A common claim by theists is that God values our freedom and, as such, can not make his existence obvious. Such obvious grandstanding would rob us of the choice to freely choose good acts, so they say. Yet, a fairly simple problem arises.
1. Very sincere believers exist who are virtually certain about various “facts” about God – his existence and the content of at least some of his desires, to name a few.
2. These sincere believers, after coming into their sincere belief, make a variety of choices.
3. When they do so, no one, to my knowledge, claims that these sincere believers are not making free or valuable choices.
4. Therefore, a dilemma arises. Either the sincere believers are lying about their convictions or virtual certainty about God does not affect our ability to make free or valuable choices.
A further point to be made here is that these sincere believers don’t even always choose “good” acts. So, to seriously suggest that we would become some kind of automaton if given a great deal more confidence in God’s existence seems patently false. If you are talking to a Bible-believing Christian, the case becomes even stronger. Satan is a particularly powerful example in that he knew with certainty that God existed and still rebelled. Of course, people can explain away Satan as mythological (and rightly so) or Moses, Abraham, or even the disciples. Thus, we are left with the problem of sincere believers as one that can’t be explained away, like stories in the Bible.