If you aren't familiar with Pascal's Wager, it essentially argues that you should believe/honor/flatter God if only to hedge your bets. If you're wrong and there's no afterlife, nothing lost. But if you don't believe/honor/flatter and God's punitive afterlife turns out to have been real, boy won't you be sorry! It's like the Lotto: You can't win if you don't play.
On the face of it that actually makes a lot of sense. I for one would rather not spend eternity burning in hell, so what's the harm in playing the God-game just to be safe?
The most standard argument to this is the 'believe' part. God is all powerful, therefore he will know I'm faking it just to get the goods, therefore it's pointless to pretend. The Christian's answer to that is that my heart will open up and I'll totally believe if I just close my mind and listen to these couple of bible verses and this nauseatingly bad inspirational song...
It's also argued that Pascal's Wager is an immoral reason to believe/honor/flatter. Isn't it better to be good because it's the right thing to do, not out of selfish fear of punishment or hope of reward?
Then there's the fact that there are millions of gods out there. It really is like playing the Lottery. What are the odds that I've chosen the correct god to believe in/honor/flatter? Though even then, it can still be argued: You can't win if you don't play. If I don't pick one, then I'm certain to go to hell.
Which brings me to my own observation of this reasoning, acquired long, long ago. Well before I knew of a guy named Pascal or that the wager had a name and a gaggle of philosophers picking it apart other than little-girl-me sitting in Sunday School, far too afraid of social banishment if I spoke these thoughts out loud, or even asked them too often of myself:
First, I'm using the word 'Faith' here not by its dictionary definition of 'blind belief,' but in the Theistic definition of just plain 'belief.' I use 'Faith' instead of 'belief' because it is such a powerful, sacred word to most. It's the answer they so often give us. "I have Faith
that God spoke to me last night and told me the moon is made of green cheese."
As if to say that is the ultimate trump card, the ultimate argument-ender. "Wow, I have mountains of observable, empirical evidence and generations of science on my side, but you say you have Faith and no one could possibly lie about that, so I guess everything I've learned about the moon is just bullshit. My bad."
Well in that context, I propose that an Atheist has a Faith more strong, more powerful, one that few Theists, fearful of a vengeful god, can ever imagine. You, the Christian, are telling me I should at least believe so I don't end up in hell. I, the Atheist, am telling you that I have so much 'Faith' that there are no gods, I'm willing to bet my eternal soul on it and not even hedge my bets, as you would have me do.
So the next time a Christian tries to tell you that you are weak without Faith, tell them, "Quite the contrary. I have so much Faith that your god is a placebo that I am willing to stand up to your god and risk an eternity of torture in your hell if I'm wrong. Just for standing by what I believe to be true. You on the other hand are risking nothing if you're wrong. Now who's David standing up to Goliath, calling Goliath a bully and a fraud?"