‘Master’ Plan

September 15, 2006 | By | 3 Replies More

I can’t get enough of Way of the Master Ministries. Way of the Master’s Biblical Evangelical movement, hosted in website, radio, and television format by former child actor Kirk Cameron and evangelist Ray Comfort, have swept internet culture recently, appearing in nearly equal footing on freethinking and faithful websites alike. Apparently, many other people get a kick out of Comfort and Cameron’s teachings, too; as of this February, Way of the Master has not only “witnessed” to tens of thousands of potential sheep, but the website’s evangelical methods have enrolled over 6,500 eager “students”.

Way of the Master’s gimmick hinges on its oddly friendly use of guilt and fear– like the fire-and-brimstone preachers of old, but nowhere near as menacing as “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God.” The website opens with this introduction by Cameron:

“Did you know that every day 150,000 people die? People just like you and me. Every twenty-four hours, 150,000 people pass from time into eternity. Do you ever think about that? Isn’t there something within you that says, ‘I don’t want to die!’? That is your God-given will to live. And we hope you listen to it, because we make some big claims on this site…”

Ray Comfort’s personal website, Living Waters, runs a constant counter of people who have died since you have opened up his page. Comfort also reminds us that, “The vast majority of those people are entering Hell.” These warm, fuzzy Christian thoughts prove the key time after time to Way of the Master’s remarkable “witnessing” power. Even Kirk Cameron, who once lived as what he calls a “devout atheist”, became a believer out of fear of death. He explains on an episode of The O’Reilly Factor:

“O’Reilly: Did anyone help you convert?

Cameron: […]You know, I think, because I didn’t grow up in a religious home it wasn’t what I was taught, but it was always in the back of my mind[…]Thinking about your own mortality, even at 17 years old, can really sober you up, and make you think seriously about eternity, about the designing influence on how we got here and where we’re going.”

After bringing in visitors with the knee-jerk fear of death, Way of the Master runs the gauntlet entitled, Are you a good person? A quick quiz, the test goes by simply enough, accusing the visitor of committing virtually every one of the Ten Commandment’s forbidden acts (but again, in a rather upbeat fashion). How can we all have committed every serious sin? Well, as the quiz attests, you commit adultery by even thinking lustful thoughts, and you commit murder by ever letting a hateful thought pass through your mind. The test concludes:

“Does the fact that you have sinned against God scare you? It should. You have actually angered him by your sin. The Bible says his wrath abides on you, that you are an ‘enemy of God in your mind through wicked works’.”

Way of the Master goes on to demand repentance, and then of course remind us of God’s great love and forgiveness. Oh, but if “you’ve decided to reject the gift of forgiveness and you die in your sins, there is no hope for you… Please take the time to read what the Bible says hell is like.” How does that verse go again? For God so loved the world…that He made His laws impossible for us to follow. Close enough.

This formula, accuse-guilt-trip-frighten-preach, remains the crucial cornerstone of the Biblical Evangelist’s atheist-witnessing program. Cameron and Comfort’s website features an almost laughable half-hour presentation on atheism, where Way of the Master students confront atheists, purposefully ignore their protests, and lead quickly into the patented “Are you a good person?” line of questioning.

At best, an open-minded atheist replies, “Well yes, assuming I believed in Heaven and Hell, [the fact that I’ve sinned] would frighten me.” At worst, the atheist in question refuses to follow the Biblical Evangelist line of logic, upon which the student goes into a well-practiced diatribe about hell and God’s forgiveness and so on. But in the real gem of the presentation, Kirk Cameron summarizes Way of the Master’s goal:

“We want to emphasize the principle of swinging from the intellect straight to the conscience. It’s so important to know that by doing this, you’re not sidestepping the questions of the atheist, but you have to learn that, it’s not wise to stay in the intellect, and wrestle with someone intellectually, because it’s going to take you down a rabbit trail, and waste all your time. You’ve eventually go to get to the heart…And that’s what we do when we ask someone if they consider themselves to be a good person.”

From this downright silly presentation, to Ray Comfort’s now infamous “proof” that God designed the banana with humans in mind, I can’t help but feel tempted to believe that this website, radio program, and television program truly intend only to mock new earth creationists and evangelism. Look at the way Cameron laughs at Comfort’s display in this oft-circulated clip and tell me he takes this seriously.

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Category: American Culture, Culture, Humor, Religion

About the Author ()

Erika is a PhD student in Social Psychology living in Chicago. Here on DI she most often writes about current events, psychology, skepticism, media and internet culture.

Comments (3)

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  1. Erich Vieth says:

    Proof that God exists by reference to the way bananas perfectly fit human hands? I hadn't before heard this proof.

    I found it interesting that the clip was cut off just as Cameron was about to verbally weigh in (after long minutes of barely containing himself). With this sort of reasoning, no wonder Church of the Master reports a "fall away" rate of 80-90% of professed Christians.

  2. grumpypilgrim says:

    The "perfect fit" of the banana into the human hand would also "prove" evolution: our prosimian ancestors were very fond of eating bananas; therefore, those with hands best adapted to eating bananas would have enjoyed better nutrition and, thus, better survival.

  3. norbert says:

    i love the program

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