Why Can’t We See God?

Well… because god doesn’t exist. I know.

But Christians give a whole host of reasons for why we can’t see him. One Furious Llama rattles off a list:

  1. It’s a test, or, your time on earth is a test or tribulation
  2. He shows himself all the time you just don’t realize you’re seeing him (as in nature, apparent order)
  3. He once did, people didn’t believe, people wouldn’t believe now so he doesn’t bother
  4. Only evil people ask for a sign or proof, so don’t ask, he won’t give it to you anyway
  5. He does manifests himself by answering prayers

He’s got another ten where those came from and they get progressively crazier (“His ‘matter’ doesn’t interact with photons and since we mostly use electromagnetic waves to detect things, we can’t, detect him”).

We can do better than that. What’s the most amusing reason you can think of to explain why we can’t detect god?

I’ll send a FriendlyAtheist wristband (sent to me by reader Shauna and her sister Danni) to the commenter who earns the most “likes”!

FriendlyAtheistBand


About Hemant Mehta

Hemant Mehta is the chair of Foundation Beyond Belief and a high school math teacher in the suburbs of Chicago. He began writing the Friendly Atheist blog in 2006. His latest book is called The Young Atheist's Survival Guide.

  • BigPhut

    Becuase he’s behind you

    • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

      Oh No He isn’t!

  • Jennifer K.

    He’s a ninja.

    • http://twitter.com/pascaljarry Pascal Jarry

      test

  • Anonymous

    it’s not specific to modern monotheisms, but the one i’ve always liked best is that should a gawd appear before a mortal, said mortal would turn into a pillar of salt, combustion would occur, eyes would melt, etc. it’s a fine excuse for never having to show up in person. “i’d come down there and help out, but it would kill you, so just keep praying; i can hear you up here.”  

    it does frighten me how many believers really *do* think they’ve “spoken with” a supernatural being. not just the obviously crazy, but seemingly normal, rational people who think that “christ speaks to me in my heart” or whatever. being able to suspend reality in favor of such suggests a great deal to me, none of it good. 

    • MIke Haubrich

      I think you would like Michael Shermer’s new book The Believing Brain.

    • Great American Satan

      How cool would your life be if you could honestly convince yourself magic works?  I mean, it would be scary, yes, but to imagine that gay dude down the street is onvoking demons with his tarot cards?  That Dungeons and Dragons players could cast spells?

      Sounds fun.  And insane.

      • Reginald Selkirk

        How cool would your life be if you could honestly convince yourself magic works?

        Not very. Your life might be really cool if magic worked, but that’s not the same as just believing that it does.

  • Halley

    Because he has a Romulan cloaking device of course.

  • Anonymous

    Oh, so all God does is give you life, a world to live in, and eternal salvation, and you want him to be detectable too? You miserable little ingrate, I don’t see where you get the nerve. Go to your room!

  • http://www.facebook.com/Lewie.Lewie Lewis Cox

    13)  God wants us to revel in Its essence, not Its magnificence.  It wants us to love Its mind, not Its body.

    • http://nathandst.blogspot.com NathanDST

      Women have been saying that for years. Does that mean God’s a woman?

      • Anonymous

        And not only that; God is a homely woman with body-image issues.

        Say, maybe that’s why she won’t let anyone see her!

  • http://eyeblister.blogspot.com DavidDvorkin

    Because he’s hiding in the gaps.

  • http://twitter.com/SaturnsVoice Kurt J Strosahl

    He is like the entrance to Hogwarts

  • Anonymous

    We frighten him

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=100001205538285 Adam Rogers

    He’s microscopic.

  • http://mx.myspace.com/EdSG EdSG

    This sounds close to home; see, an invisible, immaterial fire-breathing dragon lives in my garage…

  • Kaya Skarsvåg

    42.

    • Powerpoppat

      Winner.  Hands down.

  • Bluebiscuit00

    he’s under your bed

  • James Dessart

    Because if I let you know I’m God, I’d have to kill you. ;)

  • Hansmdude

    Because Reality gets in the way

    • Audrey

      Reading all the comments– By far this one is the best.

