NEW YORK – A New Zealand-born minister and evangelist is asserting that he can prove the existence of God without using the Bible, and has challenged two atheists to a debate.
Ray Comfort, author of God Doesn't Believe in Atheists, alongside fellow Christian and actor Kirk Cameron (Growing Pains) will butt heads with two ardent nonbelievers using only scientific fact in a debate sponsored by ABC. Comfort says that the evidence will "absolutely" confirm that there is a God.
"Most people equate atheism with intellectualism," explained Comfort in a statement, "but it's actually an intellectual embarrassment. I am amazed at how many people think that God's existence is a matter of faith. It's not, and I will prove it at the debate – once and for all. This is not a joke. I will present undeniable scientific proof that God exists."
The debate is in reaction to the "Blasphemy Challenge" that started late in 2006. The two creators of the movement encouraged all people to tape themselves with a short message that will "damn themselves to hell." Participants must recite the line "I deny the Holy Spirit," and then upload their video onto YouTube.
Comfort and Cameron felt that these two would be some of the most difficult people to convince that God does indeed exist, and so they contacted them about having a discussion.
ABC has said that they will film the debate, which will take place on May 5 in New York City, and will stream it live on their website as well as use footage for their program Nightline. Martin Bashir, co-anchor of Nightline, will moderate the event.
Cameron will use the event to also speak out against evolution, which he thinks is not credible and a major contributor to the growth in atheism.
"Evolution is unscientific. In reality, it is a blind faith that's preached with religious zeal as the gospel truth. I'm embarrassed to admit that I was once a naïve believer in the theory," said the former television star in a statement. "Atheism has become very popular in universities – where it's taught that we evolved from animals and that there are no moral absolutes. So we shouldn't be surprised when there are school shootings."
Comfort felt impelled to hold the debate, because he is worried about the state of Christianity around the world, especially in Europe. According to a Zukerman study, in Sweden as many as 85 percent of the population are non-believers; Japan has 65 percent; France with 54 percent; and 44 percent of British citizens do not believe in God.
The Christian preacher also noted that there is a genuine attack against Christian beliefs, more than other religions.
"[T]here is something more sinister here than a few people not believing in God," concluded the author. "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."
Comfort has spoken at several atheist events, one in which he was a platform speaker at the 2001 convention for the American Atheists, Inc.
Correction: Tuesday, May 8, 2007:
An article on Sunday, Apr. 29, 2007, about an upcoming debate between evangelists Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron and two atheists incorrectly stated that Comfort would not speak about his faith during the debate sponsored by ABC. While the New Zealand-born evangelist has claimed for years that he can prove God's existence "without mentioning faith or the Bible," he does present the gospel during discussions. Comfort explained to The Christian Post that the main point of his claim is that he "can prove God's existence, absolutely ..., scientifically." In the future, the evangelist will drop "without mentioning faith or the Bible" from his claims so that there will be no more misunderstandings.