Bertrand Russell, the great British philosopher, logician, social activist, and outspoken critic of religion and faith, when asked what he would say if he met his maker after death, famously answered, "God, you gave us insufficient evidence."
This notion, that God's presence is hidden, is a significant dilemma for many, and for some is clear proof that God does not exist. Why, one asks, would the creator of the Universe be so difficult to spot? Surely if such a creator exists, there would be obvious evidence. And why wouldn't this creator, in order to silence disbelievers and recruit more faithful, simply appear on the White House lawn, announce his presence, and miraculously end all war, hunger, and disease? For some, this hidden presence is evidence that even if a creator deity does exist, such a being is not worth worshiping. What kind of a god, who religious people say loves us, would stand by as horrible atrocities happen, and silently allow us to suffer? Such a god is either not all-powerful, not all-knowing, or certainly not completely benevolent. Many site the Holocaust, for example, as clear proof of God's impotence or indifference
The question of God's hidden presence is not new, and has been an essential theological question for at least 2,000 years. The Bible itself continuously wrestles with this question, and God's apparent capriciousness is the theme of the Book of Job. Of course a simple answer is to say, "The reason for the struggle is that there obviously is no god. Let go of this idea and the struggle disappears." OK, that's a perfectly fine response. What matters most, after all, is what we do -- the amount of positive impact that our lives have on the world -- not what we believe or don't believe. Bertrand Russell himself was a great man who dedicated his life to helping humanity move toward a future of peace. In this way, his disbelief in the existence of God is the expression of his intellectual rigor and his desire to free people from superstition and division.
For those who do struggle with the question of God's elusiveness, though, I'd like to present several responses that may allow you to view this from a different perspective:
1) A Misunderstanding of the Nature of God
The notion that God can "appear" as a visible entity demonstrates a belief in the nature of God as a being, separate from ourselves, and living somewhere "out there": a person, perhaps like ourselves, only much, much bigger, smarter, etc. If this is our vision of God, then we will certainly be frustrated at "his" hiding...
2) A Misunderstanding of the Nature of Religion
God is not found in the doctrine of religion. Rather, religion is an institution that seeks to find God...
3) A Misunderstanding of the Means to Experience God's Presence
The experience of God requires deliberate and sustained effort... That is why all religious and spiritual traditions teach us to meditate, pray, practice gratitude, and seek God's presence on a regular, deliberate basis...
4) A Misunderstanding of the Proof
There have been many attempts to "prove" the existence of God, including the Ontological Proof, which states that God's existence can be proven through the very notion of the idea of such existence; the Cosmological Proof, which states that the Universe must have a First Cause or Prime Mover to set all in motion; and the Teleological Proof, which sees God's presence in the fine-tuned design in nature. Few people, I suspect, are truly convinced by any of these "proofs," and all have been rigorously challenged.
See "Link to External Source Article" below to read further.
Here are some Urantia Book quotes that speak to the ideas in this article:
1:3.3 The Universal Father is not invisible because he is hiding himself away from the lowly creatures of materialistic handicaps and limited spiritual endowments...it is not necessary to see God with the eyes of the flesh in order to discern him by the faith-vision of the spiritualized mind.
Please visit Truthbook's study of God HERE
"Religion is a revelation to man's soul dealing with spiritual realities which the mind alone could never discover or fully fathom."
Please visit Truthbook's study of Religion HERE
12:7.7 The will of God does not uniformly prevail in the heart of the God-seeking material mortal, but if the time frame is enlarged beyond the moment to embrace the whole of the first life, then does God's will become increasingly discernible in the spirit fruits which are borne in the lives of the spirit-led children of God.
1:2.8 Those who know God have experienced the fact of his presence; such God-knowing mortals hold in their personal experience the only positive proof of the existence of the living God which one human being can offer to another. The existence of God is utterly beyond all possibility of demonstration except for the contact between the God-consciousness of the human mind and the God-presence of the Thought Adjuster that indwells the mortal intellect and is bestowed upon man as the free gift of the Universal Father.