February 19, 2009
The Concealment Argument: Why Christians Should Be Agnostics

Eric Rasmusen, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Kelley School of Business, Indiana University, BU 438, 1309 E. 10th Street, Bloomington, Indiana, 47405-1701. Office: (812) 855-9219. Fax: 812- 855-3354. [email protected] Web:Http://rasmusen.org. This paper: Http://rasmusen.org/papers/conceal.htm.

Evidence for Premise 2

God is a moving target. Suppose He doesn't want us to succeed in proving or disproving His existence. He would then tantalize us, providing just enough evidence so that we could not rule Him out, but not enough to rule Him in either. Science can detect the laws of nature because those laws are not trying to hide. Science cannot detect God, because He deliberately evades the scientist.

Premise 1a. God exists.
Premise 2. God is powerful.
Premise 3. God wishes not to be proveable.
Conclusion A. Any effort to prove God will fail.

Premise 1b. God does not exist.
Conclusion B. Any effort to prove God will fail.

Evidence for Premise 3:

What then? that which Israel seeketh for, that he obtained not; but the election obtained it, and the rest were hardened: according as it is written, God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that they should not see, and ears that they should not hear, unto this very day. And David saith, Let their table be made a snare, and a trap, And a stumblingblock, and a recompense unto them: Let their eyes be darkened, that they may not see, And bow thou down their back always. ASV Romans 11:7-10

At that season Jesus answered and said, I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou didst hide these things from the wise and understanding, and didst reveal them unto babes:... ASV Matthew 11:25

But as for me, this secret is not revealed to me for any wisdom that I have more than any living, but to the intent that the interpretation may be made known to the king, and that thou mayest know the thoughts of thy heart. ASV Daniel 2:30

The concealment argument dooms many projects to failure:
  1. Proving that prayer heals the sick.
  2. Proving that miraculous healings happen.
  3. Proving that prophets really predict the future.
  4. Showing that an intelligent designer is responsible for the many coincidences found in the laws of physics and the mutations which drive evolution.
  5. Finding ancient manuscripts and inscriptions to confirm the miracles in the Bible.
  6. Proving God's existence by logical argument, e.g. an ontological proof.

In each case, the project will fail if (a) God is powerful enough to thwart it, and (b) He wants it to fail. These two requirements are not necessary attributes of gods generally, but they are attributes of the Christian God.

Additional implications:
7. Why there are no Biblical miracles recorded in secular ancient history. (Reason: God does not want anything to be too clear an evidence for Him. )
8. Why sociobiology can to some extent explain ethical feelings without using God? (Reason: God does not want anything to be too clear an evidence for Him.)
9. Why some people believe in God and other do not, faced with the same evidence? (Reason: God has balanced the evidence finely to generate exactly this result.)
10. Why God allows Christians to suffer. (Reason: If Christians did not suffer, God's existence would be obvious.)