Problem

Absence of God

Other Names:
Abandonment of the faithful
Nature:

The existence of God is a subject of debate in the philosophy of religion and popular culture.

A wide variety of arguments for and against the existence of God can be categorized as metaphysical, logical, empirical, or subjective. In philosophical terms, the question of the existence of God involves the disciplines of epistemology (the nature and scope of knowledge) and ontology (study of the nature of being, existence, or reality) and the theory of value (since some definitions of God include "perfection").

The Western tradition of philosophical discussion of the existence of God began with Plato and Aristotle, who made arguments that would now be categorized as cosmological. Other arguments for the existence of God have been proposed by St. Anselm, who formulated the first ontological argument; Ibn Rushd (Averroes) and Thomas Aquinas, who presented their own versions of the cosmological argument (the kalam argument and the first way, respectively); René Descartes, who said that the existence of a benevolent God is logically necessary for the evidence of the senses to be meaningful. John Calvin argued for a sensus divinitatis, which gives each human a knowledge of God's existence.

Philosophers who have provided arguments against the existence of God include Friedrich Nietzsche and Bertrand Russell. In modern culture, the question of God's existence has been discussed by scientists such as Stephen Hawking, Francis Collins, Lawrence M. Krauss, Richard Dawkins, Carl Sagan, Neil deGrasse Tyson, John Lennox and Sam Harris, as well as philosophers including Richard Swinburne, Alvin Plantinga, William Lane Craig, Rebecca Goldstein, A. C. Grayling, Daniel Dennett, Christopher Hitchens, Edward Feser and David Bentley Hart.

Scientists follow the scientific method, within which theories must be verifiable by physical experiment. The majority of prominent conceptions of God explicitly or effectively posit a being whose existence is not testable either by proof or disproof. Therefore the question of God's existence may lie outside the purview of modern science by definition. The Catholic Church maintains that knowledge of the existence of God is the "natural light of human reason". Fideists maintain that belief in God's existence may not be amenable to demonstration or refutation, but rests on faith alone.

Atheists view arguments for the existence of God as insufficient, mistaken or outweighed by arguments against it, whereas some religions, such as Buddhism, are not concerned with the existence of gods at all and other religions, such as Jainism, reject the possibility of a creator deity.

Claim:
This, according to religious psychology, is a condition in which the soul is either really (because of sin), or only apparently, forsaken by God. It is that experience in which it seems to a spiritual person that God has forsaken him. This spiritual abandonment may be a trial in which the spiritually advanced soul, feeling the need of a stronger possession of God, has the impression that God has deserted it and no longer holds it in His favour. In its less intense form, this abandonment leads to a feeling that God is far away; in its more intense form, it leads to a feeling of being rejected by God and destined to be lost. In the latter case this may lead to religiously-induced pathologies, aggravated by the secrecy in which the condition is maintained.
Broader Problems:
Abandonment
Narrower Problems:
Mental suffering
Problem Type:
F: Fuzzy exceptional problems
Date of last update
01.01.2000 – 00:00 CET