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“Divine Hiddenness” in contemporary philosophy of religion may refer to the supposed fact that the existence of God is less than obvious, or to an argument against theism based on this supposed fact. The argument begins with the observation that many people of apparently good will and at least average intelligence have investigated the claims of theism, and yet still do not believe that God exists. Suppose, as many theists do, that the greatest human good is found in a personal relationship with God. Not believing that God exists seems an obvious barrier to such a relationship; but many of those who do not believe in God seem morally and epistemically blameless in their lack of belief. If the God of theism—an omniscient, omnipotent, and perfectly good personal being—did exist, then surely those who genuinely seek God would find God: an omnipotent God would be capable of providing clear self-revelation to those who genuinely seek, and a perfectly good God would want to provide such revelation. That so many of those who do seek or have sought God persist in unbelief is therefore itself evidence that God does not exist. Or so claims the advocate of the “argument from divine hiddenness.” Some philosophers have responded by argued that “the problem of divine hiddenness” is simply a special case of the more general problem of evil, adding nothing new to the case against the existence of God, nor any new challenge to extant responses to the problem of evil. For example, it could be that there is some outweighing good that can only be obtained by God allowing blameless disbelief to continue in a person’s life. Other philosophers have argued that a good God might provide only “purposive evidence”; i.e., evidence that may only be made available to one if it would accomplish God’s purpose in one’s life (e.g., that one would respond to the evidence not just by believing that God exists, but also by loving and obeying God).  

Key works Seminal work on the atheistic argument from divine hiddenness was done by J. L. Schellenberg (Schellenberg 1993). A volume of essays on the topic was edited by Daniel Howard-Snyder and Paul Moser (Howard-Snyder & Moser 2001). Schellenberg revisited the argument and responses to it in his book The Wisdom to Doubt (Schellenberg 2007). A collection of new essays, Hidden Divinity and Religious Belief (Green & Stump 2016), was published in January 2016.
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  1. added 2019-09-27
    "Esau I Hated: Levinas on the Ethics of God's Absence.Kevin Houser - 2016 - Listening: Journal of Communication Ethics, Religion, and Culture 2 (50).
    Emmanuel Levinas objects to traditional theodicy. But his objection to theodicy is so untraditional that God’s existence is incidental to it. The primary problem with theodicy, he argues, is not evidential but ethical. The primary problem with theodicy is not that its claims are false, but that its claims are offensive. In laying out Levinas's unusual view, I first sketch out the specifically ethical nature of theodicy’s offense: failing to acknowledge suffering. Next I discuss Levinas unusual account of this suffering, (...)
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  2. added 2019-06-06
    Review of Paul K. Moser’s The Elusive God: Reorienting Religious Epistemology: New York: Cambridge University Press, 2008, 292 + Xi Pp., ISBN 978-0-521-88903-2, Hb. [REVIEW]Stephen Maitzen - 2010 - Sophia 49 (1):149-151.
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  3. added 2019-06-06
    The Triumph of God Over Evil: Theodicy for a World of Suffering. [REVIEW]Bruce R. Reichenbach - 2010 - Faith and Philosophy 27 (2):212-218.
    I review two contrasting books. Whereas Hasker constructs what he takes to be a successful theodicy, invoking an eschatology where there will be a world of fulfilled human lives engulfed in intimacy with God, Keller undertakes a critique not only of the free-will/soul-making theodicy, but of a more broadly conceived problem of evil, including issues of divine hiddenness and miracles.
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  4. added 2019-06-06
    Schellenberg on Divine Hiddenness and Religious Scepticism: MARK L. McCREARY.Mark L. Mccreary - 2010 - Religious Studies 46 (2):207-225.
    J. L. Schellenberg has constructed major arguments for atheism based on divine hiddenness in two separate works. This paper reviews these arguments and highlights how they are grounded in reflections on perfect divine love. However, Schellenberg also defends what he calls the ‘subject mode’ of religious scepticism. I argue that if one accepts Schellenberg's scepticism, then the foundation of his divine-hiddenness arguments is undermined by calling into question some of his conclusions regarding perfect divine love. In other words, if his (...)
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  5. added 2019-06-06
    Response to Tucker on Hiddenness: J. L. SCHELLENBERG.J. L. Schellenberg - 2008 - Religious Studies 44 (3):289-293.
    Chris Tucker's paper on the hiddenness argument seeks to turn aside a way of defending the latter which he calls the value argument. But the value argument can withstand Tucker's criticisms. In any case, an alternative argument capable of doing the same job is suggested by his own emphasis on free will.
