Atheism, Theism and Colored Glasses

What follows is a brief dialogue on the difference between theism and atheism (or any two worldviews for that matter!) Let's liken worldviews to pairs of colored glasses. Trite? Yes. But this metaphor can be extremely useful.

The theist puts on his blue-hued lenses and says, "Wow! I get it now! Everything is blue." Everything in his mind is filed into a neat and tidy place, and all is well. The atheist puts on his red-colored glasses, glances over to the theist and tells him, "Actually... everything is red! Red is the ultimate reduction of this world."

One day, the theist asks the atheist, "Who made your glasses?"

"Who made them? Well, they weren't made by one person, silly! They are a product of hundreds of years of great men's ideas. They were crafted after a great line of lensing methods."

There's a short silence. Then the atheist figures why the hell not. He turns back to the theist and says this, "So who made yours?"

"Well, this may sound a tad crazy but these glasses were designed by he who made the world, the world as it as without any glasses on."

"Without any glasses on...?"

"Yes, precisely. I know that we cannot see this world without our lenses. Sure, we can change models, we can change colors. We've always got 'em! But don't you ever wonder about the world as it is without these things on?"

"I mean... I kinda go by what I see. I can't fathom anything that's not red. When I was a kid, I had blue lenses. But I've long since forgotten what they felt like."

"Right. I know none of us can technically see without any glasses. But just think about this for a second... If there were nothing beyond these lenses, then how could we change their colors? How does an apple remain an apple, red or blue? How does my son’s hair stay a little puff across his small forehead, red or blue? I understand that your glasses were crafted with great care, tradition and precision. But what about he who created not only those lenses, but the world they look at everyday?"

"Hmm... I get what you're saying, but I'm not so sure. How can we know that whatever this 'world' is, that it was even 'created'?"

"That's a fair question, my friend. Let me put it like this... Assume that what we look at through these lenses wasn't created. Assume it is simply there. But what about your glasses themselves then? Have you ever seen your glasses without any other pair of lenses on?"

"Well... No... I mean... That's not really possible is it?"

"But we can be sure they exist though, can we not?"

"For certain..."

"Through what means can we know?"

"Well, just by thinking about it, I suppose!"

"Indeed. So there are things we can determine with certainty or near certainty, regardless of our lenses. Why, I ask, is the creator of the world not one of those things for you?"

"Ha! Because these glasses are some of the best, so I've said... these would tell me if something like that were the case!"

"But have we not just mentioned a thing we can know, regardless of the make of our glasses?"

"Indeed we have... I’m just not sure I see what you’re getting at."


This is the atheist's dilemma. Sometimes those with meticulously crafted "red lenses" value them more than they are justified in doing so.

Non-fiction author and philosopher