As I mentioned earlier we are dealing with the story about young student Christian Einstein facing off against a older unnamed Atheist professor. There are some good points about this story, and we’ll get to those later. But before that we are going to deal with some of the flaws. The first, and most glaring of them is;
THIS STORY IS NOT TRUE!
Sorry to raise my voice at you like that but I think this point needs to be very clearly understood. This epic face-off with the unknown atheist professor and the young Einstein never happened. Einstein was not a Christian, nor did he believe in a personal God. He was somewhere on the spectrum between atheist and agnostic. This is a fact that is rather easy to demonstrate.
Another major issue I have with this story is that young factious Einstein is arguing against disbelief in God because of evil. In this story he compared evil to coldness and darkness, things that are not real of themselves but are the absence of heat and light. It is an interesting argument and we’ll talk about the analogy in a later post.
What is important to point out right now is that the problem of evil was one of the major reasons that the real Einstein remained an agnostic. This should not come as a big surprise. As a Jewish born German man who went to a catholic school and saw the atrocities of the 1930’s and 1940’s is it any wonder that Einstein had difficultly with believing in a loving, personal God who saves?
Quite frankly if this scene were to play out Einstein would more likely be the professor than the student.
I want people to think very carefully when they choose to re-post or quote this story. The intent is to build up a young person’s faith, to show them that ‘science’ and ‘academia’ are not superior to faith. The results are quite different. By passing this story on as being true you are only setting them up for the very crushing blow you sought to save them from. If the person you told this story repeated it to an actual aggressive atheist professor they would be torn apart for their error.
I respect the aim of this story. I even agree with it in wide brush strokes. The point is to show that belief in God can stand up to critical scrutiny, that Christianity is a faith that comfortably interacts with science and philosophy, and that we do not simply have to take things on blind faith. The problem is this story really proves the opposite. By passing it along it proves that we are not really carefully reflecting on faith, instead we are blindly accepting whatever people tell us. This story does not hold up to scrutiny and will make the person who tries to use it appear very silly.
Please do not think I am exaggerating, I am not. This kind of sloppy attempt at apologetics does not build up a person in their faith. It simply sets them up for a major crisis of faith down the road. If we can’t be trusted to carefully study the simple things like whether Einstein believed in God or not, how can we be trusted to carefully study more complicated things like the nature and existence of God?
Please think before you ‘re-tweet.’