Pascal’s Wager

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:

Wikipedia – Pascal’s Wager

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:

Ken Daniels – Why I Believed

He’s got a great section in there on Pascal’s Wager that is a must-read for anyone struggling with this argument:

Ken Daniels – Pascal’s Wager

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:

Why It’s Not a “Safer Bet” to Believe in God, Or, Why Pascal’s Wager Sucks

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.


One thought on “Pascal’s Wager

  1. Pingback: More on Pascal’s Wager « Left Christianity

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