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  6. added 2019-06-06
    McHugh’s Expectations Dashed.Theodore M. Drange - 2002 - Philo 5 (2):242-248.
    In “A Refutation of Drange’s Arguments from Evil and Nonbelief”, Christopher McHugh posed his so-calledExpectations Defense against versions of the Argument from Evil and Argument from Nonbelief that appear in my book Nonbelief & Evil. I here raise objections to his defense.
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  7. added 2019-06-05
    Paul K. Moser The Elusive God: Reorienting Religious Epistemology. . Pp. Xi+292. £45.00 . ISBN 978 0 521 88903 2.John Bishop - 2009 - Religious Studies 45 (4):504.
  8. added 2019-06-05
    Toward a Robust Natural Theology.Garrett DeWeese - 2001 - Philosophia Christi 3 (1):113-117.
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  9. added 2019-05-17
    A Grotesque in the Garden, by Hud Hudson. [REVIEW]Matthew A. Benton - 2019 - Faith and Philosophy 36 (2):271-275.
  10. added 2019-05-04
    The Hidden Love of God and the Imaging Defense.Sameer Yadav - forthcoming - In James M. Arcadi, Oliver D. Crisp & Jordan Wessling (eds.), Love, Human and Divine: Contemporary Essays in Systematic and Philosophical Theology. New York, NY, USA:
    J. L. Schellenberg has recently argued that there is a logical incompatibility between God’s being perfectly loving and there being non-resistant nonbelievers in the proposition that God exists. In this paper I highlight the parallel between this claim and the claim made by the logical problem of evil. Following Plantinga’s strategy in undermining the logical problem of evil, I argue that all that is needed to undermine the alleged incompatibility of divine love with non-resistant non-belief is a counterexample showing how (...)
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  11. added 2018-11-13
    Undermining the Axiological Solution to Divine Hiddenness.Perry Hendricks & Kirk Lougheed - 2019 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 86 (1):3-15.
    Lougheed argues that a possible solution to the problem of divine hiddenness is that God hides in order to increase the axiological value of the world. In a world where God exists, the goods associated with theism necessarily obtain. But Lougheed also claims that in such a world it’s possible to experience the goods of atheism, even if they don’t actually obtain. This is what makes a world with a hidden God more valuable than a world where God is unhidden, (...)
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  12. added 2018-11-03
    Religious Disagreement and Divine Hiddenness.Jon Matheson - 2018 - Philosophia Christi 20 (1):215-225.
    In this paper, I develop and respond to a novel objection to Conciliatory Views of disagreement. Having first explained Conciliationism and the problem of divine hiddenness, I develop an objection that Conciliationism exacerbates the problem of divine hiddenness. According to this objection, Conciliationism increases God’s hiddenness in both its scope and severity, and is thus incompatible with God’s existence (or at least make God’s existence quite improbable). I respond to this objection by showing that the problem of divine hiddenness is (...)
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  13. added 2018-10-19
    The Problems of Divine Hiddenness and Divine Inscrutability.Dan Linford - forthcoming - In Graham Oppy & Joseph W. Koterski (eds.), Theism and Atheism: Opposing Viewpoints in Philosophy. Cengage.
    This is a forthcoming section for the book "Theism and Atheism: Opposing Arguments in Philosophy", edited by Graham Oppy, Gregory Dawes, Evan Fales, Joseph Koterski, Mashhad Al-Allaf, Robert Fastiggi, and David Shatz. I was asked to write a brief essay on divine hiddenness and divine inscrutability. I argue that theism is trapped between two opposite poles. On one end, we encounter an argument developed by John Schellenberg. God is understood as a being who, in virtue of God's perfect love, would (...)
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  14. added 2018-10-17
    Idolatry, Indifference, and the Scientific Study of Religion: Two New Humean Arguments.Daniel Linford - 2018 - Religious Studies:1-21.
    We utilize contemporary cognitive and social science of religion to defend a controversial thesis: the human cognitive apparatus gratuitously inclines humans to religious activity oriented around entities other than the God of classical theism. Using this thesis, we update and defend two arguments drawn from David Hume: (i) the argument from idolatry, which argues that the God of classical theism does not exist, and (ii) the argument from indifference, which argues that if the God of classical theism exists, God is (...)
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  15. added 2018-10-03
    “Scorsese’s Silence: Film as Practical Theodicy”.Ian Deweese-Boyd - 2017 - Journal of Religion and Film 21 (2).
