Anglican Samizdat

February 25, 2009

No Comfort for Dawkins

Filed under: Christianity — David Jenkins @ 4:10 pm
Tags: ,

Richard Dawkins has declined an offer to debate Ray Comfort. Though Comfort offered him $10,000 to do so, this isn’t enough, apparently:

“It is not, therefore, a worthwhile inducement for me to travel all the way across the Atlantic to debate with an ignorant fool,” he wrote. “You can tell him that if he donates $100,000 to the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science (it’s a charitable donation, tax deductible) I’ll do it.”

Ray Comfort may not have the intellectual capacity of Ludwig Wittgenstein, but I doubt that he is merely an “ignorant fool”. Obviously Dawkins is free not to debate anyone he likes; what is interesting though, is that he was happy enough to debate Bishop Richard Harries, a liberal noted for his appointment of the gay canon Jeffrey John as Bishop of Reading in 2003. Harries, as a liberal, has already discarded most of orthodox Christianity, so there wasn’t much to debate. Even Dawkins has spotted the transparently obvious fact that Harries no longer adheres to the scriptures he is supposed to read every Sunday.

As someone pointed out:

The good bishop reminds me very much of the Vicar who married me, and the sunday school Vicar I had as a child for that matter, both were/are Church of England of course. If all christians thought and behaved like these people, we’d have little to worry about!

In fact, from the friendly debates I’ve had over the years with CofE clergy, I’m convinced most of them are really Deists or Agnostic if truth be told, and just want to help out the local community, It seems to be more tradition than anything else. In fact even as an Athiest I find it hard to disagree with anything our local vicar says in Church, his sermons are mostly about bieng nice to each other etc, and never stray into any of that hell fire or sinner crap at all.

Once you have removed the “sinner crap” from Christianity, there isn’t much left.

So on the one hand, you have Bishop Richard diligently using the brains God gave him to wriggle out of the beliefs that are the foundation of his profession, and on the other, Ray Comfort still believing the “sinner crap” that has been part of the Christian faith for the last 2000 years.

Perhaps the real reason Dawkins wouldn’t debate Comfort is because the “sinner crap” touches a nerve.



  1. “Ray Comfort may not have the intellectual capacity of Ludwig Wittgenstein, but I doubt that he is merely an “ignorant fool”.”

    I don’t like calling people names, but have you heard Comfort speak or read anything of his? He is either ignorant of evolution or lying about what he knows, and many of his arguments could be defined as ‘foolish’. I would recommend checking out the ‘banana’ video of his, for evidence.

    “what is interesting though, is that he was happy enough to debate Bishop Richard Harries”

    I think the difference is that Dawkins will gladly debate religious people about the existence of god, but will not debate a creationist about evolution. Since he is a noted evolutionary biologist, it would seem like he was admitting that Comfort and his arguments were on the same level as the scientific understand of evolution.

    Comment by morsec0de — February 25, 2009 @ 6:27 pm

  2. Comfort probably doesn’t know that much about evolution; but then, Dawkins doesn’t know much about theology.

    I got the impression that Comfort wanted to debate God’s existence rather than evolution.

    I haven’t heard Comfort debate and it could well be that he wouldn’t hold up too well against Dawkins; what amused me though, was that Dawkins debated Harries who doesn’t really believe the position he supposed to be defending and wouldn’t debate Comfort, who does.

    To give Dawkins credit, he did debate John Lennox who both believes in what he is defending and is up to the task.

    Comment by David — February 25, 2009 @ 11:15 pm

  3. Ray Comfort. Hmmmm…hey isn’t he the guy that sings those dirty Christmas songs?

    Comment by Michael Daley — February 27, 2009 @ 8:21 am

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