Evangelist Ray Comfort and actor Kirk Cameron joined 1,200 Christians Wednesday in distributing 170,000 copies of Charles Darwin's evolution manifesto The Origin of Species—which features a 50-page introduction refuting Darwin's theory—at 100 universities across the nation.
Comfort initially planned to distribute copies of The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition at college campuses today, but atheists and students had threatened "unilateral resistance," including book burnings and protests, according to Comfort's Living Waters ministry.
"Our agenda was simply to get the books into the hands of the students, without creating a disturbance at universities," the ministry said.
Atheists nationwide blasted Comfort online for distributing the 1859 book, which is in the public domain and was published through a partnership with Bridge-Logos Foundation.
"This is a shameful thing that Kirk Cameron and [Ray Comfort] are doing by altering another person's book in order to push their agenda," reads a post on the "Kirk Cameron has gone too far" Facebook page. "But we can help to restore the book to how it was intended and keep young minds from being brainwashed by misinformation."
Prominent atheist Richard Dawkins, author of The God Delusion, told students to rip out the book's introduction. One thousand free copies of The Origin of Species: 150th Anniversary Edition were also distributed at the University of Oxford, where Dawkins is a professor.
Dawkins has reportedly called Comfort a fool for advocating intelligent design, but the evangelist says his goal was to make students think. "All I want for this generation of kids to do is think about what they believe," Comfort told Charisma. "I don't want them to turn their back on evolution. I want them to doubt it enough to look at the claims of the gospel."
Comfort said he doubts intelligent design will ever be taught in schools alongside evolution. "That's because we have to remember who we are as Christians," he said. "We're the folks who believe in Adam and Eve [and] Noah's Ark ... and so in the name of science, they are going to resist as much as they can."
But the evangelist says his mission goes beyond addressing educational needs. He says when people become atheists, they change their worldview from "I believe in God" to "I'm morally responsible" to "There are no moral absolutes," which "opens the door for fornication and pornography and every vice the human heart so desires."
Ultimately, Comfort hopes the book giveaway will draw unbelievers to Christ. "I want them to have everlasting life," he said. "That's the motive for giving these books out."
Living Waters also supplied some of the $4.99 books to Christian bookstores for evangelistic purposes.
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