"The Beauty of a Broken Spirit-Atheism" is the title of the seventh episode from season one of Way of the Master.
Why The Beauty of a Broken Spirit?
This episode specifically addresses atheism and agnosticism, providing sample strategies Christians can use when witnessing to non-believers. Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron discuss Kirk's claim of once being a "devout" atheist, provide several arguments from design, and show the "atheist test" in action.
About this episode
(00:00 - 00:40)
- Kirk begins by asking, "Who do you know who isn't saved?" After inserting possible answers, including close relatives, he asks the viewer to "think of their terrible fate if they die without Christ." Convinced the viewer wants to share their faith with those non-believers, he explains that the purpose of this episode is to give them the tools they need to overcome fear and know exactly what to say.
(00:40 - 01:10)
- Opening Titles
(01:10 - 01:35)
- A non-believer responds to the question, "Do you believe in God?" with...
- "My next question would be, or my next concern would be, um, whether you believe in God or not. And the fact that someone tells me he's there and I can't see him, can't smell him, can't touch him, can't feel him ever, I mean, how are you supposed to believe that and base your life around that if you don't have that belief."
(01:36 - 01:56)
- Ray begins by stating, "If you get a dictionary and look up the word atheism, you'll find it says it's the belief that there's no God."
- Ray continues with, "According to TV Guide, a number of years ago, 96% of Americans actually believe in God's existence. Which means there's 4% that don't, which equates to something like 10 million atheists in the United States."
Kirk as a former atheist
(01:56 - 02:28)
- Ray asks Kirk, "Didn't you used to be an atheist?"
- Kirk responds, "Yeah, I did. I used to be a devout atheist and that sounds a little strange but I was committed to my belief that God didn't exist. And this really wasn't based on anything other than what I had learned in school. I thought that evolution was responsible for everything that's around and that God was something that people just invented in their minds as an emotional crutch or as some sort of an answer to the questions that they couldn't figure out themselves. And I've since learned that when you really look at the evidence, the truth is, it takes more faith to be an atheist than it does to believe in God, you've really gotta ignore the facts."
(02:28 - 02:34)
- Ray says, "It's funny how we equate the word atheism with intellectual when it's the exact opposite."
(02:35 - 03:29)
- Ray says, "Kirk, I have an intellectually stimulating theory. It's my theory of where the soda can may have come from. Billions of years ago, there was a big bang in space. Nobody knows what caused the big bang, it just happened. And from this bang issued this huge rock, on top of the rock was found a sweet, brown bubbly substance. And over millions of years, aluminum crept up the side, formed itself with a can and a lid and then a tab. And then millions of years later, red paint, blue paint, white paint fell from the sky and formed itself into the words '12 fluid ounces - Do not litter'."
- Continuing, "You're saying, 'What are you doing, you're insulting my intellect' - and so I am. Because we know, if the can is made there must be a maker. If it's designed there must be a designer. To believe the soda can happened by chance is to move into an intellectual-free zone... is to have an echo when you think... is to have brain liposuction."
(03:31 - 04:34)
- Ray holds up a banana and continues with, "Behold, the atheists' nightmare. Now if you study a well-made banana, you'll find, on the far side, there are 3 ridges. On the close side, two ridges. If you get your hand ready to grip a banana, you'll find on the far side there are three grooves, on the close side, two grooves. The banana and the hand are perfectly made, one for the other. You'll find the maker of the banana, Almighty God, has made it with a non-slip surface. It has outward indicators of inward contents - green, too early - yellow, just right - black, too late. Now if you go to the top of the banana, you'll find, as with the soda can makers have placed a tab at the top, so God has placed a tab at the top. When you pull the tab, the contents don't squirt in your face. You'll find a wrapper which is biodegradable, has perforations. Notice how gracefully it sits over the human hand. Notice it has a point at the top for ease of entry. It's just the right shape for the human mouth. It's chewy, easy to digest and its even curved toward the face to make the whole process so much easier. Seriously, Kirk, the whole of creation testifies to the genius of God's creation."
(04:35 - 04:50)
- Kirk uses the common example of the complexity of the human eye to support the idea of an intelligent designer.
(04:51 - 05:11)
- Kirk says, "...even Charles Darwin, himself, said"
- "To suppose that the eye could have been formed by natural selection, seems, I freely confess, absurd in the highest degree."
- -Charles Darwin
- Kirk's assessment of this Darwin quote is, "Even the, uh, creator of the theory of evolution says it just goes against my common sense and logic."