    Martin Scorsese’s adaptation of Shusako Endo’s novel Silence takes up the anguished experience of God’s silence in the face of human su-ering. .e main character, the Jesuit priest Sabastião Rodrigues, /nds his faith gu0ed by the appalling silence of God. Yujin Nagasawa calls the particularly intense combination of the problems of divine hiddenness and evil the problem of divine absence. Drawing on the thought of Jesuit founder, Ignatius of Loyola, this essay will explores the way Scorsese’s Silence might enable viewers (...)
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  16. added 2018-10-03
    “Lyric Theodicy: Gerard Manley Hopkins and the Problem of Hiddenness”.Ian Deweese-Boyd - 2015 - In Adam Green & Eleonore Stump (eds.), Hidden Divinity and Religious Belief. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. pp. 260-277.
    The nineteenth century English Jesuit poet, Gerard Manley Hopkins struggled throughout his life with desolation over what he saw as a spiritually, intellectually and artistically unproductive life. During these periods, he experienced God’s absence in a particularly intense way. As he wrote in one sonnet, “my lament / Is cries countless, cries like dead letters sent / To dearest him that lives alas! away.” What Hopkins faced was the existential problem of suffering and hiddenness, a problem widely recognized by analytic (...)
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  17. added 2018-06-19
    Is God Hidden, Or Does God Simply Not Exist?Ian M. Church - 2017 - In Mark Harris & Duncan Pritchard (eds.), Philosophy, Science and Religion for Everyone. New York, USA: Routledge. pp. 62-70.
    In this chapter: I distinguish the existential problem of divine hiddenness from the evidential problem of divine hiddenness. The former being primarily concerned with the apparent hiddenness of a personal God in the lives of believers amidst terrible suffering. The latter being primarily concerned with the apparent hiddenness of God being evidence against God’s existence. In the first section, I highlight the basic contours of the evidential problem of divine hiddenness, and suggested that the argument rests on two important assumptions: (...)
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  18. added 2018-06-04
    Desiring the Hidden God: Knowledge Without Belief.Julian Perlmutter - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):51--64.
    For many people, the phenomenon of divine hiddenness is so total that it is far from clear to them that God exists at all. Reasonably enough, they therefore do not believe that God exists. Yet it is possible, whilst lacking belief in God’s reality, nonetheless to see it as a possibility that is both realistic and attractive; and in this situation, one will likely want to be open to the considerable benefits that would be available if God were real. In (...)
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  19. added 2018-05-11
    The Elusive God. By Paul Moser: Book Reviews. [REVIEW]John Sullivan - 2009 - Heythrop Journal 50 (3):562-563.
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  20. added 2017-03-12
    Natural Nonbelief as a Necessary Means to a Life of Choiceworthy Meaning.Vandergriff Kevin - 2016 - Open Theology 2:34-52.
    Many have thought that certain types and distributions of apparent nonresistant nonbelief in the world are among the best reasons to think naturalism is more probable than theism. Jason Marsh has argued that one specific type of nonresistant nonbelief, called natural nonbelief in early humans, supports naturalism over theism. However, I will argue that it is epistemically possible that God has a morally sufficient reason for permitting natural nonbelief in early humans. First, according to Axiarchism, God’s goal for physical reality (...)
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  21. added 2017-02-17
    Wagering Against Divine Hiddenness.Elizabeth Jackson - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):85-108.
    J.L. Schellenberg argues that divine hiddenness provides an argument for the conclusion that God does not exist, for if God existed he would not allow non-resistant non-belief to occur, but non-resistant non-belief does occur, so God does not exist. In this paper, I argue that the stakes involved in theistic considerations put pressure on Schellenberg’s premise that non-resistant non-belief occurs. First, I specify conditions for someone’s being a resistant non-believer. Then, I argue that many people fulfill these conditions because, given (...)
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  22. added 2017-02-15
    The Severity of God: Religion and Philosophy Reconceived. By Paul K. Moser. Pp. Vii, 218, NY, Cambridge University Press, 2013, $29.99/£18.99. [REVIEW]Charles Guth - 2015 - Heythrop Journal 56 (1):157-158.
  23. added 2017-02-09
    On "A Molinist-Style Response to Schellenberg" by Michael Thune.J. P. McBrayer - 2006 - Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (2):71-76.
  24. added 2017-02-09
    Nonbelief and Evil.Charles Echelbarger - 2004 - Philosophy Now 47:42-43.
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  25. added 2017-02-06
    Heschel, Hiddenness, and the God of Israel.Joshua Blanchard - 2016 - European Journal for Philosophy of Religion 8 (4):109-124.
    Drawing on the writings of the Jewish thinker, Abraham Joshua Heschel, I defend a partial response to the problem of divine hiddenness. A Jewish approach to divine love includes the thought that God desires meaningful relationship not only with individual persons, but also with communities of persons. In combination with John Schellenberg’s account of divine love, the admission of God’s desire for such relationships makes possible that a person may fail to believe that God exists not because of any individual (...)
