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Ok everybody, hold onto your hat.... actor Kirk Cameron and "best-selling" author Ray Comfort (aka "Banana Man") will square off with two atheists, known as the Rational Responders in New York on Saturday, May 5. ABC originally planned to stream the 90-minute debate LIVE on their website, but decided to reschedule the broadcast to capture a larger audience. Watch the Face Off Wednesday May 9 at 2 p.m. on ABC News Now, and on Nightline at 11:35 p.m.
Of course, we'll have the video here as soon as it becomes available... get excited... Ray Comfort, the guy who proved God exists by wielding a banana promises he can convince a national audience he will win a debate against the Rational Response team, a group of Internet atheists.
UPDATE: Brian from RRS has publicly acknowledged that yours truly, Pile, has contributed to some of the content of the debate. The video should be out Wednesday.. stay tuned.
Comfort-who claims he can prove the existence of God, scientifically, without mentioning faith or the Bible-stated, "The network originally offered me only four minutes to present my case. After speaking with Kirk and conferring with the atheists, they settled on 13 minutes. I'm ecstatic. I can prove the existence of God in that amount of time.
"We are very grateful to ABC for taking this courageous step," Comfort continued. "As far as we know, nothing like this has ever been done before. ABC's website is already the 7th most visited news site, with 19 million visitors every month. But with more than 177 million people in the U.S. who call themselves Christians, we are sure that it will draw an even larger viewing audience. Is there actually evidence for God? That's the most important question any of us will ever consider."
Cameron added, "We are excited that the network has decided to do this, because we have something very relevant to present. Most people think that belief in God is simply a matter of blind faith, and that His existence can't be proven. We will not only prove that God exists, but as an ex-atheist I'll show that the issue keeping so many people from believing in God-Darwinian evolution-is completely unscientific. It's a fairy-tale for grownups."
The debate came about after ABC ran a story in January about hundreds of atheists videotaping themselves blaspheming the Holy Spirit.
"But," Comfort continued, "there is something more sinister here than a few people not believing in God. Why would so many be so bitter against Christianity in particular? Why aren't they making videos that blaspheme Buddha or Mohammed or Ghandi? We made our own video clip and posted it on www.Hollywoodblasphemy.com to expose why.
As of May 2 there is still an opportunity for people to join in the debate, by submitting questions that will be passed on to the panelists. ABC will limit the live audience to 100 people, evenly divided between atheists and believers. The debate will be moderated by Martin Bashir, and on May 9 a shortened version of the debate will be aired on Nightline.
FYI - here is the previous special Nightline did on RRS:
The Nightline Face Off
Christians and Atheists to Debate the Existence of God
May 2, 2007 —
Why are Kirk Cameron, a preacher, and two self-proclaimed atheists coming together in a church this weekend? Because Cameron and preacher Ray Comfort claim that they "can prove the existence of God."
They'll take on the atheists in the first "Nightline Face Off," a debate to be moderated by "Nightline" anchor Martin Bashir.
Watch the Face Off Wednesday May 9 at 2 p.m. on ABC News Now, and on Nightline at 11:35 p.m.
Following the Way of the Master
As Mike Seaver, the oldest son in the smash hit sitcom "Growing Pains," actor Kirk Cameron could make audiences roll with laughter. But now he wants to bring them to the Lord. And he's deadly serious.
In March 2006, "Nightline" profiled the Way of the Master, a Christian ministry headed by Cameron and itinerant preacher Ray Comfort. Operating as a charitable trust, its intention is to educate and equip the church to preach the message of Christianity to nonbelievers. Cameron says he is motivated by a literal fear of hell.
"I believe the Scriptures teach that there's a literal heaven and a literal hell, just like Jesus said," he explained. "And without forgiveness of sins that, yeah, the place of punishment is called hell."
The Way of the Master has a weekly television show for which Comfort and Cameron literally hit the streets in the name of Jesus, challenging nonbelievers that their sins against God will lead directly to hell.
"On the Day of Judgment," Comfort tells one man on the streets of New York, "God will see you as a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart. You have sinned against God. You need his forgiveness."
On occasions, things go badly wrong and the pair are attacked by members of the public. Comfort recalled one incident, saying, "While I was preaching the Gospel a gentleman came up and he started spitting on me. And he spat quite a few times." Comfort says he simply remained calm and moved on.
Neither Comfort nor Cameron has theological degrees nor any kind of formal training. But Cameron says he's convinced his new career is vitally important.
"I have no authority. I am simply trying to be faithful to the God who saved me, who changed me and who has commissioned me to tell you and those who are watching this interview & about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that it has the power to change people's hearts."
The Rational Response Squad
"There isn't any good reason to believe in God," so says Brian Sapient, a member of the Rational Response Squad, a group of atheists "Nightline" profiled in January.