  • http://twitter.com/TheAtheistGeek The Atheist Geek

    Because his mom won’t let him come out and play.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kahveisteyen Murat Vatandaş

    Don’t you see me? Cellophane, Mr Cellophane…

  • Anonymous

    Because he’s saving the best until last, you’ll see him on final judgement day, now eat up all your wheaties honey!

  • Fred Green

    His Improbability Drive is malfunctioning… again.

  • Cpeace

    The one that I hear a lot is that his GLOOOOREH is too much for humans to handle. We couldn’t live any longer after seeing the pure holiest of god. 

    Then they saw the biblical passage of when god passed by Moses on the mount; Moses only saw the “back side” of god….if you know what I mean. And Moses’ face shined for days after.

    SOLD!

  • Beckyg

    Well, unless Chuck Norris is invisible, I can’t see why you don’t believe in him.

  • Ed

    He’s taking a 13.7 billion year coffee break.

    • Guti

      This one wins in my book.

      • Ed

        Thanks, I needed that.

  • Omnicide00

    We can’t see God because he’s as two dimensional as every other biblical character… he’s just turned sideways.

    • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ Anonymous

      So God is Kate Moss?

  • Bruce Murphy

    God exists outside time. Since time and space are related, God, therefore, also exists outside space. Since nothing in our universe can exist in the same realm as God, God is therefore undetectable and invisible (but when we die, we can see him, for some reason…)

    • Anonymous

      And how do you know that when you are already dead.

  • Remy Porter

    Why can’t we see god? That’s an excellent question, since he’s required by law to notify his neighbors that he’s moving in, and he can’t live within 500 yards of a school.

  • Crabbysister5

    Obviously he is wearing the invisibility cloak.

  • Netwyrm

    He’s so big that his mass would distort all the orbits in the solar system, and he’s too lazy to do all the fixing a visit would entail.

  • http://wings1295.blogspot.com/ Caffeinated Joe

    When YOU’VE had the most famous bastard son in existence and YOU’VE never paid one gold cent in child support, then you can talk to him about showing your face in public.

    Sheesh.

    • http://twitter.com/FlamesofBritten Ryan Britten

      He’s hiding inside Liam Neeson’s cock

  • http://www.facebook.com/zac.swanson Zac Swanson

    Because Buddah ate him. :)

  • Audrey

    Because– You are your own God.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=665584920 Scott Macauley

    He wants to make sure we like him for his personality, and not just his looks.

    • Great American Satan

      This is too much like the answer an earnest Xtian would give to make me laugh.  Nice wit though.

  • philipp

    he’s out of thin air

  • http://twitter.com/aweiser278 Tania R Guimaraes

    because he is like the destructive drones that we are sending to kill the guilty and the innocent alike, using the same judgement he uses: favoritism

  • http://twitter.com/ungodlynews Michael Crowley

    He separated himself into 7 different horcruxes, and you have to find them all to see him. Wine and communi0n wafers are the first ones, you need to find the others.

  • Ed

    He’s old. He forgot we’re here.

  • Anonymous

    He’s hiding behind the couch because he wants to surprise us!

  • http://twitter.com/TPRyan007 TPRyan

    Because he’s not looking at you. Therefore you can’t see him. It’s a typical childish argument. “I can’t see you so you can’t see me, Ner Ner Ne Ner Nerrrrrrrr!!”

  • A. Ling

    Anyone who has read the Old Testament knows that God is really, really shy.

  • Paul J

    god is a chameleon

  • Anonymous

    Because I’m not Rick Perry.

  • Anonymous

    Because I’m not Rick Perry.

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1573921759 Howard Vaudry

    Easy! The bridegroom isn’t allowed to see the bride till the wedding day. Revelation 19:7-9

    Let us rejoice and be glad and give honor to him, for the marriage of the Lamb is come, and his wife hath made herself ready.

    • Great American Satan

      Keep your sordid bestiality out of this, good sir.

    • Great American Satan

      Keep your sordid bestiality out of this, good sir.

  • KNP

    He is a one trick pony.

  • KNP

    He is a one trick pony.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kerekes.david Kerekes Dávid

    He’s on the toilet and has no paper.

