How hidden is God? The evidence: Loss of belief Millions have no awareness of God Believers sense Gods presence obscurely Abundance of explanations for Gods hiddenness Preoccupation of theists with arguments for Gods existence God is hidden to virtually all within certain cultures
Why would God choose to make belief difficult? Has God sacrificed goods of clarity for goods of mystery?
Explanations for Gods hiddenness Human defectiveness theories Divine transcendence theories Hiddenness is a means to producing goods of mystery.
If the existence and nature of God were obvious Atheism would be irrational All rational people would be theists. This is not the case. Given the hiddenness of God, how should we respond to religious diversity?
Three Types of Theory Responding to Religious Diversity Religious Exclusivism E.g., Alvin Plantinga Religious Inclusivism E.g., Karl Rahner Religious Pluralism Eg., John Hick
Religious Exclusivism Key claim: One religion is exclusively correct. Its claims are exclusively true. If the claims of other religions contradict these, then the claims of the other religion must be false. It alone offers a way to salvation. Problems…
Religious Inclusivism One religion has the monopoly of religious truth-claims. However, salvation may be available through alternative traditions – despite their false claims. Problems…
Religious Pluralism Key claim: All major religious traditions are authentic. Different forms of religious pluralism: The most influential is John Hicks.
The key claims of Hickean pluralism Each world religion has its own phenomenal reality. Since each world religion has its own phenomenal reality, the claims of one world religion do not conflict with those of another world religion. Each world religion is a response to the same thing: The Real. Responding to this phenomenal reality is, so far as we can tell, equally effective in each world religion.
What does this entail? Each world religion is equally valid.
Problems with Hickean Pluralism Truth Experience Appropriateness of responses Religious language