It's All About Seeing Things Differently.

I like optical illusions. They're fun, and I've compiled a bunch of them. What do you see in the picture at left? Christians see God in this world just like they see a baby in the outline of the tree. I see the world as a natural phenomenon just like I see the natural landscape of the picture. That's the way I look at the world. Christians see it differently. I think they are wrong. They think I'm wrong. But on such an issue we all cannot be right.
My invitation to Christians is to put on what Julia Sweeney calls her "No-God glasses." Try them on for just a few seconds at first. Then for a few minutes. Don't worry, you won't go out and murder anyone. [For those who may not be able to see the baby, I've provided an outline of the baby in red].

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I looked over your blog, without going into any archived posts, and I didn't see any argument or outline of an argument for why you think atheism is correct and Christianity is incorrect. It appears you spend more time talking about being an atheist than discussing the substance of your atheism.

John W. Loftus said...

Anonymous, Thanks for visiting. Check this out for instance.

foureyes said...

You see the "natural landscape" of an obviously Photoshopped picture???

John W. Loftus said...

foureyes, ouch! I guess you destroyed my whole point. Ouch. there is nothing for me to salvage from my mian point, is there? Ouch.

LivingDust said...

Why would I put on "No-God Glasses"?

So I could deny reality, objective truth and limit my vision?

Yes, you are right - its about SEEING things differently.

Lee Randolph said...

Hi anon@455,
The substance of my atheism is that once I started to try to validate my beliefs by going outside the christian community, which if it is true, should not be a problem, it didn't work out very well.
It all comes down to what you accept as evidence to back your belief and reasons. There is a lot of material of the type you are asking for, here. over on the right are links to key posts, go look through there.
I was considering talking to John about a FAQ page, since we keep seeing the same arguments over and over.

exapologist said...

I agree with Lee about the FAQ page.

A deacon, by the grace of God, said...

This is an interesting challenge. I think you're quite right on both counts: that it's good for us to be more mindful of the worldview filters through which we "see" reality, and that how we see influences what we accept as evidence. My guess is that all of us, theist or atheist, have arrived at our positions in terribly complex ways. We focus frequently on arguments and intellectual analysis when we want to justify our beliefs to others, but I'd bet that we arrive at them originally because of temperament, desires, needs, hopes, anxieties, joys, physical health, accident, context, etc. etc.--as well as rational thought (once in awhile, anyway). :)

D said...

The FAQ page is an excellent idea. Consider formatting it like TalkOrigin's Index of Common Creationist Claims, with a hierarchical indexing/outline system.

John W. Loftus said...

Okay everyone, look for a FAQ page. Lee, Ex-A and D will probably put one together for us, and if so, I thank them.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the picture! These are a lot of fun!

Taking off the god glasses was a good thing for me, because they were blinding me from really seeing God. So, atheism, was a rinsing-away process that helped me to heal from feelings of a condemning and hellfire deity.

I think it is good to know that it is possible to believe in the God of Easter and not fear damnation - that is truly what I have come to know as being a believer who has overcome. It can happen for you guys - your writings reflect hearts that are very insightful and compassionate.

Thanks!

Anon 1035

Calvin said...

Anon,

No Christian should feel fear of God's wrath. For although we were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind (Eph. 2:3), we now have trusted Jesus, "who delivers us from the wrath to come" (1 Thess. 1:10 cf. Rom. 5:10). When we meditate on the wrath to come we will be amazed that our Lord Jesus Christ bore the wrath of God that was due to our sin, in order that we might be saved. (Rom. 3:25-26). There is now no condemnation for those that belong to Christ Jesus.

Anonymous said...

Calvin, et. al,

Have you considered why God would be wrathful? Because of the way people mistreat one another. Like I mentioned before, hell wouldn't exist if we didn't insist on building it.

Now for me, I used to be blocked from believing because of fear of damnation, so does it seem right to approach me with threats of damnation? That approach is God by the book rather than God by the spirit. That approach was poisonous for me because I already was thirsting for righteousness but was being approached as though I were a criminal. I'm not certain if I'm conveying myself very well, but I hope you understand what I mean.

