Sunday, February 22, 2009

Making Negative Press Positive

I have a book blog, VirtualBookTourdeNet, where I post a cover and short summary of books. I occasionally do interviews and reviews, but in general, it's just a simple way for folks to get their book out in the blogsphere, and for me to return the favor when someone posts about one of my books. It's drawn the attention of some publicity firms, so sometimes I get some pretty high-level books, too, which is neat.
This week, I toured "You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence, but You Can't Make Him Think" by Ray Comfort. In addition to the standard info, Ray provided a excerpt from his book, too. The next day, the blog got a comment linking to a video of Ray's "banana proof."

At first, I thought about deleting it--it really was kind of mean-spirited in its approach, and the video is obviously edited for parody--but instead, I passed it on to his publicist to see if Ray wanted to reply. A couple of days later, Ray (through his publicist) posted a very enlightening explanation about "That Dumb Video."

Regardless of your spiritual beliefs--or even what you think of Mr. Comfort's proofs, it's an excellent example of how negative press can actually become positive. Ray has given me permission to reprint that comment here:

For years I have held a coke can in one hand and a banana in the other, and compared the two (I have done this in Yale and other universities when I have spoken on the subject of atheism). Both have a tab at the top. The banana has a wrapper with perforations, is biodegradable, has outward indicators of inward contents--green too early, yellow, just right, black--too late, etc. It was a parody; the point being, if someone designed the coke can then obviously Someone designed the banana.

I put it into a booklet form ("The Atheist Test") and sold over a million copies. Then Kirk Cameron and I put it into our TV program. However, atheists removed the coke can, and sent the clip all over the Internet, saying "Ray Comfort believes that the banana is proof of God's existence." They really made a monkey out of me. I became the laughingstock of atheists all over the atheist world . It was very embarrassing. The below is typical (PZ Myers is a biologist/atheist):

"The banana man thinks he's got atheists on the run. Category: Creationism • Kooks: Ray Comfort has a new site, It's a series of short pages which consist mainly of plugs for some bad books he is peddling, with a few paragraphs in which he announces a few of his misconceptions about atheism, with the air of one who has trounced every objection. It really is as bad as his pathetic blog."

But here's the amazing irony. Atheists have unwittingly given me a huge international platform. I was interviewed more than 80 times about my new book--including the BBC (worldwide) and The Alan Colmes Show. You Can Lead an Atheist to Evidence but You Can't Make Him Think, rocketed up the rankings on its first day of release, moving from No. 69,572 to No. 38 in 24 hours. The book was also the No. 1 book in the categories of religion and atheism on “Darwin Day,” bumping Richard Dawkin’s famous book. Secular radio stations have been extending the length of their interviews because there was such interest in the shows. I have started a daily column for a secular site called ( in which I am called their "National Creation Examiner." They have thousands of "Examiners" but it seems that (for some unknown reason) quite a few are interested in my column. In the first week, the national average page views for all the Examiners was 2,141. My column was viewed an incredible 12,125 times! So this is a wonderful opportunity to take the gospel to those who normally wouldn't darken the door of a church. Each time the column is viewed, one penny is donated to Children's Hunger Fund (I had them donate it to them). Please feel free to check it out regularly, and at the same time help to feed a hungry child.

I never thought that I would have ever thank God for that dumb banana video, but I truly do. What was intended by atheists for evil, God has turned out for the good.


Jennifer Gladen said...

Very interesting post! Thanks for visiting my blog!

Cheryl said...

Thanks for posting this Karina. Ray has many supporters and many critics. I like how he approached this critic's comments. It's easy to get down in the mud with some people, especially if you feel you're right about an issue, but who does it serve?

And it seems Ray is right about how much his critics have helped create a platform for his views. Ray appeared at Blogcritics last week and comments are still floating in. If you go through the archives of Ray's "Atheist Central" blog at, you'll see the number of comments he receives on a regular basis. And these people are blogging about him and creating videos about his views, so Ray gets more exposure in the end.

Thanks again for sharing Ray's comments.