Faith

‘Let me explain the problem science has with religion.’ The atheist Professor of philosophy pauses before his class and then asks one of his new students to stand.

‘You’re a Christian, aren’t you, son?’

‘Yes sir,’ the student says.

‘So you believe in God?’

‘Absolutely.

‘Is God good?’

‘Sure! God’s good.’

‘Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?’

‘Yes’

‘Are you good or evil?’

‘The Bible says I’m evil.’

The professor grins knowingly. ‘Aha! The Bible!’ He considers for a moment. ‘Here’s one for you.

Let’s say there’s a sick person over here and you can cure him. You can do it. Would you help him? Would you try?’

‘Yes sir, I would.’

‘So you’re good…!’

‘I wouldn’t say that.’

‘But why not say that? You’d help a sick and maimed person if you could. Most of us would if we could.

But God doesn’t.’

The student does not answer, so the professor continues.

‘He doesn’t, does he? My brother was a Christian who died of cancer, even though he prayed to Jesus to heal him.

How is this Jesus good? Hmmm? Can you answer that one?’

The student remains silent.

‘No, you can’t, can you?’ the professor says.

He takes a sip of water from a glass on his desk to give the student time to relax.

‘Let’s start again, young fella. Is God good?’

‘Er..yes,’ the student says.

“Is Satan good?’

The student doesn’t hesitate on this one. ‘No.’

‘Then where does Satan come from?’

The student falters. ‘From God’

‘That’s right. God made Satan, didn’t he? Tell me, son. Is there evil in this world?’

‘Yes, sir.’

‘Evil’s everywhere, isn’t it? And God did make everything correct??

‘Yes’

‘So who created evil?’ The professor continued, ‘If God created everything, then God created evil, since evil exists, and according to the principle that our works define who we are, then God is evil.’

Again, the student has no answer. ‘Is there sickness?

Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things, do they exist in this world?’

The student squirms on his feet. ‘Yes.’

‘So who created them?’

The student does not answer again, so the professor repeats his question. ‘Who created them?’ There is still no answer. Suddenly the lecturer breaks away to pace in front of the classroom. The class is mesmerized. ‘Tell me,’ he continues onto another student.

‘Do you believe in Jesus Christ, son?

The student’s voice betrays him and cracks. ‘Yes, professor, I do.’

The old man stops pacing. ‘Science says you have five senses you use to identify and observe the world around you.

Have you ever seen Jesus?’

‘No sir. I’ve never seen Him.’

‘Then tell us if you’ve ever heard your Jesus?’

‘No, sir, I have not.’

‘Have you ever felt your Jesus, tasted your Jesus or smelled your Jesus? Have you ever had any sensory perception of Jesus Christ, or God for that matter?’

‘No, sir, I’m afraid I haven’t.’

‘Yet you still believe in him?’

‘Yes’

‘According to the rules of empirical, testable, demonstrable protocol, science says your God doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?’

‘Nothing,’ the student replies. ‘I only have my faith.’

‘Yes, faith,’ the professor repeats. ‘And that is the problem science has with God. There is no evidence, only faith.’

The student stands quietly for a moment, before asking a question of his own. ‘Professor, is there such thing as heat?’

‘ Yes.’

‘And is there such a thing as cold?’

‘Yes, son, there’s cold too.’

‘No sir, there isn’t.’

The professor turns to face the student, obviously interested.

The room suddenly becomes very quiet. The student begins to explain.

‘You can have lots of heat, even more heat, super-heat, mega-heat, unlimited heat, white heat, a little heat or no heat, but we don’t have anything called ‘cold’.

We can hit up to 458 degrees below zero, which is no heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is no such thing as cold; otherwise we would be able to go colder than the lowest -458 degrees.’

‘Every body or object is susceptible to study when it has or transmits energy, and heat is what makes a body or matte r have or transmit energy. Absolute zero (-458 F) is the total absence of heat. You see, sir, cold is only a word we use to describe the absence of heat. We cannot measure cold. Heat we can measure in thermal units because heat is energy. Cold is not the opposite of heat, sir, just the absence of it.’

Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer.

‘What about darkness, professor. Is there such a thing as darkness?’

‘Yes,’ the professor replies without hesitation.

‘What is night if it isn’t darkness?’

‘You’re wrong again, sir. Darkness is not something; it is the absence of something. You can have low light, normal light, bright light, flashing light, but if you have no light constantly you have nothing and it’s called darkness, isn’t it? That’s the meaning we use to
define the word.’

‘In reality, darkness isn’t. If it were, you would be able to make darkness darker, wouldn’t you?’

The professor begins to smile at the student in front of him. This will be a good semester. ‘So what point are you making, young man?

‘Yes, professor. My point is, your philosophical premise is flawed to start with, and so your conclusion must also be flawed.’

The professor’s face cannot hide his surprise this time. ‘Flawed? Can you explain how?’

‘You are working on the premise of duality,’ the student explains…

‘You argue that there is life and then there’s death; a good God and a bad God. You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can’t even explain a thought.’

‘It uses electricity and magnetism, but has never seen, much less fully understood either one. To view death as the opposite of life is to be ignorant of the fact that death cannot exist as a substantive thing. Death is not the opposite of life, just the absence of it. ‘Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey?’

‘If you are referring to the natural evolutionary process, young man, yes, of course I do.’

‘Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?’

The professor begins to shake his head, still smiling, as he realizes where the argument is going. A very good semester, indeed.

‘Since no one has ever observed the process of evolution at work and cannot even prove that this process is an on-going endeavor, are you not teaching your opinion, sir? Are you now not a scientist, but a preacher?’

The class is in uproar. The student remains silent until the commotion has subsided.

‘To continue the point you were making earlier to the other student, let me give you an example of what I mean.’

The student looks around the room. ‘Is there anyone in the class who has ever seen the professor’s brain?’

The class breaks out into laughter.

‘Is there anyone here who has ever heard the professor’s brain, felt the professor’s brain, touched or smelled the professor’s brain? No one appears to have done so. So, according to the established rules of empirical, stable, demonstrable protocol, science says that you have no brain, with all due respect, sir.’

‘So if science says you have no brain, how can we trust your lectures, sir?’

Now the room is silent. The professor just stares at the student, his face unreadable.

Finally, after what seems an eternity, the old man answers. ‘I guess you’ll have to take them on faith.’

‘Now, you accept that there is faith, and, in fact, faith exists with life,’ the student continues.

‘Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?’

Now uncertain, the professor responds, ‘Of course, there is. We see it everyday It is in the daily example of man’s inhumanity to man. It is in the multitude of crime and violence everywhere in the world. These manifestations are nothing else but evil.’

To this the student replied, ‘Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God. It is just like darkness and cold, a word that man has created to describe the absence of God. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart. It’s like the cold that comes when there is no heat or the darkness that comes when there is no light.’

The professor sat down.

by Anonymous.

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15 thoughts on “Faith

  1. half note says:

    I am afraid this might not be the most welcome comment for such a brilliant article. However I think that it would have been better to leave out the last sentence. There was no evidence that Einstein truly had such conversation with his professor. When it comes to God, Einstein has admiration rather than faith in this unknown, greater power.

    “There remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.” – Albert Einstein

  2. Sorry for confusing you, but I did not write this article (just to make clear). This article is so well-known (or at least, to me lol) and I read this around 10 years ago and I think that it might be a good read once again. No one really knows who wrote it, and many people believe that the student was really Albert Einstein. Again, is this just a myth, or an urban legend, I’m not sure.

    But still, I think the essence of the story is still true; physics does tell us that.

    Apologies for the confusion. hope you enjoy the article though ;)

  3. half note says:

    Oh I think I am the one who confused you haha. Yeap I have also read this article (in shorter version) sometimes ago. I knew it was not written by you. What I meant was .. I somehow felt it would have had more impact if we leave the article as it is (with Einstein’s reference), but I couldn’t resist commenting on that. My bad =( Because I believe the credit should go to whoever wrote this rather than Einstein.

