Paul Harvey Riddle

Gary C. sent me this riddle which has been doing the rounds on email for quite a while, though I had never seen it before. As Gary pointed out, the interesting thing about this is not whether it really is a Paul Harvey riddle (I have no clue), or even the riddle itself. It's the claim that 80% of kindergarten kids got the answer while 83% of Stanford graduates were unable to. Instead of trying to track down whether or not a group of Stanford graduates ever has been tested with this riddle, I thought I'd do the next best thing. Take an unscientific poll of Museum of Hoaxes readers to see how many of you are able to figure out the answer right away vs. aren't able to. That'll give a rough approximation of the percentage of (presumably over-kindergarten age) people able to solve the riddle, assuming people answer the poll honestly.

I have to admit that I couldn't get the answer. I finally gave up and googled for the answer.

If you've seen the riddle before and already know the answer, then base your response to the poll on the first time you ever saw the riddle. Did you figure out the answer immediately? If you were in kindergarten when you first were given the riddle, then don't respond to the poll.

I put the answer in a link below for those people, like myself, unable to figure it out.

Paul Harvey RIDDLE:
When asked this riddle, 80% of kindergarten kids got the answer, compared to 17% of Stanford University seniors.

What is greater than God, More evil than the devil, The poor have it, The rich need it, And if you eat it, you'll die?

Send this to 10 people and then press shift and you will get the answer.
P.S. You won't believe this, but this really does give you the answer!!!!

The Answer


Posted on Sat Feb 12, 2005


I cant get it, whats the answer!!!!!!!!!
Posted by chris  on  Fri Sep 30, 2005  at  03:01 PM
i'm with kentaro mori, what god?
Posted by jack  on  Fri Sep 30, 2005  at  07:27 PM
D.O.A. C.P.A, and as for that person i say the same thing for the devil what god what devil? i think the bibal is a fiction story writen by an egyption. i don't care what you'll say in reply but thats what i think.
Posted by jack  on  Fri Sep 30, 2005  at  07:31 PM
Wow. This riddle was awesome... I'm only 13 and when I saw it, I was like. What the.... and then after around five monutes, I started looking at all the questions by themselves. I couldn't believe how simple it was, yet how effective it was on other people. Most couldn't even GET the answer. Paul Harvey is a genius.
Posted by Aya  on  Sun Oct 09, 2005  at  08:38 AM
Boy, you people spent an awful lot of useful time overthinking this one! We have far better things to do with our time! Get a Life!
Posted by dee  on  Wed Oct 19, 2005  at  08:10 AM
So I just spent the past half hour reading all the crap that you all wrote, and what did I get out of it? The people who over analize things needs to pull the stick thats lodged in their buttocks out, lifes to short! relax, don't take yourself so seriously, and don't go around thinkin your so stinkin smart.. And as far as the other side.. Don't blurt out the first idiotic thing that comes to your ignorant brain!! Think before you speak.. I know what I believe, and I know where my faith is, or is not.. But I do not feel it necassary to broadcast it to a bunch of cynics and bible belt represenitves.. What good would it do? All I hope for you all, is to enjoy and respect other peoples opinion, that is what makes life fun and interesting.. (by the way.. I figured the riddle out right away!!) ha ha!! suckas!!
Posted by Jessica  on  Sun Oct 23, 2005  at  05:46 PM
i couldn't figure it out so i e-mailed to my daughter and she later told me the answer.
Posted by sarah  on  Tue Nov 01, 2005  at  02:27 PM
hey the person who said 87.52% statistics are made up on the spot...well don't you think that is a statistic??? hmmmm.

(minutes later...)

Well now that i have thought about it,some might say commenting on someone else's comment is just well (whatever the opinion). Ahh they can suck it up.
Posted by Kat  on  Thu Nov 17, 2005  at  10:21 PM
the answer is nothing nothing is greater than god nothing is more evil then the devil and the poor have nothing and the rich need nothing and if you eat nothing you will die
Posted by thomas  on  Thu Dec 22, 2005  at  04:50 PM
I think this riddle makes perfect sence to me. But for some reason people are making a big deal about it and making it seem like a bad thing on these comments I have been reading. I think it is a wonderful thought and it is amazing. People don't get mad and try to find the flaws of it because that is why the children got it faster because they don't think that hard which makes it even harder to find the real answer. It is great.
Posted by chelsealou  on  Mon Jan 02, 2006  at  01:58 PM
The answer is NOTHING...

