Pascal's Wager: My own personal take on it

For those of you who don't know it:

From Wiki:
even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because so living has everything to gain, and nothing to lose.


I haven't read up on the responses (they must be there) because I only heard it from theists, but I learn better from hands-on debate than I do from reading some long-winded philosopher anyway (lazy LOL)

Besides, I like to think for myself; not let others think for me. That's what theists do, so here goes!


To this I have 2 responses (1 kinda flows into 2 although it stands by itself):

1) I could speculate a theoretical god that will only allow me into heaven if I lived my life based on reason and tried to do the best I could with how he created me. I now have an equal chance of getting into heaven as you do.

2) God has put things in my environment specifically to block me from believing in him. I am forced to do the best with what I am given. The true god promotes ignorance, egocentrism, suppression of opposing thoughts, and cruelty, he can not be benevolent based on my experiences of pain on this earth used to define benevolence.

I trust that a benevolent god will be rational, understanding, and fair. I also trust that the malevolent god will be irrational and unfair. If the malevolent god is not fair, then how then could I trust that doing what he wants will help me anyway?

I do things the best (and only way; see free will argument) I can. The cruel god will be cruel and the just god will be just. At any rate, I should have no influence on their designs because I am not so arrogant as the theist. Doesn't that make me have more faith (or helplessness for that matter) in god's will than you do for narrowing your scope to a single religion?

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Comment by the antithesis on November 12, 2009 at 8:16pm
I dislike Pascal's tampon because it is basically an appeal to rewards which is a specific appeal to emotion. Therefore, fallacious.
Comment by Alex McCullie on November 12, 2009 at 1:30pm
Pascal was a fideist and so his belief came from faith and revelation. So I think that Pascal saw the "wager" as the icing on the cake for the waverer (or perhaps even tongue-in-cheek) and not meant to be taken seriously as a stand-alone argument. My problem, though, is with the assumption of a superficial type of god seeking any sort of faith, even one based a simple self-interested calculation for a wonderful after live.

Alex
Comment by Tony Russo on November 12, 2009 at 12:28pm
Pascal assumed one Christian god not a range of competing gods. He assumed an afterlife reward based on belief rather than on destiny (that salvation is predetermined, as many Christian people believe).
So, IF there was a god AND it was the Christian god AND it was the Christian god who put belief as the primary criterion for salvation THEN Pascal is totally right.

But by his own reasoning since there are so many competing religions, AND any or none of them could conceivably be right, AND given that you must choose to believe or not AND given that most religions say that worshiping the wrong god is the worst thing you can do, THEN your safest bet is not to believe, thereby making sure you offend none of the possible gods by the misdirection of your allegiance.
Comment by Johnny on November 12, 2009 at 11:51am
Yes, I derived my response in 2 from Epicarus a bit, but I think it is a little more specific than the simple statement of why god isn't benevolent/omnipotent/omniscient. I definately wasn't thinking about Epicarus when I wrote this though. Funny how close I came to his thought. Maybe it's just because the thought is so good and so logically obvious.

Essentially it is the same thing. I think I just applied it to Pascal's wager a bit more specifically.
Comment by Gold Guy on November 12, 2009 at 8:53am
In response, number one doesn't address the original wager because it redefines the wager, and number two introduces additional information that is not part of the Pascal's wager but echos Epicurus. I think Epicurus provided the necessary logic long before Pascal made his wager. To paraphrase Epicurus, Pascal's wager is illogical because a god who would devise such a bet is not worthy of worship.

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