So, about a week or so ago, I was looking around YouTube and I ended up on Living Waters’ channel. Those of you who may not know, this is Ray Comfort’s ministry, yes the fellow who tried to claim that the common banana, and orange and coconut, are evidence of his version of the Christian god’s existence. Unfortunately, Ray’s attempt to compare his god’s work gets tangled up in the fact that humans have made all of these edible from inedible progenitors.
There on one of the channel’s videos was an offer for any atheist to send their contact info to Ray and maybe get selected for a chat with him. And yes, my friends, I was at least one of those selection. Maybe you can be too by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org I’m not sure if the offer is still valid or not. Maybe not after this.
I sent this “Hi, I’m an atheist, a geologist and a former Christian. I see on your youtube, you are offering to chat with atheists. I’d be happy to do this, handle the recording and let everyone see both sides.
Vel” – 4/13/2020
I got back an email from Jen, Ray’s assistant, for dates and times to set up a Zoom conference call. I gave some dates and times and then I made this request. (I do have the emails but won’t directly present them here unless needed. I will paraphrase LW’s reponses.)
“Can you give me an idea how this would work? I’ve had experience in some Christians being responsible for the video recording and then intentionally altering it without my agreement. I’d like an agreement that I would get a copy of the unaltered recording for my use also.
I’d also like to limit the discussion to a single topic since things can get pretty wild and wooly when atheists and Christians chat. But we can discuss that later.”
I asked this since I have had experience in Christians being less than forthcoming on what they will do with a video of a chat with me. I also have watched Ray’s videos and know his tactics. So, unsurprisingly, I got response ostensibly directly from Ray (as passed through Jen) that they weren’t willing to do this and they’ve never had an atheist request such things.
This bemused me and I shot back:
“My requests are reasonable. And it doesn’t matter to me about these mysterious atheists who have not put conditions on their discussions. They are not me. I don’t need to be “royalty” to get a copy of the interview, and discuss what we are going to chat about prior to us talking.
If you cannot agree to them, it seems you are looking for a reason not to discuss things with a person who knows what she is doing. That is unfortunate but expected.
This, by itself, is rather damning when it comes to Christian actions, and I was happy with just it. It surprised me very much when I got an agreement from Ray to supply an uncut copy of the video. So we both agreed on this videotaping.
That happened today, 1:30 PM EDT/10:30 AM PDT. We chatted for a little over a half hour, and it was a lot of his usual spiel including the “Do you think you are a good person?” that he uses on most if not all of his interviews. He found out it doesn’t work quite as well with someone with a knowledge of religions and decades in discussing them. It was enjoyable and Ray was pleasant enough. He repeated that he didn’t usually give a copy of the recording to anyone but would to me.
You might guess what is coming, at least to a point.
I got an email from his assistant that Ray would like to send me a “small gift” for participating, so I gave him my address. Honestly, anyone can figure out who I am if they really want to, it’ll just take a little work. I also asked when I would get the link to the recording. I got back an excuse that their staff is just too small and the number of interviews too great to provide the recording. Now, anyone who knows how Zoom works is that you hit “record” it does all of the work and then it presents you with the file. Zero work needs done.
I wrote back “Ray said he would make a copy of the unedited video to me during the video. Are you sure you can’t send me one?”
Now, here it is 4:40 PM EDT, and no response to that email. Oops, I spoke too soon, and here is the video. It’s about 40 minutes or so. Not that much new on it in regards to apologetics and counter-apologetics. You just get to see my lovely mug for a bit, and my less than lovely voice.
That’s the vimeo version.
In case that vanishes from technical difficulties, I do have a backup. This the youtube version:
Thanks, Ray! I had a grand time chatting with you and you were very polite. I appreciate the time you took and I appreciate all of Jen’s help getting this set up, one assistant to another.
Addendum: here’s the Peanut Butter argument for those completists.