Atheist Professor At USC Who Encountered God Through a Piece of Chalk-Fiction!
Summary of Rumor A
notorious atheist professor at the University of Southern California is known
for challenging students about their faith. He dramatically drops a piece
of chalk to the floor saying that if God existed, he could prevent the chalk
from breaking. This happens year after year until a particular Christian
student becomes a part of the class. This time, when the professor drops
the chalk, it bounces off his clothing and ends up harmlessly on the
floor. The stunned professor runs from the room in shame and the student
preaches the Gospel to the remaining class members.
Truth 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.
We've never found any evidence that an incident of this nature has
taken place involving a piece of chalk, but there is a first-hand
source of a similar, older story, which the chalk tale may be
University of Southern California has officially denied that this ever happened
there. Dr. Dallas Willard, a philosophy professor at USC, has told
TruthOrFiction.com that he's never heard of it happening in his more than 30
years at the school.
There is a related story, however, told by author Richard H.
Harvey in his book 70 YEARS OF MIRACLES. It's a
first-hand account of his experience in a Chemistry class at
Allegheny College in Meadville, Pennsylvania in the 1920's.
Harvey says the professor, a Dr. Lee, was a deist who annually
lectured against prayer. In one of the class sessions,
Dr. Lee said he was going to drop a glass flask on the floor and
asked if anyone would like to pray first that the flask would not
break, therefore demonstrating the reality of prayer.
Richard Harvey volunteered and prayed. The professor dropped
the flask and it rolled off his shoe to the floor without
damage. The class cheered and the professor stopped his
annual lectures against prayer. TruthOrFiction.com has
confirmed with Allegheny college that Richard Harvey was a student
there and that Dr. Lee was a
professor. Richard Harvey's son, Rev. John Harvey, a
minister in Toccoa, Georgia, says this all happened before he was
born, but confirms that the story was told by his father.
A real example of the story as it has been circulated:
The following is a true story that happened just a few
years ago at USC.
There was a professor of philosophy who was a deeply committed atheist. His
primary goal for one required class was to spend the entire semester attempting
to prove that God couldnít exist. His students were always afraid to argue
with him because of his impeccable logic. For twenty years, he had taught this
class and no one had ever had the courage to go against him. Sure, some had
argued in class 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
Jesus, 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 believes in God
is a fool. If 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 canít
do it." And every year, he would drop the chalk onto the tile floor of the
classroom and it would shatter into a hundred pieces. All of the students would
do nothing but stop and stare. Most of the students thought that God couldnít
exist. Certainly, a number of Christians had slipped through, but for 20 years,
they had been too afraid to stand up.
Well, a few years ago there was a freshman who happened to enroll. He was 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 every morning that he would have the courage to stand up no
matter what the professor said, or what the class thought. Nothing they said
could ever shatter his faith...he hoped.
Finally, the day came. The professor said, " If there is anyone here who
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 the
chalk, but as he did, it slipped out of his fingers, off his shirt cuff, onto
the pleat of his pants, down his leg, and off his shoe. As it hit the ground, it
simply rolled away unbroken. The professorís jaw dropped as he stared at the
chalk. He looked up at the young man, and then ran out of the lecture hall. The
young man who had stood, proceeded to walk to the front of the room and shared
his faith in Jesus for the next half hour. 300 students stayed and listened as
he told of Godís love for them and of His power through Jesus.