Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

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Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 01, 2019 2:49 am

I think Pascal's Wager is brilliant and the objections to it are really weak.

Here goes:

First, one must keep in mind that Pascal was writing to people that thought Christianity could be true. He wasn't addressing dedicated atheists but rather people that could be considered agnostic. For someone that was sitting on the fence, Pascal argued that living a Christian life had huge upsides that were potentially infinite with limited downsides.

According to Pascal, if Christianity is true and you live a Christian life, you go to Heaven forever. That's an infinite benefit. If Christianity is false and after death everything goes black, you still live a moral and virtuous life if you obey Christian teachings. You're still better off being a Christian even if it turns out to be false.

The social sciences show again and again that Christians live longer, are less depressed, less suicidal, give more money to charity, volunteer more and are more civically engaged than atheists are in America. I could post links but I don't want to.

So even if Christianity is false, the Christian still lives a happier life and enjoys the huge benefits of being Christian. (Also, prayer also has been shown to change the brain in a positive way.) Suicide rates in America have gone up 30% since 1999 and a big reason for this, in my opinion, is that religion is dying in America. The benefits of organized religion are huge.

Now, a typical objection to Pascal's Wager is the "many gods" objection. The atheist will ask about all the other millions of potential gods and religions and what if they're true and Christianity is not. The solution to this is simple: study the world religions and pick the one that is most likely to be true. According to Pascal, Christianity is the most likely religion to be true. Evidence for this are the hundreds of people that saw Jesus after His resurrection, miracles and various other philosophical arguments put forward by theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world. What if Islam is true? Well, according to Christianity, a devout Muslim isn't necessarily going to Hell. According to Islam, a devout Christian isn't necessarily going to Hell, either. God or Allah is the judge. So if one ends up picking the wrong religion, one could still go to heaven forever. But Christianity and Islam both believe that atheists are going to Hell. According to Christianity and Islam, a devout Jew isn't going to Hell, either. And according to Judaism, a devout Christian or Muslim isn't going to Hell, either.

So being a Christian, Muslim, or Jew (the 3 main religions) gives you the possibility of infinite happiness if any of those religions are true; being an atheist gives you a near 0 chance of infinite happiness.

A second common to objection to Pascal's Wager is that God would not want someone to believe in Him just because they want to go to heaven. This is false according to Christianity. This is literally in the Bible. Jesus promises his followers a great reward in heaven. There is also the story of the Prodigal Son, where the son leaves the father, squanders his money on partying and revelry and comes back to the father simply because of self-interest. The father welcomes the son back. This is a metaphor for God. He wants us to come to him and doesn't care about the reasons.

So, go ahead, believe in God and be a Christian. If Christianity is true, you go to heaven forever, if it's false, you don't even know it and you still live a virtuous life and enjoy the huge benefits of belonging to a religion.

The odds that a God exists that punishes Christians has no evidence for it, unlike the evidence for Christianity that has lasted for 2,000 years.

Pascal wins!
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Jul 01, 2019 4:46 am

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:I think Pascal's Wager is brilliant and the objections to it are really weak.

Here goes:

First, one must keep in mind that Pascal was writing to people that thought Christianity could be true. He wasn't addressing dedicated atheists but rather people that could be considered agnostic.
I don't think this is true. I think he was showing that if you had the belief in God already then it is not unreasonable. He did not think that one should (or even really could) come to the belief via the thinking involved in the wager, because that is not how we come to belief in God, via reasoning....

Thus the discussion of wagering in favour of religious belief in the Pensées (Fragment 397: II, 676–81), which Pascal drafted and revised a number of times, was written from the perspective of someone who already believed in God, and who assumed that their belief was itself a gift from God. Pascal had independently studied the mathematics of gambling, and while considering how to compose an apology or defence of Christianity, he reviewed ways in which a committed Christian might adapt the logic of wagering to show that their belief is not unreasonable. However, according to Pascal's deepest theological convictions, nothing that he wrote in this context could persuade an unbeliever to become a believer in any sense that could lead to salvation. No one can communicate religious faith in Pascal's sense to others by reasoning or wagering, nor can such faith be self-induced by the same methods. For Pascal, a decision to believe God's revelation (in the relevant sense of ‘believe’) is not based on rational calculation nor, as indicated above, does it presuppose a philosophical argument in favour of God's existence. A calculation of the probability of one's wager is logically posterior to belief, and it purports to show only that those who have accepted divine grace and believed in God have made a wager that is not unreasonable. Why? Because the significance or value of the belief as a means to eternal salvation would, if it were true, compensate for its relative implausibility.