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  26. added 2017-02-02
    Divine Hiddenness in the Christian Tradition.Edgar Danielyan - manuscript
    A critique of J. L. Schellenberg's argument from Divine Hiddenness: Schellenberg's conclusion that since apparently there are 'capable inculpable non-believers in God' the cognitive problem of divine hiddenness is actually an argument for the non-existence of God. Schellenberg's conclusion seems at least partly based on his misunderstanding or disregard of significant aspects of the Judeo-Christian tradition and certain assumptions, especially regarding nature of religious belief as well as primacy and instrumentality of reason. I suggest that given the kind of God (...)
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  27. added 2017-02-02
    “Breaking Down the Walls That Divide”: Virtue and Warrant, Belief and Nonbelief.J. L. Schellenberg - 2004 - Faith and Philosophy 21 (2):195-213.
    In this paper I argue that moral virtue is sometimes causally necessary both for theistic belief and for nonbelief. I then argue for some further connectionsbetween these results and the Calvinist view, recently revived in the philosophy of religion, according to which theistic belief is typically warranted and all those who dissent from such belief persist in their nonbelief because of sin. Specifically, I maintain that the virtue of belief militates against its being warranted, and that the virtue of nonbelief (...)
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  28. added 2017-01-31
    Divine Hiddenness, Greater Goods, and Accommodation.Luke Teeninga - 2017 - Sophia 56 (4):589-603.
    J.L. Schellenberg argues that one reason to think that God does not exist is that there are people who fail to believe in Him through no fault of their own. If God were all loving, then He would ensure that these people had evidence to believe in Him so that they could enter into a personal relationship with Him. God would not remain ‘hidden’. But in the world, we actually do find people who fail to believe that God exists, and (...)
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  29. added 2017-01-30
    Paul Moser: The Severity of God: Religion and Philosophy Reconceived.Jacob L. Goodson - 2015 - Faith and Philosophy 32 (4):474-478.
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  30. added 2017-01-29
    A Reply To Paul K. Moser’s “Divine Hiding”.Stephen T. Davis - 2001 - Philosophia Christi 3 (1):109-112.
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  31. added 2017-01-27
    The Evidence for Paul Moser.Charles Taliaferro - 2012 - Philosophia Christi 14 (2):285-290.
    Moser’s dismissal of natural theology as a matter of “spectator” evidence is questioned, as is Moser’s reservations about the possibility of impartial philosophical inquiry. Some assistance from natural theology can help Moser meet some of his critics’ objections. A worry that is noted concerns whether Moser’s stress on the centrality of personal repentance and transformation in religious epistemology may blur the line between philosophy and apologetics.
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  32. added 2017-01-27
    If “Personifying Evidence” Is the Answer, What Is the Question? A Response to Paul Moser.Harold Netland - 2012 - Philosophia Christi 14 (2):291-304.
    Paul Moser’s creative and significant proposal concerning “personifying evidence of God” is examined in relation to three questions: Given a commitment to robust Christian theism, what would an explicitly Christian account of religious epistemology look like? Why should one accept the claims of Christian theism as true rather than those of atheism? Given our awareness of widespread religious diversity and disagreement why should one accept the claims of Christian theism as true? The essay argues that Moser’s proposal is most plausible (...)
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  33. added 2017-01-27
    Nonbelief Vs. Lack of Evidence: Two Atheologlcal Arguments.Theodore M. Drange - 1998 - Philo 1 (1):105-114.
    Here are two atheological arguments, called the “Lack-of-evidence Argument” and “the Argument from Nonbelief” . LEA: Probably, if God were to exist then there would be good objective evidence for that. But there is no good objective evidence for God’s existence. Therefore, probably God does not exist. ANB: Probably, if God were to exist then there would not be many nonbelievers in the world. But there are many nonbelievers in the world. Therefore, probably God does not exist. Reasons are given (...)
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  34. added 2017-01-27
    The Hidden God: How Do We Know That God Exists. [REVIEW]W. M. - 1966 - Review of Metaphysics 20 (2):379-379.
    An attempt to argue apodictically for the existence of a provident Creator in the spirit, but not the letter of Aquinas. Attempted proofs which depend on Platonic ontology, including Thomas' Fourth Way, are rejected outright, along with other considerations which are considered to have psychological, but not logical force, such as the widespread belief in God. Thomas' other four proofs, described as of the cosmological type, in distinction from the author's metaphysical proof, are criticized, not for being fallacious inferences, but (...)
