Ray Comfort vs. Evolution
Fellow Christians, our enemy is not evolution, it is naturalism.
Please, please, please recognize the difference.
Ray Comfort, well-known evangelist and co-founder of The Way of the Master along with Kirk Cameron, has produced a new apologetics video entitled, “Evolution vs. God.” Here it is below. It is only 38 minutes long so if you have time you should check it out. I must say that there are things that I appreciate about this video, but on the whole it was a very frustrating thing to watch.
The dichotomy between faith and science, so prevalent in our Western culture, is a false one. But it will continue to be perpetuated if the church maintains an apologetic approach such as the one on display in the video above. Before I explain why I believe this is the case let me begin by saying that I am not trying to convince anyone of evolution. I want young earth creationists, old earth creationists, intelligent designers, and all other advocates of Christian approaches to the creation debate to recognize that evolution can be embraced by genuine Christians and is not antithetical to Christianity. Again, evolution is not your enemy, naturalism is.
Now, a brief word of thanks is in order. I commend Ray Comfort for his bold and bald commitment to sharing the good news of Jesus. As a well-known street preacher in Utah is fond of saying, “I like my version of evangelism better than your version of not doing it.” In many ways, Ray Comfort puts a lot of us Christians to shame.
However, presenting Christianity as an alternative to evolution is lamentable. I don’t care what your perspective on creation and Genesis 1–3 is. I’m afraid that we’ll do more harm than good if we keep this up, no matter how well-intentioned.
Sadly there are atheists who have already responded to this video with blogs and YouTube videos and the gist of their message boils down to criticizing how ignorant and anti-intellectual Christians are, not to mention how they appear to be a broader movement that buys into conspiracy-theories about the scientific community.
Frankly this video is simply full of one bad argument after another, like the red herring of discussing whether there are “Famous Atheists.” But the main problem that I have with this video is how Comfort conflates issues so easily, such as linking moral relativism with evolution, as if everyone who believes in evolution is a moral relativist. This becomes even more explicit during the last 14 minutes where Comfort transitions into more of his signature brand of evangelism that demonstrates how everyone breaks the Ten Commandments and is therefore guilty before God. Sure, that’s fine. Humans are depraved, way to go Ray. But his direct line, “You know God exists and the reason you chose evolution is because it gets rid of moral accountability,” is simply a fallacious accusation. Evolution does not get rid of morals, naturalism does. Comfort, and other evangelicals who are sympathetic to him, are simply misdiagnosing the problem.
If you think that opening a door to evolution is a slippery slope to atheism I’d tell you that this assumption is the result of a false dichotomy. Personally, I find the theory of evolution to be so ambitious in scope that the only way I could ever make sense of it is as the result of the teleological design of God. And to press this further, why would we assume that biological evolution has anything to tell us about the origins of the cosmos? Biological evolution no more explains away God than does moldy milk disprove cows. And that moldy milk happens to be cheese. And cheese is very nice.