Professor : You are a Christian, aren’t you, son ?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So, you Believe in GOD ?
Student : Absolutely, sir.
Professor : Is GOD Good ?
Student : Sure.
Professor : Is GOD ALL – POWERFUL ?
Student : Yes.
Professor : My Brother died of Cancer even though he Prayed to GOD to Heal him.
Most of us would attempt to help others who are ill.
But GOD didn’t. How is this GOD good then? Hmm?
(Student was silent )
Professor : You can’t answer, can you ? Let’s start again, Young Fella. Is GOD Good?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Is Satan good ?
Student : No.
Professor : Where does Satan come from ?
Student : From . . . GOD . . .
Professor : That’s right. Tell me son, is there evil in this World?
Student : Yes.
Professor : Evil is everywhere, isn’t it ? And GOD did make everything. Correct?
Student : Yes.
Professor : So who created evil ?
(Student did not answer)
Professor : Is there Sickness? Immorality? Hatred? Ugliness? All these terrible things exist in the
World, don’t they?
Student : Yes, sir.
Professor : So, who Created them ?
(Student had no answer)
Professor : Science says you have 5 Senses you use to Identify and Observe the World around you.
Tell me, son . . . Have you ever Seen GOD?
Student : No, sir.
Professor : Tell us if you have ever Heard your GOD?
Student : No , sir.
Professor : Have you ever Felt your GOD, Tasted your GOD, Smelt your GOD?
Have you ever had any Sensory Perception of GOD for that matter?
Student : No, sir. I’m afraid I haven’t.
Professor : Yet you still Believe in HIM?
Student : Yes.
Professor : According to Empirical, Testable, Demonstrable Protocol,
Science says your GOD doesn’t exist. What do you say to that, son?
Student : Nothing. I only have my Faith.
Professor : Yes, Faith. And that is the Problem Science has.
(Here, the student begins to shoot back the professor.)
Student : Professor, is there such a thing as Heat?
Professor : Yes.
Student : And is there such a thing as Cold?
Professor : Yes.
Student : No, sir. There isn’t.
(The Lecture Theatre became very quiet with this turn of events )
Student : Sir, you can have Lots of Heat, even More Heat, Superheat, Mega Heat, White Heat, a Little Heat or No Heat. But we don’t have anything called Cold. We can hit 458
Degrees below Zero which is No Heat, but we can’t go any further after that. There is
no such thing as Cold. Cold is only a Word we use to describe the Absence of Heat. We
cannot Measure Cold.
Heat is Energy. Cold is Not the Opposite of Heat, sir, just the Absence of it.
(There was Pin-Drop Silence in the Lecture Theatre )
Student : What about Darkness, Professor? Is there such a thing as Darkness?
Professor : Yes. What is Night if there isn’t Darkness?
Student : You’re wrong again, sir.
Darkness 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 its called Darkness, isn’t it?
In reality, Darkness isn’t.
If it is, were you would be able to make Darkness Darker, wouldn’t you?
Professor : So what is the point you are making, Young Man ?
Student : Sir, my point is your Philosophical Premise is flawed.
Professor : Flawed ? Can you explain how?
Student : Sir, you are working on the Premise of Duality.
You argue there is Life and then there is 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?
Professor : If you are referring to the Natural Evolutionary Process, yes, of course, I do.
Student : Have you ever observed Evolution with your own eyes, sir?
(The Professor shook his head with a Smile, beginning to realize where the Argument was going )
Student : 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 not a Scientist but a Preacher?
(The Class was in Uproar )
Student : Is there anyone in the Class who has ever seen the Professor’s Brain?
(The Class broke out into Laughter )
Student : Is there anyone here who has ever heard the Professor’s Brain, Felt it, touched or Smelt
it? . . .
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, sir.
With all due respect, sir, how do we then Trust your Lectures, sir?
(The Room was Silent. The Professor stared at the Student, his face unfathomable)
Professor : I guess you’ll have to take them on Faith, son.
Student : That is it sir . . . Exactly !
The Link between Man & GOD is FAITH.
That is all that Keeps Things Alive and Moving.
NB: I believe you have enjoyed the Conversation . . . and if so . . .
You’ll probably want your Friends / Colleagues to enjoy the same . . . won’t you?
Forward them to Increase their Knowledge . . . or FAITH.
That student was Albert Einstein.
Indicators that Albert Einstein was not involved:
|In his Autobiographical Notes, Einstein states that his “deep religiosity” as a Jewish child ended at the age of 12 when he developed a skeptical attitude towards a personal God that he continued throughout his life. 1
|On 1954-MAR-24, Einstein answered a letter from a stranger stating:
“It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” 2
|The Urban Legends Reference Pages comments that Einstein’s name:
“… gets used in legends whose plots call for a smart person, one whom the audience will immediately recognize as such (e.g. modern tellings of an ancient legend about a learned rabbi who switches places with his servant feature Albert Einstein in the role of esteemed scholar). This venerated cultural icon has, at least in the world of contemporary lore, become a stock character to be tossed into the fray wherever the script calls for a genius. …”
Likewise, “the atheist professor” is a figure common to a number of urban legends and anecdotes of the faithful — he gets flung into the mix where there’s a need for someone to play the role of Science Vanquished in Science-versus-Religion tales. …
He’s a stereotype, not an actual person. He exists to be knocked over by the persuasive arguments of the faithful in yarns about theology successfully defended. 3
Comments on the “Einstein and the professor” story from Christian web sites:
The legend has received glowing reviews on many Christian web sites. Examples are:
|“Albert has shown unquestionable intelligence, I admired him.”
|“Wow, this is a really great story. I’m going to copy this and put it on my space too…”
|“There is no debate. God has to exist in some form or another. There has to be a point where science has no place and only a divine cause is logical. The real debate is what form does God take?”
|“This is wonderful! This provides me with another in a long list of reasons why I adore Einstein!”
|“Where DID you find this? Awesome.”
|“This is one of the most influential statements I have ever heard.”
|“I was deeply moved by the fact that truth is right there in front of our faces all the time… too often we don’t see it….”
Does the “Einstein and the professor” story prove that God exists?
The story is basically an attempt to solve the problem of theodicy: the coexistence of God and evil in the world. “Theodicy” comes from a Greek expression meaning the “justification of God
.” It is an attempt to explain how an omnipotent, omniscient, omnibeneficient, and omnipresent God could have created a world with so much suffering and evil present.
One example of the conflict is the hypothetical case of a child running onto a street into the path of an oncoming truck that is unable to stop in time to prevent the child’s death. If an adult observes the scene and does nothing to try to stop the child, we would consider them profoundly evil. But the historical concept of God is that he is all powerful, all knowing, all loving, and all present. Yet in this scenario, God would do nothing to prevent the death of the child. He is either not all powerful, or not all present, or not all loving, or not all knowing. Rabbi Harold Kushner tackled this problem in his very popular book: “When bad things happen to good people.” 7
He concluded that God cannot possess all four attributes simultaneously. He felt that we should drop God’s omnipotence in order to retain the other three attributes. That is, God didn’t save the life of the child because he cannot do so.
Theologians and philosophers have attempted to harmonize the presence of evil and the historical attributes of God for centuries without success. So it is doubtful that this story will accomplish that goal.
Analyzing the story:
|In the third last paragraph, “Einstein” says: “Evil is simply the absence of God.” Note that “Einstein” first assumes the existence of God in order to prove the existence of God. He is saying that God exists and thus God exists. This is circular reasoning, and makes his analysis meaningless.
|The story attempts to prove God’s existence as follows:
|“Einstein” asserts: “Evil is simply the absence of God.”
|By implication, good is the presence of God.
|Good and evil exist in the world.
|Thus God must also exist.
However, an alternate initial statement would be that “Evil is simply the absence of good.” I suspect that if you asked many people what the antonym of “evil” is, the vast majority would respond “good.” Very few would respond “God.”
By substituting “good” for “God,” the argument collapses.
|Another approach would be to realize that no consensus exists over what is good and evil in a given situation.
|Some people believe that capital punishment is evil because it terminates a person’s life prematurely usually without the person’s consent. Other feel that it is good because its use lowers the area’s homicide rate.
|Some believe that spanking children is good because it is mandated by the God’s Word, the Bible, and because it is the only effective method of disciplining children. Others feel that spanking is evil because they feel it terrorizes children and realize that it causes higher rates of depression, anxiety, alcohol abuse and drug abuse among adults who were spanked as children.
|The leaders of Nazi Germany felt that the Jewish Holocaust was a noble calling that would make a major contribution to the betterment of European society by making the area Juden-Frei (free of Jews). Essentially everyone today condemns the Holocaust and all other forms of genocide as the most serious evil possible.
|Some feel that same-sex marriage is a profound evil because if it becomes widely available, more people will choose to become homosexual, and because it will damage or destroy the institution of marriage. Others feel that same-sex marriage is good because it extends all of the advantages of marriage to persons with a homosexual or bisexual orientation, and would lower the level of anti-gay bigotry.
|There are obviously very different views of good and evil in the world. Most individuals probably believe that absolute truth exists for them, and perhaps even for their culture and religious denomination or tradition. But when comparing the absolute truths as claimed by different individuals, cultures, and denominations, we observe great diversity and much mutual exclusivity. There is no agreement on what is good and what is evil.If we equate goodness with God, as was done in this story, then it is obvious that a multiplicity of Gods would have to exist. This would not be difficult during ancient times when different Gods and Goddesses were assumed to be in charge of different cultures. However, the argument collapses if one is trying to prove that only a single deity exists.
A legend on top of a legend:
One blog added a second layer of urban legend to this legend. They wrote 26 “funny facts” including:
|Item 1: “It is impossible to lick your elbow.”
|Item 26: “Over 75% of people who read this will try to lick their elbow.” This was followed by one version of the Einstein story.
I have personally verified item 1 by testing my tongue on my own elbow. But I cannot prove that it is true for everyone.
Item 2 could not be verified without a large study. But I seriously doubt that it is true. 4
- “Einstein Proves That God Exists in a Confrontation with a Professor-Fiction!” Truth of Fiction, 2004-AUG-25, at: http://www.truthorfiction.com/
- “Einstein the agnostic,” California Skeptics, at: http://skeptically.org/
- Barbara Mikkelson, “Malice of Absence,” Urban Legends Reference Pages, 2004-JUN-29, at: http://www.snopes.com/
- “Repository Blog of a w3bd3sign3r,” at: http://w3bd3sign3r.wordpress.com/
- Marcel Cohen “Marcel Cohen presents his art of photography,” at http://www.good-will.ch/ This is a PowerPoint file that requires software to show. A free PowerPoint Viewer 2003 can be downloaded from: http://www.microsoft.com/
- “Does Evil Exist?” Harvey Bingham’s personal web site, at: http://www.hbingham.com/
- Harold S. Kushner, “When bad things happen to good people,” Anchor, (Reprinted 2004).