NOTHING is greater than God. NOTHING is more evil than the Devil. The poor have NOTHING. The rich need NOTHING. If you eat NOTHING (starve), you'll die.
Posted by Jenny  on  Sun Jan 08, 2006  at  10:14 AM
That's not hard, and I'm 21. And I'm not religious.
Posted by Angela  on  Sat Jan 14, 2006  at  11:53 AM
This is not a good riddle. It is nothing more than excuse to make a hap-hazard religious point and anyone who thinks about what it is saying, should notice this immediately. A PERSON CANNOT "EAT NOTHING." It is impossible because the word "nothing" implies there isn't anything to eat. A person cannot eat something that does not exist. "Nothing" is not tangible and since you can't eat it, you can't die from eating it. At best this is more of a "pun" than anything else. But certainly not a very good one.
Posted by Dear Crabby  on  Wed Jan 18, 2006  at  01:16 PM
hmm wow.... that is pretty stupid that you are making a big deal about something that is simple and smart as this.. it is meant by saying that if you dont eat anything you will die. it is not saying that if you eat nothing like air you will die! That is kind of a dumb thing to say.
Posted by chelsealou  on  Wed Jan 18, 2006  at  07:41 PM
People, you need to step back and look for a second. Riddles are made to challenge the mind, tease the brain, and people can do nothing better than ruin the fun of it by debating the existance of God? I'm agnostic, so am I the only one who can see the complete idiocy there is in debating that topic? No one will ever convince you that there is if you don't believe, and no one will convince you there isn't if you do believe. The only way you can believe is to simply do so. I am waiting for Him to prove it to me Himself, but that hasn't happened yet. So yeah, please, enlighten me, how can I meet Him, or be proven of His existence? And those who don't believe, enlighten me, how do you know He isn't there? How do you know He is just made up? None of you know for sure unless He told you so Himself. And the funny thing about it is, if He has, and you tell people, you'll get put in a Psyche ward. How weird is that? So please, for all of our sakes, if you're going to comment, just say something about the Riddle, how hard it was, and leave your faith (or lack there-of) in Him out of it. So good night, and have a pleasant tomorrow.
Posted by Mitch  on  Sat Jan 28, 2006  at  11:14 PM
I also think that the riddle is flawed even from a religious point of view. 😛 I first thought nothing, because of the what is greater than God, but once again the poor don't have "nothing"... I mean, they have something. Poor people don't stand on the street naked, at least they have the clothes on their back, and define poor. And if this is sending a Christian message, the poor shouldn't have "nothing" becuase as christians we share in Christ now don't we? And also the die thing threw me off ALOT O_o....
Posted by Nef  on  Fri Feb 03, 2006  at  01:11 PM
Dear mitch,
I was raised up as a christian and I believe in God 100%. There are so many miricles in this world to prove to you that he exhists. You do not need for him to actually come up to you and tell you that he is real. Look at all the things you are blessed with. From the day that you were born, to this day. He has watched over you and put you through challenges in your life. He loves you more than you can even imagine. You just need to accept it. If God does think you need to be proven that he does exist, then he will do so. But its your choice whether or not to believe in him. When you die, you will be judged on how you react to this. I am not trying to make you believe in him, I am telling you of my opinion, as a christian, looks at this. And to me< believing is seeing God bless you!!
Posted by chelsealou  on  Sat Feb 04, 2006  at  01:09 PM
Yeah, like Nef said, there are a few errors with that riddle. Like bums, if they believe in God, still have their faith. The rich do need things too. Like love, caring families, etc. You can't define what you need by what you have.