    In any case.. yes I do enjoy this longer version a lot. Brilliantly written. And thanks for sharing it here =) Keep up the good blog.

  4. Blastoise says:

    Hey Marcella, do you believe in evolution? That humans shared a common ancestor with chimpanzees, monkeys, elephants, kangaroos, dinosaurs, beetles, bananas and every other living being on the planet? Or do you believe that God made them all simultaneously in just under a week in pairs?

  5. Hi Blastoise!

    Regarding the Darwin’s theory of evolution… Nah I don’t believe in that theory ;). Even though it kinda sound logical, but there are just so many unanswered questions, which for me it’ll be just a theory. I’m a Christian myself, thus I believe in the creation, that God actually made all beings over 6 ‘days’ period (in His time, of course). ;)

  6. Blastoise says:

    And what would those questions be?

    There exists two powerful types of evidence which leave almost no doubt that evolution is clearly something more than just a mere theory.

    First is DNA. Our closest living relatives, the chimpanzees, have a dna that is around 98% similar with that of humans. Then there are fossil records, of which many have been found. The fossils of our ancestors, such as the homo erectus, show body structures which are part human and part ape. Basicaly, the older the fossil, the less human they will appear. Inversely you will find more human like features on more recent fossils, such as homo habilis. Of course this applies not only to humans but to all living beings which have evolved since the beginning of life, whether they are kangaroos, whales, birds (which evolved from the dinosaurs by the way), insects, amphibians, plants or even microorganisms like bacteria.

    One more thing that I should add is that evolution is not a process that occurs overnight or during a person’s lifetime, but rather lasting thousands to millions of years. Evolution also happens gradually, not spontaneously. Monkeys don’t suddenly give birth to humans and dinosaurs don’t transform into birds with beaks and feathers and magically learn to fly the next day.

    The point I am trying to make is that it is extremely hard to disagree with evolution, given the fact that there’s simply tons of evidence supporting it and you will not find any reputable scientist who disagrees with it. Since you said that you believe in creationism, it is worth asking if you really believe that we coexisted with the dinosaurs and other living organisms that supposedly went extinct millions of years ago. Do you believe that humans existed since the beginning of time? Do you believe that our planet is only several thousands years old and the only one in the universe teeming with life, because that is what the bible says?

  7. dodo@badger.com says:

    FALSE

    Einstein attended a Catholic school, so there was no way he could have met an atheist professor teaching about atheism during his time there.

    Heat and light are both observable and quanitifable, whereas good and evil are not, because they are concepts which are made by man. What is evil to one person can be perceived as good by others and vice versa. If I kill someone who is trying to kill me in the first place, does that make me an evil or a good person? Am I a bad person if I steal from some rich despot and redistribute the loot to the poor? Definitely not a good comparison to start off with.

    Fundie christians are so desperate that they have to twist the facts around like in this article just to support their point.

  8. half note says:

    dodo@badger.com:
    Think about it. Why do you use the example ‘kill’? is it because somehow, subconsciously you believe ‘killing’ is ‘evil’?
    Or.. put it this way. If no one is going to blame or punish your for killing your boss, family or friend today, not society, not law. Honestly, will you do it?
    Like it or not, you have that conscience within you, just like me.

    You may ask whether those terrorists are evil then?
    My answer? Based on my limited understanding, yes. God’s answer? I don’t know.

    With regards to your scenario, you are making your point at moral level.
    But the God we worship is not God who is subject to human’s morality standard.
    We believe in this: there is God and God alone is good.
    He does not need existence of ‘evil’ to be good.

    the above article may not be perfect. And I cannot do better job in explaining. But just because you never see a black swan in your entire life does not mean that it doesn’t exist.
    Just because you never encounter God in your entire life does not mean that you won’t.

