The Great Blasphemy Challenge Debate

Well, it remains to be seen how great this will be. My son forwarded me a link to an article about an upcoming debate between the 2 atheist guys who started the YouTube “Blasphemy Challenge” (if you haven’t heard about it, don’t bother looking it up) and 2 Christians, that will be filmed by ABC and streamed live on their website, and show footage on Nightline. The debate is apparently scheduled for May 5 (though I haven’t been able to find any confirmation of the debate).

The Christians include someone named Ray Comfort, who the article called “a prominent Christian best-selling author.” I looked him up, and have to say I’ve never heard of him or his books. But, he must be prominent somewhere. The other Christian is none other than child actor Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains). Why, I don’t know. But, he used to be prominent. Whether either of them understand philosophy enough to pull off a debate remains to be seen. Of course, I doubt the 2 atheists are major league philosophers, either.

What I question is Comfort’s claim for this debate, which reminds me of one of David Copperfield’s “I’ll make this elephant disappear!” claims: “I am amazed at how many people think that God’s existence is a matter of faith. It’s not, and I will prove it at the debate – once and for all. This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists.”

I don’t know that anyone – especially someone who is not a scientist – can present “undeniable” scientific proof of God’s existence. For one thing, science is based on a cause and effect approach to things – you push this button, and that happens. I think it a bit much for someone, be it Ray Comfort or Victor Stegner, to presume to be able to push God’s buttons. That’s not to say that scientific evidence doesn’t support the existence of God; I definitely think that the preponderance of the evidence does just that, if you actually allow for a conclusion apart from Darwinism. However, in my opinion the decision to believe or not to believe is ultimately a moral decision – a “leap to faith,” if you will – not a purely logical one (however, I’m not saying that such a leap is illogical, just that logic itself does not equal belief). For that matter, belief about anything entails a choice, based on logic, emotion, or a number of other factors. But, this is getting off topic.

Now, I’m interested in watching this; however, I can’t find out when it is going to be shown. In fact, I’m starting to believe that the whole thing is a hoax. But, if I do find out, I’ll add a comment here.

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11 Responses to The Great Blasphemy Challenge Debate

  1. Kurt says:

    I am amused at how the things you question keep changing.

  2. me says:

    Kurt, thanks. I was amused by one thing, though: how can something be taped on a Saturday, then aired live on Wednesday? I guess this is one of the “miracles of modern science.” 😉

  3. me says:

    Kurt, thanks for the link. A have to say that I appreciate where these guys are coming from, however I’m not sure that they have a great understanding of philosophy, science or logic. But, they did make one great point (I watched their show on Atheism), and that is that belief is not [merely] an intellectual issue.

    I don’t know, however, if they’re people I would choose for a serious debate on science and God.

    But then, I also just watched a presentation by Sam Harris, and his logic was, well, not logical whatsoever. I don’t know that Kelly from RRS will have any better logic. We’ll just have to see…

  4. Kurt says:

    I respectfully decline to get started on this one, but FYI:

    Check it out.

  5. kellym78 says:

    No bananas will be present, so you can skip the Woody Allen. The debate air time has changed from 1 to 2 PM and the Nightline piece will be aired that night at 11:35.
    As for your other question, it is more likely that I will wake up tomorrow as a man (which I’m not, BTW) than that Ray and Kirk will PROVE anything other than their own lack of knowledge.

  6. I had meant to add that if, on the unlikely chance that Ray Comfort succeeds where DesCartes failed; well then we can start arguing about which church is proved scientifically.

  7. Hey, Alden. This makes you almost famous!
    And I will be on local cable today as well, reading a piece from Jefferson’s letter to a Rev. who wanted him to declare a National Day of Prayer. Are you going to get in trouble at your church for attracting too many “famous” atheists? 🙂

  8. me says:

    Mike, I am hoping that bananas never enter into this argument, or I might be tempted to go rent an old Woody Allen movie instead…

    Kelly, thanks for the info, I’ll be sure to tune in, at least to the Nightline piece. I’m curious, though – what will you do if Ray Comfort actually does prove the existence of God?

  9. kellym78 says:

    Hi there. I’m Kelly from RRS, one of the debate participants (on the atheist side, of course). 🙂 Anyway, the debate will be posted unedited on the ABC website Wed May 9 at 1:00 PM and will later be aired as a Nightline piece. This whole event is a follow-up to our previous Nightline appearance. You can check this thread for updates.

  10. The debate is now scheduled for may 9th on, so apparently it isn’t a hoax. I doubt that anyone will come out with any new insights, but it may be an interesting sideshow. Cameron seems to be an extremely shallow individual who uses ridicule as an evangelical tool on his radio show (apparently, I can’t verify that because I have never listened to it.) Ray Comfort is the guy who tried to make the case that God had designed bananas specifically for humans to eat; based on how it fits in the hand, has an easy-open top and peel, etc and decided that this alone was proof that the Universe and Everything in it were specifically designed to give Man Dominion.

    I think that one thing that the Rational Response Squad could do would be to start of their case by bringing in a wild banana, which is decidedly not so human friendly.

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