Dear Chelsea,
If you believe in Him so much, why don't you capitalize His pronouns? The Bible does, and so should you. And through the hardships, I ask Him to help me, but He does nothing. He just sits around while I ride it out. Like Canada when we were going through all that terrorism. They could've done something to help us out. I'm starting to believe that they don't exist either. Just a myth to ruin everyone who believes in them! Yeah, but God said that you shouldn't test Him, that you should just BELIEVE. I'm sorry, but I believe in aliens only because I've seen them before. I believe that when I get stabbed in the toe with a side of a lid, it hurts, because it's happened before. But just SAYING something is there doesn't mean that it actually is, and there's no way to prove it until you experience something that directly proves it. Until then, it's just wishful thinking that He's there. Or that there's an afterlife. I really HOPE there is, but I'm not sure. And I do believe that if I sort of believe I will be sent to purgatory and have a chance to repent, will I not? But I'm not sure if He is real, or if Jehova is real, or if Buddha is who you should believe in, or whoever, so yeah, I don't know, and you really DON'T know, even if you think you do. Everyone is brainwashed into thinking that He's real, but no one knows for sure unless they've seen Him.
Posted by Mitch  on  Sat Feb 04, 2006  at  07:01 PM
dear mitch,
you do have a logical point, buts thats the whole thing. faith is what will get you to heaven, denying the existence of God will get you sent to hell, faith is the most essential element to any religion, sure maybe he hasnt seen God, but he sure hasnt seen gravity either and gravity obviously exists cuz we are all stuck to the ground. we as christians can use miracles, the bible, and everything we are blessed with as proof of him, if thats not proof enough, i dont know what is.
Posted by chelsealou  on  Sun Feb 05, 2006  at  08:50 PM
Dear Chelsea,
Ah, but there in-lays my point. There is solid proof that gravity exists. Because, as you said, we are stuck on the ground. And if I'm not mistaking, Christians don't USE miracles, they recieve them. How do you distinguish the difference between a miracle, and random chance? Because if I won a million dollars, that doesn't mean that God helped me, that just means that I got lucky. Most "miracles" could just be sheer coincidence, even if there is a God. I never said there wasn't, I'm just not sure if I believe he's actually there.
Posted by Mitch  on  Sun Feb 05, 2006  at  09:08 PM
chelsealou said:

"faith is what will get you to heaven, denying the existence of God will get you sent to hell"

I guess I just don't get it. God supposedly gives us free will but if we exercise if by deciding that we don't believe in Him, He sends us to Hell. All He'd have to do is give us the evidence and we'd all believe, but He doesn't, for apparantly perverse reasons.

Why, it's almost as if God doesn't exist and all this nonsense is mere rationalization.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Mon Feb 06, 2006  at  12:53 AM
Dear Mitch,
I wouldn't classify gravity as a chance, it is more of a creation. When a person makes a miracle, that is because they have been chosen by God to persue that miracle.Also when you win the lottary, sure thats random, but it is more a blessing than a coincidence.

Dear Cranky media guy,
Tell me this then,
who Created the planets, the trees, the animals, the humans, who created your family for that matter?? Did a tiny like microscopic particle go pppoooffff and make the mountains, the sky, the planets, and the human body????
when you said "All He'd have to do is give us the evidence and we'd all believe, but He doesn't, for apparantly perverse reasons.
" If you want my opionion go back a page.
Posted by chelsealou  on  Mon Feb 06, 2006  at  07:48 PM
Dear Chelsea,
Do you not understand the concept of gravity? Masses come together due to their size, I don't see anything pushing me down because nothing is really pushing me down, just something is holding me here. Plus 7 pounds of atmospheric pressure. Plus, since God wants people to share their wealth, He would only "bless" people who he know would share by letting them win the lottery. Unless they were poor to begin with. But there are millionaires who play the lottery and add onto their stacks of cash. In the presence of a fair and loving God, that wouldn't be possible. Like I've said though, I'm not saying there ISN'T a God, I'm just saying if there is, He doesn't seem to care about me.

To Cranky Media Guy,
It is reckless to believe that there isn't SOMETHING that created us, no matter how present the lack of evidence is. It is quite possible that no religion is right, and that there is some God whose gospel was lost in the time of Cavemen. So God or no God, there could've been something that put us here for a reason. Something in infinity that no one knows about, and will only know about when they die and go to another Realm. It could be anything, even something living on another planet, such as aliens or something. We could even be a constantly running computer program, but we don't know if we are or not. Any theory could be right, but atheism is reckless.

To anybody... Don't you think that Atheism should be Antitheism? Because Monotheism is believing in one God, and Polytheism is believing in more than one God. The prefix A means "1", such as in Asexual Reproduction, reproduction by one organism. So Antitheism seems like it would make more sense.
Posted by Mitch  on  Mon Feb 06, 2006  at  08:13 PM
Dear Mitch,
yea I know your not saying that there isn't a God. And i totally disagree with the last thing you said. It doesn't matter how far away from God you are, he loves you more than you would even imagine. Despite all your sins and darkness you may come in contact with, he loves you because he created you. He wants you to be happy because just like everyone else, you are special and important to him. And no, he doesn't bless someone with the lottery because he knows that you will share it with someone. I dont know the true meaning, but I know that isnt the right one. He works in mysterious ways..
Posted by chelsealou  on  Mon Feb 06, 2006  at  10:11 PM
Mitch said:

"To Cranky Media Guy,
It is reckless to believe that there isn't SOMETHING that created us, no matter how present the lack of evidence is. It is quite possible that no religion is right, and that there is some God whose gospel was lost in the time of Cavemen. So God or no God, there could've been something that put us here for a reason."

