An 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?'
'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.'
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? 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?'
'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?'
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?'
'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? '
'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 become s 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 down 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.'
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.
PS: The student was Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein wrote a book titled God vs. Science in 1921...
I am presenting this event because I think it is one way of presenting the concept, aside from scripture itself, that no one can have the ability to be acceptable and consistently good, without God. Or lets put it this way -- God's idea of acceptable and good. Everyone...and I venture to say absolutely every thinking person from babyhood to mature adult has their own idea of what it means to be good.
So, if you read through the New Testament in context, with the understanding of why Christ came in the 1st place, you'll see that no one can be good or acceptable to God, without God in their life...which means, without having 1st opened God's gift of salvation and owning it for themselves.
Therefore, whenever we try and push people to be our idea of good, so as to be acceptable to us, we are beating the air...and not making any headway at all. If anything...in fact, most likely...we are hurting the situation...and most likely causing them to pull away from God and most assuredly from us and the ideas we are trying to present.
As we read and get to know scripture we find out that Jesus is the living Word of God, where as scripture is the written word. So, when we observe and read about how Jesus did things, we are seeing how to 'live-out' the words we are reading. So, pertaining to this topic, when Jesus approached non-Christians lets say, versus those in the religious community, He always related differently to these two groups. He did so because He knew how to relate to "sinners" so as to open their hearts to God and be more receptive...so then when they do make the step to accept God's gift is when they will have the power (whether they use it or not is another discussion altogether) to be good and therefore acceptable in God's eyes.
1 John 5:5 And who can win
this battle against the world? Only those who believe that Jesus is the Son of
I understand that some 'sinners' have behaviors that seem so unacceptable that we just want them to STOP...so this is why we do the pushing. However, as believers it is important to remember how important it is for them to have Christ in their lives first. So, unless a group or an individual is being violent or physically intrusive and therefore are themselves hurting people, then we are to obey God's command and treat them the way we would want to be treated.
Therefore, this is the time, instead of expending our precious energies trying to get people to stop living the way they know how...we ought to take this time and ask God to help us learn to be lights to them and then, if we have children, help them learn that there are people that do not believe the way we do and how they need Jesus like we did (and still do). Teach them about how Jesus related to people and how we can be a light ("This little light of mine...") to them so as to bring them to Christ. Also, there's something else to remember...that even among Christian groups there are big differences...so, it's always our job to teach our children the important things about our own beliefs and not rely on others to be the prime influences.
I also think it is important to keep in mind how grateful we are for God's mercy on us and His gift to us and how unacceptable we would be ('lostness is lostness' - there are not degrees of it) without God...then do what we can to at least not get in the way of someone else coming to the place of opening their hearts to God.
Let's continue this another day...it is already long enough...blessings to you!!