    And I pray that you will =)

    Love in Christ.

  9. Odinson says:

    Howdy fellow strangers. I believe in Thor, the god of thunder, and the other nordic gods such as Odin and Tyr. Yet nobody believes me and I am certain that you do not believe in Thor too. However, just because you have not seen, touched or heard from Thor, that doesn’t mean he does not exist. This logic is of course perfectly applicable to any god one could come up with: Zeus, Anubis, Ganesha, Ra, Loki, Jupiter, Mars, Hades, the spaghetti monster or george w bush. Just because you have not seen any of them, it certainly does not mean they do not exist! Yet why do people make fun of me, but not you? What makes a certain god more special than others?

  10. Giffi says:

    @Odinson: haha- you just made my day…thank you!
    I am a person who believes in God especially to the man himself, JC! There are reasons why I choose to believe in Him, not merely just a tradition or a popular belief! In fact I came from a Buddhist background many years back and b’cos I’ve come to know that Jesus bro is the real deal!
    1 Cor 15:14 – “If Christ hasn’t been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith”.
    It’s either he did or he didn’t rise from the dead. Fortunately he is and we have conclusive answers to the profound questions to our existence – Where have we come from? Why are we here? Where are we going? And that we know for certain that God exists. There is a fact of history pieces can be traced back to Palestine around A.D.32. There are cases when miracles did happen everywhere around the globe – i.e. people got healed, blind eyes opened, cancer shrink and even to man rose back from the dead. Thousands now living bear uniform testimony that their lives have been revolutionized by JC! He has done in them what he said he would do.
    and if he doesn’t rise from the dead, then Christianity is an interesting museum piece, nothing more. And the people who helped transform the moral structure of society are just consummate liars or deluded madmen.
    I’m not sure about Thor though but one thing I know is that Stan Lee is a great inspirational to the comic worldwide. Maybe you should get some evidences from him that he’s just merely a fictional superhero character. Tell me that I’m wrong or else i will start believing in X-Men! (in which I kind of wished that I were wolverine)…

  11. Hi Blastoise,

    Before I answer your question, I’d just like to make two points first: firstly, I have no intention whatsoever to change your belief, so don’t get me wrong, I just want to share what I believe in ;) Secondly, I’m open to any discussion, so don’t take my word as if they were the only rules!

    So first of all, about the evolution vs the creation theory. It’s not that I don’t believe in Science, I do, yet I believe that God creates science. The truth about the creation theory is that it indeed supports the fact that our planet is old, not only several thousands years old, but it might as well be millions or perhaps billions. What’s been missing is that through the 6-days creation mentioned in the Bible, the 6 days might as well be years, or even thousands of years. It is said that the 6-days are in God’s time, and not in human’s definition of ‘day’.

    And about dinosaurs.. actually yes, I believe that humans live alongside with dinosaurs! ;p. It is mentioned in the Bible (in the book of Job), and there are quite some evidences that show that humans live with dinosaurs… (although I’m not really an expert, I just believe the Bible, that’s enough evidence for me).

    The next thing is… I don’t believe in the theory of evolution, yet I believe that living things can adapt (the theory of microevolution). This adaptation (towards surroundings etc), if it’s happening over a period of time (like the theory of evolution says it happens over thousands to millions of years), there might be some changes in characteristics. However, I do not believe that humans are originated from monkeys, etc. We all have our own uniqueness as beings.

    About the DNA, yes we have DNA resemblance with chimpanzees. Although it is probable (note: probable) that early humans may resemble apes, because of hunting, living conditions, etc, yet a monkey will never be a human. Simply saying, I have my faith on the 2%. If that 2% can result in so much difference between chimpanzees and us, for me it’s a living proof that my God is indeed creative, making us so similar yet the 2% determines the biggest difference of all!

    Do humans exist since the beginning of time? No one knows. It depends on the definition of the ‘beginning of time’ that you mentioned. I believe in the theory of creation, which means that on the first day God created this, and second day God created that, and so forth. But before that, whatever God wants to create or do, it’s up to Him.