Why is it "reckless" to refuse to believe in something for which there is ZERO evidence?

Do you believe in the Giant Tortoise on whose back the Earth sits as some Native American tribes believed? If not, why not? After all, there is NO evidence for that, either, but according to you, that lack of evidence should be no deterrent to belief.

Since there is NO evidence to back up the belief system of ANY religion, how did you decide which one to believe in? (I'm assuming here that you believe in SOME religious system.)

You don't seem unintelligent; I'm guessing that you wouldn't apply "logic" like this to anything other than religion. Why make an exception here?
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Tue Feb 07, 2006  at  12:31 AM
This type of argument is what I was trying to AVOID when I posted my first thing. But I guess I'm in the conversation now, huh?

Well, no matter the case, you telling me how much He loves me isn't going to make me believe. Case Closed.

Cranky Media Guy:
Just because rivers aren't parting and bushes aren't burning doesn't mean that "normal" couldn't have changed from when a "God" interacted more with the Earth. Anything is possible, we went to the MOON in like a few years after we started our space program. Come on.
Posted by Mitch  on  Tue Feb 07, 2006  at  09:38 PM
What is greater than God, More evil than the devil, The poor have it, The rich need it, And if you eat it, you'll die?
Posted by hannah  on  Fri Apr 14, 2006  at  12:32 PM
Magnetic ionizing femotode decouplers.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Fri Apr 14, 2006  at  12:59 PM
Im 17 now i first heard this riddle when i was in english class, and my teacher had it written on the board and told us that if we got the answer right we would wwin a big bag of candy, and i really wanted i wrote down each part seperate What is greater than God, More evil than the devil, The poor have it, The rich need it, And if you eat it, you'll die? First saw the rich need it and the poor have it...I thought that was weird and i remember saying to myself the rich have everything, the poor have little,i thought it out a little more greater than god? god is almighty nothing is greater than god, and more evil than the devil? come on now basic the devil is lord of hell, whats worse than burning in hell? it took that thought thats all it sounds simple now that i write it down but it took me a good 10 mins....i got the but i still failed the class. odd
Posted by Andy Muir  on  Sun Apr 16, 2006  at  01:43 AM
Posted by Debbie  on  Thu Apr 27, 2006  at  03:23 PM
Did anyone notice that if you reply to the sender of this riddle, that your reply does not actually go to the person who sent it to you, but it is engineered to be sent to someone that you don't know, along with the email addresses of the string of people who have forwarded it, in addition to all of their friends' email addresses? Doesn't that seem a bit 'phishy'? I suspect that the purpose of this email is to collect email addresses for spamming. And all the while, we are so mesmerized by the riddle that we unwittingly help this scheme along. If you love this Paul Harvey message and attached riddle and want to send it to everyone you know, feel free, but instead of forwarding it with the forward button, copy it and then send it AND PLEASE do not reply to it, because I suspect you will then get the opposite of 'nothing' in your email box!
Posted by Brenda The Suspicious  on  Tue May 02, 2006  at  01:09 PM
I figured out the answer really quick, but I didn't know I had for about ten minutes after that until I looked it up. I just knew that nothing is greater than God. Everything else kinda baffled me. I kept thinking it was something tangible because the last part had me thinking it was edible. But that's the way riddles work, right? Kinda like this one: The one who makes it doesn't want it, the one who wants it doesn't need it, and the one that needs it doesn't know their using it. What is it?

I couldn't get this one when I heard it the first time. I thought for a long time but I was finally told the answer. Its a casket.
Anyway, good riddle. Later!
Posted by Ashley West  on  Fri May 19, 2006  at  12:05 AM
Now while I got the answer rather quickly, I had to go look into whether Mr. Harvey actually wrote this.

I recieved this in an email along with a nice little poem of sorts that was touching, but not belonging to Mr. Harvey.

I found that while many things that come to us via the internet are attributed to Mr. Harvey, most of them are not his work.

Most run a simliar line to his "Rest of the Story" theme, but this piece did not come from him.

He did read it on his show in 1997 but the original text was written by Lee Pitts and in 2000 it was included in "Chicken Soup for the Golden Soul".

Like the article attached to the riddle, Mr. Harvey did not write that either. He may have featured on it on his show once it crossed his path, but it is not his work.

So since there is no reliable source, the statistics are jaded as well.

Just my 2 cents worth 😊
Posted by Sunny  on  Sun May 28, 2006  at  10:42 AM
Dear Mitch, Cranky & Chelsea,

I have seen Him.

You will ever guess where either!

He was hiding behind the tree the whole time!