  • http://www.facebook.com/kerekes.david Kerekes Dávid

    He’s on the toilet and has no paper.

  • http://twitter.com/arensb arensb

    Random chance: quantum theory tells us that there’s a probability that two particles will interact, but it’s just that, by a staggering factorial-of-googolplex-to-one chance, none of God’s particles have interacted with ours.

  • Paineroo

    Because his noodley appendages are high in carbs, and he knows we’re watching our weight.

  • Sally

    I will not be able to come up with anyting clever….buuut where on earth can I buy that wristband??

    • http://www.facebook.com/people/Adrian-Chester/682538320 Adrian Chester

      me too, can we buy those? would be cool to combat all the crosses I see. 

  • Russell

    Genesis 3:9, God asks Adam, “Where are you?”  They were playing hide and seek.
    It was God’s turn next and, being omnipotent, he totally won!

    • Anonymous

      Yeah, but God cheated (surprise, surprise). He had already kicked A&E out of Eden before he went into hiding to guarantee that they couldn’t find him.

  • Reality

    He’s like the Silence; you only see him when you look at him, but the moment you look away, you forget the entire incident.  The Doctor will handle it, though; God will fall.  

    BTW, we’re all the Doctor, and he falls with each new atheist (out or no).

  • Necro_Draco

    he thinks he is in a strip club. All he can do is watch but not touch.

  • Necro_Draco

    he thinks he is in a strip club. All he can do is watch but not touch.

  • S D Davis

    Atheists scare Him, so he joined the Witness Protection Program.

  • Lars Martin

    If anyone saw him, his waveform would collapse and he couldn’t be omnipresent anymore, so he uses a Heisenberg compensator he reversed the polarity on.

  • http://www.facebook.com/DutchRonin Robert Rijnders

    Turns out he has low self-confidence (with the whole failed creation and all) and turned atheist like us.

    BTW, also ‘One Furious Llama’ is part of our team.

  • Bracken

    He hides in a rift in the space time continuum

  • Anonymous

    He’s bashful because they don’t make God sized clothes.

  • Anonymous

    He’s hiding from his brats ( Christians, Jews, and Muslims ) because he’s tired of listening to all their fighting and arguing over who he’s supposed to be and what his rules are. He’ll reveal himself when they all come to the same conclusions… ( Mathew 23:37-39 )

  • Anonymous

    Because he’s an invisible pink unicorn, of course!

  • E. Smisek

    He doesn’t want us to see him because he’s ashamed of his body.

  • Annie

    He’s sulking in the corner… pissed that everyone is finding Jesus instead of him.

    • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

      So wait… He sits in a corner… is incredibly powerful when he gets mad… and routinely breaks things?

      If he were green that would make him the Incredible Sulk!

  • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

    You can’t see him because of the glamour. See the human mind is not meant to take in the sheer wonders of the supernatural and so your mind automatically shuts out things that it cannot comprehend. Thus we understand our universe in empirical mathematical terms lest our minds be blown by the true nature of god and the universe. 

    (Okay okay! I quoted from the Dresden Files…)

  • Trina

    I know, I know! (waves hand frantically in air)  It’s because he’s too busy telling politicians in their hearts that they should run for president.

    • Trina

      This is, of course, not unlike an above comment, ‘because he’s not like Rick Perry.’  Just couldn’t resist, though.

  • Ally P

    Because he is in the chamber of secrets and none of us is the heir to Slytherin

  • Ally P

    Because he is Keeping Up with the Kardashians and could not find someone to produce his reality show.

  • Jeffy Joe

    His video messages are only compatible with Flash Player version 1248.6

    We’ll get there.

  • Ray Higgins

    Theist
    are like children who tell their parents that they are scared of the
    monster under the bed. Their parents try to reassure them that it is
    just their imagination and that there is nothing under the bed and
    even shines a light under there to show them their is no monster, the
    child says the monster is magical and he is just hiding from you cause you’re a parent.  Theist imagine some creature who supposedly acts and thinks a lot like us, behind everything in the universe.   When science shines the light of knowledge on our universe ans says “see there is nothing there”, theist as any child not willing to give up the imaginary world they have created,  say “god is deliberately hiding, and you just can’t see him because you don’t believe”. The big  difference between children and theists is that children grow up and learn there is no monsters under the bed, theist almost never grow up.

