A quick note on 'doing philosophy' and my Divine Hiddenness posts

On this blog, I often evaluate arguments, respond to arguments, and consider various ideas I might not believe. This is what some might call 'doing philosophy.' Sometimes, additionally, I open posts with pictures or ideas that might not necessarily reflect what I believe, but rather fit the theme of the post. While I indeed make many arguments within this blog, not every post is an argument. Many of my posts, in fact, have the tag 'Responding to Arguments.' Some of these 'responding to arguments' posts contain arguments I am making and responses to arguments and some do not.

For example, in a recent post of mine, "Divine Hiddenness and Free Will," I don't even make an argument, but rather survey an issue and note what other people tend to think about an issue. Starting the post, I wrote,

Atheists (and theists) wonder why -- since it is the case that theists profess God wants everyone to believe he exists – God simply doesn't unequivocally reveal himself so that persons can 'enter into a relationship' with God, no longer doubt, stop fighting one another because of religious differences, and go to Heaven. An all-powerful, all-loving, and all-knowing god should have no problem revealing himself to persons and should want to do so considering he is all-loving [he wants persons to avoid Hell and enter into Heaven]. Why, then, doesn't God just stop playing hide-and-seek and reveal himself?

Here, there is no argument, but rather an introductory paragraph saying "Atheists (and theists) wonder why..." I did not make an argument here, but rather wrote about an issue persons consider. This should be quite obvious because I type "Atheists (and theists)." Further, when considering the rest of the post, I never argued that God revealing himself would cause people to "no longer doubt." In fact, I did argue that there still would be doubt if God revealed himself because some persons would not just immediately accept God's existence.

I wrote,

I and many other atheists are aware that even if a, say, 400 foot Jesus were to march through the skies and mountains were to spin around in the sky, there would still be reasons to be skeptical. Perhaps some advanced alien technology that we are unaware of is causing us to imagine that the event is happening or the display itself is the result of such technology. If I were to see something that did not seem to adhere with what I currently know about the universe, I wouldn't immediately jump to the conclusion that God exists. I'd approach this matter very carefully and would not jump to conclusions.

The post on Divine Hiddenness and Free Will mainly concerned the responses theists give to answer the problem of divine hiddenness. Despite this being quite obvious, not all persons saw this.

Additionally, I noted what I thought was a very clear thesis statement:

I will respond to these six defenses and note further problems that theists face in which they simply can't 'have it both ways.'

I ended the post with the following:

When we don't find a good reason to believe a proposition, the proper response is to not accept the claim. If we can't think of a possible reason for God not revealing himself (and additionally find no reasons to believe God exists), we're quite justified in not believing that the Christian god exists. Even if we can devise a reason for God remaining hidden, this doesn't, of course, mean that God exists. With lack of a reason for God to remain hidden and a lack of a reason to believe God exists, the theist faces two major problems.

When I mention "If we can't think of a possible reason for God not revealing himself (and additionally find no reasons to believe God exists), we're quite justified in not believing that the Christian god exists," I am quite careful to include an "and" here. Reiterating this, at the end of the paragraph, I note another "and."

The final [concluding] paragraph notes:

The common defenses theists give to answer the problem of divine hiddenness fail. Theists believe that persons would lose their free will if God unequivocally revealed himself, but this simply is not the case. The variations of this free will response to the problem of divine hiddenness are not sufficient for one to believe that God has a good reason to remain hidden. Additionally, the idea that natural regularities can only be had if God remained hidden fails. Finally, the common 'mystery card,' if this works for the Christian god, would have to work for every other possible god.

Once again, the post concerned discussing a problem and refuting the common defenses theists provide to answer the problem. If I were to argue that the problem of divine hiddenness were to provide a defeater to belief in the Christian god, I would have explained why this was the case and put time into actually writing an argument rather than responding to the defenses commonly given.

In a follow up post, I wrote

In a recent post, I discussed the problem of divine hiddenness (why God remains hidden despite very good reasons God would have to reveal himself). I showed why various standard arguments apologists give-- mainly 'free will defenses'-- to provide reasons for why God would remain hidden fail. I'll give a quick summary of my previous post and then argue that even if people believed God existed, not all would worship him.

I argued, in my first post on this topic, that there are no good reasons to suggest that persons would lose free will (assuming free will exists) because persons would be skeptical/ not everyone would believe that God exists. Additionally, I noted that the theist is trying to 'have it both ways' because some already maintain that there is an overwhelming amount of evidence for God...and yet they still maintain that they have free will. If a theist maintains that faith is the only way to believe in God and that there can not be sufficient evidence to believe, their argument about God's appearance compelling belief is undone by their own admission. Arguments concerning natural regularities and morally significant decisions also fail. Objections of 'we can't know the mind of God' and 'it is not God's responsibility to reveal himself' also fall short.

If this isn't enough reason for someone to believe that I wasn't arguing that the problem of divine hiddenness provides a defeater for belief in the Christian god, I don't know what can.

Much can be gained by discussion of issues and not all discussion entails that someone is making an argument. Discussion about issues, rather than making arguments, can be quite important and reveal some truths. I certainly 'come out' on some issues, but intentionally 'keep some issues open' and present others' ideas [I don't necessarily agree with] in order to use them as educational tools.