Peekaboo God or “The problem of divine hiddenness”
If God wants to be found, why does he hide in the trees and bushes and the spirals in the shells of mollusks and patterns in nature and the “fine-tuning” of the forces of our universe?
To me, naturalism seems like a reasonable position. That the material world is all that exists.
Evolution can explain why our bodies are fine-tuned, why there appears to be a magnificent handiwork in design. It also explains why we tend to see such things as “designed” even when there are several flaws in the design. Evolution explains why there are flaws in our body such as the human birth canal being too small, or why we humans have a blind spot in our eyes but octopuses do not. It also explains our predisposition to over-eat sugar and fat.
What is left is to explain why the universe has certain constants. Some of these appear to be finely tuned. Natural selection can explain this very easily. If there were other universes with incompatible constants, life would never exist in them. If there is a multiverse, or our universe is in a neverending cycle of birth and death (Big Bang followed by Big Crunch), we will never know. But it’s one explanation. God is another. Simulation theory is another. At a certain point, we have to accept some brute facts, such as the universe has constants, and we cannot explain them. But how is God any better of an explanation? It’s just passing on the buck to yet another unknown.
How did intelligence come about? A great mystery, but it seems it came about in the last billion years. We went from single-celled organisms to complex animals to cave dwellers to the spark of genius that homo sapiens have. Imagine, our ability to pass on information made us the masters of the world. In a short amount of time, with our superior brains, we probably eliminated the competition (Neanderthals) and are also wiping out species everywhere we go (such as Marsupial lions and Sabretooth tigers). One documentary I saw posited that a small mutation that caused us to have a smaller bite allowed us to have larger brains, because the larger bite needed a bigger jaw and prevented larger brain size from developing. So just like fire spreads, the genes for this creature, with its slight ability to have a greater intelligence spread like fire and eliminated or out-survived the competition.
Back to our god story. Where is God? Why would he design the world in a way that doesn’t seem to require any intervention if he wanted us to know he exists and worship him? Why does the world seem to exist and operate perfectly fine without any external influence or entity needed?
Because we can explain our universe without the need to invoke God and that naturalism provides a sufficient explanation, I posit that there is no god.
Does this mean there is no eternal justice? Yes. So let us build the best possible world we can. We need to study human behaviour and neuroses, we need to come to terms with the horrors of history and to understand what we are capable of, so we never do that again. And let us cry over the mistakes we made in the most human way possible, and make an oath never to let them happen again. That means a personal commitment from each of us to fight fascism wherever we see it.
Does this mean life is worthless without God? No. Life is what you make it. Become the master of your destiny. Do what you can and make the most of it for yourself and others around you.
Mindfulness is one powerful way to become free of the cycle of unhappiness and suffering that permeates and dominates and colours our world. Become the meta-thinker that observes your thinking. Do not let your thinking control you. Meditation is practice. Without practice, you cannot become free of your patterns of thought. Your mind will dominate you.
In conclusion, if there is a God, he did not make it easy to find him. We have satisfying explanations for the natural elements and appearance of design in our world, and thus do not need to jump to the god hypothesis.