Parachute analogy

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The Parachute Analogy is an argument presented by Ray Comfort. It is a reversion of Pascal's Wager.



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.

Counter Argument

Ray Comfort says his parachute (provided by his invisible friend) is safe and harmless, but suddenly another passenger tells 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" -basically reincarnation. 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. Regardless, 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 constrict people, harming them. Some parachutes are very old and terribly worn out and could not possibly withstand two seconds the heavy winds. The plane reaches its destination safely, but the drama continues through the terminal, security, all the way out beyond the airport. You learn from airports around the world that many people have harmed many others and themselves due to their faith in their parachute provided by their particular invisible friend.

Regarding the Reincarnation part, Ray and Kirk addressed that belief (and several others) in their episode Why Christianity? They said it is basically a person jumping out of the plane and then being sucked back into the plane. They go on to say Reincarnation will not help you with your sin against God and the reality of Hell. They clearly portray their biased views without proof of sin or Hell, plus their analogy is wrong. If you lived a good life and jump out the plane, you will not 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. If you are good or not depends which class you get to sit in or what plane you fly (or perhaps what you get served to fulfill your pleasures). While there is no evidence of Reincarnation, there is no proof of 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.

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." Basically, he switches the scenario of the analogy all of the sudden, forcing them to choose the parachute. Notice Comfort changes the scenario but keeps the gifts the same. 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. See, it is not hard.

How about if we keep the plane scenario, but we change the gifts. You are in a plane that going down, and someone offers you four gifts, but which one do you choose? You are offered a parachute, a time machine (T.A.R.D.I.S. from Dr. Who), a glider (or if you prefer: a jet pack or hovercraft), or the Iron Man suit (you are practically invincible and Jarvis will help you fly it). All of them will save you from the falling plane. You even have the option to have a skilled pilot who could land the plane safely in a body of water, like the Hudson River. That option works just fine. Or, if you are a Star Trek fan, you can have the pilot radio in for help and have you and all the passengers transported off the plane (but then why would we have planes?). And as long as we are involving Iron Man, you may replace that gift with Batman wings. These are already being tested by the military to be dropped from 30,000 feet (compared to Ray's analogy of 10,000 feet) and can glide up to 120 miles. It is true that the time machine and transporter is not present to us (remember this is just an analogy), but the others gifts are theoretically possible (such as the Iron Man suit or Batman wings) or are already available (like the jet pack or glider). We do have gliders and jet packs that can work. But what about the parachute, we already know it can be efficient in saving us? True, but bear in mind parachutes are not always reliable. Some parachutes do not open, some don't inflate properly, or malfunction. This site shows the statistics of parachute related fatalities. So basically, even when Ray Comfort "puts on the Lord Jesus Christ" he still runs a risk of being demonstrably wrong. There is no guarantee that a parachute will always work and save you.

See also


v · d Arguments for the existence of god
Anthropic arguments   Anthropic principle · Natural-law argument
Arguments for belief   Pascal's Wager · Argument from faith · Just hit your knees
Christological arguments   Argument from scriptural miracles · Would someone die for a lie? · Liar, Lunatic or Lord
Cosmological arguments   Argument from aesthetic experience · Argument from contingency · Cosmological argument · Fine-tuning argument · Kalam · Leibniz cosmological argument · Principle of sufficient reason · Unmoved mover · Why is there something rather than nothing?
Majority arguments   Argument from admired religious scientists
Moral arguments   Argument from justice · Divine command theory
Ontological argument   Argument from degree · Argument from desire · Origin of the idea of God
Dogmatic arguments   Argument from divine sense · Argument from uniqueness
Teleological arguments   Argument from design · Banana argument · 747 Junkyard argument · Laminin argument · Argument from natural disasters
Testimonial arguments   Argument from observed miracles · Personal experience · Argument from consciousness · Emotional pleas · Efficacy of prayer
Transcendental arguments   God created numbers · Argument from the meaning of life
Scriptural arguments   Scriptural inerrancy · Scriptural scientific foreknowledge · Scriptural codes
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