THE SOUL is shaped by words, images, & experiences.

THIS BLOG is about those things that have left their impression on me. I'd love for you to comment on what affects you.
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Wednesday, January 7, 2009

God vs. No God

I got the following conversation entitled God vs. Science in an email today. I'm not sure where it originated, but I've entitled my post differently because, as well as being spiritual and historical, the Bible is a book of science. Anyway, see what you think. . .

. . . '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 smelt 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.'

At the back of the room another student stands quietly for a moment before asking a question of His own. 'Professor, is there such thing as heat?'

'Yes,' the professor replies. 'There's heat.'

'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 cold er 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 matter 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 smelt 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.

***

"For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse." Romans 1:20

10 comments:

Exopile said...

Nice story and with the classic dramatizations (ex. "Silence across the room. A pen drops somewhere in the classroom, sounding like a hammer....The professor sat down...etc.") which characterize so many of these things. In my opinion, the writers try a bit too hard to arouse our senses rather than our reason. (see Chick publications)

The argument presented in this story is the classic "If you've never seen a million dollars, how do you know it exists?" type argument. Well, we know a million dollars exist because we can step into a bank and ask them to show it to us. Same thing with the fictitious professor here - you can have him take an MRI or cut his head open and you would see his brain right there. This is irrefutable evidence.

The problem with believers is that they can never have anything more than just faith. You might say "Oh but God proves himself to me through answered prayer". Really? Have you ever counted how many of your prayers have gone unanswered? I bet the ratio would surprise you. To which you say "Oh but God only answers according to His will". Seems pretty convenient to say so.
You say, "Oh but there is historical proof of God". No there isn't. There is proof that some of the major historic events described in the Bible actually occurred because the Bible was written during that time. Everything else is without any verifiable evidence.

I'd like to be proven wrong.

Anonymous said...

to Exopile

Do you believe there was a George Washington (our first US President)? I have never seen George Washington, but we all believe there was such a person because he is recorded in history just as the life and works of Jesus Christ have been recorded, read and believed over the centuries.

May God Bless you.

Faith

Exopile said...

Two completely different situations. George Washington lived only some 200 years ago at a time when society was significantly developed in every sector. It was also never recorded that he had walked on water, raised people from the dead or use his almighty divine power to turn a jug of water into some wine.

Jesus lived over 2000 years ago, at a time when people were extremely superstitious, had little or no explanation for natural phenomena and were equipped with very limited reasoning abilities. I don't doubt that Jesus existed, because there have been accounts of his existence from writers outside those of the Bible. I am doubting the authenticity of his "special magical powers" and anything else that has no concrete evidence.

Lydia said...

Thank you Exopile and Faith for visiting my blog.

As far as evidence for God goes, Jesus explained it best in John 3 when He compared the Spirit of God to the wind. We can't see the wind, but we know it exists because of its effects. We know God exists not only because of the design & complexity of His creation, but also because of the profound effect His Spirit has had on the lives of believers down thru the ages.

The Bible is a spiritual book, not discerned by "the natural man" (1 Cor. 2:13-15). Exopile, your comment that you'd like to be proven wrong shows a sincere desire to know whether there is a God. I suggest, as I once did, you say/pray something like this: "God if you exist, show me." Then take a look at the Bible again, starting with the Gospel of John.

Exopile said...

In order to pray "God if you exist, show me" I would have to already believe in God (after all, that's who you're asking). This is a very predisposed way to start searching. People that pray this must a) already believe that prayer is more than just talking to one's self b) that God exists and c) that something is about to happen in their lives to prove that he exists. Putting yourself in this situation sets you up to eventually "find proof" of God one way or the other. Taking it to the other extreme, it's like the atheists who profess to be open-minded but really have bent their minds around their belief(yes I said belief!) that God cannot possibly exist and will try to find proof of this in anything.

As for reading John, that's also not a very good way to conduct an unbiased research into the existence of God. It's like trying to find out what shape the Earth is by reading William Carpenter's "A Hundred Proofs The Earth Is Not A Globe". We would be setting ourselves up.

"We know God exists because of the design & complexity of His creation"?? That doesn't prove anything except that you want to associate the human characteristic of creativity with something you don't understand. The ancient Aztecs did the same thing (as has every ancient culture). They believed the god Tlaloc was responsible for dropping water from the sky to benefit his followers. Today we know perfectly well where rain comes from (see hydrologic cycle), how it is formed and where it goes.

As for the "profound effect" of his spirit... well... belief in anything is extremely powerful. Every religion in the world has stories about the power of faith. The well-known "placebo effect" is another example of the power that our mind and its convictions have over our body and actions.

Lydia said...

Why do humans have the unique trait of creativity in the first place? Did they get it from the ape from which they supposedly evolved and who, like all animals, shows no real creativity? I prefer to believe we got it from the Creator who made man in His image. (And Who created the hydrologic cycle). Creation demands a Designer. Look around you. Matter left to itself doesn't evolve or organize into greater forms. Things break down.

As for the profound effect of the Holy Spirit of God, no system of beliefs has had the power to change the lives of individuals the way the Holy Spirit has and continues to do. Read the countless testimonies of people who have tried other methods of self-improvement before coming to Christ, or those who have kicked & scratched before seeing something about Him that caused them to do an about face and believe. No other "system of beliefs" has benefited the whole of mankind the way Christianity has. Christians were responsible for starting hospitals,universities, and the Red Cross, for example. Tell me what Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Aetheism contributed to the world?

Just because we can't see God with our eyes at this time, doesn't mean He doesn't exist.

"My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my was, saith the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts." (from Isaiah 55)

Maybe not the best example, but man trying to understand an omnipotent, omnipresent, and omniscient God is like an ant trying to comprehend man. God has given us enough information about Himself for what we need at this time. He says in heaven we shall know, even as we are known. (Perhaps the large area of the brain unused by man during his life on earth will be activated then.)

Friend, you will see God. You will stand before His righteous and holy presence one day to be judged. The question is, what will you have done about your sin? Will you be prepared to meet Him?

Exopile said...

Yeah creation demands a creator if you actually believe in some magical guy who sits on a throne and speaks 100 centillion things into existence per nanosecond, including each bacteria, amoeba, cell, molecule and particle in the universe.

"Matter left to itself doesn't evolve or organize into greater forms". Who said I believed in evolution? Please don't go into stereotypes. Personally, I'd like to think that there are many explanations for the existence of the Universe. At this point we're just like those ancient Aztecs trying to explain something as simple as the rain. It's unfathomable and way beyond our current reasoning abilities.

Also, how do you justify destruction? The collapse of stars, planets and the destruction of things in nature. Following your logic, if there is destruction there must also be a destroyer. Who is that? The devil? When he takes a break from earth he goes astral bowling and destroys parts of the universe for fun?

"What have Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism, or Aetheism contributed to the world?" A little bigoted aren't we? I like how you started with Islam as an example... Don't worry, all those religions have done charity work as well. Just to name two, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as well as the Stickting Ingka Foundation (IKEA) have helped more people than every Christian organization to this day. They're both run by self-proclaimed atheists.

"God has given us enough information about Himself for what we need at this time. He says in heaven we shall know, even as we are known. (Perhaps the large area of the brain unused by man during his life on earth will be activated then.)" ...That's actually quite funny. My (obvious) question is... WHY? What is he waiting for? Why be so cryptic and secretive about everything? We want some real 21st century answers so that we can believe with all our hearts - not some ancient book filled with tall tales about talking donkeys, scary giants, rivers turning into blood and people living inside whales. That stuff doesn't test our faith, it tests our connection with reality.

Anonymous said...

"As for the profound effect of the Holy Spirit of God, no system of beliefs has had the power to change the lives of individuals the way the Holy Spirit has and continues to do"...

LYDIA... very well explained. We are so fortunate to find peace in our Christian beliefs. Personally, I don't need to believe in 'magic' to believe that God exists. And I thank God that I don't need '21st century answers' to accept God's creations. Just to name one example...I simply hold a newborn baby who was created in the womb of his/her mother and I know the baby is God's miracle.

EXOPILE... Regarding your statement "the problem with believers is that they can never have anything more than just faith"...PLEASE know that having "just faith" is not a problem but a gift! Hopefully, you enjoy the gift of peace in your heart as well.

Faith

Anonymous said...

Hey Ex: Just curious -- do you go to sites/message boards/blogs of Islams, Buddist, Hindues or Aetheist and question everything they believe in or do you just reserve that for people who do not believe what you believe?

This is a fun, family entertaining blog seen through the eyes of a woman with good values (which just happen to be Christian values). I for one enjoy reading all of Lydia's blogs.

PS -- oh paaaa-leeeze -- IKEA and Bill Gates?-- good one!

MRD

Exopile said...

Dear MRD,

1. Keep your curiosity to yourself. You do not know who I am or what I believe and I can assure you it is none of the religions mentioned there. If you are not intelligent enough to add anything constructive to the conversation, back off.

2. If you want fun, family entertainment go watch the next Disney movie marathon on TV. This is a blog for adults. (Note that I have never used vulgar or offensive language, and I never will.)

3. paaaaaa-leeeeeze??? Are you six years old? Put your YuGiOh cards down and read a newspaper or something. I just gave a minuscule example because I don't like talking air. If you want me to actually list every charity organization and group that has helped society but is NOT Christian, I could, but it would be as redundant as taking you seriously again.