  • Chuck V.

    Because he keeps getting upstaged by Michelle Bachman and Rick Perry.

  • Trav

    Theists can’t see “god” because he was in my St. Thomas Carholic Perish fish fry in 2003 and I accidentally ate him. He was salty, but enjoyable with enough tartar sauce.

  • Palaverer

    Because Bill Donahue’s got him locked in his basement.

    Because when Jesus got bullied, they moved to another universe.

    Because we are the image of God. Every time we look in the mirror and think the reflection is us, it’s really him.

    Because no one’s provided the faux-suede magenta leopard-spotted sofa his agent promised to secure before he makes an appearance.

    Because Christopher Hitchens has a restraining order on him.

    Because if the Religious Right saw God and found out he wasn’t a white dude, they’d dump his ass.

    Because I want a freakin’ wristband.

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Thousands of years ago he got so sick and tired of millions of people praying to him, saying gimme this, gimme that, sorry for this, sorry for that, thanks for this, thanks for that, why are things this way, why are things that way, please help so-in-so, please kill so-in-so … yakety yackety yackety yackety yackety yackety yackety….. S-H-U-T–U-P-!!

    So with a cosmic-sized headache he created an infinite number of parallel universes and jumped inside one with prayer proof walls, where he’s been enjoying the peace and quiet ever since.  He hardly ever thinks about us any more, but when he does he thinks about the atheists fondly, because at least they never pestered him.

  • http://twitter.com/OpiniatedNanaw Rose Scott

    Christine O’Donnell has him held hostage in her closet. 

  • Justin Miyundees

    Because I say so and it is written.

  • Anonymous

    14Share
    Well… because god doesn’t exist. I know.

    This is logically impossible.  You are claiming knowledge that you cannot possibly have.

    If I were to make the assertion “There are no little green men from outer space”, could I ever prove it?

    • Palaverer

      You’re right! Why didn’t we atheists ever think of that?

      /snark

    • Greg

      JD Curtis said: This is logically impossible.  You are claiming knowledge that you cannot possibly have.

      I think I’ll respond to that by saying: 

      This is logically impossible.  You are claiming knowledge that you cannot possibly have.

      … 

      Just as valid.

    • Anonymous

      Ok JD, more accurate to say:

      1.  There is not a shred of credible evidence for the existence of God.

      2.  The probability of god existing is so close to zero that we might as well speak of it as an absolute.

      Happy now?

      • Drakk

        P(god) = lim (x->infinity): 1/x?

      • Anonymous

        There is not a shred of credible evidence for the existence of God

        This only works as a personal statement Jon.  For instance the word “credible” here is subjective to your definition of “credible” and how you are applying it here.

        However the phrase “There is not a shred of evidence for the existence of God” is demonstrably false.

        • Greg

          “However the phrase “There is not a shred of evidence for the existence of God” is demonstrably false.”

          Care to provide a shred of evidence then? (Firstly describing what you mean by the word ‘God’ because I am yet to come across a definition that isn’t either: a) incomplete, or b) logically impossible.)
          If you claim you can demonstrate it, then please… demonstrate it!

        • Anonymous

          Please provide this “evidence” of God.

  • Anonymous

    Tired of being asked to support both of two competing sports teams.

  • Sailor

    Would you show yourself if all those people were singing. praying and pleading to you?

  • Steve Bowen

    He’s hiding between &lt and &gt

  • Greg

    Because he’s omniscient – we’re only allowed t0 give him A+s on his report card.

  • http://twitter.com/RobHoffmann Rob Hoffmann

    He’s pining for the fjords.  And, for some reason, isn’t satisfied with the ones in Norway.

  • Brian

    Because it’s easier to get into Palastinian chicks’ pants that way.

  • Anonymous

    Clouds.  I mean, if the folks living the good life are on Cloud 9, imagine the cloud god is living on?  (My guess is Cloud 666, cuz it’s like, way way up there!)  It is just too hard to see through that many layers of clouds.

  • Anonymous

    “see”… you keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.

