Ever thought that you would base your belief in God on a bet the same way you would a hand of poker? I certainly never thought I would until the concept was introduced to me by my best friend a few weeks back. The story goes as follows:
French philosopher Blaise Pascal tried to figure out a way in the 1600s to convince atheists to believe in God. In doing so, he developed what is now known as Pascal’s Wager.
The Wager is fairly simple, and is based on the Western tradition God. One of two statements must be true: either God exists, or God does not exist. Likewise, one of the following must also be true: You believe in God or you do not believe in God. So, what should you choose?
Pascal puts his chips on believing in God.
Let’s assume that God does not exist. Whether or not you choose to believe in him, the worst that can happen is a finite, temporary loss. You would live life believing in a God which never existed, so when you die you neither gain nor lose anything.
But, let’s assume that God does in fact exist, and your belief in him dictates whether you go to heaven or hell. If he exists and you choose not to believe in him, you will suffer in hell forever. But, if you choose to believe in him and he does exist, you spend an eternity in heaven.
Thus, Pascal argued that just in terms of odds it makes the most sense to believe in God because the loss will never amount to the infinite damnation of choosing not to believe in him if he does exist.
Who would have ever thought that statistics would be linked to the existence of God?