(Photo: CJScott/Carol Scott)
Evangelist Ray Comfort says he's deluged with so many questions and comments from atheists on his Facebook page that he's decided to recruit Christians to join the online conversation between hundreds if not thousands of people.
His Facebook page has become a battleground for atheists to square off with Christians in an exchange of comments responding to his provocative posts. It's not uncommon for a post on his social media site to have more than 1,000 responses.
"It suddenly dawned on me how Facebook is an incredible medium for the gospel. One of my posts was seen by 1.2 million people – many of whom are non-Christians," Comfort told The Christian Post via an email exchange. "Think of what it would cost and how much work it would take to have a Billy Graham-type crusade that reached 1.2 million people. But we can reach that many at no cost and with just a click of a keyboard button."
He added, "The average Christian can't stand on a soapbox at a university and preach, but he or she can now engage the unsaved and have their comment read by multiple people, all from the comfort of their own home. It means that a stay-at-home mom can reach out to the lost during a break from the kids. It means that those who are busy at work can reach the unsaved during their lunch breaks."
Comfort, who has more than 105,000 people "liking" his "Ray Comfort" Facebook page, warns on his site that "YOU WILL BE BANNED FOR CUSSING OR BLASPHEMY."
In regards to the influx of atheists visiting his page, he said, "I guess they are bored with their godless life. Atheists aren't the intellectuals they think they are. They think there's no proof for the existence of God. They are like fish in the ocean saying that there's no proof that water exists. They make mindless statements, such as there's no evidence that Jesus Christ ever existed. I guess they don't know what year it is."
Comfort believes most Christians find it a little uncomfortable diving into evangelism, and so coming online with Facebook is "an easy way to get their feet wet."
He is known locally in several tourist spots in Southern California as the street preacher who welcomes debate – discussions with non-Christians and people of other religions that often draw crowds of up to 100 people or more listening in and sometimes joining the raucous verbal sparring.
Comfort is also known nationally for his Living Waters ministry that includes a resource for evangelism tools such as documentaries and commentaries on TV and Internet videos. His anti-abortion documentary, "180," which is a 30-min video that juxtaposes Hitler's killing of millions of people during World War II with the millions of abortions that have taken place in the U.S., is approaching 4 million online views. The film has also been distributed as a DVD to thousands of people in the country, mostly on college campuses.
However, the group of people he perhaps receives the most attention from is atheists.
"Atheism is spreading like wildfire, and many are becoming militant in their attempts to have God removed from history, from the schoolroom, from the courtroom, and even from Christmas," Comfort said. "They are deadly serious, and if we are serious, we need to engage them with the gospel."
He believes many atheists have had false conversions because they have heard a false gospel and are bitter because "as far as they are concerned, Christianity didn't deliver its promises of a 'happy' life."
"The gospel we preach can change an atheist into a God-loving believer in a moment of time – if it's biblical," he said. "We need to stop saying 'God has a wonderful plan for your life,' and instead, do what Jesus did. He addressed the conscience of the sinner. He didn't offer a problem-free happy life. He offered tribulation, persecution, temptation, and He warned that the time could come when people will kill you thinking that they are doing God a favor. Along with those trials is the offer of everlasting life, which outweighs the pains."
In regards to engaging with atheists, Comfort added some caution. "You will need a lot of patience because many show up as though they are God's intellectual gift to the world. They are extremely arrogant, very condescending, they say things that aren't true, and they use worn out arguments. My advice is to wait for a minute to calm down, and then show them love and respect. It is tempting to give a quick sarcastic reply, and that just adds fuel to their fire. It's also important to know that I deliberately create a 'buzz.' I say things like 'Evolution stands in the way of the science of discovery, summed up in Einstein's 'I want to know how God created this world.' This brings them out in force, and gives us an opportunity to give sensible and biblical answers to their questions and objections."
In addition to visiting his Facebook page, Comfort is encouraging Christians "who want to imitate Jesus, to listen to a free teaching called 'Hell's Best Kept Secret' on www.livingwaters.com."