What kind of man would use the suicide note of another man who was laden with depression his entire life, to promote his own personal agenda? Does that seem like a virtuous and upstanding character attribute to any of you? Does that seem like the sort of man who you could trust to be honest to you or your children? It speaks volumes about that man, and none of what it says is good.
Ray Comfort’s Chilling “Eulogy” for Ralph Barton.
Ralph Barton was very popular in the 1920’s for his cartoons and caricatures, many of which were published in The New Yorker, Collier's, Vanity Fair, Judge, and Harper's Bazaar. Barton was also openly atheist and was not ashamed in the least to say so. Unfortunately Barton also seemed to have suffered from manic-depressive disorder, which in the early 1900’s was not as understood or treatable as it is today. On May 19th of 1931, Barton committed suicide in his Manhattan home at the age of 39. To any person with a kind heart, this was obviously a very tragic waste of life and talent.
So when evangelical minister Ray Comfort posted a status update to his Facebook page a few days ago, in which he quoted a portion of Mr. Barton’s suicide note without any context given, and then stated that “Existence without God is futile…”, I was more than a bit angered (see image below). To add insult to injury, Ray also posted a link to his new “documentary” called Evolution vs. God at the end of this backhanded eulogy. This “documentary” is SUPPOSED to be a refutation of evolutionary theory through dishonest editing of interviews with scientists and atheist students at various colleges. In truth, the only thing Ray is documenting is his own ignorance about evolution and science in general…and I suppose documenting just how big of a jackass he can present himself as in public.
“Come on Casper… Did you really expect anything better than this from Ray?”
To be quite honest, I’ve come to expect very little from the man Ray Comfort. He’s best known by his critics (such as myself) by the moniker of “Bananaman,” due to a YouTube video in which he claims the banana is the atheist’s worst nightmare. Although he has since retracted or tried to clarify this, the damage was long done when he claimed that the banana was perfectly created by God for mankind to consume. After being informed that the modern banana that we can all purchase and eat on a regular basis is actually the product of forced evolution through specialized breeding by humans, he’s been back-peddling ever since. To put it mildly, Ray Comfort is the poster-child for cognitive dissonance and chosen ignorance.
So why should I be bothered by this action on his part?
Well, it boils down to this: he preaches constantly about “morality” and how we atheists lack it because we lack a belief in HIS God. He rails about the perceived unethical actions of atheists. And then he turns around and shows incontrovertible proof that he lacks any real morality, ethics, or even common human decency. This action simply disgusts me, because who is here to speak on behalf of Mr. Barton? I mean, the man suffered from mental illness that ultimately drove the love of his life away from him, and it was just too much for him to bear. I say, if you’ve never lost someone and it hurt so much that you felt you wanted to die…I don’t think you’ve ever really loved OR lived. But that’s just my opinion.
A Recurring Theme with Mr. Comfort
This is certainly not the first time Ray has put his ignorance of ethics and morality on display. The videos he produces for his ministry and which are often distributed through groups such as AiG (Answers in Genesis) and are available on YouTube, and are a cut-and-paste nightmare of misrepresentation and dishonesty. He is a master of the art of “cherry-picking” and question-dodging, and has never made one single valid theological argument. When he is called out on these things, he either evades them entirely like a politician, or uses the “Chewbacca Defense” of spouting even more nonsense until you simply walk away in frustration.
As a proponent of creationism, Ray has some other “liars for Jesus” in his corner that really set the tone for the level of idiocy we’re dealing with. Along with Comfort are Kirk Cameron and Ken Ham, which comprise what I like to call The Three Stooges. Their campaign of misinformation and outright dishonesty is spreading like wildfire here in the U.S., where men and women have become as docile and ignorant as sheep being led to slaughter. So many on this nation would rather believe the “holy man” who says he knows all without question…than to assess what scientists say they OBSERVE in the universe around us and how it SHOULD all work.
Science and religion ARE compatible…
But science and fundamentalism are NOT
So the real problem here is not that Ray said such an ignorant thing or made such a fool of himself. He has every right to do either; the real problem is that other people listen and believe what he says. And at the heart of it, this is the problem with fundamentalists and their followers across the board—the “holy man” says he is right and his “rightness” comes from his God, and for some reason people seem to WANT that absolutist assertion to be made. But science can’t offer that on most accounts, and for a very good reason—because science is self-correcting. It is ALWAYS examining the data and every new piece of data and how they fit into the big puzzle.
They make mistakes, and they admit they are mistakes, and for some reason people don’t like that.
I’ll take an honest “I don’t know” from science, over a bullshit “God did it” from a “holy man” any day. You see, to me, what’s important is what is true…not what I WANT to be true. I want to know the truth, or at least as much as we can know of the truth for now, and none of that can be found in the book of Genesis from the Bible…or any other “holy” doctrine. I want peer-reviewed evidence that says, “We find this to be the most valid expression to date of the mode or model by which these processes occur”. And when they’re wrong, I want THEM to tell me they were wrong and what the most valid interpretation of the data now is.
We are never going to see that self-correcting nature from evangelical fundamentalists. The only thing we will find there are more “liars for Jesus” like Ray Comfort who believe that it’s less wise to trust in science than it is to believe in an extra-dimensional, omnipotent, and omniscient being that created an entire universe, then put life on only one planet, all for the sake of his own hubris, and expects us to gleam all the knowledge of the universe from a book written by ancient tribesmen…
Seems legit Ray,
Now do what science does, and PROVE IT.