Divine hiddenness and the opiate of the people

International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 76 (2):193-207 (2014)
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The problem of divine hiddenness has become one of the most prominent arguments for atheism in the current philosophy of religion literature. Schellenberg (Divine hiddenness and human reason 1993), one of the problem’s prominent advocates, holds that the only way to prevent completely the occurrence of nonresistant nonbelief would be for God to have granted all of us a constant awareness of Him (or at least a constant availability of such awareness) from the moment we achieved the age of reason. Now, if that were the case, we might be faced with a difficult obstacle to the development of a proper, meaningful relationship with God: namely, since the experience of God would be so unutterably wonderful (at least for some), we could be at risk of coming to commune with God not from love of Him but for the amazing experience that that communion involves. In other words, given that mystical union with infinite perfection is, qua experience, inconceivably better than that of any drug, we might come to treat God as something analogous to a powerful narcotic, seeking the experience for the pleasure of the experience more than from any devotion. Since God wants to foster genuinely meaningful relationship with Him, He rightly delays granting us such awareness of Himself, even though that leaves open the risk that nonresistant nonbelief could arise



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Travis Dumsday
Concordia University of Edmonton

Citations of this work

Hiddenness of God.Daniel Howard-Snyder & Adam Green - 2016 - Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy.
Divine hiddenness and the one sheep.Travis Dumsday - 2016 - International Journal for Philosophy of Religion 79 (1):69-86.
Who Must Benefit 1 f rom Divine Hiddenness?Luke Teeninga - 2019 - Res Philosophica 96 (3):329-345.

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The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 2004 - Oxford University Press.
The Existence of God.Richard Swinburne - 2004 - Oxford University Press UK.
Providence and the Problem of Evil.Richard Swinburne - 1998 - Oxford University Press UK.
The Problem of Evil.Peter van Inwagen - 2007 - Philosophical Quarterly 57 (229):696-698.

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