(05:12 - 05:27)
- Ray, "And some of these guys that we think were atheists weren't actually atheists. I mean, Einstein wasn't an atheist, he, he objected when atheists used him to, to say that atheism was a genuine thing. I mean, Einstein believed in the existence of God and even Darwin did."
Proving God exists
(5:27 - 7:58) Ray and Kirk promise to teach the user how to "prove the existence of God" and "make an atheist backslide." They go on to provide several versions of the same argument from design:
Building and builder
- Ray, "When I look at a building, how can I know there was a builder? Can't see him, hear him, touch him, taste him or smell him, so how can I know there was a builder? Well, the building is absolute proof there was a builder. I couldn't want better proof that there was a builder than to have the building as evidence."
- Ray, "I don't need faith to believe in a builder, all I need is eyes that can see and a brain that works."
Painting and painter
- Ray, "Now the same deep, rich, scientific principle works with paintings and painters."
- Ray continues by repeating the building argument for paintings.
Creation and creator
- Ray, "...and the same principle works with God. When I look at Creation how can I know there was a creator? Well, creation is absolute proof there was a creator."
- Ray, "I don't need faith to believe in a creator, all I need is eyes that can see and a brain that works."
- Ray attempts to justify his position with a passage from the Bible:
- "For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and God-head; so that they are without excuse." - Romans 1:20
Well made car
- Kirk, "It's obvious that a building can't build itself, it has to have a builder. A painting can't paint itself, it has to have a painter and the same with a car..."
- Kirk continues his explanation, by demonstrating the properties of a "well-made automobile": nice body, steering wheel, horn, windshield, windshield wipers, and "squirters" (to wash the bugs off the windshield).
- Kirk extends his car analogy to the human body, "...think of the well-made human being. We have a body. Our mind and our will is like a steering wheel. We have windshields [cornea], we have windshield wipers [eyelids], we even have squirters [tear ducts] to lubricate the eye. Think of it! Everything about us has been made with purpose in mind."
- Kirk continues with, "Is it really intelligent to say that this car has no maker, that it just 'happened'? How much less intelligent is it to say that the human body has no maker and there is no designer?"
Order equals design
(8:00 - 9:00) Ray relates a story about an avocado tree in his back yard which continually dropped leaves.
- Ray, "I looked down and I saw that there were seven leaves on the ground, so I bent down and I put them in a straight line, went into my office and sat down and waited for my wife to come in and say what I thought she'd say. It was very predictable. She walked in, sat down and said, "Why did you put those leaves like that, for?" See, there was no way her reasoning mind could believe that seven leaves fell off the avocado tree and fell into a [sound effect] straight line of seven leaves. She knew that an intelligent mind, mine, had put them there."
- Ray continues, "And when you look at creation, we see order throughout the whole of creation. From the atom through the universe, the flowers, the birds, the trees, the sun, the moon, the stars, everything has order to it."
(9:00 - 12:18)
- Kirk, "Let's look at it from a different angle. If I say to you, "There is no god", that's called an absolute statement. In order for me to make an absolute statement, and be right, I have to have absolute knowledge. I have to know everything about that subject."
- Kirk, "Let me give you an example of another absolute statement. If I say to you, "There is no gold in China"...in order for that to be true, I have to know everything about China. I have to know what's under every rock, I have to know what's inside of every rock, inside every jewelry store and what's inside every Chinese person's mouth to see if there's any gold in there. In a filling. In a stone. In a ring. I have to have all knowledge of China to make that absolute statement that there's no gold."
- Kirk, "However, if I want to make the statement, "There is gold in China", I don't have to have all knowledge of China, I just have to have a little knowledge. I just need to see one person's gold filling. I have to see one piece of gold and I can say, with confidence, "There is gold in China." So, for a person to say there is no god, to make that absolute statement, they have to have all knowledge or be omniscient...and nobody is."
- Kirk, "Even the brilliant scientist, Thomas Edison, said, "We do not know one millionth of one percent about anything."
Ray introduces us to the "atheist test" which begins with two questions:
- "Could you please tell me how many pieces of sand are on the combined islands of Hawaii?"
- "Could you please tell me how many hairs are on the back of a fully-grown, male Tibetan yak?"
- Ray, "Now these are necessary, these questions, because there are some people who think they know everything. God used a similar principle with Job. He asked Job seventy questions, one after the other, until, in essence, Job laid his hand upon his mouth and said, "Boy I hardly know anything."
- Ray, "So, here is the test. Let's say this circle [circle graphic appears on screen] represents all the knowledge in the known universe. Someone who is omniscient, who has all knowledge, knows everything about everything. They know how many hairs are on every head, every thought of every heart, every atom is splayed before them, all history is before their eyes. They know all about the secret love life of the fleas on the back of Napoleon's great-grandmother's black cat. They're omniscient, they know everything."