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  35. added 2017-01-26
    Reply to Moser.”.J. Schellenberg - 2004 - In Michael L. Peterson & Raymond J. VanArragon (eds.), Contemporary Debates in Philosophy of Religion. Blackwell. pp. 54--56.
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  36. added 2017-01-23
    The Hidden God.M. W. - 1966 - Review of Metaphysics 20 (2):379-379.
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  37. added 2017-01-22
    A Molinist-Style Response to Schellenberg.Michael Thune - 2006 - Southwest Philosophy Review 22 (1):33-41.
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  38. added 2017-01-21
    Review of Paul K. Moser, The Evidence for God: Religious Knowledge Reexamined[REVIEW]Thomas D. Senor - 2011 - Notre Dame Philosophical Reviews 2011 (1).
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  39. added 2017-01-17
    The Dark Knight of the Soul: Weaning and the Problem of Divine Withdrawal.Joshua Cockayne - 2018 - Religious Studies 54 (1):73-90.
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  40. added 2017-01-17
    Who You Could Have Known: Divine Hiddenness, Epistemic Counterfactuals, and the Recalcitrant Nature of Natural Theology.Brandon L. Rickabaugh & Derek L. McAllister - 2017 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 82 (3):337-348.
    We argue there is a deep conflict in Paul Moser’s work on divine hiddenness. Moser’s treatment of DH adopts a thesis we call SEEK: DH often results from failing to seek God on His terms. One way in which people err, according to Moser, is by trusting arguments of traditional natural theology to lead to filial knowledge of God. We argue that Moser’s SEEK thesis commits him to the counterfactual ACCESS: had the atheist sought after God in harmony with how (...)
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  41. added 2017-01-17
    Divine Hiddenness and Alienation.Travis Dumsday - 2017 - Heythrop Journal 58 (4).
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  42. added 2017-01-17
    Hiddenness, Holiness, and Impurity.Brent G. Kyle - 2017 - Religious Studies 53 (2):239-259.
    John Schellenberg has advanced the hiddenness argument against God’s existence, based on the idea that an all-loving God would seek personal relationships. This article develops a reply to Schellenberg’s argument by examining the notion of moral impurity, as understood by Paul the Apostle. Paul conceptualized moral impurity as a causal state that transfers from person to person, like a contagious disease. He also believed that moral impurity precludes divine–human relationship. The goal of this article is to develop these ideas into (...)
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  43. added 2017-01-17
    Divine Hiddenness and Spiritual Autism.Michael T. McFall - 2017 - Heythrop Journal 58 (5).
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  44. added 2017-01-17
    The Problem of Divine Hiddenness.Travis Dumsday - 2016 - American Catholic Philosophical Quarterly 90 (3):395-413.
    The problem of divine hiddenness is, along with the problem of evil, one of the two principal arguments for atheism in the current literature. Very roughly: If God really existed, then He would make His reality rationally indubitable to everyone. Since that hasn’t happened, God does not exist. Among the many replies made to this argument, a basic distinction might be drawn between those made from within generic theism, and those made from within a definite faith tradition and employing the (...)
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  45. added 2017-01-17
    The Hiddenness Argument: Philosophy’s New Challenge to Belief in God, by J. L. Schellenberg. [REVIEW]Chris Tucker - 2016 - Faith and Philosophy 33 (4):500-506.
    I provide a book review of Schellenberg's book, The Hiddenness Argument.
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  46. added 2017-01-17
    Why the Problem of Evil Undermines the Problem of Divine Hiddenness.Travis Dumsday - 2016 - Religious Studies 52 (4):525-544.
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  47. added 2017-01-17
    The Severity of God: Religion and Philosophy Reconceived.Paul K. Moser - 2013 - Cambridge University Press.
    This book explores the role of divine severity in the character and wisdom of God, and the flux and difficulties of human life in relation to divine salvation. Much has been written on problems of evil, but the matter of divine severity has received relatively little attention. Paul K. Moser discusses the function of philosophy, evidence and miracles in approaching God. He argues that if God's aim is to extend without coercion His lasting life to humans, then commitment to that (...)
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  48. added 2017-01-17
    Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason.Stephen Maitzen & J. L. Schellenberg - 1995 - Philosophical Review 104 (1):153.
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  49. added 2017-01-16
    Evolutionary Religion. [REVIEW]Joshua C. Thurow - 2016 - International Journal for the Study of Skepticism 6 (4).
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  50. added 2017-01-16
    Elie Wiesel, Hasidism and the Hiddenness of God.Jonathan Gorsky - 2004 - New Blackfriars 85 (996):133-143.
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