The magician, the scientist and the lie.

There was a magician who came into town. Everywhere he went he would perform some magic tricks. And there was a doctoral student in chemistry who would always sit there and watch. At the end of each trick, the scientist would always say “I know exactly how you did it.”

And the scientist would always try to explain it away by science and the magician would say “no that’s not the way I did it.”

The Magician was helpless – he was telling the truth

But the scientist would keep on arguing and say “No, no that’s the way you did it”

Finally the magician did not know how to respond ,so overwhelmed  that he would not be able to find an explanation for it

So one day he finally came to him and before his magic show he said to him “Excuse me but do you know the light outside your home?”


“Remember, know what color it is?”

“Yes, It is a red light”

“Has it always been a red light?”


“When you left tonight was it a red light?”


“What would you say if I said to you right at this very moment I’m changing that red light into a green light?”

He said “you can’t do it”

The magician says “oh yes I can, go and check it out.”

So the scientist runs over to the home, looks outside the home and sure enough it’s a green light

He comes back and says “how did you do it?”

The magician says “very simple, I just sent a couple of angels to change the bulb.”

“No, no, no, no, how did you do it?”

“I’m telling you, I sent a couple of angels to change the bulb”

“That’s not the way you did it! Tell me how you made that red light into a green light!”

The magician says “I told you! I sent a couple of angels to change the bulb!”

The man goes back home to his science lab and he’s trying to mix all kinds of concoction that, at a distance, can change a red light into a green light

And he’s having these big arguments with his sister – he’s on the verge of insanity

Finally, his sister comes to the magician and says to him, “Would you please tell my brother how you changed that red light into a green light?”

The scientist was losing his sanity to find sanity in what the magician did

The magician says to her, “Madam, I have told him”

She says “Look, the man’s going insane. As a matter of fact, I believe he is already insane. And the only thing he’s preoccupied with is how to change a red light into a green light.

She pleaded, “He’s lost all his sanity.”

The magician says “Look, I can’t help him, I’ve told him the truth.”

She said “Why don’t you tell him a lie.”

She continued, “Tell him something that’s not true, so that he will be fine again.”

So the magician created some kind of a story that has nothing to do with the truth and she goes and tells him and immediately he regains his sanity

G.K. Chesterton ends that story by saying, the irony of this all is just when he thinks he has become sane, he has actually become insane.

-Adopted from Ravi Zacharias’ adaptation of G.K. Chesterton’s “The Magician”


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