I had the misfortune to watch Ray Comfort’s latest offering this morning. Amidst the careful editing and quote mining, I noticed something that in many ways angered me.

For those who don’t know me, my academic background is quite eclectic. I am a qualified Mental Health Nurse, with a degree in Psychology, Sociology and Politics. I also have a masters in Education. I now work as a Teacher teaching Sociology and Health, but I spent 5 years before this teaching Psychology. I suppose this leads me to think more on the psychological side when thinking about religion and atheism.

Back to Ray Comfort…..

In the video, he seemed to place a lot of significance on the phrase “Do you believe in Evolution?” and appeared to infer that this in some way was comparable to a belief in god. This is kinda where Ray and I fell out. He is making a fundamental mistake that is often made by theists and that is to consider the words belief and faith to be interchangeable. This is a very big mistake, and I shall explain this here:

Belief: In terms of psychology a belief is the cognitive acceptance of an idea or premise. Psychologically an idea must be believed before it can be internalised to that person. That is to say, to accept any idea as having meaning to yourself, you have to believe it first. Philosophy declares that if a belief is accompanied by facts and evidence, then this becomes knowledge. Therefore, one cannot acquire knowledge without believing in the idea and supporting it with evidence.

Faith: On the other hand, faith is having complete trust in an idea, even when unsupported by evidence, and internalising this idea without the need for any rigour of questioning or proof that it may be substantiated.

Whilst similar, and in some cases overlapping, these two terms are not interchangeable. To have faith, one needs to have belief. Conversely, however, one can have belief but it does not require faith. Belief can be supported by evidence, whereas faith does not require any evidence at all.

Ray Comfort is good at twisting words and semantics. Add in a few leading questions, some questionable College students, careful editing and quote mining and you have the recipe for the perfect self serving, non-accurate film that Ray is so “Comfort”able making.

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