Belief Isn’t of the Mind

This subject happened by accident. I was listening to Tucker Carlson on YouTube (someday I’ll tell you why I like Mr. Carlson), and that brought up a video made by a man called Ray Comfort, which was ostensibly about Rhett and Link falling away from Christianity. For the record, I don’t know who Rhett and Link are. Comedians, apparently. Comedians who used to proclaim Christianity and now no longer do. I used the term ostensibly because the video isn’t specifically about Rhett and Link. Ray Comfort (I’m not familiar with this person either) is applying universality of the human condition to the falling away of Christians from the faith. But he’s made his point to me long before the video has ended for a reason he might not have intended.

The video is a series of interviews Ray Comfort has with young university students on the subject of evolution vs Christianity. He is in the Christianity camp. Ray Comfort is clearly more intelligent than the average person. He has all the answers, knows the answers, can talk circles around young people with average or maybe slightly above-average intelligence. And he does all this calmly and politely, without raising his voice one time. To give it a sense of fairness, I guess, he also interviews three evolutionary professors, who also can’t compete with him, at least in the clips he shows of them. Journalists who conduct interviews are almost never honest in their video cuts, though Ray Comfort might be. I’d like to think a Christian would be inclined toward honesty.

Ray Comfort reminds me of the average professor of evolutionary biology when they are in control of the conversation. They are older and, by the law of averages, more intelligent than most of their students. They talk circles around their students; they have all the facts and know everything, and the faith-based students find themselves in a position where they can’t argue against their teachers. Oh, there might be one or two who try, but it doesn’t go well for them when it comes to grading time. Professors do surprise me at times with their egalitarianism and generosity, but I have mostly seen that in the humanities. Those in the sciences are a special variety.

What are the results of Ray Comfort’s interviews with the young people? After his logical case and intelligent words, one responds positively; there are a few agnostics, and then there are the ones who just say no to Christianity. The same phenomenon occurs in a university classroom, where the professor is trying to convince his students that evolution is a fact and that God isn’t. Some believe the professor; others remain agnostic, while others adamantly continue in their faith.

This is because belief doesn’t happen in the mind. It happens in the spirit. Our spirits will either believe in God or they won’t, and our minds simply devise intelligent arguments (well, some of our minds do) for what our souls have chosen. Like the Bob Dylan song from the iconic Slow Train album, we all have to serve somebody. It may be the devil; it may be the Lord, but we’re going to have to choose. It doesn’t matter how intelligent we are. It doesn’t matter what our politics are. We will end up serving a master. If we believe we can circumvent this by serving ourselves, we have believed a lie.

Ray Comfort shows a few clips of either Rhett or Link claiming that he simply believed what people told him growing up, and now he has started seeking out knowledge and has begun to question Christianity due to this knowledge. I don’t know where this man will end up, but it isn’t book knowledge that has altered his perspective. To be honest, I don’t know he got to the age he did without seeking out knowledge. But not everybody is motivated toward the same things — he obviously went the route of being on stage telling jokes instead of reading books. Still, it isn’t book knowledge that has caused the questioning of his faith. It’s a wrestling in his spirit for who will be in control of his life. I hope he eventually chooses God.

I’m not devaluing what Ray Comfort was trying to do in his video. While he does talk circles around the youths, he also brings everything back to the gospel and our human need for a savior. As I wrote this post, the video was still playing, and I was taken aback by the power of the gospel as Comfort gave it to the people he was speaking to. The young woman he spoke to looked very conflicted, her face a slew of emotions, and a peculiar shade of red by the end. So while I saw Comfort use his intelligence and knowledge to intimidate his audience, I also witnessed what the power of the gospel can do to a person’s soul. Who knows what direction the agnostics will go now that they’ve been confronted with God’s word? Who knows whom they will end up serving? My mind is skeptical, but my soul rejoices at the possibility they might choose God.

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8 comments

  1. I have a few random comments to make.

    Ray Comfort’s name really, irrationally, bothers me.

    I subscribed to Rhett and Link a few years ago, but they have constant endorsements in their videos and it really bugged me how they did them, so I unsubbed.

    I believe some form of evolution exists, yet I don’t think humans evolved. I believe they were directly created. I have no evidence, just a hunch.

    “Still, it isn’t book knowledge that has caused the questioning of his faith. It’s a wrestling in his spirit for who will be in control of his life.” – You are right. “Knowledge” won’t contradict faith since they are arrived at my different means; going blind doesn’t mean you become bad at math. I’d even go as far to say that if you’re seeking knowledge to discover what you really believe, you’ve already made a decision and post facto thinking of ways to justify it–which, in itself, has nothing to do with with spiritual conviction since it denies the pull of the supernatural and relies on the mind. True conviction grabs a hold of you regardless of how much stuff you know or how you’re able to handle it.

    1. Re evolution, I wrote this post while still watching the video and probably left out the important context that one of the young men he interviewed believed there was no God because of macro evolution, and Comfort’s interviews of scientists was meant to prove that even PhDs believe what they do based on faith rather than hard and fast evidence. I did not mean to create this dichotomy between faith in God and evolution…I should really edit my posts better.

      I found Comfort to be annoying, so his name now annoys me, too (YouTube keeps prompting me to watch more of his videos, and he does the same schtick every time). He’s a bit of an intellectual bully. He’s smart, but he’s also choosing people much less knowledgeable than he is to grandstand himself on the internet. That is perhaps uncharitable of me because as I said in my post, the gospel message still hits home to some of the people he talks to. He’s still annoying, though. And he’s really anti Catholic. A lot of Protestants are, no surprise there, but again, he’s not choosing smart, knowledgeable Catholics to talk to in his videos. I’d like to see what he’d do when faced with a Catholic like Trent Horn. There are a lot of ignorant Protestants out there, too. Using them to tear down Protestant beliefs would be disingenuous.

      1. “one of the young men he interviewed believed there was no God because of macro evolution, and Comfort’s interviews of scientists was meant to prove that even PhDs believe what they do based on faith rather than hard and fast evidence.”

        I sincerely hope most atheists don’t believe that, because it’s downright stupid. The existence of evolution proves nothing outside of biology and forensics, because it’s biological and forensic knowledge. Christianity isn’t based on no-evolution, just as ham sandwiches are still ham sandwiches whether they have lettuce in them or not.

        So I’d agree with Comfort that any statement about the metaphysical is faith-based, but I wouldn’t call it that. It sets up a red herring for atheists to argue the definition of “faith” and the discussion derails. I’d put it in non-controversial terms: metaphysical knowledge is determined by an apparatus (like a mind or a sensory organ, but different), existing outside what philosophers have proposed we use to determine material knowledge. Atheists simply don’t use the apparatus, or have it pointed in a different direction and have concluded different things. But to make a discussion on the topic happen, we have to agree that such an apparatus exists, and that’s one way to frame the argument to an atheist. Otherwise, the atheist can just label religious belief as a delusional coping mechanism.

        Sorry for the rant. This stuff gets me rolling too much.

      2. I should also mention that I don’t get emails when a response is posted to my comment. I only saw your response because I still had the page open.

        Also, when I submit a comment, I get database/page errors, even though the comment does get posted. Just thought I’d let you know…I can help fix it if you want.

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