Now lighten up guys, its a riddle. Flawed as it may be, it is meant to be fun. 😛
Posted by Teetering Teeter  on  Sun May 28, 2006  at  10:52 AM
Dear Idiot (AKA Teetering Teeter)
If you can't read, that's what I was trying to avoid. This senseless program keeps sending me chit that says, "Reply to your message" so like a dumbass I keep reading the new posts and keep coming back to a website I was originally trying to do the same thing that you are right now with. It's a lost cause, and no matter what you say, as long as we have conscious minds, (whether made by a God or not,) we have the ability to form opinions, and the constant ability to express those opinions. No matter what you say, when the ability is available, some will use misuse and abuse their ability to do anything in relation with their opinions. This whole thing could be summed up in, "RESISTANCE IS FUTILE" or some other partially naive saying like, "IF YOU TRY YOU WILL FAIL" and stuff of or related to those. Okay, byebye. (With any luck, this won't trick me into coming back.)
Posted by Mitch  on  Tue May 30, 2006  at  08:33 PM
;-P This one had a few og my co-wokers going for awhile.
We were sitting here really thinking about it, until we all decided to google it. I hated this riddle. I thought it was going to be a good one.
Posted by Maribel Villegas  on  Wed Jun 14, 2006  at  11:02 AM
:) omg i got it in like 3or 4 seconds then googled it cuz i wanted to know if i was right this was so cool 😊
Posted by Ellie  on  Mon Jun 19, 2006  at  02:08 PM
I'm just shocked that people admit to being athiests... I'll keep you in my prayers!!
I didn't get the answer... I guess I was thinking inside the box on this one!!
Posted by Heather  on  Wed Jun 21, 2006  at  01:49 PM
Heather said:

"I'm just shocked that people admit to being athiests"

You say that as if being an atheist is something a person should be ashamed of. Why?

As for praying for me, don't bother. Save your breath.
Posted by Cranky Media Guy  on  Wed Jun 21, 2006  at  02:15 PM
I cheated my son had to look it up and find the answer it really was a simple answer lol
Posted by Vicki  on  Wed Jun 28, 2006  at  04:26 PM
I heard this a very long time ago. Today I'm 15 and I've been raised a catholic all my life. I heard this riddle in a class at a catholic school and after the first line was read the entire class shot back with a nothing. I very do much believe in the fact that children have a better understanding as of what is most important. I've been told all my life that God has the highest power. I think that religion is strongly based in this poll.
Posted by shae  on  Fri Jun 30, 2006  at  07:52 AM
A wise man once said that I would rather go through all my life praising, worshiping, and fearing a god to die and find out there is no god or heaven, then to live my life as there is no god or heaven and to die and find out there is.

With this riddle it doesn
Posted by owardy  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  10:11 AM
It's not our fault you were taught to blindly follow a ridiculous belief system for which no evidence exists. It's not our fault you can't learn to question your beliefs and realize how silly they are.

A wiser man once asked, "Why should I worship a being who, if He exists, is the most evil tyrant Man has ever known?"
Posted by Charybdis  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  10:56 AM
First of all I question everything. Do I question my own religion yes as well as every other religion on the planet including atheists
Posted by owardy  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  12:34 PM
Show you the proof? :lol:

You'd scream all about 'faith' and 'belief' if I pulled that one.

There is no proof to show you that God is evil. God doesn't exist, therefore he's not evil. The point of the matter was that if he did exist, he'd have to be evil. No kind, loving god could commit the evil he's committed against the world and it's inhabitants. Floods, typhoons, tsunamis, droughts, fires, volcanoes, earthquakes... all acts of god, if he existed.

Thank god he's just a myth.
Posted by Charybdis  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  01:35 PM
Would you rather spend an eternity in Hell or Paradise? Would you rather be safe than sorry?

Whose Paradise and Hell? Remember, Christians are a minority on the planet and all religions teach that only theirs is the correct one. Which do I pick out of all the conflicting flavours? And who's to say that any of them are correct?
Posted by Charybdis  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  01:41 PM
Posted by owardy  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  02:03 PM
One more thing May God show you that light and that light touch your soul so on your day of questioning you may pass through the pearly gates. It is not my job to judge just spread the word.
Posted by owardy  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  03:19 PM
Could you ask God for some extra punctuation? You seem to have run out.
Posted by Madmouse  on  Wed Jul 19, 2006  at  05:10 PM
No. The lack of punctuation is my fault. Nobodys Perfect!
Posted by owardy  on  Thu Jul 20, 2006  at  08:39 AM
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