-Stanford's Encyclopedia of Philosophy

IOW he specifically and explicitly thought that it was not about changing anyone's mind, it was for showing that those who already were firm believers were, from the angle of gambling, rational if they continued in their firm belief.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Jul 01, 2019 5:07 am

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:So even if Christianity is false, the Christian still lives a happier life
Compared to whom? Other theists`? Does it include those who believe in non-abrahamic Gods, for example, and does it take into account other factors, such as for example what has happened to indigenous communities, those who might have pre-Abrahamic beliefs.

Now, a typical objection to Pascal's Wager is the "many gods" objection. The atheist will ask about all the other millions of potential gods and religions and what if they're true and Christianity is not. The solution to this is simple: study the world religions and pick the one that is most likely to be true. According to Pascal, Christianity is the most likely religion to be true. Evidence for this are the hundreds of people that saw Jesus after His resurrection, miracles and various other philosophical arguments put forward by theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas.
Could you cite where Pascal said this.

Islam is the second largest religion in the world. What if Islam is true? Well, according to Christianity, a devout Muslim isn't necessarily going to Hell. According to Islam, a devout Christian isn't necessarily going to Hell, either. God or Allah is the judge. So if one ends up picking the wrong religion, one could still go to heaven forever. But Christianity and Islam both believe that atheists are going to Hell. According to Christianity and Islam, a devout Jew isn't going to Hell, either. And according to Judaism, a devout Christian or Muslim isn't going to Hell, either.


'But....
Quran (9:29): "Fight against Christians and Jews until they pay the tribute readily, being brought low."

Quran (5:51): "Don't take Jews or Christians for friends. If you do, then Allah will consider you to be one of them."

Quran (2:65-66): "Christians and Jews must believe what Allah has revealed to Muhammad or Allah will disfigure their faces or turn them into apes, as he did the Sabbath-breakers."

Quran (5:51): "O you who believe! do not take the Jews and the Christians for friends; they are friends of each other; and whoever amongst you takes them for a friend, then surely he is one of them; surely Allah does not guide the unjust people."

Quran (9:30): "And the Jews say: Ezra is the son of Allah; and the Christians say: The Messiah is the son of Allah; these are the words of their mouths; they imitate the saying of those who disbelieved before; may Allah destroy them; how they are turned away!"


Judaism is very unclear about the afterlife.

And the Bible certainly leaves open

and even seems to indicate

the extremely common belief held by Christians

that one must

must

have Christ as one's savior to get into heaven.

That one must go through Jesus to get to the father.

And Jews certainly do not believe in Jesus, except that tiny group Jews for Jesus.

Muslims do think that Jesus was prophet, but not the Son of God in some special sense.

Are all those Christians who think Muslims and Jews are in danger unless they convert wrong. Thats a very popular belief that has also been around for thousands of years.

So being a Christian, Muslim, or Jew (the 3 main religions) gives you the possibility of infinite happiness if any of those religions are true; being an atheist gives you a near 0 chance of infinite happiness.
If those Gods in those religions are not the demiurge. In the end all this rests on is argument ad populum. If those religions contain confusions about God or tend to make one act in immoral ways, which history can easily be used to demonstrate, the issue is much more complex than you present it. There is more at stake than gambling on future bliss.

A second common to objection to Pascal's Wager is that God would not want someone to believe in Him just because they want to go to heaven. This is false according to Christianity. This is literally in the Bible. Jesus promises his followers a great reward in heaven.

That is not the same as saying God would nto have problems with someone who believes because they want to get to heaven. In fact what you are saying here contradicts Pascal, since he thought that having the belief, already, was a gift from God.

There is also the story of the Prodigal Son, where the son leaves the father, squanders his money on partying and revelry and comes back to the father simply because of self-interest. The father welcomes the son back. This is a metaphor for God. He wants us to come to him and doesn't care about the reasons.
And that parable is about sinning not becoming an agnostic (or atheist). It is not about belief, It is about forgiveness for action. So it has nothing in the slightest to do with the wager. And, again the wager is regarding those who have the belief and have had it for reasons having nothing to do with the wager's purview.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Ecmandu » Tue Jul 02, 2019 5:10 am

Freespirit,

Ahh... I see.

