Psssst! Can you hear me? You, yes I’m talking to you! Are you into gambling? Ah yes, I could tell you were. Why else would you have come to my imaginary casino? That’s right I’m the owner as well as the dealer. Get ready to wage your bets, but this time I don’t want your money, I want your life!
A few centuries ago my man Blaise Pascal illustrated that life is kind of like a sailing ship that has already embarked and left the shore. Like it or not we are all moving, sailing if you will through this life. When it comes to the question of God as well as heaven and hell, I’m not concerned so much about your certainty in this regard. No, what I’m concerned about here is your ultimate happiness and well-being. It seems that you have about a fifty-fifty shot at eternal happiness so what are you going to do?
Like it or not you are an active player in this game of life so what is it going to be? Are you going to bet on God or pass on a potentially amazing offer? If you bet on God and choose to believe in spite of your level of knowledge or certainty then even if you were wrong you didn’t lose anything. Though if you don’t wager at all you are at risk of potentially losing everything! The choice should be pretty obvious, go with God.
Go with God? Hmmm, I’m going to break character for a moment as your dealer. I for one have been making this argument for quite some time now. So now it has gotten me to thinking. Sure, I understand that there is potentially a very big risk involved here. You or myself may end up being punished and ultimately unrewarded for something that we have no measure of certainty about. Wow, actually that would seem rather unjust right there.
I get that I’m sailing and the fact is I never chose to embark in the first place. I just was born into this world and find myself here. That’s about it. I could just as likely have never existed at all. Had my parents chosen another mate, or even a different time to consumate their love you might be talking to someone of the opposite sex with a completely different name than mine! Kind of strange and surreal to think about actually.
I have to be honest, I’m seeing a lot of potential flaws in this argumentation. For one it doesn’t appear that I have one of two choices. It appears that there are many dealers like myself that advocate completely different religious views. These are utterly different scenarios of reward and punishment that should be considered within this wager. So it is that even if I choose to go with God I am very much at risk of choosing the wrong one anyway. Objectively speaking I see no reason to play favorites here!
I’m well aware of the religion I grew up with. Heck, there even seems to be some religious scenarios that are more attractive and logical over the others. This still does not warrant me to be biased in this regard. Not if it is a question about what is ultimately true? Nothing would seem to justify me to make any kind of informed choice on this matter. What would seem to be more at stake here is the alleged goodness of this God.
This particular argument acknowledges that perhaps the vast majority of human beings that have ever existed are in fact uncertain as to whether a God truly exists. Since this is the case then all that would really be required for myself and the vast majority of human beings is a clear bridge of evidence that would serve to answer who the true God of this universe is, if in fact there is even one to consider? Until what is unknown can become undisputedly known to me in this life, then I am justified to doubt. This method for knowledge isn’t applied to the question of God alone, it is applied to every bit of knowledge that I can gain in the present.
Even as I continue to sail and move through this life as an active participant it would appear that I am still very much justified to remain uncertain about the ultimate outcome of my life. In many ways I wish I could just have the ultimate answer in the palm of my hands, yet in another sense I have never been so driven to seek out the truth in the midst of uncertainty. To be justifiably uncertain is an amazingly useful tool.