The Atheist and the Piece of Chalk

A friend of mine is trying to track down something for me that’ll help with the blog on Mark and the resurrection, so today, I’m going to write about a video that someone sent me on Facebook. It was of a story that I’d heard before, but as I watched it, I found myself being quite bothered by it.

The video can be found here:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qJKF6Jpd1wM

First off, this is passed off as a true story. It is not one. I think it would be interesting if it was, but it isn’t. It does no good to the Christian cause when we speak a story that we claim is a true story that a simple check to a website like truthorfiction.com can disprove. In fact, TruthorFiction’s piece on it can be found here:

http://www.truthorfiction.com/rumors/c/chalk.htm

In fact, notice how they start their reply to it:

This has been one of the most commonly circulated inspirational stories on the Internet and one of the most commonly asked-about at TruthOrFiction.com.

That’s not my only gripe with the story. I think it reveals a great problem in Christianity.

The story is told of an atheist professor and no one could get past his impeccable logic. That’s my first problem. Why is the Christian immediately told that the atheist has impeccable logic? I’m not denying that atheists can be logical, but why start off by telling the viewer that the atheist has impeccable logic? It is simply a way of saying “His arguments could not be defeated.” Now if his arguments cannot be defeated because they are logical proofs, well sorry then friends. We should all be atheists in that case.

The atheist professor is said to try to destroy belief in God and apparently succeeds. At least, he silences the opposition. Now that’s nothing new. I have no doubt that that goes on. It seems sadly that we’ve forgotten that the education system is meant to be a place where the sciences are used to find truth. (By sciences, I mean areas of study in that philosophy and theology are sciences. I do not mean just the physical sciences.) 

In this story, no one is ever able to stand up to the professor at the end. He gives the argument that if God exists, then he could stop this piece of chalk from breaking if he dropped it. He would drop it and it would fall to pieces and the students would just sit there unable to answer.

This is just so ridiculous on so many levels.

First off, any atheist actually using this argument ought to be embarrassed. It’s simply saying “If God exists, he could do X. God isn’t doing X. Therefore, God doesn’t exist.” It doesn’t follow. Now if it was God must do X, and X doesn’t happen, then you’d have something. I could just as well say “If God exists, he could put $1,000,000 in my bank account. I do not have $1,000,000 in my bank account, therefore God doesn’t exist.

Now if an atheist used such an argument involving a piece of chalk and considers it valid is bad enough, it’s even worse that Christians in the audience feel that their faith is destroyed because a piece of chalk was not stopped from breaking. 

This is simply getting us to an era in our thought where truth is determined by experience and what God does in our lives. If God doesn’t do what I want him to do, he doesn’t exist. If God does what I want him to do, he doesn’t exist. Whatever happened to the day when we determined the existence of God based on logical argumentation? Now I’m not saying that experience isn’t a part of a worldview. It is. I’m saying experience isn’t the final qualifier. It is one, but only if it contradicts a necessary component of the worldview. For instance, someone who is a moral relativist is contradicting their worldview by their experience if they complain about being treated unjustly.

What are we told in this story? That one student didn’t want to be intimidated so he prayed that he would be able to stand up at the end of class and affirm that he believed in God.

Now we need to pray, no doubt, but sometimes we pray when we should be doing something as well in addition to what we’re doing. Think of Nehemiah 4:9. Nehemiah says that they prayed and they posted a guard. The problem with the prayer we pray today is that often, we’ll pray that God will give us a new job for instance, and then sit at home and wait for someone to call or ring our doorbell and hand it to us. Pray for things you can’t do anything about, yes. If you can do something about it though, pray and do your own part as well. It is an insult to God to insist he fill in the gaps because we are lazy.

In the end, this student does stand up and through a series of events, this professor drops the chalk and it doesn’t break. The professor gets stunned and runs out of the room and the student goes up and shares about his faith in Christ.

Okay. So someone’s testimony will be “I became a Christian because a piece of chalk didn’t break.”

Now I’m not against miracles of course and I believe they can give evidence of God’s existence, but I think it needs to be a substantial miracle. Why not have the truth be based on the arguments for the resurrection or the philosophical defense for the existence of God? Nope. Reason will not be able to counter the attacks of atheism so we must go for experience!

And we wonder why we have a self-centered “All about me” generation that determines everything by experience.

We also wonder why so many Christians go into the Mormon church. We have Jehovah’s Witnesses visiting us at my place now and one of them has said that he was a Methodist until he was 54 and so I’m just listening and thinking “What happened? Why was this person left uneducated about the doctrines of Christianity so that he got suckered in by this group?”

Because it wasn’t reason, it was experience.

A lot of Christians are passing around this video as if it’s such a wonderful story. To me, it’s a disgrace. It would be far better were we passing around excellent resources on the truth of Christianity rather than personal anecdotes that will only make atheists laugh but hey, who cares if it gives us warm fuzzies.

Right?

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