Obviously you haven't heard about the reverse wager!

People who are good who don't believe in god have an infinitely purer goodness than those who only act good because they believe in god.

This means that god is required to give good atheists better heavens and more dominion than good believers.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Tue Jul 02, 2019 7:55 am

Ecmandu wrote:Freespirit,

Ahh... I see.

Obviously you haven't heard about the reverse wager!

People who are good who don't believe in god have an infinitely purer goodness than those who only act good because they believe in god.

This means that god is required to give good atheists better heavens and more dominion than good believers.
Good point.

Not to mention the implict smugness is cowtowing to the dictator and enjoying that other will be punished. We see this behavior on earth all over the place.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Silhouette » Tue Jul 02, 2019 9:13 pm

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:Now, a typical objection to Pascal's Wager is the "many gods" objection. The atheist will ask about all the other millions of potential gods and religions and what if they're true and Christianity is not. The solution to this is simple: study the world religions and pick the one that is most likely to be true. According to Pascal, Christianity is the most likely religion to be true. Evidence for this are the hundreds of people that saw Jesus after His resurrection, miracles and various other philosophical arguments put forward by theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas.

The question is how do you "pick the one that is most likely to be true"?

Taking the word of Pascal or Aquinas say commits an Appeal to Authority fallacy. You glossed over what the "other philosophical arguments put forward" actually are.
The evidence of people seeing Jesus after His resurrection and miracles is at best second hand evidence, but worse than this, the New Testament wasn't even composed until decades after the events they describe. The witnesses were all uneducated and by no means reliable verifiers - no scientific testing was conducted, and the reliability of eye-witness testamony even today is notoriously short-lived (never mind over decades), even assuming the witnesses were healthy and had good eye-sight - age is a factor and lifespans were short back then. Even disregarding the effect of "Chinese Whispers", people measurably reconstruct memories routinely without even realising. On top of that there's the interpretation of what was seen, which is highly dependent on experience or lack thereof. There were many resurrections and miracles reported from around that time, in fact it's a common trope for saviour figures across all kinds of religions dating both before and after Christianity. You said something about objections to Pascal's Wager being really weak? :-?

Picking a religion that's most likely to be true requires Falsifiability. You have to be able to acquire evidence for or against a proposition in order for something to be falsifiable - in this case having a way to test which religion turns out to be true, which is of course not feasible. Religions like Christianity are unfalsifiable so there really is no way to measure which is most likely to be true in the first place - your solution is far from simple. The same testing ought to apply to your opinion on suicide rates in America rising since 1999. I don't think you're hiding the fact that you're biased on this topic.

Going by a thin consensus between "3 main religions" commits the "Argumentum ad Populum" fallacy. That's still half the world going to hell simply by being born in the wrong part of the world. You comment on the "implicit smugness" and "enjoying that others will be punished" - I won't assume you feel this way about half the world's population, but you're right that we do indeed "see this behaviour on earth all over the place". In fact, I'll leave you with a quote from Aquinas to whom you appealed yourself, "That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell".
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby promethean75 » Tue Jul 02, 2019 11:59 pm

i agree with the crazy guy, ecmandu. i'd bet my left arm that pascal went straight to hell. god might be clumsy, but he's no idiot. if the only reason you're giving him props is so you can have eternal life, you're also dissing him unless eternal life is part of the deal.

the lord is supposed to be thy shepherd, and thy is supposed to shalt not want, right? well pascal sure as shit wanted something because he went all in on the bet.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:24 pm

promethean75 wrote:i agree with the crazy guy, ecmandu. i'd bet my left arm that pascal went straight to hell. god might be clumsy, but he's no idiot. if the only reason you're giving him props is so you can have eternal life, you're also dissing him unless eternal life is part of the deal.

the lord is supposed to be thy shepherd, and thy is supposed to shalt not want, right? well pascal sure as shit wanted something because he went all in on the bet.


Not according to Christianity. I posted this already.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 5:29 pm

Silhouette wrote:
FreeSpirit1983 wrote:Now, a typical objection to Pascal's Wager is the "many gods" objection. The atheist will ask about all the other millions of potential gods and religions and what if they're true and Christianity is not. The solution to this is simple: study the world religions and pick the one that is most likely to be true. According to Pascal, Christianity is the most likely religion to be true. Evidence for this are the hundreds of people that saw Jesus after His resurrection, miracles and various other philosophical arguments put forward by theologians like Saint Thomas Aquinas.

