Junior Ganymede
We endeavor to give satisfaction

Pascal’s Wager

July 14th, 2015 by Vader

Is no longer an option. 

Pascal’s Wager has been  restated in various ways since Pascal first proposed it, and I acknowledge that the statement of it I’m going to use here differs in some significant ways from the orginal. But here goes:

If I decide to believe in God, and there is a God, the payoff is incalculably good. If I decide to believe in God, and there is no God, I will at least have lived a good life.

Whereas if I decide not to believe in God, and there is a God, the loss is incalculably bad. If I decide not to believe in God, and there is no God, it hardly matters whether I live a good or bad life.

Therefore the best odds are to believe in God.

I submit that Pascal’s Wager is no longer a serious proposition for Christians, if it ever was.

Because living a Christian life is no longer considered living a good life, according to the current Zeitgeist.

God has suffered that option to be taken off the table. There will be increasingly little room for “cultural Mormons”, or cultural Christians of any kind.

Comments (5)
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July 14th, 2015 13:59:57

July 14, 2015

The sorting begins.

Abraham Hagar
July 14, 2015

“But you must wager. It is not optional.

“You are embarked. Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery.

“Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other since you must of necessity choose. This is one point settled. But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.

“Wager then without hesitation that He is.

“That is very fine. Yes I must wager, but I may perhaps wager too much.” Let us see. Since there is an equal risk of gain and of loss, if you had only to gain two lives, instead of one, you might still wager. But if there were three lives to gain, you would have to play (since you are under the necessity of playing), and you would be imprudent, when you are forced to play, not to chance your life to gain three at a game where there is an equal risk of loss and gain.

“But there is an eternity of life and happiness. And this being so, if there were an infinity of chances, of which one only would be for you, you would still be right in wagering one to win two, and you would act stupidly, being obliged to play, by refusing to stake one life against three at a game in which out of an infinity of chances there is one for you, if there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain. But there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. It is all divided; wherever the infinite is and there is not an infinity of chances of loss against that of gain, there is no time to hesitate, you must give all.

“And thus, when one is forced to play, he must renounce reason to preserve his life, rather than risk it for infinite gain, as likely to happen as the loss of nothingness

July 14, 2015

The New Testament assumes there is a real cost to be paid for discipleship. It is worth the cost, of course, but that will not always be obvious. And we have tended to forget this in good times.

Kierkegaard wrote “Of every word Christ spoke pointing toward the cost and suffering of being a Christian, we say this: this does not apply to us; this was spoken expressly to the disciples. We make good, however, of every word of consolation, of every promise; whether Christ spoke to the apostles or not makes no difference.”

July 15, 2015

I always hated Pascal’s wager. The people I want on my side are those who will do the analysis, find that things will be better for them if they abandon the work, and keep right on going. I note that this refusal to compromise the goal for reality’s sake is present in some members of the progressives; when everything shakes out we may be surprised who ends up where.

Mark Citadel
July 18, 2015

I think the wager still holds simply due to the reward proposed and the cost measured.

If there is no God, living a good life is ultimately meaningless anyway. You could spend your entire life flayed and rubbed with salt, and what would it really matter in the grand scheme of things? It’s nothing.

However, if there is a God, the bounty of riches to be bestowed is boundless beyond calculation. No earthly cost can compete, especially not a mere 70-80 years of meaningless existence.

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