Ophelia Benson has recently sought to provide reasons for rejecting belief in God in Blackford and Schueklenk (2009), 50 Voices of Disbelief: Why We Are Atheists, Malden, MA: Wiley-Blackwell, pp. 23-27.
Benson's brief discussion is misplaced from the very beginning. Benson claims that the definition of "God" includes the belief that God is a supernatural being about whom no one knows anything (p. 23). In response, there is no reason to accept that all theists believe that no one knows anything about God. Quite the contrary. Most theists appear to claim to have knowledge of the nature of God, at least to some extent.
The fact that God is hidden (to some extent) leads Benson to reject God, even if there were convincing evidence for God's existence independent of that hiddenness (p.28). Thus, Benson presupposes that a somewhat hidden God could not exist such that convincing evidence of God's existence exists independent of that hiddenness. No justification for this presupposition is provided. We may reject this position, therefore, as arbitrary and question-begging. Moreover, Benson fails to respond to the compelling basis for justification of theistic belief as outlined in my latest updated defense of theism in David Reuben Stone (2010), The Loftus Delusion: Why Atheism Fails and Messianic Israelism Prevails, Morrisville, NC: Lulu Press.
In fact, the Benson quote in the above paragraph might even more accurately be interpreted such that Benson chooses to reject God not due to insufficient evidence, but due to Benson's frustration that God has chosen to reveal Himself with a measure of hiddenness. It's like this: "God, you didn't do what I wanted you to do, so even though you exist, I reject you anyway." In response, it's not our place as creatures to tell the Creator what to do or how to do it.
In addition, why should we suppose that it is not good of God to remain hidden to some extent? After all, the best way for God to respond to those inclined to reject God (independent of the degree to which they perceive theism is justified) could be to permit such God-rejecters to persist in their atheistic state. You see, if determined God-rejecters were given greater evidence for God's existence, then they could be even more liable for a greater measure of punishment on Judgement Day, since they would be responsible for having rejected an even greater measure of truth. Benson simply chooses to reject such a possibly existing God (...."then I'll go to hell", p. 24), since Benson doesn't like the idea of a God who would act in that way. Well, Benson is free to choose. As for me, I choose to repent from sin and turn to a loving God, rather than choose an eternity in hell because I didn't like the way God did things.
Also, is God really hidden? It could be that God is actually maximally revealed, given the nature of the reality of our world. In fact, my ACPO metaphysics (see www.loftus-delusion.com for details) establishes that all physical events (including all physical events described by the laws of physics) not caused by human persons are caused by God. It folows that we see evidence of God's existence every day, with every rising of the sun, with every falling rain drop, with every beat of one's heart. God's existence is plainly evident to those willing to see it. Sadly, light has gone out into the world, but those who are evil choose to reject that light and remain in darkness.
Benson assumes God makes no personal appearances (p. 25). No proof of this claim is provided.
Benson assumes God sends no authenticated messages (p. 25). Again, no proof is provided.
Benson thinks it is "too convenient" that a limited measure of knowledge of the nature of God could be possessed by those who do not fully understand God's ways (p.25). In response, there is no reason to presuppose a possibly existing God would not choose to reveal Himself such that a limited measure of knowledge of the nature of God could be possessed by those who do not fully understand God's ways. Thus, we should not immediately reject this possibility because it is "too convenient". Rather, we should investigate the nature of the case for possibly existing Gods who might choose to provide divine revelation in this way. Benson's "too convenient" response is a poor excuse for failing to properly analyze the case for theism as justified in my latest book (www.loftus-delusion.com).
Benson refers to lack of evidence for God's existence (p. 26), but fails to respond to my case for theism (see www.loftus-delusion.com for details). Thus, we may conclude that Benson's analysis is now obsolete and unjustified.
Benson presumes a possibly existing God wants humans to reject proper methods of critical inquriy (p. 26). To the contrary, proper methods of critical inquiry lead us directly to theistic belief! (www.loftus-delusion.com).
We may agree with Benson that it is good to reject a God who wants us to reject proper methods of critical inquiry (p. 26). However, the case for theism may be made consistent with this rejection. That is, we may establish the existence of God via critical inquiry. So, Benson has failed to justify rejection of theistic belief.
Benson claims a possibly existing God has no right to blame people who reject theism (p. 27). In response, proponents of Benson's position now have no right to blame God for a lack of theistic evidence, given their knowledge of my case for theism justified in Stone (2010). See www.loftus-delusion.com for details.