I’m posting this because the idea behind Pascal’s Wager has been coming up in some online discussions I’ve been a part of. It can be a huge issue for someone doubting Christianity and considering leaving their faith.
Here’s a basic definition for anyone new to the argument:
The argument that it is in one’s rational self-interest to act as if God exists, since the infinite punishments of hell, provided they have a positive probability, however small, outweigh any countervailing advantage.
Here’s a wikipedia article if you want to read up on it:
So essentially, if you decide not to believe in god you could be punished (likely for eternity), but if you stay on the god team you’re safe. And heck – if you choose the god team and you’re wrong – oh well – you’ve lived a nice life anyway – so no loss. So it’s just rational to make sure you’re safe and stay on the team with the best probability of a good outcome.
I have a link on My Story page to a wonderful book by a former Christian missionary named Ken Daniels that recounts his intellectual deconversion:
He’s got a great section in there on Pascal’s Wager that is a must-read for anyone struggling with this argument:
Here’s another great post regarding Pascal’s Wager by Greta Christina. I love her writing in general and her in-depth rant on this topic:
If you are doubting Christianity, I would encourage you not to let Pascal’s Wager frighten you into being dishonest with yourself. Hopefully the above information can help you see what a weak argument it really is and then you can continue on your path of searching for truth.