Friday, May 8, 2009

Argument from the hiddenness of God

Last update on 2009-09-07.
  1. God is all-powerful, all-knowing and all-good.
  2. God wants all humans to enter in a personal relationship with Him.
  3. If God revealed Himself unmistakably to all humans, they would be more likely to enter in a personal relationship with Him.
  4. There is no good reason for God to stay hidden.
  5. If God doesn't reveal Himself unmistakably to all humans, God does not exist.
  6. God did not reveal Himself unmistakably to all humans.
  7. Therefore, God does not exist.
Some objections that I thought about:
  • About premise 4, it would be like a haunted house if God was constantly and directly appearing to us.
    • I don't think it would. The unmistakable presence of a loving and all-powerful creator would likely be reassuring and comforting instead, which would lead to more believers. Even if we concede that it would be unpleasant, if salvation is the whole meaning of this earthly life and not any kind of an immediate happiness that could be hindered by voices in one's head, then a higher chance of salvation would always outweigh any slight disadvantages of that presence.
  • About premise 3, it isn't certain that the persons that don't believe now would believe with an unmistakable revelation.
    • It might not be certain that all persons would but it certainly seems certain that most persons would. One thing is certain though, it's only possible to enter in any personal relationship if there is no doubt about the existence on that person in the first place. I think the premise is far more plausible than its denial as its denial defies common sense and would require extraordinary justification.
  • About premise 3, we're supposed to believe by faith alone and not by reason.
    • I disagree, let's take Christianity for example. Faith alone doesn't distinguish it from other religions, what really provides warrant to a Christian belief is the historical events of the life of Jesus and his miracles. Faith should still have it's place in this context but without reason to warrant the belief, its focus becomes completely arbitrary.
  • About premise 6, God revealed Himself unmistakably to humans and such revelation is described in the holy book.
    • The geographic and temporal delimitation of the revelation is probably the biggest problem here but even if it wasn't, it's certainly not an unmistakably revelation since it is mistaken as false by the majority of the human population. Also, I think that even the persons that consider the revelation as truly divine, have no solid and unmistakable grounds to presume the supernatural events described in holy books. Furthermore, certainly a God as the one described in the 1st premise would have ways to reveal himself to us in a more personal way, without the need to rely on fallible humans to spread his own word and risk being misinterpreted as he constantly is. We can prove this by the very different interpretations of the same documents even between everyone that consider them as true. From all the means to expose a message that an all-powerful being could choose, means that we might not even be able to imagine with our finite minds, the nature of the one chosen is blatantly inconsistent with the supernatural message it tries to portray. Also, the fact that the revelation only happened a very limited number of times, after many humans that lived and died without ever having a chance to believe in the true God, something that even today happens in remote or poor regions of the world.
  • About premise 3, God already knows if a person will be willing to enter in such relationship if subject to unmistakable revelation and only reveals Himself to those who would.
    • This hypothesis seems extremely ad-hoc. Even if we ignore all the questions it would raise about free-will, God's responsibility for the conditions that determine our disbelief and the purpose of creation of disbelievers, you'd still find an obstacle in most atheists you'll encounter. I, as an atheist, would certainly be willing to enter in such a relationship if I knew that such personal being exists. Also, even if we would concede that such premise is possible, it seems much more unlikely to presume that the majority of the world's population wouldn't be willing to enter such relationship in face of unmistakable revelation than otherwise.
  • About premise 6, God reveals Himself unmistakably to me all the time.
    • Regardless of your personal experience, the argument still stands because God remains hidden from all other people that do not experience that personal relationship with God which proves the point that such God is inconsistent with what is alleged about him (premises 1 and 2) and therefore, such God does not exist.

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