Ray presents the argument as follows:
- "Imagine you are on a plane, and suddenly it is going down. You fear for your life and want to be saved. Someone hands you the Mona Lisa, you push it away. Someone offers you keys to a Ferrari, you reject it. Someone offers you a million dollars, you reject it too. Suddenly someone offers you a parachute that can save you. This parachute provided to you from Ray Comfort is faith in Jesus Christ that will save you from a terrible fate."
Sometimes Ray uses this analogy but does not reveal the whole scenario that the person is on a plane and will have to jump out soon. When the person answers either the car, money or Mona Lisa, Ray suddenly says "I forgot to tell you, you are in a plane and it's going down, so you have to jump." The scenario is changed, forcing the choice of the parachute.
Criticism of reincarnation
Apologists criticise reincarnation by claiming that a person jumping out of the plane would be being sucked back into the plane. They go on to say that reincarnation will not help you with your sin against God and the reality of Hell. However, if you lived a good life and jump out the plane, you will not necessarily get sucked back in, you may turn into an eagle and fly away. Even if you did get sucked back into the plane, you just keep repeating the process over and over.
Analogical reasoning is only reliable when similar things are compared. Since a parachute is dissimilar faith in Jesus, it is unclear if the analogy is valid. Also, a plane crash results in finite suffering while Hell does not. Also, belief in something is not a "choice" as implied by the scenario. Further evidence is required to establish the analogy's validity.
Any fictional scenario is just as valid. Given a fixed set of gifts, it is easy to change the scenario to force a person to pick the gift you want them to choose. Here is an example: "You are offered the original Mona Lisa, keys to a new Ferrari, a parachute, or ten million dollars. Before you choose, you must get to an important meeting to make ten billion dollars and you need a ride fast." You may pick the keys to the car and drive off. How about this analogy: "Same gifts are presented, but you are not on a plane or need to get to a meeting, instead you are in the streets homeless and hungry and you need money to sustain yourself or you will starve." You will probably decide to take the cash. Therefore, the argument proves nothing. Also, one would know beforehand that they are on a plane, one that is plummeting to the ground, (not only feeling a great acceleration downwards, but also having instruments to indicate the situation of the aircraft); they would not need someone to tell them about this situation (someone in the same plane with them, nonetheless), too bad the same cannot be said about the validity of Hell, Diyu or Tartarus.
A moral side-argument would be pointing the comparison between the Plane Crash and Hell: if hellish torture is what a god reserves to those who do not believe he exists, said god would be analogous to someone sabotaging the plane to cause it to crash. Would such a god deserve worship?
- Main Article: Which God?
Ray Comfort says his parachute is safe and harmless. However, their choice of gifts is a false dichotomy. Since many different religions exist, the scenario should be extended by another passenger telling you "Don't use his parachute, it has holes in it. Use mine provided by my invisible friend." Then a third passenger announces "Only my parachute on this plane works, but my invisible friends demands you pray five times a day for it to work." A fourth passenger announces "My invisible friend slashed all the parachutes on board. He takes care of his chosen people, and as none of you were born into the correct lineage, it’s too bad for you." Some people refuse parachutes and urge others to do the same, because it would interfere with the master plan of the father of their invisible friend (these are the same people who refuse medical care in favor of prayer and faith healing). A fifth person gets up and says "Do not worry if you jump off the plane or die, if you were good in your life you will come back and have a wonderful life" i.e. reincarnation. One passenger, perhaps an atheist (at least someone realistic and aware enough of the surroundings), claims the plane is not crashing at all. Jumping from a safe plane with a faulty parachute is unwise.
The drama goes on with the rest of the passengers, until you demand to actually see proof of a doomed plane and which parachute does work. Some say you must not demand for evidence and just have faith. You inspect the plane and the parachutes. The plane is operating just fine in every way and each parachute has holes in them big enough you can fit your head through them. Some of the parachutes terribly injure the user and surrounding people. Some parachutes cause people to fall to their deaths.
This revised scenario implies that we should suspend judgement because no claim seems to be credible or supported by evidence.
While there is no evidence of reincarnation, it has as much evidence as Heaven or Hell, and both Ray and Kirk constantly fail to show or present is why their beliefs are more valid than that of a Hindu.