Why Is God Hiding?

Spurred by our debates in some of the threads below, Micha posts a common question at his own site:

If God really did exist, why would God provide complex, statistical, scientific evidence for its own existence only in the micro-world of biochemical processes, and not instead, say, host his own public access television show called Jesus and Pals? Are microbiologists more deserving than the rest of us to bask in the knowledge and glory of the Divine? Or does God want us all to give up our day jobs and become microbiologists?

I realize I've been harping on this stuff for a few days now, so I'll keep my answer here brief.

1) God did try direct communication with the Hebrews. They weren't very obedient. Even though they were literally being led around by a column of fire, they still managed to make golden idols etc. Look, I personally believe that God has intervened in my life, and I think He is watching over me. I still act like a punk. So this idea that, "We would all be 'religious' and the world would be a better place if God weren't so mysterious" is not as obviously correct as atheists believe. Of course atheists will laugh and say, "We're talking about reality here, not dumb stories in your dusty book," but the challenge Micha presents is obviously one for believers to grapple with. So I'm answering on behalf of someone who actually believes in this stuff, to show why there's no huge contradiction (at least on this issue).

2) About 2000 years ago there was a traveling group known as Jesus and Pals. I don't think everybody on the planet suddenly converted. In fact, they tortured and killed Jesus and some of his pals. Why would things be different today? If someone went up to Richard Dawkins today and said, "Hi, I'm the son of God and you and I need a sit-down," would Dawkins be receptive?

3) There already basically are shows about Jesus and Pals. I doubt Micha watches them.

4) So I hope I've demonstrated that the flippant, "I would believe if God came out and revealed Himself" isn't as compelling as it first sounds. (I used to think the same thing when I myself was an atheist.) In order to convince people in this more scientific age (versus 2000 years ago), surely a more compelling approach would be to embed evidence of His existence in nature itself. And it's not just microbiologists who get all the fun. Just skim this site to see what I have in mind. Again, you can scoff and say this is all ridiculous, but I don't think Micha's claim of internal inconsistency stands up.


  1. Bob,

    Yes, obviously theists need some "reason" (maybe motivation is a better word? inspiration?) to believe; the argument seems to be about where on the spectrum of reason/motivation/inspiration God's existence should lie.

    Too little evidence doesn't distinguish belief in God from belief in the conspiracy theory you just heard from your kooky neighbor about the invisible pink elephant in orbit around the Earth. Too much evidence doesn't distinguish belief in God from the same sort of belief you have that there is a solid table and chair in front of you. That sort of belief is undeniable by all but the most radical skeptics.

    I sincerely believe that if there was as much evidence for God as there was for the presence of my hand in front of my face, even Richard Dawkins would be drinking the God juice at this point.

    And if there was that much evidence for belief, why in the world would faith be such a praiseworthy thing? Why would anyone be rewarded (with their immortal souls, no less) for believing what is right in front of their noses? I can sort of understand Kierkegaard's theology; he bought into this idea of a "leap of faith" hook, line, and sinker - hell, he is credited with inventing the concept.

    What I have difficulty understanding is the non-Kierkegaardian view - the view that puts the need for faith on the back-burner and jumps head first into finding as much rational, evidence-based, scientific proof one can muster. Where does this leave faith? Why did only the ancient Hebrews and those close pals of Jesus get such convincing, first-person displays of God's existence? Why do the rest of us schlubs have to settle for 60th person accounts of the original event? Just cause a few of our ancestors were dolts? Where's the fairness in that?

  2. God also tried communicating with His creatures by drowning them, burying them in lava or Greek fire or something, and turning them into salt. All of these methose were quite successful, particularly given the lack of advanced biological research at the time.

  3. I sincerely believe that if there was as much evidence for God as there was for the presence of my hand in front of my face, even Richard Dawkins would be drinking the God juice at this point.

    I think you are overlooking how terrifying that might be. It would freak the Pope out if God appeared to him and started having a conversation. Dawkins would take it much worse, I imagine.

    A bit of this is damned if He does, damned if He doesn't. As Wabulon alludes to, very direct intervention and punishment of sinners is frowned upon. But if God sits back and lets bad stuff happen, that's also proof that He's a jerk.

    I am obviously not in any position to explain the mysteries of the universe. My only problem with your assertions is that I don't think things are nearly as cut and dry as you are making them out to be.

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