 at 9:31 am

    True True Neil.

    My friend that was arguing that words won’t win the aithiest over to Faith was pretty much saying the same as everyone here ( i don’t want to mis-represent him.) He uses words and often, but for the athiest he was saying that won’t be what brings them to faith. I could see him giving an amen to all the comments here.

  10. 10 t.y. May 3, 2007 at 9:32 am

    i think this is an interesting idea, and one that could bring about a lot of good dialogue between believers and nonbelievers. but why ray comfort and kirk cameron? the jaded part of me fears that this is a publicity stunt for their organization and their co-published book, “The Evidence Bible.”

    and also, ray comfort is apparently the guy who said that the comparison between a banana and a can of coke (both have tops that open and can fit easily in your hand) can prove the existence of God and intelligent design. ahem…

    i don’t know man, but i’m already feeling a little embarrassed.

  11. 11 mommyzabs May 3, 2007 at 9:41 am

    Hey T.Y.
    I wasn’t sure if this was going to go there. πŸ™‚ But I think that is a good point. In no way trying to assult either of them. But it does seem to me That these 2 are an interesting choice, your point on the book makes sense… i guess this could put it on a best-seller list. Also, I believe Kirk being involved probably gave more chance of this being aired on a network like ABC.
    Thanks for bringing the topic this way. I’m interested in what others think, and who other’s think would maybe been a better choice?

  12. 12 Heidi Jo May 3, 2007 at 10:15 am

    do really think that a major network would put up a REAL debate between two EQUALLY qualified defenders? come on now, you all must know the media better than that. i admire the courage and backbone that these two must have…but i have a list a mile long of men/women who could answer every question with SCRIPTURAL and LOGICAL material, (some of them are even Catholic:-)…but what kind of entertainment would that provide?

  13. 13 Heidi Jo May 3, 2007 at 10:17 am

    oh yeah, and in regard to the st. frank quote…

    he certainly did use words, but the only way that our words have any power or authenticity is WHEN they are backed up by a life lived the same way. hence his sainthood.

  14. 14 momlovesbeingathome May 3, 2007 at 12:14 pm

    I’m with Neil – “if the questioners are β€œhostile” atheists (those that aren’t sincerely seeking the truth and are just trying to make Christianity look bad) then I don’t spend much time with them.” There’s not much point in talking to someone like this. They don’t have an open mind and they likely aren’t going to listen.

    I don’t even know who Ray Comfort is. I know who Kirk Cameron is (loved him in that sitcom when he was a kid – can’t think of the name of it!) and I know he is passionate about the gospel but I wondered how they got picked as well. I think t.y. may have a point – who knows! I think Heidi Jo may be on to something too – I thought it kind of odd that ABC is the station carrying this. We’ll have to see what happens!

  15. 15 the Grit May 3, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    Hi mz & misi,

    Thanks for your concern, but, despite my lack of faith, I suspect I am right with any God that may exist, assuming that not belonging to an organized religion isn’t a deal breaker.

    As to the JW association, that isn’t the worst part of my sorted religious history. At one point, second year of high school as I recall, my Mother and I were members of a fundamentalist Baptist Church. That would be one of the ones that speaks in tongues and interprets. The final moments of my membership were when I came home from school one day to find that our Preacher and a group of the church women had captured our cat, which suffered from eye problems. They were holding the poor thing in the driveway, anointing it with oil, laying on hands as a group, and trying to faith heal it.

    Since then, my views on God, religion, and those who profess to have the answers, have, I admit, been a bit warped. I only mention this because I like you, don’t want you to be offended by my views, and want to, once again, sing the praises of my wife for her ability to keep me quiet on the subject πŸ™‚

    the Grit

  16. 16 mommyzabs May 3, 2007 at 3:20 pm

    Hey grit.

    Interesting on the tounges speaking baptist church. I’m surprised there are those in existance! πŸ™‚ While it was very sweet for them to care for your cat (i assume they had good motives) I can understand why that may be a weird experience.

    Please know that I am not in the slightest offended, and I know you mean no offense. The only thing that would be hard to take is if you were mean sprited about it… and I can say that you have never been mean spirited to me about anything.

    The reason I said it was good your wife keeping you quiet is b/c you said sometimes you make people cry, i can understand then why it would be good to stay quiet. But I welcome your opinion and experience always when delivered in a non-attacking manner, which you have always been on my blog.

    I wish more of my atheist readers would comment and I’m thankful for you input. But I can still pray for that “miracle of God” for you. Doesn’t hurt anyone right? and you did say that is what it would take.

  17. 17 agnosticatheist May 9, 2007 at 7:37 am

    Join our “BLOG PARTY” to discuss this debate (if you wish).


  18. 18 Neil May 10, 2007 at 10:08 am

    I watched the video. I thought Kirk and Ray had the right tone.

    The atheists brought up classic arguments like “but who made God?” as if it was some kind of trump card. They ignored the fact that they had no explanation for creation outside of a first cause.

    They made an outright misrepesentation that all signs point to the universe being eternally existent. Kirk and Ray missed easy opportunities to point out the Big Bang, that if the universe is eternal is would have already died out, etc. (unless it was on the video portion that wasn’t online).

    The atheists did make decent points about the arguments drifting away from the scientific perspectives.

  19. 19 StevePaden May 19, 2007 at 2:30 am

    I thought Kirk and Ray did a fine job. I have seen many people fluffing their feathers on how much better they could have done it, and who should have been up there. Let’s set the record straight. The challenge was made between Brian and kelly, and Kirk and Ray. ABC agreed to mediate it.

    Now, to address who should have been up there. I’ll tell you who: Kirk and Ray. God has exactly who He wanted up there, and they did EXACTLY what He wanted up there. They reached 19 million people.

    As for arguments made, Kelly’s were horrible, Brian was calling Kirk names under his breath even though his mic picked it up, while Kirk and Ray sat respectfully taking the heat. They handled themselves like men of God.

    It is easy to refute the Big Bang. The second law of thermodynamics gives way for he theory that our universe will most likely suffer a heat death, reaching maximum entropy. For anything to have a death, it must have a birth, and the big bang is not a birth.

    Kirk and Ray, God bless you. It is because of their representation of how Jesus witnessed to the heart, that I fell on my knees and begged for forgiveness from God. I am so thankful that I am not lost anymore.


  20. 20 mommyzabs May 20, 2007 at 9:54 am

    Steve, I think that is so wonderful that they ministered to you like that. PRaise God you are not lost! πŸ™‚ If it were even just for one lost sheep Jesus would have it done over again. Thank you for sharing your heart and testimony!

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