A true story of the Atheist Professor and a Christian student
March 29, 2007 1:36am CST
This is a true story of something that happened just a few years ago at USC. There was a professor of philosohy there who was a deeply committed atheist. Hia primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester to prove that God couldn't exist. His students were always afraid to urgue with him because of his impeccable logic. Sure, some had argued in calss at times, but no one had ever really gone against him because of his reputation. At the end of every semester on the last day, he would say to his class of 300 students, "If there is anyone here who still believes in God, stand up!" In twenty years, no one had ever stood up. They knew what he was going to do next. He would say, "Because anyone who still believes in God is a fool! I God existed, he could stop this piece of chalk from hitting the ground and breaking such a simple task to prove that He is God, and yet He can't do it!" And every year, he would drop the cahlk onto the floor of the claasroom and it shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students would do nothing but stop and stare. Most of the students thought that God couldn't exist. Certainly, a number of Christian had slipped through, but! for 20 yrs, they had been too afraid to stand up. Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll. He is a christian, and had heard the stories about his professor. He was required to take the class for his major,and he was afraid. But for three months that semester, he prayed evry morning that he would have the courage to stand up no matter what the professor said, or what the class thought. Nothing thay said could ever shatter his faith...he hoped. Finally, the day came! The professor said, "If there is anyone who is still believes in God, stand up!"The professor and the class of 300 people looked at him, shocked, as he stood up at the back of the classroom. The professor shouted, "You FOOL!!! If God existed, he would keep this piece of chalk from breaking when it hit the ground!" He proceeded to drop tha chalk but as he did it slipped out of his of his fingers, off his cuff, onto tha pleat of his pants, down his leg,a nd off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it simply rolled away unbroken. The professor's jaw dropped as he stared at the chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall.
29 Mar 07
This parable has been around for decades; I'd be surprised if it really happened (yet again) just a few years ago. I also find it odd that a professor reputed for using "impeccable logic" would send his students on a quest to try to prove a universal negative (which he should have known wouldn't result in any indisputable findings), and think that the results would thoroughly support atheism. I would venture that most intelligent atheists in the professor's situation would have a laugh at the irony of the chalk breaking and at themselves for their failure to anticipate such a possibility. The professor in this story is complete straw-man, caricature of how a typical atheist thinks and behaves. Sorry, if I sound irritable; atheists get tired of having this story emailed to them as a conversion attempt by acquaintances and relatives who claim to be worried about their souls.