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Pascal's Wager = Religious Hucksterism

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posted on May, 15 2011 @ 07:38 AM
"What have you got to lose?"

"Why not take a bet"?

Pascal's Wager (or Pascal's Gambit) is a suggestion posed by the French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal that even if the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a rational person should wager as though God exists, because living life accordingly has everything to gain, and nothing to lose. Pascal formulated his suggestion uniquely on the God of Jesus Christ as implied by the greater context of his Pensées, a posthumously published collection of notes made by Pascal in his last years as he worked on a treatise on Christian apologetics.


Compare Pascal's Wager to that of the Atheist's Wager:-

The Atheist's Wager is an atheistic response to Blaise Pascal's Wager. While Pascal suggested that it is better to take the chance of believing in a god that might not exist rather than to risk losing infinite happiness by disbelieving in a god that does, the Atheist's Wager suggests that:

You should live your life and try to make the world a better place for your being in it, whether or not you believe in god. If there is no god, you have lost nothing and will be remembered fondly by those you left behind. If there is a benevolent god, he will judge you on your merits and not just on whether or not you believed in him.

Which wager is the more moral?
Whch is the more honest?
Which is the more courageous?

Here's Hitchen's thoughts on both proposition:-

posted on May, 15 2011 @ 08:00 AM
According to the religion I was raised in, God can see your soul, your thoughts and knows your true beliefs... So, behaving as if one believed in something, when they actually didn't, would be seen by God as dishonest and a ploy to 'get into heaven'. And it wouldn't work.

I don't know about other people, but I cannot pretend to believe something or decide to believe something. Pascal's Wager sounds like one chooses what to believe in; that we can believe in the unbelievable by simply choosing to.

I don't see myself as taking any 'wager'. I'm just living my life the best I can. The only way I could take one of these wagers is if I could make myself believe something.

Having said all that, there are some principles that I incorporate them into my life that also happen to be tenets of religion. I don't hold them because they are religious, but because they are 'right' according to my own opinions and beliefs.

posted on May, 15 2011 @ 08:09 AM
reply to post by Benevolent Heretic

According to the religion I was raised in, God can see your soul, your thoughts and knows your true beliefs... So, behaving as if one believed in something, when they actually didn't, would be seen by God as dishonest and a ploy to 'get into heaven'. And it wouldn't work.

Yikes...Big Brother is watching, right?

That's an interesting point. I'm not suggesting that you should take the Atheist's Wager, the wager is a simply a response to Pascal's Wager. I guess the Atheist's Wager could be seen as "huxsterish".

I believe any wager proposed to someone dying would be immoral. Yet it is seen as "virtuous" to by the religous to convert people on their deathbed.

Another point to Pascal's Wager is: What if Islam is correct? And you've been abiding the Christian dogma? What if Ra is true?

posted on May, 15 2011 @ 11:16 AM
It's good to see, that one of the regurlarly recurring christian propaganda clichées, slogans or pseudo-arguments finally gets the sole attention of a thread.

Too long have the whole subforum been pestered with this kind of rhetoric idiocy, also manifested in some of the other christian evergreens: 'Intelligent design'; atheism as closet theism; the genocidal maniac from OT turned into a loving parent; oppressing people 'for their own good' (e.g. homosexuals); the non-christian who refuses to join what s/he considers a slave religion and thus must feel psychologically 'insecure';.....

....and not least the alltime favourite: 'Original sin' justifying redemption doctrine, and in its turn 'redemption' then justifying original sin doctrine. And if there are any critics who can see through or beyond this circle, there's always a sprinkling of 'new covenant' waiting. Only a country where shady lawyers run half of the show could take such seriously.

It's not that I on principle want to shred anything christian to pieces, it happens that decent, well-informed, competent and non-invasive christians appear on the forum also, but the above clichées I could do without. Especially when they are presented by missionary Dumb, who has very little understanding of what's happening and what's it's all about, but just keep repeating his/her 'mantra' over and over and over....and over.

But then ofcourse, together with the frothing fire-and-brimstoners, missionary Dumb is the active atheist's best ally.

Actually that's not what I came here to talk about, I just got carried away. It's so seldom that you can relax on this forum.

Personally I have my own objection to Pascal's wager. It goes as follows (even if it's too long for public use):

Just as christians are afraid of missing any chances for a decent afterlife, I would be afraid of destroying my chances for making this life good.

Even if you do choose the correct 'god', I'm not sure all the misery with .........repentance, flagellantism, heretic-burning, homosexual-stoning, prayer, grovelling, bad sex, no whiskey, church 3 times a week, general zombification, having to smile all the time (though I believe the fire-and-brimstoners have dispensation from that), sneaking around on wet nights and writing "Jesus lives" on deserted bridges, preventing 9 year old rape victims from having abortion, voting republican, and everything not compulsary being forbidden........ is worth it.

On the other hand, if you choose the wrong religion in this life (which is easy with app 50.000 options) the REAL god will have it coming for you eventually. Much worse than if you'd just been an atheist.
edit on 15-5-2011 by bogomil because: spelling

posted on May, 15 2011 @ 01:10 PM
reply to post by awake_and_aware

I find it odd that those who actually use Pascal's wager are frighteningly silent when it comes to defending the proposition. It might be that, at their very core, they realize that this is a dishonest tactic used merely for the intent of spreading fear into those whom they've already ingrained an abusive fear in to.

Sorry, I had to channel my inner Hitchens.

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