    Yes, of course, there’s fossil records and there are also evidences for evolution theory, yet I guess, there’s still a missing link from those fossils into now, which for me, it doesn’t really show any hard evidence. These evidences support microevolution theory, but for a big thing such as evolution, it’s quite hard to tell. Carbon dating is still quite unreliable (once there were found three different dating from the same mammoth fossil, which is like 100 thousand years apart).

    Yet however, with all supporting evidences for both theories, one is pushed to make his own judgment of what he believes. In the end, although all evidences show that evolution theory is right and creation theory is wrong, I still have my faith. I’m just simply a person who believes in Jesus, and in the Bible. ;)

    Hope that helps,
    M.

    Hi dodo@badger.com!

    Although there are many sources that say that the student was Einstein, I am not really concerned of it. Many people try to prove the story right or wrong, but believe me, I’m not. I just simply want to share the story. ;)

    There are Christians who want to support their points through science, and they succeed. Yet, I guess the most important thing is not the evidence, but what you believe in. If someone believes that God does not exist, then whatever evidence that others may show will not convince him to believe otherwise. He will still try to reason other things, and there is no end to this discussion.

    Furthermore, you said that heat and light are both observable and quantifiable, yet good and evil are not. Well, I believe that good and evil are actually can be observed and quantified, by the measures of the Bible and from the eyes of God. And even though they are merely concepts which are made by man, I guess the fact that all people are striving to be good, or at least, we all want to be treated good, clearly depicts its importance in our lives.

    And yes, good and evil are relative in the eyes of men, but it is not in the eyes of God. If one says that heat and cold are relative towards a person (one may feel colder than the others in a same environment), humans try to overcome that and build a system of degrees (Celcius, Fahrenheit, etc) to have a standard. Good and evil… humans try, often with the court and rules etc, yet there are no strict guidelines for good and evil that can be applicable to all humans, simply because all of us are different, and we keep on changing. Yet God is constant, and He is the one who can measure good and evil.

    As half note says before, the story may not be perfect, yet it is enough for me and other Christians to keep up our faith, knowing that someone has actually come up with the idea that acts as a bridge for science and Christianity. As I believe that not all things can be reasoned with the law of science, then, I guess, it’s up to each and every one of us to believe in anything we want to believe. I choose to believe in Jesus Christ. ;)

    Hope that helps,
    M.

    Hi Odinson,

    It’s kinda true that just because we can’t see something, that doesn’t mean that it does not exist. However, whether it exists or not, it needs faith, and it depends on each individual. I think the greater question that must be answered is why do you believe that it exists? I just simply don’t believe the other gods exist because I believe that Jesus Christ does. ;)

    M.

    Hi Halfnote,

    Thanks for the encouragement! ;) Appreciate it a lot ;))

    M.

    As for Giffi,

    Ok ok, I promise to watch the Avengers with you next year, ok? For the sake of your love to Marvel… lol. And thanks for the encouragement and your sharing of faith! ;))

    Cheers,
    M.

  12. Anonymous says:

    I only believe in Thor and the other gods of Asgard because I simply cannot bring myself to believe in the existence of other gods. That’s good enough to prove that they exist. Hmmm that sounds a lot like what you just said M :)

    Moreover, unlike other gods, most people around the globe have already seen Thor with their very own eyes. Hollywood and Marvel Studios were kind enough to invite Thor all the way from the heavens of Asgard to play as himself in the eponymous film that was released earlier this year. No other gods I know have ever received this celebrity treatment from the film makers. It just goes on to show how special the god of thunder is compared to all the other gods you can think of!

  13. Karen says:

    Whatever you believe in, creationism should NEVER EVER be taught as an alternative to or side by sidr with evolution in science classes. Creationism is not science, it is a myth invented by christians. It is like teaching astrology or alchemy in place of astronomy or chemistry.

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