The religious ambiguity of the world has many aspects, one of which is the hiddenness of God. Theists have proposed a number of explanations of God's hiddenness. Some putative explanations contend that the advantages of God's hiddenness ("goods of mystery") outweigh whatever benefits would result if God's existence and nature were clear to us ("goods of clarity"). Goods of mystery that have received a lot of discussion include human moral autonomy and the ability on
our part to exercise control over whether we believe in the existence of God. The extent of the ambiguity that surrounds God's existence, and indeed all important religious matters, combined with our lack of an obviously correct and adequate explanation of this lack, suggest that, even if God exists,
it is not important that people believe in God. Another central theme in the book is the significance of religious diversity for religious belief. The character of this diversity is such that it provides people who take a position on religious matters with reason to adopt the "Critical Stance" - which requires people in all the religious traditions to subject their religious beliefs to critical scrutiny and hold those beliefs in a tentative way.Some contend that religious faith requires
complete confidence in what is believed but tentative belief actually is sufficient to sustain many forms of religious commitment.
Robert McKim is Professor of Religion and of Philosophy at University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.
Part I: The Hiddenness of God ; 1 The Hiddenness of God: Introduction ; 2 God's Hiddenness and the Possibility of Moral Action ; 3 God's Hiddenness, Freedom to Believe, and Attitude Problems ; 4 Trust and Other Goods of Mystery ; 5 The Hiddenness of God and Arguments for Atheism ; 6 The Hiddenness of God: Implications ; Part II: Religious Diversity ; 7 Religious Diversity: Introduction ; 8 The Critical Stance I: Tentative Religious Belief ; 9 The Critical Stance II: Arguments and Objections ; 10 Religious Experience and Religious Belief ; 11 Alston on Religious Experience ; Notes ; Index