Saturday, February 14, 2009

Pascal's Wager

The French mathematician Blaise Pascal (1623-62) put forward an argument that would appeal to agnostics. (An agnostic is someone who believes that it is impossible to prove God's existence.)

His argument goes something like this: God either exists or he does not. If we believe in God and he exists, we will be rewarded with eternal bliss in heaven. If we believe in God and he does not exist then at worst all we have forgone is a few sinful pleasures.

If we do not believe in God and he does exist we may enjoy a few sinful pleasures, but we may face eternal damnation. If we do not believe in God and he does not exist then our sins will not be punished.

Would any rational gambler think that the experience of a few sinful pleasures is worth the risk of eternal damnation?

"Ποταμοῖς τοῖς αὐτοῖς ἐμβαίνομέν τε καὶ οὐκ ἐμβαίνομεν, εἶμέν τε καὶ οὐκ εἶμεν."

"We both step and do not step in the same rivers. We are and are not."
Heraclitus the Riddler


Beverly Hamilton Wenham said...

Did we create God in our own image? If so my God is a kind and forgiving one, who was there at the time and saw the situation in which my sins occurred and understands the choices I made. He loves me and made me just as I am. He wants me to learn from my mistakes and to grown into a thoughtful,kind and fearless person who experiences her life to the fullest. Because life was the gift he gave me and he wants me to use it. But not at the cost of my fellow beings. Do you want to know why I think we are here? To overcome fear. Which I think may be the root of all sin.
He also finds me very funny and charming.
Faith is the only proof we get. Not that it would hold up in a court of law. But it's enough for me. The other options just don't seem very rewarding. If I am wrong then I've had my solace and hope. If I am right then the adventure is just beginning!

"Δημήτριος ο Ταξιδευτής" said...

still I am not convinced

Silver said...