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Kant on the Hiddenness of God

  • Eric Watkins (a1)

Kant's sustained reflections on God have received considerable scholarly attention over the years and rightly so. His provocative criticisms of the three traditional theoretical proofs of the existence of God, and his own positive proof for belief in God's existence on moral grounds, have fully deserved the clarification and analysis that has occurred in these discussions. What I want to focus on, however, is the extent to which Kant's position contains resources sufficient to answer a line of questioning about the existence of God that has recently been called the problem of the ‘hiddenness of God’ in contemporary discussions in philosophy of religion. If God exists roughly as the Judeo-Christian philosophical tradition conceives of him, it is puzzling, at least prima facie, why he does not make his existence overwhelmingly obvious to one and all, but rather is hidden from us. For if God is omnipotent, as the tradition maintains, it seems that he would have the power to reveal himself to us and, for that matter, with sufficient clarity that we would be left with no doubt about the matter. And if, as the tradition maintains further, it is important to God that we accept his existence and reject false idols who would pretend to divine status, it would seem that he has a significant reason to reveal himself to us. In short, given that God can make his existence obvious to all, and that doing so would fulfil an important purpose, why does he remain hidden from us?

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Kantian Review
  • ISSN: 1369-4154
  • EISSN: 2044-2394
  • URL: /core/journals/kantian-review
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