Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason

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In this clearly written and tightly argued book, J. L. Schellenberg addresses a fundamental yet neglected religious problem. If there is a God, he asks, why is his existence not more obvious? Traditionally, theists have claimed that God is hidden in order to account for the fact that the evidence of his existence is as weak as it is. Schellenberg maintains that, given the understanding of God's moral character to which theists are committed, this claim runs into serious difficulty. There are grounds, the author writes, for thinking that the perfectly loving God of theism would not be hidden, that such a God would put the fact of his existence beyond reasonable nonbelief. Since reasonable nonbelief occurs, Schellenberg argues, it follows that there is here an argument of considerable force for atheism. In developing his claim, Schellenberg carefully examines the relevant views of such theists as Pascal, Butler, Kierkegaard, Hick, and others. He clarifies their suggestions concerning Divine hiddenness and shows how they fall short of providing a rebuttal for the argument he presents. That argument, he concludes, poses a serious challenge to theism, to which contemporary theists must seek to respond. The first full-length treatment of its topic, Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason will be of interest to anyone who has sought to reach a conclusion as to God's existence, and especially to theologians and philosophers of religion.
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Editorial Reviews

Asks again the enduring question why God, if one exists, is not more obvious, and has an argument ready when the theists say that God is hidden: the loving God that theists propose would not give followers such a justifiable reason to disbelieve. So there. Of interest to philosophers and theologians who follow the debate, and people who wonder whether God exists. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher
"A tightly argued, superbly crafted and religiously sensitive book. . . . Nobody interested in philosophical issues pertaining to our relation to God can afford to miss it."—Mind

"This book deserves to be seen as the definitive study to date of its subject. That subject is the implications of the lack of clear cut evidence and argument for the existence of God."—Religious Studies

"J. L. Schellenberg has developed the argument from hiddenness against the existence of God in a more thorough way than has ever been done before. I consider this book one of the six or seven most important books on the philosophy of religion published in the last fifteen years."—Richard Swinburne, University of Oxford

"This book is a splendid, illuminating study of Divine hiddenness and its implications for the question of whether the God of traditional theism actually exists."—William L. Rowe, Department of Philosophy, Purdue University

"Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason is a carefully argued, deeply insightful, and richly rewarding book. J. L. Schellenberg singlehandedly turned the problem of divine hiddenness into a major issue in contemporary philosophy of religion."—Paul Draper, Purdue University

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Product Details

Meet the Author

J. L. Schellenberg is Professor of Philosophy at Mount Saint Vincent University and Adjunct Professor in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at Dalhousie University. He is the author of Divine Hiddenness and Human Reason, Prolegomena to a Philosophy of Religion, The Wisdom to Doubt: A Justification of Religious Skepticism, and The Will to Imagine: A Justification of Skeptical Religion, all from Cornell.

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Table of Contents

Introduction 1
Pt. 1 Framing the Argument
1 Some Epistemic Implications of Divine Love 17
2 Is a Strong Epistemic Situation in Relation to Theism Possible? 44
3 The Reasonableness of Nonbelief 58
4 A Summation of the Case 83
Pt. 2 The Force of the Argument
5 Moral Freedom and Its Requirements 95
6 The Importance of Inwardness 131
7 Investigation, Diversity, and Responsibility 168
Conclusion 208
Index 215
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