The Origin of Species and the Fool
Talking to a stranger on the street about Jesus has to be one of the hardest actions a Christian can perform. If it wasn’t, wouldn’t you think we would see more of it in the streets of our cities? After all, the early church was built on such demonstrations including Jesus sermon on the mount and Peter’s first sermon from Acts 2. The body of Christ today, however, seems to almost avoid this type of evangelism – at least in America.
In my nearly seven years as a Christian, I can count on two hands the number of times I have personally seen another believer tell a stranger about Jesus while in public. And I have spent time with a lot of Christians. Ray Comfort – who is the founder of Living Waters ministry, does this all the time. He records his efforts and shares evangelistic videos and resources to help spread the Gospel message of Christ and the love of God with others.
He also makes street preaching look effortless.
This past weekend, Living Waters released a film for free viewing on YouTube called The Fool – which is a documentary that tells the story of Ray Comfort’s interactions with the Atheist community. Ray – who is taken to be a fool and called the banana man due to an early evangelistic tool he used describing the creational difference, or lack of, between a can of Coca-Cola and a banana, finds himself being welcomed into conversations and debates with Atheists over the course of his ministry because he is seen as a fool by those he is speaking to.
The film is packed with commentaries surrounding how Ray was mocked, his self-admitted humiliation and behind the scenes accounts of interactions with well-known Atheists. In addition, Ray covers the ground of his efforts alongside Kirk Cameron to give away re-printings of Charles Darwin’s The Origin of Species to college students across the country in which they added an introduction that shared the gospel and also attempt to prove evolution is unscientific.
In the film, Ray says, “If Atheism were a religion, Charles Darwin would be their prophet and the Origin of Species would be their holy book.” Kirk – who was a former atheist himself, loved the idea of sharing free copies of this book on its 150th printing anniversary. After 170,000 copies were given away at more than 100 college campuses, atheism most prolific proselytizer Richard Dawkins spoke against Comfort’s cause saying, “There is no refutation of Darwin and evolution in existence. If a refutation were ever to come about, it would come from a serious scientist, not an idiot.”
My heart goes out to those like Dawkins, who preach the hopelessness of a life without a creator so boldly. It must be extremely difficult for anyone to maintain a belief that we live in a world without reason, rules, purpose or love. Even harder still to spend your life arguing your point against those that believe in God and His son Jesus. Also, having been spoken out against by atheist myself in a small samples, they can be very aggressive in their speech and tone, thus confirming my thought on how difficult the pressure must be for some to live that kind of life.
I pray for joy, peace and hope to exist in every life here on Earth. I know that those things come through faith in God (Romans 15:13) and that even in our darkest moments we can find contentment and even joy in our struggles (James 1:2-3). I have also found that those willing to yell the loudest at Ray, myself or other believers for our position regarding our belief in the one true God and in His Son Jesus are often the ones who seem to reflect a life without peace and joy most. Anger at another person for their beliefs when you don’t even believe they exist seems like an overreaction.
Overreactions come from a place of insecurity, a lack of knowledge and a desire to be in control. I sometimes overreact when my kids aren’t listening to me and am trying to regain control. My insecurities sometimes cause me to overreact when someone questions my ability to run a ministry or speak on a particular subject.
I believe some atheists, including Dawkins in response to Comfort’s Origin of Species release, overreact because they know they are not in control – at least subconsciously. It becomes easier to lash out and disrespect another person for their beliefs than looking inwardly to determine the cause for our overreaction in the first place.
If you had love, peace and joy in your heart would you ever feel the need to ridicule, degrade and disparage another person who did nothing against you personally? What about at all?
My daughter sometimes talks to her stuffed animals. I don’t yell at her for it or call her an idiot. Why are atheists so angry, if they really believe the God I believe created and loves us isn’t any more real than the stuffed animal my daughter talks to? Maybe it’s because deep down they know He is.
The need to present the gospel message is clear. There are many people who don’t know or believe in Jesus as Lord – and most of them don’t yell. After seeing this film, I am stirred to action. I hope to increase in my desire to tell strangers that Jesus loves them and for God to provide opportunity to have real conversations with others about my faith.
Not long ago, I was an unbeliever. I didn’t know God or have any faith in Jesus as Lord. I also had no idea what true joy and peace were. Now that I know Christ and the joy and peace He brings to my life, I want to share that with others so that they can find those things for themselves. I’ll just need to prepare myself to look like a fool in the process.
John Simmons is the President of Testimony House Ministries. He writes a daily blog for Testimony House each week day. He is the author of God Has a Sentence for Your Life and Finding Faith. Follow John on social media @newjohnsimmons. You can also watch John hosts various live streaming programs on the Testimony House Network each week.