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Divine Hiddenness and the Suffering Unbeliever Argument

Roberto Di Ceglie

Abstract

In this essay, I propose two arguments from Thomas Aquinas’s reflection on theism and faith to rebut Schellenberg’s claim that divine hiddenness justifies atheism. One of those arguments, however, may be employed so as to re-propose Schellenberg’s conviction, which is crucial to his argument, that there are ‘non-resistant’ or ‘inculpable’ unbelievers. I then advance what I call the suffering unbeliever argument. In short, the unbelievers mentioned by Schellenberg are expected to suffer because of their non-belief, which—as Schellenberg says—prevents them from achieving the greatest possible well-being. If they suffer, however, they cannot consider themselves unbelievers, since one cannot suffer from not having been given a certain good if one believes that the good in question has never existed. If they do not suffer, on the other hand, there is simply nothing for which they can consider themselves inculpable (and God culpable).

Keywords

Schellenberg, Aquinas, evidence, non-resistant unbelievers, faith

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References

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