BSR 7: If God Existed, He Wouldn’t Be so Hidden

BSR 7: If God Existed, He Wouldn’t Be so Hidden April 6, 2020

In an ordinary relationship, the existence of the other person is the last thing you’d question. With God, it’s the first thing.

(These Bite-Size Replies are responses to “Quick Shots,” brief Christian responses to atheist challenges. The introduction to this series is here.)

Challenge to the Christian: If God existed, he wouldn’t be so hidden.

Christian response #1: Maybe God has good reasons. For example, love can’t be coerced, and God might want to step away to allow us to honestly love him rather than fear him.

It’s not a healthy relationship if the other person’s very existence is in doubt, and that Christians want to paper over this glaring problem shows the desperation of their position. The Bible makes clear that knowing God’s existence with certainty shouldn’t be a problem. Moses spoke to God “face to face, as one speaks to a friend.” The same was true for Abraham. The Bible offers no support to the idea that God can’t or won’t make his existence known.

In addition, the gospels tell us that the disciples were with Jesus for three years. Did that coerce their love of Jesus? Was their love not authentic somehow? If not, why can’t we also know that Jesus exists by seeing him?

If God wants a loving relationship, he must earn that love, and a perpetual game of hide and seek isn’t the way to do it. God can either deliberately remain hidden, or he can be eager for a relationship with us. Christians imagine both, but that’s not an option.

“Does the other person exist?” is what no one in a genuine loving relationship ever said, but it’s what honest Christians must ask about their relationship with God. [Click to tweet]

Christian response #2: We can see God, in nature: DNA, the Big Bang, objective moral laws. God is the best explanation for these.

No, God is a terrible explanation. Religion has so far taught us nothing about reality, and this isn’t religion’s lucky day. Far from being God’s signature, DNA is full of junk that no Designer would put in: pseudogenes, snippets of endogenous retrovirus, and DNA that codes for vestigial structures and atavisms. It was Science that taught us about the Big Bang (the unanswered questions that remain aren’t pointing to God). And before Christians can point to objective morality, they must show that (1) it exists and (2) humans can reliably access it. This Christian argument pretends that only a supernatural mind could explain these, but that’s just wishful thinking.

Christians have made “God did it” unfalsifiable, and by answering everything, “God did it” answers nothing. Only by withstanding attacks that could plausibly overturn it can we gain confidence in a hypothesis.

Science has unanswered questions, but this gives no support for the God hypothesis. Scientific conclusions are always provisional. That’s why science is so successful.

Christians have made “God did it” unfalsifiable, but by answering everything, it answers nothing. Scientific conclusions are always provisional, but that’s why science is so successful. [Click to tweet]

Christian response #3: How many times have we misattributed God’s help in our lives as a coincidence, medical misdiagnosis, or close call?

This is a biased question that presupposes God. And look at the trickster they’ve invented. God becomes like the Norse god Loki. When we see something spooky in our lives, maybe that was God. Or maybe it wasn’t. If a bad thing happened, maybe that was God taking a roundabout route to something good. And if a good thing happened, maybe that was Satan’s route to something bad. Nothing is solid in a world with supernatural pranksters lurking in every shadow.

Take a step back and consider the three responses this argument uses to rationalize God’s hiddenness: God must be hidden to make love authentic, God is behind phenomena at the frontier of science, and God is behind daily surprises. The God-as-parent analogy is out the window, and God is no longer someone you could have coffee with. He’s become the clockmaker who’s wound up the clock and is now long gone.

Notice the concession. This argument admits that God is hidden, and these weak arguments are the best that Christians can find to rationalize this odd trait. This evanescent mirage is the loving God you’re to bring your problems to. If God existed and wanted a relationship with us, as we’re assured he does, he’d do it like humans do. He doesn’t because he can’t, and this god is indistinguishable from nonexistent.

If God existed and wanted a relationship with us, as we’re assured he does, he’d do it like humans do. He doesn’t because he can’t. This god is indistinguishable from nonexistent. [Click to tweet]

(The Quick Shot I’m replying to is here.)

Continue to BSR 8: All God Expects of Us Is Sincerity

For further reading:

“I see nobody on the road,” said Alice.
“I only wish I had such eyes,”
the King remarked in a fretful tone.
“To be able to see Nobody!
And at that distance too!”
— Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass

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Image from Vlad Fara, CC license
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