The story goes that an atheist professor enjoyed tormenting those that believe in God by asking the same questions with each new classroom of students. He had his plan down pat and loved to watch them sit down in failed silence.
In each classroom he would write on the blackboard in very large letters-- "Does evil exist?"
After making sure the students noticed the question, he would then launch into his attack with the question, "Did God create everything that exists?"
There was usually a brave soul that would answer, "Yes, He did."
The professor would then continue, "Everything?"
"So, God also created evil--since we all know it exists in our world, correct?"
And at this point, the student would usually sit down without having an answer and the professor would smile with smug satisfaction.
But, then it happened. Another student in the back of the class raised her hand and said, "May I ask a question, sir?"
"Of course, you may!" he answered.
"Does cold exist?" she asked.
"Of course it does! Don't you ever feel cold?"
"Actually, sir, according to physics, cold is the total and complete absence of heat. An object can only be studied if it has and transfers energy in the form of heat. We created the term 'cold' to explain the total lack of heat.
"Let me ask another question, sir. Does darkness exist?" she asked the professor.
"Sure it does," he answered.
"Again, you are wrong, sir. We can only study light and brightness. Prisms show us the different colors and lengths of light waves. We created the term 'darkness' to explain the total lack of light.
"And, as for your original question, 'Does evil exist?', I can answer it the same way as the other two questions. Evil is the absence of God in people's hearts and lives...the absence of faith and love. Faith and love are like heat. They do exist, we see them every day. Their absence is what we call 'evil'."
With this the student returned to her desk and it was the professor's turn to sit down in failed silence.