“Are you a good person?” – a refutation to the Way of the Master snake-oil
Anyone who is familiar with Christian creationist and propagandist Ray Comfort has more than likely heard Ray Comfort’s infamous “Are You a Good Person?” test. If not him specifically, you may have heard the argument before, for it sure does spread amongst believers who look for a go-to argument to suck people into their irrational train ride.
For my readers who are not have heard of it, I will explain it in full, but in all honesty all you need to know about it is that Ray Comfort always uses this tactic at every chance he gets. Every chance. I have been reviewing Ray Comfort’s material for years, and as far as I can recall, he uses this tactic in every book he has published, in every Way of the Master episode, in his fake money gospel tracts, and he constantly uses it in his street preaching and interviews.
Ray Comfort thinks this tactic is his ace-in-the-hole, trapping people in a word game mix emotional guilt trip to trick people into thinking they have done something bad and need help. Ray Comfort even developed a website with this test, which is designed from square one to force every single person into a corner with no hope of escape and be found guilty. To Ray Comfort, he thinks this “Are You a Good Person?” is unbeatable. It is his ultimate snake oil, selling you an imaginary disease (sin) and offering in return a imaginary cure (jesus).
However, all readers and all those fooled by this disingenuous tactic can be rest assured. Even if they have gone to Ray Comfort’s website to try to beat it this test, this “Are You a Good Person?” is a dead argument – and it has always been so.
A long time ago, I spotted a fatal flaw in this argument some time ago, and even I wrote a piece on it on IronChariots. Now, I shall explain what the snake oil is and where this argument fails.
The “Are You a Good Person?” goes like this:
Are you a good person? (Yes or No is irrelevant, he will always find you bad at the end)
Have you ever lied?
Have you ever stolen?
Have you ever used the Lord’s name in vain?
Have you ever looked at a person with lust (which jesus (supposedly) said is adultery)
Okay, no matter how you answer these questions, Ray Comfort will find you guilty (he has to), and therefore he will deem you a “bad” person who needs to be saved or you will be burned forever. And Voila! Ray Comfort provides the means of salvation: his savior christ.
So, how is this “Are You a Good Person?” a dead argument???
Remember, this is called the “Are You a Good Person?” test. So, we are trying to determine whether a person is good or not. But wait! The last four questions are taken straight from the Ten Commandments: Thou Shall Not Bear False Witness; Thou Shall Not Steal; Thou Shall Not Take the Lord’s Name in Vain; Thou Shall Not Commit Adultery.
Now granted, these questions are a big misrepresentation of what the Ten Commandments actually dictate, but that is not necessary to discuss. The point is, Ray Comfort is using the Ten Commandments – THAT is the problem. The Ten Commandments were given by God to Moses to give to the Jewish people, the Chosen people. The God character did not give those Commandments to the Egyptians, nor the Chinese, nor the Gauls, nor anyone else. They were specifically for the Jews.
Therefore, if you have taken the Lord’s name in vain, looked at a woman or man with lust, and such, that does not make you a “bad person.” It means you are a bad Jew.
Think of it like this and see if it makes any sense: what if I asked you “Are You a Good Person?” and then asked you questions based on the Five Pillar’s of Islam (are you a good person, do you pray five times a day, have you ever gone to Mecca, did you give to charity, do you fast on Ramada, and so on)? Right away, you ought to notice the huge flaw in this line of questions. Not praying five times a day or not fasting on Ramada does not make you a bad person, it makes you a bad Muslim. These are religious rules, not moral rules. In the very same senses, if you have broken even one of the Ten Commandments, it does not mean you are a bad person, it means you are a bad Jew. Again, the Ten Commandments are religious rules.
Any person should realize that religious criteria does not determine whether a person is good or bad. Sure, there may be a few good moral laws in certain religions, I am not arguing that. Religions provide moral teachings, like the Code of Hammurabi, but one can also find moral teachings in Dr. Seuss. Just because you find moral lessons in stories or book(s) of fables does not mean the mysticism or fairy tales in them ever historically happened, nor does it mean the fairy tales must also be accepted as true if the moral lessons are accepted.
My only point is that morality is not determined by religions on whether or not if a person is bad or good. Morality is completely independent of religion, religion only adopts morality.
To be a good person is to just be good, its that simple. Working on the Sabbath does not instantly make you a bad person. If you lie to a Nazi in order to save the life of a Jew or a gypsy who is hiding, that one lie does not make you a bad person. Skipping five prayers does not make you a bad person. Religious rules are not moral rules, breaking a religious rule does not make you a bad person.
The point of this whole article is this: do not fall for Ray Comfort’s snake oil. It is designed to make the person being asked these questions to feel bad about themselves, to trick them into thinking they have done bad and need help from the very religion that told them they are bad. But keep in mind, this is what religions do. Virtually every religion tells you there is something wrong with you, or something about you is bad or doomed, and they carefully put you into a corner that you cannot get out of. Everything from “You were born a sinner” to “before you were born, you swore to Allah as the one true God” are all religious arguments designed to ensnare you, then offer you a cure in the form of salvation. It is an invisible product for a imaginary defect.