This is simply one angle or a snippet of my thoughts toward the ever so popular Theistic argument known as Pascal’s Wager.

This argument creates a false dilemma between faith and reason. This is not a world of Christianity vs. Atheism. This is a world with thousands of other competing sets of divine claims. It is not realistic to play favorites by wagering on one bet and ignoring all the others. Though if I wager on Christianity as well as on Islam and Judaism simultaneously then I will have contradicted the requirements of each of these religions. Each of these religions teaches a form of exclusivity. I must wager on one set of divine claims exclusively or I am at risk of not being considered sincere or loyal to faith in the first place!

This wager does not factor in that varying sets of divine claims are a cause for confusion as well as contradiction. What is most sensible in light of a plethora of confused and contradictory claims? A suspension of judgment plain and simple. What other reason is there to play favorites here? Why should any set of authoritative claims have any leg up on the other when each one individually is unable to demonstrate God within reality? All of these claims belong in the same category precisely because they do not provide a bridge into our present state of affairs. Our present knowledge.

14 thoughts on “Pascal’s Problem (Part 1)

  1. Have you noticed how a lot of religions are tied in together? We have the three sister religions of the Book (Bible, Torah and Quran – Christianity, Judism and Islam) Then there are the other religions of the East that some how also tie in together. The Buddha seem to appear in many Hindu Temples. I like Paschal’s wager. It would work for any religion.
    Leslie

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    1. Yes, these religions are certainly intertwined and have branched out and evolved rather differently over time. Islam, Judaism, and Christianity all claim a kind of exclusivity from the others. In other words, Pascal’s Wager seems to be blind to these varying forms of Theism. Each one has drawn out its own scenario for eternal reward and punishment. Since this is the case we are still at risk of being deceived even if we wager! What makes this worse is that in the absence of objectivity in this regard there is seemingly no end to the number of variants that Theism can appear to have. Especially since each of these religions or potential religions all claim a kind of authority that was established in the past rather than continued in the present. Why should anyone play favorites? Why be biased? If there is nothing in the present that can serve to validate one religion over all others then this is in fact a blind gamble as well as a false dilemma.

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      1. But this is just it – religion is based upon faith – not proof. So the wager is not only if there is a God or not, it is which way, through which process?
        Leslie

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      2. I am a person of faith so there could be an eliment of wager there. There are certain aspects of almost all religions that I don’t agree with. So I base my belief using my intellect. After all God gave us a brain and I do believe he expects us to use it. If my religions tells me something that I can’t work my intellect around I will dismiss that part. I don’t throw the baby out with the bath water. Almost all religions have their good points and they all have some bad points too.
        Leslie

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      3. Nothing to lose with Pascal’s wager. If he was right you win. If he was wrong, well you have lived a good principled life that has its own rewards. Sounds like a win/win to me.
        Leslie

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      4. I think a moral compass is essential. But, the main goal is to do good deeds and help our fellow man/woman. Some of the religous claims are pretty hard to prove. The claim of exclusivity – you have to be of this religion or that religion to go to heaven etc. I don’t buy since I’m not after buying my way into heaven.
        Leslie

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      5. Yes, but even though you yourself don’t buy the claim of exclusivity, many conceptions of God in fact require this kind of devotion. It is heretical to think otherwise. Since this is a clear requirement of many religions how can you be assured that your wager is in fact a meaningful and safe choice to make? To just pick and choose without concern of the consequences sounds pretty risky as well! In my opinion this serves to demonstrate the weakness of this particular argument. It still doesn’t outweigh the overall risks on such a view. It seems to actually increase the concern for validation in some regard. Without it one is choosing blindly.

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      6. Exclusivity is a requirement of my religion too. But, it is that part of my religion that I don’t accept.To accept everything that someone proposes as a truth, just because they are the head of this religion or that religion is equally dangerous.This is where that God given brain must step forward. Life is full of risks and at this stage in my life (closer to the end) I’m willing to accept whatever happens and indeed I consider it another adventure.
        Leslie

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      7. Well, it’s nice to speak to others about these things. I enjoy the pursuit as well as the debate at times. So what brought you to reject the exclusivity of your religion? Also, what religion are you?

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      8. Roman Catholic is my religion. Our new Pope seems to be very enlightened. Even he is unsure of a lot of things. Now I must get on with Part 2.
        Leslie

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  2. So to try to make my point just a little more clear Pascal’s Wager is unrealistic. It claims to ensure a safer outcome when the reality is that it provides no compass for which religion to settle upon exclusively. Well, any religion that teaches a form of explicit devotion to its specific set of claims will serve to condemn me outright if I try to be loyal to more than one master. It is all or nothing within many conservative expressions of religion. I can wager on the one that appears best to me and still end up being burned in the end! This goes to show how weak such an approach to religion is. It also has a low view of knowledge and how people should choose to operate from what they truly know in this life.

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