Andres Cullison has come up with a couple novel responses to the argument from divine hiddenness. HT: exapologist.
He imagines the following scenario in support of the claim that a loving relationship does not require belief:
Bob is lonely and begins a chat-room relationship with Julie. Bob and Julie are both grieving the loss of a loved one. Julie offers words of encouragement that no one has been able to offer Bob. Bob does the same for Julie. Then Bob’s friend Steve provides Bob with an overwhelming amount of evidence that Chat Rooms have very sophisticated Turing Machine Like programs that can perfectly replicate close, personal conversation with other humans. Bob is nervous. It is highly likely that Julie is a fake. He stops believing that Julie exists. He even tells Julie that he doesn’t believe she exists. However, he holds out strong hope that Julie exists. He says, you may not be real, but there is some very slim possibility that you are – that’s enough for me to think this is worth continuing. Eventually, they meet. They marry. Someone asks them ‘When did your personal relationship begin?’ Bob says, ‘Back when I didn’t even believe Julie existed.’ ”
This is a suggestive example. Cullison canvases various responses, including the most promising one from my perspective, namely that Bob really believes that Julie exists in a dispositionalist sense of ‘believes.’ I still think this response could be developed. I’m not sure that this scenario solves the problem of non-culpable non-belief though. Couldn’t Bob, despite the fact that he wants to believe in Julie’s existence, rationally, and thus non-culpably, disbelieve in Julie’s existence? Perhaps Cullison only wishes to say that it’s possible for Bob to engage in a loving relationship with her in the absence of belief. But I think it would be more accurate to say that a loving relationship is possible in the presence of undercutting defeaters for a belief (Julie exists) that Bob in some sense actually holds. Nevertheless, this novel strategy is something to think about.