Can God's existence be proven?
Left Behind and Growing Pains star Kirk Cameron, along with Living Waters Ministry founder Ray Comfort answer this question with a resounding yes. Two atheists from the Rational Response Squad strongly disagree.
Click play to watch a CBN Newswatch segment on the debate.
The four will go head to head in a televised debate moderated by Martin Bashir, which will be aired on "Nightline" at 11:35 p.m. EST Wednesday May 9. For those wanting to see the challenge online, it can be viewed in segments on ABC.com beginning Wednesday May 9 at 1:00 p.m. Look for part II Thursday May 10.
Accepting the Challenge
During a "Nightline" segment a few months ago, atheists Brian and Kelly (last names withheld by request) welcomed the 2 billion Christians worldwide to contest their views.
"If they want to come to the table and present their evidence, I will present my evidence. And we will see how much of theirs is based on faith, and how much of mine is based on fact," said Brian.
Comfort quickly emailed "Nightline," "We would like to challenge them to a public debate… Let's hear their best evidence as to why God doesn't exist, and let the audience decide whose evidence is based on faith and whose is based on fact. We cannot only prove that God exists, but we can prove that the atheist doesn't."
To learn more about Comfort's stance, click on the review of his best-selling book God Doesn't Believe in Atheists.
Cameron also commented on the debate, "Most people think that belief in God is simply a matter of blind faith, and that His existence can't be proven. We will not only prove that God exists, but as an ex-atheist I'll show that the issue keeping so many people from believing in God-Darwinian evolution-is completely unscientific. It's a fairy-tale for grownups."
The number of atheists worldwide is growing, as a recent Gallup Poll reports 10 percent of Americans are atheists, while a Zukerman study discloses that 85 percent of those in Sweden and 44 percent in Britain don't believe in God.
Igniting the Debate
On the "Nightline" segment that spurred Comfort to propose the debate, ABC reported on Brian and Kelly's Blasphemy Challenge.
The RRS co-founders incite audiences on their Web site and Internet radio show broadcast to post videos on YouTube condemning themselves to hell by reciting, "I deny the Holy Spirit." Their reward? A free DVD.
More than 800 people defied the Bible's warning from Mark 3:29, which states, "whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will never be forgiven; he is guilty of an eternal sin."
Not stopping there, RRS also advertises their Blasphemy Challenge on teen Web sites. Brian justified his actions.
"They have already been targeted," he said regarding teens. "So hopefully, they are at a point where they are not so indoctrinated and set in their ways that they can overcome this religious superstition that has been put into their brain unfairly."
What was the RRS's motivation for putting forth the challenge?
"We wanted to do it in such a way where we stripped the power from religious institutions that instill fear in people," Brian said. "And we did that by blaspheming the Holy Spirit, by showing that we are not scared of this unforgivable sin."
What to Expect
Both sides appear confident about their presentations for the debate.
"Perhaps you think that anyone who says he can prove the existence of God is a dreamer… we can prove that God exists, scientifically, absolutely, without mentioning faith or even the Bible," said Comfort and Cameron. "Do you find that hard to believe? Then watch the debate."
The Rational Response Squad countered, "We are dedicated to responding to irrational claims - such as the ones being put forth by Ray Comfort and Kirk Cameron that they can prove the existence of God scientifically. We are here to prove that not only can they not do that, but that it cannot be done using the scientific method and the knowledge available to us today."
Cameron and Comfort have a great influence on apologetics worldwide.
Together they created the award-winning reality TV program The Way of the Master, airing in more than 100 nations. Through street witnessing, they demonstrate effective ways to share the gospel with non-believers of every kind.
In a joint effort, the evangelists have published The Evidence Bible and teach an online Bible School.
Comfort's literature is used by numerous Christian organizations including the Moody Bible Institute, the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Campus Crusade for Christ and the Institute for Scientific and Biblical Research.
Author of 40 books, such as Hell's Best Kept Secret and Intelligent Design vs. Evolution -- Letters to an Atheist, Comfort has also spoken at Yale on the topic of atheism and was a platform speaker at the 2001 American Atheist Inc. annual convention.
On Wednesday, America will see how God uses Cameron and Comfort to turn a godless challenge into a powerful witnessing tool.
Sources: Living Waters, Nightline