Religious Studies



Divine hiddenness and the demographics of theism


STEPHEN MAITZEN a1
a1 Department of Philosophy, Acadia University, Wolfville, Nova Scotia B4P 2R6, Canada

Article author query
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Abstract

According to the much-discussed argument from divine hiddenness, God's existence is disconfirmed by the fact that not everyone believes in God. The argument has provoked an impressive range of theistic replies, but none has overcome – or, I suggest, could overcome – the challenge posed by the uneven distribution of theistic belief around the world, a phenomenon for which naturalistic explanations seem more promising. The ‘demographics of theism’ confound any explanation of why non-belief is always blameworthy or of why God allows blameless non-belief. They also cast doubt on the existence of a sensus divinitatis: the awareness of God that Reformed epistemologists claim is innate in all normal human beings. Finally, the demographics make the argument from divine hiddenness in some ways a better atheological argument than the more familiar argument from evil.

(Published Online April 7 2006)