The Firefighter is the title of the first episode from season one of Way of the Master.
In this introductory episode to the Way of the Master series, Kirk and Ray remind Christians of their Biblical obligations and encourage them to share their faith to the entire world. Promising to equip the believer with effective tools for evangelism, they also emphasize the dire consequences of neglecting this duty by an analogy of a firefighter whose neglect results in the tragic death of a family of five. Ray demonstrates open-air evangelism in action, while Kirk addresses a question about Adam and Eve.
Kirk relays the tragic tale of a firefighter whose neglect of duty results in the death of a family of five.
- "An experienced firefighter was recently charged with grave neglect of duty. Prosecutors maintained that he had abandoned his responsibility when he failed to release rescue equipment. This resulted in the needless and tragic deaths of a family of five. Eyewitnesses were sickened when they discovered that the reason the firefighter remained locked in the emergency vehicle was simply because he was testing a new, hi-tech, CD player which, he maintained, he had bought as a gift for the fire chief.
- The fire chief immediately distanced himself from the defendant and he dishonorably discharged him from the department. In a prepared statement, the chief said, "There are no words to describe such a betrayal of those he was sworn to protect."
- The lead prosecuting attorney argued that for more than three minutes after arriving on the scene the firefighter wore earphones and listened to a CD while a family of five was screaming to be rescued from the sixth floor of a burning building. Horrified onlookers related that, as flames licked her clothing, a mother cried out in terror and fell to her death while still clutching an infant in her arms. Other witnesses said that the father was clutching two terrified children as he was engulfed by the massive flames."
- This terrifying drama took place in full view of the firefighter, as he remained seated in the vehicle, listening to the CD. The defense pleaded "no contest" but added that the defendant went to great personal sacrifice to purchase the expensive gift for the chief and hoped that the judge would take that into consideration as he passed sentence."
- Kirk, "What do you think is a fitting punishment for this serious crime? Two years in prison? Twenty years? A life sentence? Capital punishment? You be the judge. Please choose an answer because we're going to tell you more about this story, later in the program."
Comment: This appeal to emotion is an attempt to make Christians feel guilty, and deserving of severe punishment, for failing to proselytize. Christianity includes a number of different doctrinal beliefs and not all Christians agree with the particular evangelical obligations and methods advocated here. Ray and Kirk cite various theologians and Biblical passages, though they offer no other justification for their particular exegetical interpretations.
At the end of the program, they compare the above story with eternal damnation in the fires of hell that people are doomed to when they are not converted, and then compare Christians who don't witness to the firefighter neglecting his duty.
Proof of God
Ray makes the claim, which is repeated in other episodes, that he can "prove to you God exists in about 30 seconds." His preferred method is an argument from design:
- Ray, "When you look at a painting, how do you know there was a painter? The painting exists, get it?" ... "And creation proves there's a creator."
Comment: This is an example of begging the question, as the point which he's attempting to prove is contained in his premise. Anything created must have a creator, but he hasn't demonstrated that what he means by "creation" (the universe, everything, humans, etc.) is actually a creation. The appearance of design, purpose or complexity alone is not sufficient to posit an intelligent creator.
When he asks questions like, "When you see a building, how do you know there was a builder?", his answer is "The building is absolute proof of the builder." This avoids the important question about how we recognize design. He's relying on common sense and a lack of critical thinking, to support the idea that this is a natural, obvious and reliable assumption.
In truth, we recognize that the building is designed because we have an abundance of evidence that supports that conclusion and no evidence to support the idea that buildings are naturally occurring. We possess, or can attain by research, empirical evidence about the history of a given building; who designed it, who built it, what methods they used, etc. We can also learn about the general history of buildings and other structures, throughout recorded history. All of this evidence, and more, in conjunction with a lack of evidence supporting the idea that buildings occur naturally, lead us to the reliably supported conclusion that a given building had a builder. We're not always consciously aware of this process, as we've come to trust our intuition without constantly analyzing why this trust is deserved.
Considering a human, for example. We know that humans are the result of a natural process (sexual reproduction). Science has proven to be the most reliable method for explaining reality and its reliability supports the position that, until evidence to the contrary is presented, natural explanations exist for all phenomena. Ray, and others, aver that the natural world must have a supernatural, intelligent creator...a position wholly unsupported by evidence.
Additionally, when humans create things, they use pre-existing material. To compare the creation of the universe by a god to the creation of objects by humans is to imply that this god used pre-existing matter to do it. This, of course, still leads one to ask, "where did this matter come from?"