- Ray, "Let's say, mister professing atheist, that you know an incredible one percent of all the knowledge in the universe. Is it possible, in the ninety-nine percent of the knowledge you haven't yet come across, there is ample evidence to prove that God exists?"
- Ray claims the reasonable atheist is forced to say, "Well, it is possible that, in the knowledge I haven't yet come across, there's ample evidence to prove that God does exist." and "With the limited knowledge I have, at present, I've come to the conclusion there's no God, but I really don't know."
- Kirk, "That's right, he's not technically an atheist, he's an agnostic."
- Kirk, "He's like the person who looks at a building and says, "I don't know if there's a builder".
(12:19 - 12:49)
- Ray, "We're now going to go to a clip of a real-live atheist, we found one, Kirk."
- Kirk, "You did?!"
- Ray, "Yeah, yeah, so watch what happens. There's three things to look for. One, watch for the fact that he changes his mind about the existence of God when we reason with him. Two, watch for that deliberate swing to address his conscience, where we say, "Do you consider yourself to be a good person?" And then three, watch where the Ten Commandments, the law does its work in pressing against his conscience and causes him to begin to justify himself once he realizes he's done wrong."
(12:50 - 19:14)
- Ray, "Why are you an atheist?"
- Chris, "Um..., my, uh, my beliefs..I, I look at things, uh, very practically speaking, I guess. Uh..., uh, I like to have proof that..., that things are the way they are. So, it's hard for me to just take some information that someone tells me and believe that it's true unless, unless I have proof."
- Ray, "Do you have a car?"
- Chris, "Yeah"
- Ray, "What make is it?"
- Chris, "Ford"
- Ray, "Ford made it?"
- Chris, [confused] "Ford made it?"
- Ray, "Yeah, did they make your car? They're the maker?"
- Chris, "Right."
- Ray, "Do you believe your car happened by accident? Could you believe that, that no one made the car?"
- Chris, "No, I don't believe that."
- Ray, "So, obviously, everything made, like a car, has a maker. When you look at creation, don't you think to yourself there must be a creator? There's flowers, birds, trees, sun, moon, stars, the seasons, the human eye, the mind, everything has intricacies and it's uh, wonderfully made and it has order from atoms right up through the universe. Don't you think someone who said, "No one made the car" would be lacking in brainery? For someone to say, "No one created creation"...this doesn't make sense, it's not logical. Do you think that's a fair argument?"
- Chris, "Yeah, I think there's a point where you have to step back and just say, "Well, ok, maybe someone did create uh, all of the elements around us, but I think that, uh..I believe that evolution did take place. And uh, I think you can always step back before evolution and say, "Well someone put all those elements in order evolution to take place."
- Ray, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?"
- Chris, "Yes"
- Ray, "Can I ask you a few questions to see if it's true?"
- Chris, "Sure."
- Ray, "Have you ever told a lie?"
- Chris, "Sure."
- Ray, "Ok, what does that make you?"
- Chris, "A liar."
- Ray, "Have you ever stolen something?"
- Chris, "Uh, as a kid."
- Ray, "What does that make you?"
- Chris, "I guess, uh, a thief."
- Ray, "Uh huh. Have you ever used God's name in vain?"
- Chris, "Sure."
- Ray, "That's using God's name as a cuss word, it's called blasphemy. And the final question, as, in this respect, Jesus said, "Whoever looks at a woman and lusts after her has already committed adultery already with her in his heart", have you ever looked at a woman with lust?"
- Chris, "Sure."
- Ray, "Ok, Chris, by your own admission, you're a lying, thieving, blasphemous, adulterer at heart and you've gotta face..."
- Chris, "Those are just words."
- Ray, "You've gotta face God on Judgment Day, whether you believe in him or not, and here's a big "if", If God judges you by the Ten Commandments on the day of judgment, would you be innocent or guilty, if he did?"
- Chris, "Well, if all that's true, I'm guilty."
- Ray, "Would you go to heaven or hell?"
- Chris, "I guess if you believe in all that and it's all true, I'm going to hell."
- Ray, "Now, does that concern you?"
- Chris, "No, because I don't believe any of that's true."
- Ray, "If I stepped off a 6 story building and said, to you, I don't believe in gravity, I just don't believe in it. Do you think it's going to change reality?"
- Chris, "That's real though."
- Ray, "How do you know, you can't see gravity?"
- Chris, "But you can test it."
