Divine Hiddenness, Cognitive Psychology, and the Problem of Unconscious Resistance


This paper examines the role that some of the psychological mechanisms posited by cognitive psychology play in strengthening the problem of divine hiddenness. First, there is an overview of the problem of divine hiddenness and how the argument from J.L. Schellenberg rejects the existence of an all-loving God. Next, there is an analysis of the implications of the existence of human psychological biases and their influence on the formation of core beliefs, specifically the belief in the existence of God. This analysis requires distinguishing between two types of resistance to belief in God: unconscious resistance and conscious resistance. The analysis shows that it is unlikely that an individual who does not currently believe that God exists would be able to entirely overcome all resistance to the belief in God’s existence. Then, there is consideration of responses to the problem of divine hiddenness that use psychological phenomena to support the theistic position. Next, the paper examines the role of cognitive psychology in recognizing a potential sign from God and concludes that it does not allow for a completely unbiased formation of the belief in the existence of God. Finally, there are proposed theistic solutions to the problem of unconscious resistance, and the shortcomings of these responses are addressed. Ultimately, the difficulty of forming a belief in God without bias, combined with the difficulty associated with attempting to remove all resistance towards belief in God, leads to the belief that the argument for divine hiddenness is especially cogent in light of contemporary cognitive psychology.



Divine Hiddenness, Cognitive Psychology