- Ray, "I mean, you can prove god Biblically, scientifically, without even pointing to scriptures, without even mentioning faith. We're going to teach people how to do that so we no longer need to feel intimidated by so-called intellectualism."
Comment: Despite this claim, neither Ray, nor anyone else, has presented a "scientific" proof of the existence of God. This accomplishment, which may be definitionally impossible, would be the most significant scientific accomplishment in human history. It would be front-page news and the subject of considerable media coverage...all people would convert overnight. However, because there are dozens of religions, this is clearly not the case.
Adam and Eve
- Kirk, "What do you say to someone, if they say to you that they don't believe that Adam and Eve were real people, that they were just mythical figures? Well, think about it, if Adam and Eve weren't real people then we ought to doubt whether or not their children were real, too...and their children, and their children. In fact, we might need to doubt the first eleven chapters of Genesis. But we know that the Bible is filled with accurate and trustworthy genealogies. History and archeology have demonstrated that."
Comment: Kirk's logic is, initially, flawless; if Adam and Eve were mythical, we'd have good reason to suspect that other Biblical stories were mythical. He follows this with an assertion that history and archeology have demonstrated that Biblical genealogies are accurate and trustworthy, yet offers no evidence to back up this assertion.
In truth, the genealogies of Genesis haven't been supported by any archaeological evidence. No other written works from this time period include those genealogies. Additionally, we find many conflicts and errors in Biblical genealogies. While there's no way to verify their accuracy, it seems reasonable to conclude that if the Bible contains contradictory genealogical information that it would be unfair to consider it "accurate and trustworthy". Prior to the 1970s one can be forgiven for thinking that archeology is the handmaid of the bible—for one archeological dig after another seemed to confirm it. But this is no longer true. Scholars are questioning the whole paradigm of “biblical archaeology,” which starts with the assumption that the Bible is a reliable guide for field research. Indeed, there is now so much contrary evidence against the historical accuracy of the Bible that the term “biblical archaeology” has been discarded by professional archaeologists and Syro-Palestinian archaeology has been suggested by some practicing in the field as a more appropriate term.
Furthermore, even if we could prove the existence of any figures in Genesis, that wouldn't prove they were descendants of Adam and Eve. For example, if I hear a story that a hermit witch in my back yard created my house by casting a magical spell, proving that my house exists does not verify the legitimacy of the story; My house still could have come from somewhere other than a witch. Hence, even if Kirk's "evidence" wasn't a fabrication, his argument would still be logically invalid. To prove the existence of Adam and Eve, he would need to show evidence for Adam and Eve.
- Kirk, "Besides, everyone has to descend from someone. And Jesus descended from his mother, who descended from real parents, who had to descend from more real people - all the way back to Adam. So Adam has to be a real person, because Jesus was a descendant of Adam and you can't be descended from a myth."
Comment: For a segment which purports to offer answers to difficult questions, this may be the most ridiculous answer in the entire series. Setting aside the fact that the historicity of Jesus is far from established, this response amounts to an assertion that Adam and Eve were real because the Bible says so. The circular reasoning involved should be obvious. Even if one accepts that Jesus was an historical figure, there's no evidence that the genealogies listed for him are accurate, especially when the two genealogies listed for him are different and contradict each other.
Million dollar bill
This episode features a quick mention of their evangelical tool, the "million dollar bill". This tract looks so much like U.S currency that, reportedly, a woman in North Carolina attempted to deposit them. The U.S. Secret Service confiscated 8,300 of these bills on June 1, 2006, from the Great News Network.
| The Way of the Master
| Season One Episodes:
1. The Firefighter
2. The Mirror of the Ten Commandments
3. The Motive of the Sinner
4. The Summary of Salvation
5. Practice What You Preach
6. Idolatry—The Darling Sin of Humanity
7. The Beauty of a Broken Spirit—Atheism
9. Blasphemy, Sabbath, Parents
13. Lie and Covet
| Season Two Episodes:
1. God's Wonderful Plan
3. Alcatraz, Al Capone, Alcohol
4. True and False Conversion
5. When Things Go Wrong
6. The Satanic Influence
7. How to Witness to Someone Who's Homosexual/Gay
9. How to Witness to a Loved One
10. The Fear of God
11. Ice Breakers—Gospel Tracts
12. The Greatest Gamble
13. How to Get on Fire for God
| Season Three Episodes:
5. Roman Catholicism
6. What Hollywood Believes
7. New Age
9. What America Believes
10. Jehovah's Witness
12. Spiritual Battle
| Ray Comfort — Kirk Cameron