On the Unimportance of Theistic Belief
Keywords:God, theology, divine hiddenness, religious epistemology, religious pluralism, soteriology, the meaning of life
We first argue that there are cases of “blameless non-belief.” That is, some people—through no fault of their own—fail to enter into a conscious relationship with God. But if so, then it would be unjust of God to make certain particular goods (e.g., one’s salvation, the possibility of an ethical or a meaningful life, or entrance into heaven) depend upon one having a conscious relationship with God. So, given that God is just, then despite what some theists believe, a relationship with God (even assuming that God exists) cannot be a necessary condition for the attainment of these goods; there might, e.g., be atheists in heaven, even assuming that theism is true. This implies that religion is a far less important component of people’s lives than many might think.
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