Wednesday, September 23, 2009

wanna bet?

"If there is a God," said Blaise Pascal, "He is infinitely incomprehensible. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is. This being so, who will dare to undertake to decide the question? How, therefore, shall Christians be blamed for not being able to give reason for their belief, since they profess a religion for which reason cannot be given?

Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it.

Yes; but you must wager. It is not optional. You are in the game. Which will you choose then?

Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God exists.PascalsWager2

If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.

Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. Labour to convince yourself, not by accumulating proofs of God, but by weakening your passions. The people who know the road which you would follow and are healed of the ills of which you would be healed. They began by acting in every way as if they believed, by taking holy water, having masses said, and so on. This will naturally make you believe and will stultify you. This way leads you to faith, let me tell you that it will lessen the passions which are your stumbling-blocks. Now, what harm will befall you in taking this side? You will be faithful, humble, grateful, generous, a sincere friend, truthful. Certainly you will not have those poisonous pleasures, glory and luxury; but will you not have others?

pascals-wagerObjection. Those who hope for salvation have happiness in that; but they have as a counterpoise the fear of hell.

Reply. Who has most reason to fear hell: he who is in ignorance whether there is a hell, and who is certain of damnation if there is; or he who certainly believes there is a hell and hopes to be saved if there is?" -Squashed philosophers

The real Calvin, btw, was dour, God-fearing, and convinced that salvation is beyond the gambler's calculations. Thomas Hobbes, an atheist, said life in a state of nature must have been "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish, and short."

Our Calvin's wager seems the better bet, seems to me: Dad's a proven provider.

1 comment:

stephen king said...

the cartoon about christmas is very humorous and relates really well to pascals point. Altough i don't think you can truly be religous if believing in god is just for the hope of not going to hell. This may actually lead you on a highway straight to it. Accelerating Intelligence News