Divine hiddenness and the one sheep

Next to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness has become the most prominent argument for atheism in the current literature. The basic idea is that if God really existed, He would make sure that anyone able and willing to engage in relationship with Him (i.e., who are nonresistant tow...

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Bibliographic Details
Published in:International journal for philosophy of religion
Main Author: Dumsday, Travis
Format: Electronic Article
Language:English
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Published: Springer Science + Business Media B. V [2016]
[publisher not identified]
In: International journal for philosophy of religion
Year: 2016, Volume: 79, Issue: 1, Pages: 69-86
Further subjects:B Belief
B Theism
B Atheism
B Hidden God
B God Proof
B Hiddenness
B Life
B God
B Atheists
Online Access: Volltext (Verlag)
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Summary:Next to the problem of evil, the problem of divine hiddenness has become the most prominent argument for atheism in the current literature. The basic idea is that if God really existed, He would make sure that anyone able and willing to engage in relationship with Him (i.e., who are nonresistant towards Him) would have a rationally indubitable belief in Him at all times (since stable belief is a necessary precondition for a long-term, loving relationship). But as a matter of fact we see that the world includes nonresistant nonbelievers. Therefore God doesn't exist. Here I propose a reply to the problem that shifts focus from the nonresistant nonbelievers to those who are resistant. I claim (along with Morris (Making sense of it all: Pascal and the meaning of life. Eerdmans, Grand Rapids, ), Howard-Snyder (Can J Philos 26:433-453, ), and others) that for many such people, having God's reality forced upon them unwillingly might result in significant spiritual/moral harm, inhibiting their ability to develop a positive relationship with God. (I also respond to Schellenberg's (Relig Stud 41:201-215, ) general critique of any strategy that references the notion of God's proper non-revelation to the resistant.) If this is true, it could help explain why God refrains from revealing Himself in a rationally indubitable manner not only to the resistant, but even to the nonresistant. Why? Because it may be that under present circumstances God is actually more concerned about the welfare of the resistant than of the willing; and revealing Himself to all of the willing could actually result in the truth of theism being forced on the resistant.
ISSN:1572-8684
Contains:Enthalten in: International journal for philosophy of religion
Persistent identifiers:DOI: 10.1007/s11153-015-9537-y