Divine Hiddenness

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    Henry, Douglas V.

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    Does Reasonable Nonbelief Exist?

    "J. L. Schellenberg’s Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason claims that the existence of reflective persons who long to solve the problem of God’s existence but cannot do so constitutes an evil rendering God’s existence improbable. In this essay, I present Schellenberg’s argument and argue that the kind of reasonable nonbelief Schellenberg needs for his argument to succeed is unlikely to exist. Since Schellenberg’s argument is an inductive-style version of the problem of evil, the empirical improbability of the premise I challenge renders the conclusions derived from it empirically improbable as well."
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    Howard-Snyder, Daniel

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    Hiddenness of God

    "Many people are perplexed that God (if such there be) does not make His existence more evident. For many of them, the hiddenness of God puts their faith in God to the test. Others, however, claim that God’s hiddeness is the basis of an argument against God’s existence. While this claim is no newcomer to religious reflection, it has been the focus of renewed debate since the 1990’s. Two preliminary observations are in order. First, the God in question is the God of traditional theism, a personal God who is unsurpassably good. Second, the 'hiddenness of God' is an inapt term to use in an argument for the conclusion that there is no God since God is hidden only if there is a God; the term 'inculpable nonbelief' is better. At a first approximation, the argument is that there are people who, through no fault of their own, lack belief that God exists; thus, since there is a God only if there is no inculpable nonbelief, there is no God."
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    Howard-Snyder, Daniel

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    Review: Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason by John Schellenberg

    Howard-Snyder's review of the best presentation of the atheistic argument from divine hiddenness in print.
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    Howard-Snyder, Daniel

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    The Argument from Divine Hiddenness

    “[A]…properly qualified expectation that God will bring it about that we reasonably believe that He exists does not warrant an argument for atheism on the basis of divine hiddenness.”
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    Kvanvig, Jonathan L.

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    Divine Hiddenness: What is the Problem?

    "Once we restrict our discussion to objective construals, there is no good reason for thinking that there is any epistemic problem at all regarding the hiddenness of God. Because of its epiphenomenal character, it is not a piece of information that affects the epistemic scales regarding theism at all."
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    Moser, Paul K.

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    Divine Hiddenness, Death, and Meaning

    "For the person eager to follow God’s ways, the available evidence is subtle but adequate. It is subtle in order to keep people humble, free of prideful triumphalism of the kind that destroys community. In our pride, we would readily turn a conveniently available God into a self-serving commodity. This tendency prompted Jesus to say that 'it’s an evil generation that seeks for a sign' (Matt. 16:4). The evidence available to us fits with the curriculum of death: the aim is to teach us to trust the One who alone can save us from death and corruption."
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    Moser, Paul K.

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    Why Isn't God More Obvious: Finding the God Who Hides and Seeks

    "Somebody once asked atheist Bertrand Russell what he would say if after death he met God. Russell’s reply: 'God, you gave us insufficient evidence.' This reply captures an attitude of many people, including theists as well as atheists and agnostics. Why isn’t God more obvious? If God exists, why doesn’t God give us 'sufficient evidence' of God’s existence? We shall see that God does indeed supply sufficient decisive evidence. The decisive evidence supplied is, however, profoundly different from what we naturally expect."
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    Moser, Paul K.

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    Cognitive Idolatry and Divine Hiding

    "It would be question begging to portray divine hiddenness as falsifying widespread religious experience of God’s reality. Divine hiddenness facing some people at some times, or even some people at all past and present times, does not underwrite divine hiddenness relative to all people at all times. So there is no clear defensible way to generalize on actual cases of divine hiddenness to encompass all people. A generalized argument for atheism or agnosticism, then, seems not to emerge from divine hiddenness."
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    Murray, Michael J.

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    Deus Absconditus

    "Theists have often argued that morally significant freedom is a good (indeed, a very good) thing. Thus, in creating the world, God would seek to establish conditions that would permit the existence of such freedom. A variety of such conditions are necessary, but among them is that there not be overwhelmingly powerful incentives present in the environment which consistently coerce or otherwise force creatures to follow a particular course of action.Theists have, at least of late, lain a great deal of explanatory weight on the need to preserve creaturely freedom. Here I will attempt to lay the explanation of divine hiddenness there."
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    Murray, Michael J.

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    Coercion and the Hiddenness of God

    “What I have shown then is that it is possible to view the problem of the hiddenness of God as a species of the problem of evil and to apply relevant theodicies for evil to this problem. In particular, it seems that to preserve the exercise of robust, morally significant free-will, God cannot provide grand-scale, firework displays in an effort to make His existence known. Further, free creatures may hinder attempts by God to reveal Himself on a more individual basis by human defectiveness understood in terms of willful rejection of revelatory evidence. Finally, the fact that God sometimes utilizes "hardening of hearts" as a means of punishment for sins provides another explanation for the fact that evidence for God’s existence appears to be ambiguous at best.”
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    Pardi, Paul

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    The Argument from Nonbelief : A Rejoinder

    "In his book, Nonbelief and Evil, Theodore Drange presents an argument against the truth of the existence of God. In this argument, which he calls the Argument from Nonbelief, he claims that the fact that all people do not believe the gospel message before they die provides grounds for denying that the Christian God exists. I will attempt to show that there are good reasons to deny that this inference goes through. I will argue that given the nature of free persons, it is not within the set of logically possible states of affairs that God is able to actualize. Further, I believe Drange has an inadequate understanding of religious belief that should be rejected and replaced with a more robust formulation. My treatment will be a rejoinder only--I will not attempt to argue positively for the truth of the existence of the God of evangelicalism."
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    Poston, Ted and Trent Dougherty

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    Divine Hiddenness and the Nature of Belief

    "In this paper we argue that attention to the intricacies relating to belief illustrate crucial difficulties with Schellenberg’s hiddenness argument. This issue has been only tangentially discussed in the literature to date. Yet we judge this aspect of Shellenberg’s argument deeply significant. We claim that focus on the nature of belief manifests a central flaw in the hiddenness argument. Additionally, attention to doxastic subtleties provides important lessons about the nature of faith."