  • http://pulse.yahoo.com/_WIRTYND3FSNLE3M4JDGVJDB2EI Dave

    He’s been downgraded by the S&P to the same rating as Odin, Zeus, Crom, and he doesn’t like it.
     
    He is a Jealous god and is busy having a trantrum right now.
     
    He only reveals himself to those he believes in.
     
    He’s busy rewriting his book to try to account for Science, Logic, Math, and Independent Thought… things that he didn’t plan for when he created this mess.

  • Steve LeFebvre

    He has been busy for thousands of years settling the debate of good vs evil with the Devil in the same manner he prescribes for inner city youth for solving their differences…. via dance competition.

  • M8R-c35ol31

    We can’t detect God because He tried to create a rock so heavy even He couldn’t lift it, and accidentally trapped Himself in a black hole. :(

  • Dan W

    God’s hiding because He broke his arm punching out Cthulhu. http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/BrokeYourArmPunchingOutCthulhu

  • Ssmeier1

    God’s out for a beer run.

  • Ryan Hinshelwood

    Because He’s eclipsed by a teapot orbiting the sun between here and Mars.

  • Ryan Hinshelwood

    Because every time we phone His house to arrange a date His mom tells us He’s in the bath

  • Ryan Hinshelwood

    Because He’s just not right for you, son.

  • Great American Satan

    Per Descartes’ ontological argument, necessary existence is contained in the idea of God, therefore god exists.  Why is necessary existence part of the idea of god?  Because god is perfect, and not existing is an imperfection.

    God must be pure as well, because impurity is an imperfection, right?  That must mean that every part of god is the same as every other part, because if one part was different, it would be an impurity in the totality of the rest of his matter.  The only way for god to be utterly pure is to be made of empty space, therefore…

    God is a necessarily existing whole lot of nothing.  My philosophy teacher was not impressed by that, but he didn’t have anything to say to it.  Ha!  Suck on your PhD, homes.

  • Nick

    Because the invisible and the nonexistent look very similar.  Just kidding.  More accurately its because god is magical and can only be seen by those who truly believe in him.  If you believed you’d be able to see him just fine.

    It may also be because most of us just eat our toast instead of checking it for jesus, like your supposed to

  • Jake

    We can’t see god because the first mythology (which no one remembers or
    knows about) had so many gods that they didn’t all fit once they
    physically manifested and as their believers died they were sort of
    stuck in the same waiting room the next set did their office work from
    and finally when we had the room full and this last “god” trying to do
    his own office work they all just broke down from the lack of space and
    frenzied, but because they are immortal and all they just kept on
    killing each other and raping each other over and over.

    We can’t see god because he’s constantly being killed by Enki cock-slapping him to death.

  • Guti

    It’s a dangerous wacko, thus kept tied down with endless tiny little strings. The vibration of its last attempt to break free ended up creating 11 dimensions.

  • Edmond

    Oh Hemant, what a terrible way to choose a winner.  This favors the earliest entries, and punishes the late-comers.  Plus, it allows those who are more technically trained to manipulate the numbers.  Even just a random drawing would be fairer.  YOU should judge a winner, or appoint someone to judge, based on humor and cleverness and merit!  Plus, a contest needs a deadline.  That’s a pretty sweet prize, though…

    So I’ll say, He’s really self-conscious of his Big Bang shaped birthmark.

    But my vote goes to Pisk_A_Dausen’s with 42.

    • Palaverer

      This.

  • Anonymous

    Didn’t he die ages ago?

    God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him. How shall we comfort ourselves, the murderers of all murderers? What was holiest and mightiest of all that the world has yet owned has bled to death under our knives: who will wipe this blood off us? What water is there for us to clean ourselves? What festivals of atonement, what sacred games shall we have to invent? Is not the greatness of this deed too great for us? Must we ourselves not become gods simply to appear worthy of it?

    Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Section 125

  • http://godconfusion.com/ Xanthe Wyse

    apparently god can be seen – if you are delusional enough, high on drugs or open to mind suggestion.  Unfortunately, no-one has been able to describe what god looks like (except Ezekiel in the bible who saw god with flaming loins – great balls of fire!)

    • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

      I think I have a cream for that.

  • Anonymous

    We can’t see God because if he were immediately visible to everyone, there would be no need for faith. And if it were not for faith, God wouldn’t exist at all.

  • http://a-million-gods.blogspot.com/ Avicenna

    You can’t see God because you don’t own my patented genuine bonafide Divin-O-vision Goggles. 

    Yes! With the AvicennaTech Divin-o-vision you can see all the mythical beings anytime you want. Need to go leperchaun hunting? The Divin-O-Vision Goggles comes with a handy headband for wearing during high speed chases. Chasing a invisible pink unicorn? The DOG goggles comes with a handy camoflauge pattern so good that it can even hide your lack of virginity! Seeking his Noodliness? The DOGoggles are stain resistant and are machine washable! 
    From Ahura Mazda to Zeus, no matter what your mythical being looks like the Divin-O-Vision Goggles will let you see them! Hurry! For a limited time buying two DOGoggles will get you two DOGoggles for Kids free! For a low low price of just £50 a set! That’s right! You heard me! I am practically giving it away!

    Hurry! While stocks last!

  • Coyotenose

    God is right there before your eyes, Hemant. You just can’t see Him ’cause of all the unicorns in the way.

  • Mudak

    It’s really quite simple: just like one needs to learn to sing from one’s diaphragm (thus avoiding pregnancy and producing beautiful melodies at the same time), one needs to be able to see through one’s nose in order to see god.

  • Reginald Selkirk

    God is hiding because the poorest child in the Kingdom pointed out that God is not wearing any clothes.

  • http://wading-in.net Just Al

    Because he accidentally got locked in Carl Sagan’s garage.

    • Anonymous

      With his dragon.

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Just Al

    He is actually Carlton Your Doorman (bonus to anyone who gets this without looking it up)

  • http://wading-in.net/walkabout Just Al

    [For the physics geeks] Because he’s at L3

  • Anonymous

    @Hemant; you’re deciding this by ‘likes’?  Does the concept of Pharyngulation mean NOTHING to you?

  • Lyn May

    Well, the Men in Black movies stole the idea from God, actually.  When God comes down to answer our prayers or perform miracles or to simply be with his creation, he tells us to, “Look into the light.”  Then before you know what hit you, he’s gone.  Along with any trace that you’d seen him.  His technological gadgets are far superior to our current understanding.  I would explain them but it’d be way over your heads.  So I’ll spare you the embarrassment.

  • http://www.quietatheist.com/ Slugsie

    I can’t detect God because the batteries I use for my God detector are flat after I used them in my BS detector and spent an hour in the Yahoo!Answers Mythology group.

  • Anonymous

    God came to earth once to play skee-ball, got attacked by some demonic thugs in in-line skates carrying hockey sticks and is now trapped inside the body of a man now known as “John Doe Jersey” being kept alive by life support. 

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=875145564 Iain Grant

    Despite being all-powerful, God is very self-conscious about his looks. He goes to incredible lengths to keep himself hidden. Heck, the best he could do for Moses was moon him (Exodus 33:23)

  • TychaBrahe

    Didn’t you see the movie Pi?  I mean, you’re a mathematician. 

    God used to appear to the ancient Hebrews when they chanted a 216-digit number in the holy center of Solomon’s Temple.  However, the Temple was destroyed, the priests killed,  and the number was lost.  Since then God has not been summoned, and some think He is dead.

    Certain mathematical algorithms yield the number.  If you follow them and find it, however, your computer crashes.

  • Ally P

    because he fell asleep on the subway and missed his stop

  • Ally P

    Oh and I could not resist this one- because he is with Gaddaffi- anyone seen the two?

  • http://wading-in.net Just Al

    Thank you, Mario. But your god is in another castle.

    [I know I'm way too late to win, but this one just occurred to me.]

  • http://evolutionguide.blogspot.com/ William

    T0  busy playing with people’s tortillas!

  • http://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=1019238887 Seth Cochran

    I once was told that “grace” was the method that God chose to interact with us and “faith” was the method he chose for us to interact with him, and since he’s sovereign we aren’t able to question God’s decisions per Isaiah 45:9


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