I posted some time ago about Ray Comfort's blog and his apparent hatred of all things factual. I still check it out from time to time, as it's kinda like the equivalent of a website devoted to train wrecks. I just can't help but not look. For those of you who don't know, Ray is an evangelist and best buddies with Kirk Cameron. His ministry basically revolves around getting people to feel as though they need God because they're awful, degenerate sinners. He's also pretty infamous for his critiques of evolution - every one of which demonstrate that he doesn't even know the first thing about what he's critiquing.
The thing is, I have a near-obsession with always getting in the last word. I call it "near" because I've actually been able to work on it a bit lately and just let certain things go. It's even easier to just limit my posting to his blog to the occasional comment because of a group of people whom I hearby dub The Raytractors (short for Ray Comfort Detractors).
In fact, I find myself checking out his blog more for what they have to say than what he does - because after all, he's pretty much saying the same thing over and over again. He has a few regular posters, many of whom are Christians who subscribe to his particular brand of the religion. Their comments are usually along the lines of "Great job, Ray!" However, the good stuff comes from The Raytractors. They're basically a bunch of skeptics and atheists (I don't think that all of them define themselves as atheists - because after all, there are a lot of Christians who find what he says to be offensive) who point out all of his logical fallacies and absurdities.
Of course, the true believers attack the Raytractors - usually by making sweeping statements that don't address the content of what they wrote, quoting the Bible, or simply insulting them. (There's even a guy who seems to have multiple personalities who supports Ray.)
I honestly believe though that if there was somebody who was genuinely on the fence regarding Christianity versus atheism, and they read Comfort's blog, they would have a hard time siding with the Christians. Now, they might not necessarily become atheists, but I can't see them subscribing to the extreme fundamentalist, scientifically ignorant views of Comfort and his true believers. (In fact, I believe that there's a guy out there who was on the fence, and the Raytractors appealed to him more). I know some people would wonder why I (or others) would bother even arguing with these people, but this is the reason why. One of the reasons why I finally came around to admitting I was an atheist was by reading the atheism discussion board on usenet. There was plenty of arguing, but the atheists had all of the most logical and compelling arguments. The Christians just kept saying the same stuff over and over again and proved themselves to be ignorant, dishonest, and sometimes both. (And I should probably point out that these were fundamentalist types - I know, I know, there are plenty of Christians out there who can justify their beliefs without attacking atheism.)
The thing is, these folks seem like a real fun bunch. While they can sometimes be slightly aggressive in their criticisms, most of them are just plain old funny. What seems to be happening is that a loose camraderie is starting to form amongst us. Now, many of you know me, and you know that it's difficult to get me to socialize sometimes. However, if these folks all lived close by me, I'd be really excited about having them over for dinner and/or homebrews (not sure if they all like beer or not). Kirsti (my wife, for those of you who don't know) reads the blog as well, and she's often asking me, "Hey, did you see what (fill in a Raytractor's name here) wrote?" She posts less than I do, but she enjoys their wit, intelligence, and devotion to intellectual honesty just as much as I do.
One thing that I find interesting is that many of them are women. Now, perhaps this reveals an inner sexism in me, but generally speaking (and I think that there are even statistics that prove this) women are less likely to be skeptical of the supernatural and more likely to believe not only in God but things like astrology. Perhaps that's turning around now that women are being encouraged to not just be nurturing homemakers (which there's nothing wrong with) but thinkers and scholars as well (which there's everything right with). I know that if I have a daughter, I'll expect her to look at the world objectively and critically just the same as I would with a boy. (And yes, I realize that she may very well wind up disagreeing with my religious views.)
So, a big shout out and raise of the homebrew mug to my fellow Raytractors! I've recently created a list of links to some of their blogs on the side of my Blogspot blog (sorry, MySpace readers - you'll have to go there to check it out). It's good reading, so check it out. And, if there are any Raytractors whose blogs I've missed, please leave a comment so I can be sure to include you.