- Ray, "Yeah, and you're testing the law of sin and death. If you die in your sins, the Bible says you'll have to face a holy creator, who's seen your full life, who gave you a conscience, and he's gonna judge you by the secret sins you've committed in darkness that nobody's seen because he's a god of justice. You know what God did, so you wouldn't have to go to hell? Any idea?"
- Chris, "Just whatever the Bible says, I suppose."
- Ray, "What do you think he did for you? It's something really wonderful."
- Chris, "He died for me?"
- Ray, "Jesus died on the cross for you, taking your punishment. That's what the Bible teaches. It's called the gospel and it means 'good news' that Jesus paid your fines so you wouldn't have to come under God's wrath."
- Ray, "Chris, he defeated your greatest enemy...your greatest fear, death itself and all you have to do to see if it's true is obey the gospel. Repent, don't just confess your sins to God, turn from them. And trust in Jesus like you'd trust a parachute. Put your faith in it. And the moment you do that, God says he'll forgive your sins and grant you everlasting life and you'll pass out of death into life and you'll come to know the god that you just didn't know existed."
- Chris, "Wouldn't we all be sinners, though, if I'm a sinner? And wouldn't we all be going to hell, just like I am? Cause, I mean, really I, I've never committed crimes where I've ended up in a jail, or I've never had to go to a court, I've never been tried by anybody..."
- Ray, "Yeah, but Chris..."
- Chris, "So, I'm a good person, I think. I have a family and I've been married for seventeen years, I have four kids, I, ya know, work hard, I, I uh, make my own way through life and I, I'm friendly and courteous and truthful to people and.."
- Ray, "That's true Chris..."
- Chris, "So, now, so, how bad...or how good do you have to be to uh, to not be a sinner?"
- Ray, "You have to be perfect in thought, word and deed."
- Chris, "So, how many of us are perfect?"
- Ray, "None of us. There's only one that was perfect, the son of God."
- Chris, "See, so.."
- Ray, "So we all need the Saviour, we all need to repent. There's not a righteous man on the face of the Earth. And Chris, you said you're a good person and by man's standard that's true, there are plenty of people worse than you, but God's not gonna judge you by man's standard, which is very low, he's gonna judge you by holiness, justice, truth and righteousness. And you are in a prison and you're facing capital punishment. You're waiting to die. We've got a big blue roof here with good air conditioning and good lighting, but you're waiting to die. You're on death's row. One day, death will seize upon you and that's because God's proclaimed upon you the death sentence. The soul that sins, it shall die. And God offers you a reprieve..and your wife...and your children. If you love them, open your heart and say, "God, I need to know the truth, because I don't want to wait until I'm burying a loved one before I open my heart to you and ask the things, about the things that really matter." So, think of your family and how you should lead them into the knowledge of everlasting life..and your wife. And if you've got all these blessings you should be abounding with thanksgiving to the God that gave you life and not denying his existence. You should be saying, "God, I'm so sorry I've delivered my back to you, you've lavished your goodness upon me. My brain, my eyes, my wife, my children, my health, this wonderful free country we've got. God I yield my life back to you." And he'll transform you on the inside and make you a new person and give you a new heart with new desires."
Moving from intellect to conscience
(19:15 - 20:05)
- Kirk, "So now that we've given you some ways to make an atheist backslide or, how to prove that the atheist doesn't exist, in other words, he's really not an atheist, he's an agnostic, someone who doesn't know if there's a god, we wanna emphasize the principle of swinging from the intellect, straight to the conscience. It's so important to know that by doing this, you're not side-stepping the questions of the atheist, but you have to learn that it's not wise to stay in the intellect and wrestle with someone intellectually, because it's gonna take you down a rabbit trail and waste all your time."
- Kirk, "You've eventually got to get to the heart. A surgeon's not gonna spend all his time working on your dandruff when he knows he needs to cut into the heart and get to where the real problem is. And that's what we do when we ask a person if they consider themselves to be a good person. We just deliberately make that turn, and go for the conscience."
(20:06 - 22:32) The person interviewed (Travis) explains his view that there is no spiritual afterlife and that death is the end. The interviewer asks if he believes in God...
- Travis, "No, of course not." [cut] "Why would you take a religious book and say,'Oh yeah, these have gotta be true, this makes sense' when the people who wrote that book, thousands of years ago, they were just superstitious and they didn't know how the world really worked?"
- Interviewer, "Would you consider yourself to be a good person?"
- Travis, "Yeah, of course I'm a good person."
- Interviewer, "Have you ever told a lie?"
- Travis, "No, I've never told a lie. Um, yeah, I mean, who hasn't?"
- Interviewer, "What would that make you?"
