Tuesday, January 06, 2015

Pascal's Pathetic Wager

Pascal’s Wager is somewhat tragic. It has nothing to do with the power of logic. It has more to do with faith in magic. Pascal’s Wager has been proved not only empirically deficient, but also logically self-destructive. He may have been a mathematician; but he was not a logician. He was, however, apologetic as a theologian. If he were a Filipino, he would have been a great success as a corrupt politician. Here’s Pascal’s Wager: “Even if the Christian conception of God cannot be proved, the wise and prudent man will accept it for the following reasons: If it is true, and he believes it, he has gained heaven. If it is true, and he does not believe, he goes to hell. If it is not true, and he believes that it is, he has lost nothing. If it is not true, and he believes that it is not, he has gained nothing So there is everything to gain and nothing to lose by believing it true. FIRST OBJECTION TO PASCAL’S WAGER: This is one of the most interesting arguments of all and the most convincing, but at the same time the most fallacious. It is a classic statement of ethnocentrism. It starts out with the assumption that Christianity is the only possible choice, and ignores all other religions of the world. One possibility that Pascal overlooked was that the same argument can be used equally well by any other religion to prove its validity. What made Pascal so certain that God was a Christian? The Muslims think God is a Muslim; the Hindus think God is a Hindu; the Buddhists think God is a Buddhist, And surely it is just as possible that one of them is right as the Christians are right. So a Christian stands in just as much danger of going to a Muslim hell, as a Muslim stands of going to a Christian hell. Obviously, Pascal failed to consider this possibility simply because Christians were the only kinds of people he has known. Apparently he had never seriously discussed religion with a Muslim or a Hindu or a Buddhist, so he assumed that everyone of any consequence in the world was just like him. But to begin an argument with the assumption that everyone in the world is wrong but me, is obviously a shaky way to begin. In fact, Pascal was referring to the Catholic variety of Christianity. And there are many other denominations which all threaten eternal damnation for anyone who does not accept THEIR doctrine. SECOND OBJECTION TO PASCAL’S WAGER Pascal overlooked that God might be even meaner than he thought. A God that is cruel enough to create a hell in the first place, and one that would make a man so blinded as to be capable of stumbling into the lake of fire, and one that would create a Satan to lure him into it, certainly should have no qualms about burning anyone who accepted Christianity on so calculated and mercenary a basis. In fact, in Matt. 18:3, Mark 10:15, and Luke 18:17 Jesus repeatedly says that only those who accept him with the blind faith of children will be saved. THIRD OBJECTION TO PASCAL’S WAGER Still another possibility is that since man’s intelligence is the only thing that perceptively distinguishes him from other animals, God might very well punish a man for accepting anything on “faith” instead of intelligently analyzing it and weighing it against all other possibilities. Such as lively analysis instead of deadly paralysis! FOURTH OBJECTION TO PASCAL’S WAGER Pascal’s conclusion does not follow from his premises. In his great book - THE CASE AGAINST GOD, George H. Smith wrote: “Just as Christianity must destroy reason before it can introduce faith, so it must destroy happiness before it can introduce salvation. It is not accidental that Christianity is profoundly anti-pleasure, especially in the area of sex. Pleasure is the fuel of life, and sexual pleasure is the most intense form of pleasure that man can experience. To deny oneself pleasure, or to convince oneself that pleasure is evil is to produce frustrations and anxiety and thereby become potential material for salvation.” Therefore, if this is the only life we have, and we sacrifice the few earthly pleasures we have, and trade our intellectual freedom for a mess of dogma, hogma, and pigma, - all for the sake of non-existent next world, instead of losing nothing, we have lost everything. In the meantime, here’s all that is necessary for religion to triumph: Have enough good men, who are good for nothing, pray daily to God to help other men help themselves to be good for nothing too. Poch Suzara Twitter@ Facebook@ Google#


Ken said...

Poch, that argument may have been popular in a bygone era, but you’re just wasting your time. It is not a popular argument and lies forlorn for lack of usefulness. I for one have never used that argument in any encounter with skeptics, agnostics and atheists in my life. Nor have I ever heard anyone use that argument in any fashion whatsoever either on the radio or from the pulpit – at least as a serious argument for why a person should believe in God. I haven’t even heard any of the most diehard classic apologists use that argument. Have you actually spoken with Christians who are still using Pascal’s wager as an apologetic argument? I doubt it. Besides, believing God exists is not a guarantee for salvation. Even the demons believe in God and tremble, and we know that their place is in the lake of fire. Religious or irreligious, theists or atheist, the godless and the unrighteous, they all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God. You have to repent and trust Jesus to save you if you are to escape the wrath of God and be freed from sin, corruption and hell.

Poch Suzara said...

Ken, at your age, and you still live in fear of God and his son Jesus - SHAME ON YOU! We atheists, when we die, we die sober, and not drunk with lies. We know there is no such thing as a HEREAFTER, because to begin with, there never was, for any of us, a HEREBEFORE. Cheers! Poch Suzara

Ken said...

Poch, I know you don't believe the Bible and the ten commandments. Because you don't, the Bible predicts that you will probably engage in sexual immorality, drug use and drunkenness. My question to you is, in a godless universe, what prevents you from dying drunk? Fear of liver cancer? With or without cancer, you will still die? And what difference does a few more years being alive make if you lose your own soul?