To those who are not familiar with the concept of “Pascal’s Wager,” it basically posits a “heads or tails” bet regarding the acknowledgement of the existence and belief in God. This is one of the most common arguments used by a variety of Christians, and usually follows a question that can best be summed up as “Why don’t you just believe?”
In short, if you believe in God and he doesn’t exist, you’ve basically lost nothing. If he does, however, you go to heaven. Consequently, if you don’t believe in God and he doesn’t exist, again, you’ve basically lost nothing. However, if you don’t believe in God and he turns out to exist, they you’re screwed.
This, of course, doesn’t work…
Yes, I know this has been addressed a gazillion times, and I have no reason to think that this article will put an end to the use of it. Furthermore, those who choose to use the wager or any one of its forms (there are several) are not considering that it requires an individual will him or herself to believe in something that is evidently false and that God will either be tricked by the avarice or accept an insincere worship.
As well, this speaks nothing about the exclusion of all the other religions of the world whose representatives put forth a very similar wager, but conducive to their deities. Then there’s the hypocrisy surrounding the motivation of caring only about the maximization of one’s own gain.
The problem with Pascal’s wager is immediately apparent when you consider the existence of hundreds of belief systems. For the wager to work the individual must first place their bet on the right god and each religion has a different concept of deity. Most of these religions do not play well with others.
Which God do you worship? Many religions have their own Scripture, and within these Scriptures lay the doctrine that they have been written by or contain writing that has been inspired by their respective deity or deities.Even more specifically, most religions claim that their way is the only way to achieve enlightenment, knowledge, and some sort of paradise or positive existence when this life is over.
Within Christianity, there are thousands of different denominations, sects and cults with significant differences in theology, doctrine, dogmas and beliefs; and to each of these come the belief that their particular group represents the “One True Way™.”
The concept of the Christian hell can be attributed to Dante’s “Inferno,” and served as the major source of information when doctrine and dogma was being formed. The concept of Original Sin was the brainchild of Augustine. The concept of devils and demons is another man-made drill.
These concepts play heavily into the Christian’s use of the Wager, as with most forms of proselytizing and evangelism. Without the threat of unimaginable and eternal torture, there’s no point to the existence of a savior or ritual to avoid it. Another point to consider is that the history of Christianity also contains records of denominations, cults and sects that have been discarded. What happened to those who took the wager, but bet on a religion that no longer exists?
A Long, Long Time Ago…
There is no disputing that the Koran, the Bible, The Analects, The Bhagavad-Gita, the Mahabharata, the Five Classics, the I Ching, the Talmud, the Tao-te-ching, the Upanishads, the Veda, the Samhita and the rest of the holy books were written by primitive men with a primitive understanding of the world around them.
Hundreds of years of scientific discovery has disproved much of what was written in these books, which further invalidates the prospect of Pascal’s Wager.
The Point Is…
There is no point. I reject Pascal’s Wager simply on the basis that religious belief cannot be tested. This has nothing to do with the sincerity of believers. It’s just a poor way to offer an argument or apology.
Save your bets for the racetrack…