Monday, January 4, 2010

Pascal's Wager Meme

I can't count how many times I have been presented with Pascal's Wager by proselytizing fundamentalists.
1. If you believe in God and he exists, you gain eternity.
2. If you believe in God and he does not exist, you die.
3. If you do not believe in God and he does exist, you spend eternity in torment.
4. If you do not believe in God and he does not exist, you die like number 2.
Believing in God just because there's a possibility of eternity in heaven is just silly. My problem with the wager is that belief is not a switch I can turn off and on. If God is all the christians claim he is, then he would not be fooled by someone going through the motions "just in case." If I were to "get saved" right now at this very moment, I would not be doing it sincerely, because, I really don't believe that there is a God. It would be only a ritual to me. Nothing more. I just don't know how to will myself to truly believe something that I find absurd.

I've always wondered if there are any christians out there that have "gotten saved" because they were convinced by Pascal's Wager. If not, why do christians use it so often when proselytizing? Would my fundie friends and family consider them "True Christians"?

"Believing in God is a safer bet" is a terrible reason to believe in God. "Believing" for this reason would not be sincere belief, and even if God existed, it seems unlikely that he/ she/ it/ they would be fooled by it. Pass it on: if we say it enough times to enough people, it may get across. --Greta Christina

6 comments:

CybrgnX said...

The WAGER is just another method of installing fear into those that have serious doubt in the buybull. Just another recruitment tool. Many atheists -me for one- is willing to grant there MAY BE something beyond but there is NO proof it is jepus and his relatives. BUT if by some chance the jepus thing is real....I'd rather be in HELL!!!!!

The Rambling Taoist said...

Personally, I think that (deep down) MOST Christians believe as a way to hedge their bets. I mean, if they truly believed in what they say they believe, wouldn't they genuinely lead more pious lives?

restless said...

Of course the question that is never asked: "is this even how salvation is presented in the Bible?"

While heaven and hell are found in the Bible they are not the focus. It is modern Evangelicalism/Fundamentalism blessed with a healthy dose of dualism that has made heaven/hell the focus.

Jesus preached a moral/ethical/social gospel. It is too bad Christians don't focus on this rather than heaven and hell. People like us would sure have a lot less to blog about :)

Bruce

Vinny said...

I think that Pascal's wager is completely unbiblical because Paul tells the Corinthians that the worst thing would be to believe in the resurrection if it wasn't true.

Volly said...

I've seen this flip of Pascal's Wager, and have it on a bulletin board next to my desk:

Whether or not you believe in God, you should live your life with love, kindness, compassion, mercy and tolerance while trying to make the world a better place. If there is no God, you have lost nothing and will have made a positive impact on those around you. If there is a benevolent God reviewing your life, you will be judged on your actions and not just on your ability to blindly believe in creeds when there is a significant lack of evidence on how to define God or if s/he even exists.

...works for me, though I'm sure the thumpers will shoot right back with what they consider a logical argument.

Robert Madewell said...

Vinny, that's found in 1 Corinthians 15:12-17.

Now if Christ be preached that he rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?
But if there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not risen:
And if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.
Yea, and we are found false witnesses of God; because we have testified of God that he raised up Christ: whom he raised not up, if so be that the dead rise not.
For if the dead rise not, then is not Christ raised:
And if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in your sins.
1 Corinthians 15:12-17

That's a great rebuttal of Pascal's Wager! I'll have to memorize the reference.