His Hidden Face: An examination of how artistic lament can address the evidential problem of divine hiddenness

Date

2020

Authors

Chilton, Katie

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Worldwide access

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Abstract

The philosophical problem of divine hiddenness questions the existence of a divine being on the basis of what seems to be a lack of evidence to support reasonable theistic belief. This question, which troubles both atheists and theists alike, is often cited alongside the problem of evil as a defeater for the Christian faith. This thesis explores how the practice artistic lament within the context of Christianity can act as a means of accessing God’s comfort, voicing one’s grievances, and possibly receiving supporting evidence to bolster the individual’s belief in God. The three mediums of narrative, poetry, and music are explored throughout this thesis as examples of artistic lament, each presenting a unique value to the individual’s search for evidence. Artists examined within this work include C.S. Lewis, Mother Teresa, Dostoevsky, George Herbert, Gerard Manley Hopkins, Louise Glück, Samuel Barber, and Tchaikovsky. The argument of this thesis is that works such as these have the potential to facilitate a cathartic process of expression that may in turn produce supporting evidence for the existence of God, thus enabling the individual to at least partially overcome the problem of divine hiddenness.

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