The question is how do you "pick the one that is most likely to be true"?

Taking the word of Pascal or Aquinas say commits an Appeal to Authority fallacy. You glossed over what the "other philosophical arguments put forward" actually are.
The evidence of people seeing Jesus after His resurrection and miracles is at best second hand evidence, but worse than this, the New Testament wasn't even composed until decades after the events they describe. The witnesses were all uneducated and by no means reliable verifiers - no scientific testing was conducted, and the reliability of eye-witness testamony even today is notoriously short-lived (never mind over decades), even assuming the witnesses were healthy and had good eye-sight - age is a factor and lifespans were short back then. Even disregarding the effect of "Chinese Whispers", people measurably reconstruct memories routinely without even realising. On top of that there's the interpretation of what was seen, which is highly dependent on experience or lack thereof. There were many resurrections and miracles reported from around that time, in fact it's a common trope for saviour figures across all kinds of religions dating both before and after Christianity. You said something about objections to Pascal's Wager being really weak? :-?

Picking a religion that's most likely to be true requires Falsifiability. You have to be able to acquire evidence for or against a proposition in order for something to be falsifiable - in this case having a way to test which religion turns out to be true, which is of course not feasible. Religions like Christianity are unfalsifiable so there really is no way to measure which is most likely to be true in the first place - your solution is far from simple. The same testing ought to apply to your opinion on suicide rates in America rising since 1999. I don't think you're hiding the fact that you're biased on this topic.

Going by a thin consensus between "3 main religions" commits the "Argumentum ad Populum" fallacy. That's still half the world going to hell simply by being born in the wrong part of the world. You comment on the "implicit smugness" and "enjoying that others will be punished" - I won't assume you feel this way about half the world's population, but you're right that we do indeed "see this behaviour on earth all over the place". In fact, I'll leave you with a quote from Aquinas to whom you appealed yourself, "That the saints may enjoy their beatitude and the grace of God more abundantly they are permitted to see the punishment of the damned in hell".


You find out which religion is most likely to be true by studying the claims and evidence for it. We know that Islam is probably not true because they claim that Jesus was not crucified, and almost all modern scholars agree that he was.

The Gospels were written during the lifetime of Jesus's Apostles. This is very recent in terms of ancient biographies. Saint Paul wrote much of the New Testament and he personally knew the Apostles. The first biography of Alexander the Great was written hundreds of years after he died yet no one questions it's validity.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print ... spels-myth

Of course, we have good historical evidence for Christianity but we can't know for 100% certainty. that it's true. That's where Pascal's Wager comes into play. Each of us are bet our lives on Christianity. If we believe, we gain everything. If we believe and are wrong, the downsides are limited.

Moreover, Catholicism doesn't teach that "half the world is going to hell simply by being born in the wrong part of the world." There is something called "invincible ignorance" which posits that people that have never heard of Jesus can still go to Heaven. Just because someone was born in the Amazon rainforest and never heard of Jesus doesn't mean he's going to Hell.

https://www.catholic.com/magazine/print ... d-vincible
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby promethean75 » Sun Jul 07, 2019 6:03 pm

zarathustra's wager is much more cost effective, and the house can't win either way.

one reasons:

if god exists and i don't believe in him, i go to hell but i keep my wits.

if god doesn't exist and i believe in him, the most exciting thing i do while alive is attend a cookout at my church on sunday where i get to have impure thoughts while watching annabelle eat her hotdog.

if god exists and i believe in him, the most exciting thing i do while alive is attend a cookout at my church on sunday where i get to have impure thoughts while watching annabelle eat her hotdog.

if god doesn't exist and i don't believe in him, i keep my wits and issue a sexual innuendo to annabelle about the hotdog she's eating.

...

if the eternal recurrence is true and i don't believe in it, i keep my wits and issue a sexual innuendo to annabelle about the hotdog she's eating, like i've done over and over and over without knowing.

if the eternal recurrence is not true and i believe it is, i keep my wits and issue a sexual innuendo to annabelle about the hotdog she's eating.

if the eternal recurrence is true and i believe in it, i keep my wits and issue a better sexual innuendo to annabelle about the hotdog she's eating, than i did the last time.

if the eternal recurrence is not true and i don't believe in it, i keep my wits and issue a sexual innuendo to annabelle about the hotdog she's eating.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Karpel Tunnel » