I found this short story whose aim is to prove that God is real. Can you please write as to why this is illogical?
That's a pretty tall order for a story. I mean, seeing as the Bible, and all the great and mighty theologians like Augustine, Aquinas, and Anselm never made such a claim. But OK, some anonymous chump on the Internet is the bestest, most amazing Christian ever. Let's begin!
Have you ever wondered that if God is good, why is there evil? This is the perfect answer.
Not just a good answer, no! The! Perfect! Answer! Christian humility...I'm lovin' it.
A science professor begins his school year with a lecture to the students, '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.
Mighty Morphin' Professor Ranger! I'm totally impressed by the perfect
writing in this story so far!
'You're a Christian, aren't you, son?'
He's also an Arkansas State Trooper. "You ain't from 'round here, are ya boy?"
'Yes sir,' the student says.
'So you believe in God?'
Nope! I'm one o' those atheist
Christians! Heeeeeere's your sign!
'Is God good?'
'Sure! God's good.'
'Is God all-powerful? Can God do anything?'
'Are you good or evil?'
'The Bible says I'm evil.'
It also says you're made in the image of God. Therefore, God is evil, right?
The professor grins knowingly. 'Aha! The Bible!' He considers for a moment.
What, you were expecting the Quran? "Aha! The Bible! Whew, I was worried for a second you might be one of those atheist, Upanishads-believing
Christians! I'm tellin' ya, those guys creep me right the fuck out!"
'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.
So, even a strawman in a tract can kick Christian ass.
'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?'
'Evil's everywhere, isn't it? And God did make everything, correct?'
'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?'
Strawman atheist 2, Christians 0. Let's see if Squirmy's first relief pitcher can save the day:
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?'
Well, our semicircular canals can also sense our orientation relative to a gravitational field (sense of balance), and let's see, pain and pleasure, but who's counting? We've also got all kinds of incredibly sensitive instruments that can sense and record things our human senses can't. Also, correction: "Science" isn't a person. It doesn't "say" things in dogmatic tense.
'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?'
'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.'
What, no Personal Relationship With Jesustm
? In order to have one o' those, you'd have to sense him somehow
, wouldn't you? BTW, what do you say to someone who "only has their faith" in some other deity or deities? I rather doubt that many Christians of the type likely to circulate this sort of preachment would say, "Oh, you have faith, right, I guess that means your religion is as true as mine. Off you go then, have a wonderful day!"
So, even though Strawman Atheist has lousy form in this last bit, he's still managed to take down a second Christian. Strawman Atheist 3, Christians 0.
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.'
*BZZZZZZZT* wrong! Stupid phlogiston theory. Maybe you should morph back to "science professor?" Your "professor of philosophy" mode isn't adequate for this task.
'And is there such a thing as cold?'
'Yes, son, there's cold too.'
'No sir, there isn't.'
Since it's three Christians against one Strawman, I figure this must be a tag-team match. *Reaches through the ropes, takes a slap from Strawman, climbs in.*
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 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.'
Unless you're talking in non-technical language--you know, the kind of discourse people use in everyday speech, like poor Strawman over there thought you meant. Let me introduce you to my Disgrontificator Ray, which I've set to teleport you to the South Pole. *BAMF!* Don't worry class, the teleportation is temporary. He'll be back in a moment. In fact, he should be along right...about...now! *BAMF!* So, how do you feel, 'son?'
'C-c-c--I m-mean...absence of heat?'
I thought so.
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?'
Such a thing as what?
What? I don't think I've heard that word before.
'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?'
Darkness isn't a kind of stuff, if that's what you're meandering toward. Can you make Jesus more Jesusy? Can you make God more Godlike? Then I guess he must not exist either, right? But please, I'm sure you have a point, so let's hear it.
'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.
Wow, it's bad enough you're arguing against a strawman. You've gotta misrepresent what he says
too? Please, show me where Strawman tried to argue for a good god and a bad god. I thought he was supposed to be an atheist, not a Zoroastrian.
You are viewing the concept of God as something finite, something we can measure. Sir, science can't even explain a thought.'
Actually, yes we can. See, there are these things called 'neurons'... Also, if your god is infinite, it should be even easier
to produce evidence for him, not harder.
'Science uses electricity and magnetism, but we have never seen, much less fully understood either one.
Seriously? You've never played with magnets and iron filings as a child? Never watched a thunderstorm, or had a science teacher demonstrate a Van de Graaf generator or Tesla coil for you? Also, just because scientists don't fully understand something, doesn't mean your god exists. We don't fully understand how to unify relativity and quantum mechanics--does that prove Isis exists? Do we get to prove one deity per cosmic unknown, or do we get a two-fer for the big mysteries?
'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.'
Really? So, see the rocks in this display case over here? They're not alive. So, an absence of life, right? Does that mean they're dead? Should we have funerals for them? Death is the cessation
of life, which is a whole different thing than an 'absence' of life.
'Now tell me, professor. Do you teach your students that they evolved from a monkey??
Hahaha, no. Do you teach your Sunday School students that the Trinity is a homosexual threesome? Maybe you should try to learn about something before you try to 'refute' it. You know, the way you'd like other people to at least have an accurate understanding of Christianity before they reject it, instead of just calling you hypocrites for being against gay rights while worshiping a homosexual threesome. Go re-read your biology textbook until you can explain what evolution by natural selection is, then get back to me.
'Have you ever observed evolution with your own eyes, sir?'
I'm not a biologist, so I haven't made the observations myself, but a biologist could easily demonstrate to you that you share well over 90 percent of your genes with chimpanzees. They could also show you microorganisms evolving in real time. But you'd have to have some knowledge to understand what they're showing you, so how about this: have you ever wondered why they produce a new flu shot every year? Why not just use the same one from twenty years ago? Have you ever heard of 'antibiotic-resistent' bacteria? Or 'super-weeds' that resist herbicides? These things happen because populations of viruses, bacteria, and other organisms evolve
in response to the conditions of their environment. You don't think you're related to apes? Go to a zoo and look at
some, for goodness' sake! Then stop by a natural history museum and look at some bloody fossils!
'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?'
I've just pointed to examples of the process of evolution evolution at work, as an on-going endeavor. If you could show us examples of your god at work as an on-going endeavor...if you could show us even a tenth as much evidence for the existence of your deity as we can show you for evolution, there wouldn't be any atheists. Your god's existence would be a known fact
, and your buddy over there wouldn't have had to stammer out that all he had was his faith. I could have a geneticist walk in here right now, draw blood from you, then some blood from a chimpanzee, then some genetic material from a jellyfish and a rutabaga, extract the DNA, and show
you that you and the chimpanzee have the most in common, but that you're both also
related to the jellyfish and the rutabaga, just more distantly so. And so on, through the whole evolutionary 'tree.' If your god made you magically out of dirt, why would you have any genes at all in common with other life forms? Why would the amount of genes, and even their copying errors, match up so precisely to an evolutionary chart of common descent? Google 'synteny.' The short version: it's something that shouldn't exist
if Creationism is true...but it does.
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.'
Seriously? You've never heard of a CAT-scan or an MRI? What cave have you been living in? You wanna see and smell and touch a human brain? This is a university. I'm sure the medical department has some cadavers we can examine. Nothing like the sound of a bone-saw in the morning! Let's go! Say, you're looking a little green. Come now, you're skeptical of the existence of brains, right? In the case of a disagreement like this, there's only one thing for good scientists to do: put their conclusions to a test
! What are you waiting for? If we saw open the head of a cadaver and find no brain, you win
! We could do an MRI on me, and if it shows no brain, you win
! Then we might even have to give credence to your idea that consciousness is resident in an incorporeal spirit, right?
Ah. Of course. You don't actually
doubt the existence of my brain, because you know full well that its existence is demonstrable. Furthermore, you know it's also demonstrable that I think
with it, otherwise your cute little rhetorical stunt falls flat on its face, am I right? There's a term for what you're doing here: dishonesty
. I thought you Christians were supposed to be against that sort of thing. Some story about a guy coming down from a mountain with tablets, if I recall correctly.
The student continues. 'Now, sir, is there such a thing as evil?'
Well, your predecessor over there said that the Bible teaches that he is evil. If so, then I suppose you'd have to agree that such a thing exists, unless you want to start casting doubt on the Bible.
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.'
OK, so let me get this straight. I think you would be hard-pressed to find a Christian theologian who would not assert that the god of Christianity is omnipresent. That there cannot be such a thing as 'the absence of God.' Have you got a Bible handy? Why don't you get it out and read Colossians 1:15-17 to the class.
'The Son is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For in him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things have been created through him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together.'
Hmmm, that doesn't leave a lot of room for an 'absence of God' now, does it? That's what a scientist would call a testable claim
. Physicists ought to find it impossible
to mathematically model the cohesion of matter without including a function for this omnipresent sustaining activity of Jesus. But that's not all. If
Jesus is omnipresently sustaining all things
--including, I hope you noticed, the 'thrones and rulers and authorities,' by which Paul means the evil spiritual forces Christians must wrestle against, which I suppose must include Satan and his army of demons--and if
evil is an 'absence of God' as you have claimed, then evil cannot exist unless your god is absent. So, your claims are doubly falsified. If your god is omnipresent and sustaining all things, then his absence, and therefore evil, would be impossible. It's not as if he's just sitting on a throne in a distant 'Heaven' but not here, omnipresent, sustaining our existence moment by moment, right? Even then, where was Satan when he supposedly turned evil? In 'Heaven,' right? So, there must have been an absence of god, even in Heaven. But if your god is absent, then he is not 'sustaining all things.' The Cosmos and everything in it is all getting along just fine without him.
You've defined evil as the absence of an omnipresent god. Since you've got to agree that there's evil--you didn't correct your friend when he said the Bible says he's evil, and you've not claimed that there's only good in the Cosmos--then you've also got to agree that an omnipresent god is absent. By definition there's only one way for an omnipresent god to be absent--and that is for it to not exist
, period. So, either the existence of evil proves that your god does not exist, or evil is something other than 'the absence of God.' If you choose the latter, then you're back to square one, and you need to answer Professor Strawman's questions. So which is it?
The student sat down.
A couple more things: the "boss" Christian at the end evades Professor Strawman's strongest arguments. He doesn't explain why his god does not act
good--i.e. heal, even though humans strive to do so within the limits of our technology and understanding. The "arguments" that Strawman gets "stumped" by are dishonest (since the Christian isn't actually trying to make an argument that there's no evidence for brains, and that it takes the same kind of faith to believe in a brain as to believe in Jesus), so it's hard to count them as a legitimate "win" for his side. Strawman scores on Yahweh not healing when the student would, if he could. He scores on Yahweh being responsible for the existence of evil, Satan etc. (within the context of the Christian story). He scores on no evidence for Yahweh's existence. Even counting "no evidence for evolution" and "no evidence for brains" and "Evil is the absence of God" as "wins" for the boss Christian (because Professor Strawman is horribly unqualified for his job and could not answer them), the most generous possible reading of this tract yields a tie. On the other hand, Strawman's arguments actually go to the evidence against Yahweh's existence (he doesn't
heal, he doesn't
do anything that produces empirical evidence, he doesn't
do anything about evil/is responsible for creating it (hence is not good, as claimed). Boss Christian's arguments never provide any evidence for
the existence of Yahweh. They are designed instead, to muddy the water and try to "explain" why the Cosmos looks exactly as we would expect it to if--by boss Christian's own definitions
--Yahweh is absent
. Isn't it fair to say that the author of this tract got his ass whupped by his own Strawman?
Second thing: A male professor and three male students. Just as a matter of statistical coin-flipping, shouldn't there have been at least one female in the bunch, since we're talking about generic, faceless "default people?" Most likely we're just seeing the patriarchal-Christian assumption that the default, normal humans are the ones with penises. Or perhaps the women in the class are too smart to fall for Christian bullshit?