3 [Untrue] Christian Stories – Know A Parable When You See One

There’s nothing wrong with stretching the Truth. We stretch taffy, and that just makes it more delicious.
– Stephen Colbert

English: A slab of Sparkle Cherry Laffy Taffy,...

You’ve seen the stories; the one about the little girl whose atheist parents kill each other while she hides behind the couch with Jesus, or the atheistic professor bested by one of his religious pupils, or the teen car accident victim with a plastic Jesus lodged in her heart… Good, God-fearing people pass around online stories of faith like they were cat memes, with little regard for their truthiness.

I’ve even seen an image of Jesus superimposed on a cloud bank making its rounds on the internets lately – “if you repost this you’ll have seven years of good luck” or some borderline-blasphemous silliness like that.

If we put on our rose-colored glasses, we might call these stories modern day parables intended to strengthen the faith of the faithful against the threats of science, tragedy, and meaningless violence… however untrue they might be.

Is telling them helpful?  Especially when some people will believe these stories are true?  Especially when Christian culture isn’t always well-known for recognizing misinformation?

Probably not.  So I’ve re-posted a few (at length) for our mutual educational benefit.  I have seen each of these shared on Facebook or alluded to in conversation… some of them are old and some are odd and disturbing.  Cheers.

the professor is six minutes late

The Atheist Professor Gets Schooled

The professor of a university challenged his students with this question. “Did God create everything that exists?” A student answered bravely, “Yes, he did”.

The professor then asked, “If God created everything, then he created evil. Since evil exists (as noticed by our own actions), so God is evil. The student couldn’t respond to that statement causing the professor to conclude that he had “proved” that “belief in God” was a fairy tale, and therefore worthless.

Another student raised his hand and asked the professor, “May I pose a question? ” “Of course” answered the professor.

The young student stood up and asked : “Professor does Cold exists?”

The professor answered, “What kind of question is that? …Of course the cold exists… haven’t you ever been cold?”

The young student answered, “In fact sir, Cold does not exist. According to the laws of Physics, what we consider cold, in fact is the absence of heat. Anything is able to be studied as long as it transmits energy (heat). Absolute Zero is the total absence of heat, but cold does not exist. What we have done is create a term to describe how we feel if we don’t have body heat or we are not hot.”

“And, does Dark exist?”, he continued. The professor answered “Of course”. This time the student responded, “Again you’re wrong, Sir. Darkness does not exist either. Darkness is in fact simply the absence of light. Light can be studied, darkness can not. Darkness cannot be broken down. A simple ray of light tears the darkness and illuminates the surface where the light beam finishes. Dark is a term that we humans have created to describe what happens when there’s lack of light.”

Finally, the student asked the professor, “Sir, does evil exist?” The professor replied, “Of course it exists, as I mentioned at the beginning, we see violations, crimes and violence anywhere in the world, and those things are evil.”

The student responded, “Sir, Evil does not exist. Just as in the previous cases, Evil is a term which man has created to describe the result of the absence of God’s presence in the hearts of man.”

After this, the professor bowed down his head, and didn’t answer back.

The young man’s name was Albert Einstein.

[text source: every Christian on Facebook]

This Professor VS Believer dynamic has been around for a while.  Different (and previous) versions include the following twists:

  • The professor drops a piece of chalk every year and proves God doesn’t exist when it breaks on impact.  The one year a student stands up to him, his anger causes his hand to shake and the chalk to roll down his sleeve, through his pants, and onto the floor safely. After which he flees the classroom (of course).
  • The professor stands on a platform and tells God to remove him if God exists.  A marine walks up to the professor and punches him in the face, off of the platform. The marine says “God was busy so he sent me.”
  • And of course the ever comical…”that marine was Albert Einstein” version.
Eddington's photograph of a solar eclipse, whi...
Eddington’s confirmation of Einstien’s lend-bends theory (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

NASA Discovers Joshua’s Lost Day (When the Sun Stood Still)

Did you know that the space program is busy proving that what has been called “myth” in the Bible is true? Mr Harold Hill, President of the Curtis Engine Company in Baltimore Maryland and a consultant in the space program, relates the following development.

I think one of the most amazing things that God has for us today happened recently to our astronauts and space scientists at Green Belt, Maryland. They were checking the position of the sun, moon, and planets out in space where they would be 100 years and 1000 years from now.

We have to know this so we won’t send a satellite, up and have it bump into something later on its orbits. We have to lay out the orbits in terms of the life of the satellite, and where the planets will be so the whole thing will not bog down. They ran the computer measurement back and forth over the centuries and it came to a halt. The computer stopped and put up a red signal, which meant that there was something wrong either with the information fed into it or with the results as compared to the standards.

They called in the service department to check it out and they said “what’s wrong ?” Well they found there is a day missing in space in elapsed time. They scratched their heads and tore their hair. There was no answer. Finally, a Christian man on the team said, “You know, one time I was in Sunday School and they talked about the sun standing still.”

While they didn’t believe him, they didn’t have an answer either, so they said, “Show us”. He got a Bible and went back to the book of Joshua where they found a pretty ridiculous statement for any one with “common sense.”

There they found the Lord saying to Joshua ,”Fear them not, I have delivered them into thy hand; there shall not a man of them stand before thee.” Joshua was concerned because he was surrounded by the enemy and if darkness fell they would overpower them.