What's wrong with God? "What's wrong with the tooth fairy?" asks Brian. "There's nothing wrong with something that most likely doesn't exist."
"Atheists are completely vilified. And it's OK," says Kelly, an atheist who works alongside Brian and also asks that her last name not be used.
"It's actually OK to hate atheists," Kelly says. "We are like the last group that people overwhelmingly agree it's OK to hate, because there's an absurd caricature of atheism out there."
While their theological views differ from the Way of the Master, their approaches are similar -- brash and in-your-face. The Rational Response Squad challenges people to take the Blasphemy Challenge in which they make videos of themselves denouncing or blaspheming the Holy Spirit, and then post them on YouTube.
One of the posts is by a young-looking man named Chandler. He says, "I've come to the conclusion that alongside the fact that there is no Santa Claus and there is no Easter bunny, there is also no God. So, without further ado, my name is Chandler and I deny the existence of the Holy Spirit."
Taking risks with your own soul is one thing, but the Rational Response Squad advertises for the Blasphemy Challenge on Web sites for teens, such as Tiger Beat (tigerbeatmag.com).
"They have already been targeted," Brian says. "So hopefully, they are at a point where they are not so indoctrinated and set in their ways that they can overcome this religious superstition that has been put into their brain unfairly."
At the end of the "Nightline" segment, Brian Sapient says, "If they [the Christians] want to come to the table and present their evidence, I will present my evidence. And we will see how much of theirs is based on faith, and how much of mine is based on fact."
Ray Comfort saw the piece on the Blasphemy Challenge and he immediately e-mailed "Nightline" to say that "We would like to challenge them to a public debate. … Let's hear their best evidence as to why God doesn't exist, and let the audience decide whose evidence is based on faith and whose is based on fact. We cannot only prove that God exists, but we can prove that the atheist doesn't."
The two sides have agreed to debate in the first "Nightline" Face Off. Here's what they have to say about the debate:
Perhaps you think that anyone who says that he can prove the existence of God is a dreamer. Maybe, like most people, you believe that the issue is a matter of "faith." Then we must be dreamers, because we can prove that God exists, scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or even the Bible. Do you find that hard to believe? Then watch the debate. - Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron
We are dedicated to responding to irrational claims -- such as the ones being put forth by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron that they can prove the existence of God scientifically. We are here to prove that not only can they not do that, but that it cannot be done using the scientific method and the knowledge available to us today.
- The Rational Response Squad
You can watch the debate on ABC News Now on May 9 at 2 p.m., and it will also be available on the "Nightline" page at ABCNews.com.
"Nightline" will air a segment that same night at 11:35 p.m ET.
something sinister? Posted by billy bones on 2007-05-03 11:51:59
Of course; it's Hollywood's fault; it has nothing to do with the fact that most, if not all, of these people were raised in some sort of religious home... No; that couldn't be it.
Thanks Kirk Cameron...
Posted by Goumindong on 2007-05-04 04:40:20
As much as i dislike Ray Comfort, and the rest of the foolish dominisist evangelicals, the guys behind "the blashphemy challenge" really were just being dicks.
And they are both going to make themselves look like asses on national television.
Posted by Pile on 2007-05-04 14:53:41
Isn't it funny when a preacher is aggressive he's considered "strong" and "influential", but when an atheist is equally self-confident and passionate about his position, he's a "dick" or "militant."
Posted by Goumindong on 2007-05-10 03:54:37
What? Aggressive is one thing. This is more "pissing in your cornflakes". Its vindictive.
Not that there arent vindictive evangelicals, i was simply making a statement about the guys behind the Blasphemy challenge.
There Is Truth Posted by Bernie on 2007-05-11 21:28:53
It amazes me that neither side understands natural law. That fact was very obvious when the idiots from Blasphemy Challenge after saying the 3rd law, used the 1st Law of Thermodynamics to say that the universe was always there. When if he had one oz of brains in his head he would have known that what he was saying according to the 2nd Law of Thermodynamics could not be true. The sad thing is that the side that has the truth, the 2 from Way Of The Master did not know how to use natural law to put those 2 idiots from Blasphemy Challenge in their place. I respect what Kirk and Ray tried to do, but they didn't do enough home work to go up against 2 idiots that should never have made it to the last round. You would think the atheists would have come up with a couple of people that at least had a little brains in their heads. It was obvious those 2 didn't have any in their heads, I'm pretty sure they were both sitting on theirs. Again the sad thing is if Kirk and Ray did a little more homework before doing this debate, those 2 atheist fools would have been knocked out cold, a solid 10 count in the first round, they would never have made it to the end. I really do feel sorry for them, and I pray God breaks their hearts that they may come to see the truth before their final curtains fall.
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