Monday, March 9, 2009

Arguing with Children

ray, comfort, child, christian, christianity, jesus, god, bible, science, witness, evangelical, evangelism, stupid, psychology

I finally figured out what Ray Comfort's thought processes reminds me of: a small child's. If you have ever had an extended conversation with a child under the age of about 12, you know what I'm talking about. Children take everything uberliterally, and they have the innate ability to think up the exception to any rule in milliseconds.

What follows is the conversation that resulted from me giving my niece the "don't talk to strangers" speech:

Her: What about my teacher next year? She'll be a stranger until I know her.

Me: Of course you can talk to your teacher. And your principal. And the guidance counselor.

Her: What about the other kids?

Me: This rule is only about adults, not other kids.

Her: What about policemen? I thought I was supposed to talk to policemen if I needed help.

Me: Yes, you can talk to police officers. And firemen.

Her: What about the lady who takes your money at the store? You don't mind me talking to her.

Me: This rule doesn't apply when I'm right there.

Her: *interrupted by me*

Me: Go watch tv or something.

That's what children are like. It's how their minds work. It's also exactly how Ray Comfort's mind seems to work.

Lying is wrong (in nearly all situations). But not because the Bible says so... For example, ‘I threw a ball into the sky, and it never came down.’ Well that's a lie because we know the truth of gravity; the ball had to come back down if you merely threw it. To speak such a lie is evil because it is irrational -- it makes no sense to claim the ball never came down.” Matthew Foster*

Matthew…what say a bird flew off with the ball in its big mouth? How about a low flying plane sucked it into its engine, or lightning hit it and it disintegrated?Don’t be so quick to call the ball-throwing man a liar and “evil,” when you simply haven’t thought the issue through very thoroughly. If you do that, you are the one who is irrational.

Ray's response is very silly. (Actually, it's silly on two levels, the second being that lightning would not "disintegrate" a baseball, and you'd have to throw that ball pretty damn far for it to run into a plane.) Of course Matthew Foster is discussing the claim that gravity had no effect on the baseball in question as an analogy to the claim that evolution has had no effect on the inhabitants of the earth. We all know that. (If you don't, you don't know Ray.) To introduce silly explanations of possible fates that the baseball met that prevented its return to the ground is to engage in the sort of thinking that a 7 year old employs.

I recommend against getting your religious views from a grown man who has apparently never completed his journey to adulthood.

*I think that's the right Matthew Foster. If not, well, this Matthew Foster is worth a look, too.

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