So Joshua asked the Lord to make the sun stand still! That’s right–“The sun stood still and the moon stayed—and hasted not to go down about a whole day!” The astronauts and scientists said, “There is the missing day!”

They checked the computers going back into the time it was written and found it was close but not close enough. The elapsed time that was missing back in Joshua’s day was 23 hours and 20 minutes–not a whole day.

They read the Bible and there it was “about (approximately) a day” These little words in the Bible are important, but they were still in trouble because if you cannot account for 40 minutes you’ll still be in trouble 1,000 years from now. Forty minutes had to be found because it can be multiplied many times over in orbits. As the Christian employee thought about it, he remembered somewhere in the Bible where it said the sun went BACKWARDS.

The scientists told him he was out of his mind, but they got out the Book and read these words in 2 Kings: Hezekiah, on his death-bed, was visited by the prophet Isaiah who told him that he was not going to die.

Hezekiah asked for a sign as proof. Isaiah said “Do you want the sun to go ahead 10 degrees?” Hezekiah said “It is nothing for the sun to go ahead 10 degrees, but let the shadow return backward 10 degrees..” Isaiah spoke to the Lord and the Lord brought the shadow ten degrees BACKWARD! Ten degrees is exactly 40 minutes! Twenty three hours and 20 minutes in Joshua, plus 40 minutes in Second Kings make the missing day in the universe!

References: Joshua 10:8 and 12,13   /  2 Kings 20:9-11

[text source: About.com’s Urban Legends]

Holy Plastic Jesus, Batman!
Holy Plastic Jesus, Batman! (Photo credit: everdred)

Plastic Jesus Found In Teenager’s Heart After A Car Accident

CINCINNATI (EAP) – A Cincinnati teenager was killed yesterday when her plastic Jesus dashboard figure was driven into her chest by her car’s airbag which inflated during an accident involving two other vehicles. 17-year-old Darlene Fulps of Cincinnati was apparently holding her Jesus figure close to her chest when she ran through a red light and collided with two other vehicles in a busy intersection.

“The air bag inflated and pushed the head of Jesus straight through her heart,” said Tom Young, medical examiner at the scene of the accident. “If it wasn’t for the plastic Jesus, Ms. Fulps would still be alive today.” “Air bags have saved thousands of lives, but in this case it actually took a life, thanks to Jesus,” said police officer Graham Pryor, first officer at the scene.

Robert Fulps, Darlene’s father and devout Christian man said “It was just our daughter’s time to go, and we can’t question the actions of God. My daughter loved Jesus and worshipped Him, and I think she’s probably talking to Him in heaven right now.” “We gave our daughter the dashboard Jesus for her birthday last year, and she really liked it,” said Mrs. Gladys Fulps. “It’s too bad that Jesus ended up killing her, but we believe she’s in heaven now, and we’re happy for her, and hope to re-unite with her when we get to heaven.”

“We’re just glad our daughter had Jesus in her heart when she died,” said Mr. and Mrs. Fulps.

[text source: Snopes.com’s “With Jesus in Her Heart“]

The next time you come across a remarkable story, do a quick search on its credibility (snopes.com is an awesome site dedicated to just this purpose). You never know what has been making the rounds for years and what crazy awesome stuff is actually true.

What modern-day-parables have you seen?

Allen Marshall O'Brien

Allen Marshall O’Brien is the pastor of a UCC church in Northern California and co-host of the Irenicast. He believes in the importance of education, peace, and ecology, throws things to his border collie Sonata, and writes for multiple platforms.

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  • It seems rather hard to find any value in these “modern parables” when you say they are completely lacking in truth (with the exception of the students remarks to Atheist). What about things that are actually true? How much more exciting and uplifting it would be to learn something that actually happened or expresses Truth (music, paintings, poetry, for example) rather than gain some sort good feeling from something striving so hard to be true and is not like a plastic Jesus in a girl’s heart or a false explanation for a missing day? tely.

  • Anonymous

    How do we know difinitively that google and other online sites who tell us that these stories are untrue are not making those judgement calls without any indepth research into their sources, based upon their own worldviews and assumptions about life? Afterall, they could be influenced by their worldviews and life-assumptions just as gullable Christians can be influenced by theirs.

    • Good point. Maybe things like Snopes are good to take into consideration when posting, like having a conversation partner- it’s true that nobody is completely objective.

  • Pingback: 90′s Chain-Email-Turned-Movie Convinces Atheists They Are “Just Angry At God” | an irenicon()

  • JD

    Strange that one is calling something a “modern day parable” yet concerned about the truth of the story. The value of the parable is in it’s power to teach, not I whether the story is a factual account. It is not likely that the many parables that Jesus told were factual accounts. Instead they were meant to be stories with characters that the people of the time could relate to, and plot lines and symbols that led the listener to a greater understanding of God’s love, the kingdom of heaven, etc.

    • I believe I am that “one.” 😉

      Calling these stories parables was supposed to be analogous, not an actual equivalency. I’m not saying they are parables, because (as you’ve pointed out) parables are not historical claims.

      I’ve only compared the two because the events that take place in both parables and these “whatever-you-call-made-up-Christian-stories” are (1) not real and (2) intending to influence an audience’s faith.

      The reason I wrote about this at all was to help people understand modern-day parables as such. And since the only point to some of them seems to be that “God works in history – here is the proof,” I find them unhelpful.

      I thought the analogy to parables was strong enough, but maybe it was the wrong word to invoke. What would you call them?