- Travis, "It would make me... [laughs] It would make me a human being."
- Interviewer, "And that's what I'm telling you today. If you research the Bible, the way you do a research paper, and you study the claims that I've given you today, um, you'll find that they're true. [cut to a list of specific claims] I'm saying that Jesus Christ came, two thousand years ago, he paid the fine, the penalty, it's clear, being a liar, thief and blasphemer, that you've broken God's law and the only way that we can have a relationship with God, now, is through the blood of Christ, through his death and resurrection."
(22:33 - 24:43) Kirk interviews a young woman...
- Woman, "We have science that proves that we didn't need that sort of thing to create the Earth. We didn't need, um, a being to come down and touch his finger on the Earth and all these trees sprouted up everywhere and, you know what I'm saying? We have theories, scientific theories, that prove that the Earth came together because of this big cosmos of chemicals and, um, different environments coming together and creating this place. And, over time, it got to the state that it's in now."
- Kirk, "I hear just what you're saying and I used to think that way for so long..and..like, just my common sense, really does have to say, 'Wait a minute, that building is pretty well designed', but when I look at you... or I look at the, the, the eyeball of my little baby, and I say, 'Look at how well and beautifully designed a human being is.' I mean, you can, you can walk, you can talk, you can think, you can come up with these answers all on the fly...the most complicated computers in the world can't do what your eyes can do..in, in two seconds would take it hours to do."
- Woman, "I believe everything on this earth was accidental or created by man, so..." [shrugs]
- Kirk, "Well, yeah, I, I know. I, I think that you were made with a purpose and for an important reason and that, um, we're having this conversation not just by accident and that's what I personally think. And you're a really nice girl and I appreciate you talking with us and, um, Oh, man, my, my, my heart's, my heart breaks because I want you to know that there's a God and I want you to know that he sent Christ to die for you. And the fact that you want to live...I don't want to die either and the Bible says that Jesus Christ has abolished and destroyed death and brought life and immortality to light, through the Gospel. And so, I so want you to just, try to be honest and open with God and just surrender your life to him and see what happens."
- Woman, "I will definitely think about it."
- Kirk, "Yeah, think about it.."
Absolute proof of God
(24:44 - 26:07)
- Kirk, "Sometimes a professing atheist seems to be so stubborn they just don't want to believe in God. They want absolute proof."
- Kirk, "Well, mister or missus atheist, there is absolute proof. God says that he will show himself to you personally, if you'll do one thing. Listen to what Jesus said, in the Bible, 'He that has my commandments and keeps them, he it is that loves me and he that loves me shall be loved by my father and I will love him and will manifest myself to him.' So here Jesus is saying he will manifest or reveal himself to you, if you will obey his commandments."
- Kirk, " Now, does that mean Jesus will, um, appear before your eyes or you'll hear his voice? No. Jesus means that he will demonstrate his reality and his power by changing your heart, if you will obey the gospel."
- Kirk, " Now what does that mean? It means to stop thinking you know everything there is to know and admit that you could be wrong about God."
- Kirk, "Listen to your conscience and say, 'God, if you're there, I know I've sinned against you, please forgive me. Change my heart, make me the person that you want me to be, and this day I commit to trust and obey Jesus Christ, who died to save me.' If you'll do that, God promises to show himself to you. Now, either that's true or it isn't. "
(26:09 - 26:37)
- Kirk, "So, in conclusion, we've been talking about how to share your faith with an atheist...and you do it the same way you'd share your faith with anyone else. Remember, the atheist is your friend, not your enemy. Don't argue with him, simply help him to see that he's really an agnostic, a person who doesn't know if there's a god...and then, help him, by showing him that in his heart, he knows that he's done wrong, that he needs God's forgiveness and you do that by swinging to the conscience with the Ten Commandments."
Apologetics are bait
(26:38 - 26:54)
- Ray, "Apologetics are like bait. Now if you go fishing with bait and no hook, you're not going to get any fish. You may get some fat, happy fish that get away, but if you want to be effective you use the bait to disguise the hook. When the fish come around, you pull the hook in. The bait is apologetical argument, you use different bait for different people, or different fish..."
Ten Commandments are the hook
(26:55 - 27:10)
- Ray, "The hook is God's law, that is the Ten Commandments."
- Kirk, "That's right, because everybody knows, when you bring out those commandments, that they've, that they've violated them, that they've broken them and that they're going to need God's forgiveness on the day of judgment. And it's a good, strong hook that we should never fail to use when we're sharing our faith."
Stuff to buy
(27:11 - 27:45) This episode concludes with information on how to purchase various books and training tools from their ministry.
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