Thanks for your continued comment, Calvin - you seem concerned and that is not a bad thing!

Anon 1035

Calvin said...

Anon,

I wasn't threatening you with damnation. Faith comes by hearing the word. The spirit works through the word. As I look at the fossil record I see a God of love in that He provided the human race with coal, oil, and topsoil through millions of years of death and decay and mass extinctions. I also see a God who is capable of wrath and pain. God is powerful. The universe dwarfs us in both age and extent, and this also teaches us of the majesty of God. There are millions of stars and planets that will be born and die in explosions so far away that we will never know of them, and there are wars fought by insects and microbes so small that we cannot see them. The universe testifies of God's power and divine nature. Even without evil the universe shows forth God's power and divine nature. Such displays of power are very good because the sun and the moon do not sin, nor do the land and the sea, nor do the animals. They just are what they are and do what they were designed to do. If Adam had not sinned we might have observed all this from a protected place, in the garden, but now we are flung among it all, still protected from the totality of God's wrath, but cursed to be like the beasts that perish. One thing that we learn from nature is that God is dangerous and powerful. As Paul says in Romans 1:20 "For His invisible attributes, namely His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in things that have been made. We may not like it but nature tells us that God is capable of severe wrath and pain. That is what his power includes. Many people say they don't believe God is like that, but on what basis? Because nature is so gentle and kind that the God who created nature could not have done and said all those wrathful things in the Bible? We may hate the wrath of God, but let us not say that God wouldn't harm a flea when we see fleas being harmed all arround us. I said it once before, but even nature's terrors testify that God exists

Anonymous said...

It's so strange when people talk about God, like it actually exists. I think they're missing the point completely when they discuss God's supposed attributes. They are ignoring the fact that there is not a way to actually witness, or measure the attributes of an invisible, ephermeal, non-interactive, and unparallelled being. The only judgements that can be made are inferences, and of course when you infer the attributes of God form the state of the Universe, the first problem you encounter is Natural Evil. The discussion stops there.

webmaster said...

Calvin said: "I said it once before, but even nature's terrors testify that God exists"

Well, even the worst presents testify that Santa Clause exists.

If you consider that everything in this universe testifies for a God you should be a deist. There is nothing in this universe that testifies for an omnibenevolent god only some apologies of christian scholars. Just that reality and the Bible don't match. I don't deny that the Bible is false I'm just saying that if it is the truth than God is the Devil.

Calvin said...

No, nature shows that a Holy God exists. In dealing with omnibenevolence people assume that God loves everything equally without distinction or difference. God has the ability and freedom to exercise different kinds of love towards His creation. It is evident that man has the ability to love in different ways. The love a mother has for her children is different in nature and extent than the love she has for someone elses children. God's love for His children is the same way. God shows common grace to all but special grace to His children. There is no basis at all in the Bible for asserting that God's love knows no levels. The love of God for plants and animals differs from His love for human beings. In the human realm God's love is manifest in different ways. God is love does not mean that God has the same kind and level of love for all things. This is a distortion of what omnibenevolence means when applied to God.

A deacon, by the grace of God, said...

By the way, this is bugging me to no end: I can't see the damn baby in the tree! :)

A deacon, by the grace of God, said...

Thanks! One more hurdle jumped! :)

Anonymous said...

"I once was blind but now I see."

Us Christians go crazy, trying to point you to truth, to life, and to God, but your face is blank, your eyes are shut, and light can't get in. The gospel has no effect on you as you have been blinded by satan and yourself. We see you walking in darkness and we yearn, I yearn, for you to be in the light. I pray fervently that you will be able to see Jesus, God, as I do, and not be blind in the flesh, and the pleasures of the flesh. For there is more to life than this. We were made for more than this. We were made for more than lying, cheating, murdering.

Anonymous said...

i wore no God glasses for 28 years. ever since i put God-glasss on i see the world more clearly. ;)