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Michael Egnor: The atheists’ Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence = nonsense

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Neurosurgeon Michael Egnor casts a critical eye on atheist broadcaster Matt Dillahunty’s Divine Hiddenness argument against the existence of God, as aired in a recent

In my recent debate with Matt Dillahunty about the existence of God, Dillahunty invoked his favorite argument against God’s existence — the Divine Hiddenness argument. We didn’t have a chance to go into that argument in detail in the debate, and Dillahunty is unwilling to have any more debates with me (even if he’s paid, apparently). So this is a good forum to look at that argument in more detail.

Michael Egnor, “The Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence = nonsense” at Mind Matters News

In precis, without the logical jargon, this is the argument: If God exists, He would not allow anyone receptive to His existence to remain ignorant of Him. However, there are people receptive to His existence who are ignorant of Him, so He must not exist.

Atheists, as is their wont, misunderstand Divine Hiddenness and turn it into a nonsensical argument against God’s existence.

The Divine Hiddenness argument is nonsensical because divine hiddenness is inherent in the nature of the Creator and the creature, as noted above. Furthermore, the atheist Divine Hiddenness argument seems to imply a bizarre inference: if the disbelief of even one person in the world disproves the existence of God, then it stands to reason that the belief in God by that person — that one holdout — would prove His existence. The atheist Divine Hiddenness argument seems to imply that God’s existence is contingent upon the disbelief of even one recalcitrant atheist. This argument is a precis of atheist arrogance — the atheist argument that God’s existence depends upon atheists’ opinion of Him. Atheists can’t wish Him away that easily.


One wonders if problems like that hastened the collapse of the New Atheist movement — the godlessness that failed.

Takehome: Egnor: God in Himself is immeasurably greater than we are, and He transcends all human knowledge. A God with whom we do not struggle — who is not in some substantial and painful way hidden to us — is not God but is a mere figment of our imagination.

You may also wish to read:

Science can and does point to God’s existence. Michael Egnor: Natural science is not at all methodologically naturalist — it routinely points to causes outside of nature. If we are to understand natural effects, we must be open to all kinds of causes, including causes that transcend nature.

and

Atheist spokesman Matt Dillahunty refuses to debate me again Although he has said that he finds debates “incredibly valuable,” he is — despite much urging — making an exception in this case. Why? For millennia, theists have thought meticulously about God’s existence. New Atheists merely deny any need to make a case. That’s partly why I dumped atheism. (Michael Egnor)

7 Replies to “Michael Egnor: The atheists’ Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence = nonsense

  1. 1
    OldArmy94 says:

    From a Christian perspective, I believe that Scripture teaches us that God has revealed Himself to ALL persons in a variety of ways, most fundamentally in creation itself. Now, you can go into various directions from there (predestination, etc) that probe the depths of how much more God has revealed Himself in all His glory and truth, but the point remains–no man is without excuse, and the Divine Hiddenness argument is a load of codswallop.

  2. 2
    Fasteddious says:

    God’s existence is only hidden if you refuse to look.
    As the Bible says: “The heavens declare the glory of God”, Psalm 19:1, and,
    “For since the creation of the world, God’s invisible qualities … have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made, so that people are without excuse.” Romans 1:20.
    But as Jesus said about unbelievers, “they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.” Luke 16:31.
    To paraphrase Blaise Pascal, there is enough evidence of God’s existence to satisfy those with some faith, but not enough to convince those without.

  3. 3
    kairosfocus says:

    I think the issue is that atheists don’t take seriously the sort of being God is, a necessary, world framework entity. They don’t accept that there are such beings and that such are key to the root of reality. For that I start with duality, two-ness which is at the heart of distinct identity, here of a possible world W, differing from close neighbour W’ due to A, so W = {A|A’}, giving us duality as part of its framework. Try to imagine a distinct world W* where 2 does not exist or begins or ceases, W* is not possible of being. This shows necessary beings in action.

    Then reckon with our rational, responsible freedom and its moral government attested by conscience. Ponder an adequate root for that, that does not collapse into absurdities. You are going to be very close to the inherently good and utterly wise creator God, a necessary and maximally great being.

    Where, pulling back a bit, a serious candidate necessary being either is, or is impossible of being as a square circle is. 50+ years ago atheists commonly thought that God is impossible but Plantinga’s free will defence put that to rest.

    All of this is before we note cosmological fine tuning and how it paves the way for cell based life. Or many other things.

    I think the no evidence gambit fails, indeed it sounds a lot like yet another bit of selective hyperskeptical rhetorical posturing.

    Time for rethinking.

    KF

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    After Dr. Egnor shows that the atheist’s Divine Hiddenness argument is actually a “precis of atheist arrogance” in that if even one atheist disbelieves in God then, according to their argument, that one disbeliever disproves God’s existence, after that straightforward rebuttal of their argument, Dr Egnor then ends his article with this rather impressive list of ways that God can be known, via the intellect, and then he asks atheists, “What is it about God’s existence that you still consider hidden?”

    Consider the ten ways that simple everyday experience provides inexhaustible evidence for His existence:
    Every change in nature proves His existence. Every cause in nature proves His existence. Everything that exists in nature proves His existence. Every degree of perfection in nature proves His existence. Every manifestation of natural design proves His existence. Every realization of possibility in nature proves His existence. Every manifestation of organization in nature proves His existence. Every abstract concept proves His existence. Every reason for anything in nature proves His existence. And every twinge of human conscience proves His existence.
    Natural science provides massive evidence for His existence as well. The Big Bang — i.e., the creation of the universe from nothing in an immense primordial flash of light — is a remarkable confirmation of the beginning of the book of Genesis. Astrophysicists have discovered dozens of physical forces and properties in the universe that must have very specific values to permit human life — and of course these forces and properties do have exactly the values necessary for our existence (as if Someone rigged physics just for us). The DNA in living things is an actual code — in every meaningful sense like a computer code with letters and words, grammar and phrases, sentences and punctuation. And life forms’ intracellular metabolism is run by an astonishingly intricate and elegant system of biological nanotechnology.
    So my question to Dillahunty and to other atheists who endorse the Divine Hiddenness argument against God’s existence is this: What is it about God’s existence that you still consider hidden?”

    I imagine seeing Dr. Egnor doing a ‘pen drop’ after he wrote that passage and then walking off the stage. 🙂
    https://imgur.com/gallery/T8KpfzS

  5. 5

    In my discussions with atheists, it is absolutely clear that they do not accept the reality of anything subjective. Atheists also have problems in dealing with ordinary human emotions, because they are subjective. They don’t only have problems with God.

  6. 6
    AaronS1978 says:

    Isn’t this the same stupid logic that used to justify why We never find aliens they’re so far advanced we can’t detect them

    It’s the same type of silliness that’s more like “good for me but not for the”

    It’s like out atheist don’t believe in angels and demons believe in aliens and trans dimensional beings

    There’s no such thing as supernatural but there’s tons of alternate realities outside of our nature

  7. 7
    Querius says:

    AaronS1978 @6,

    There’s no such thing as supernatural but there’s tons of alternate realities outside of our nature

    Good point!

    -Q

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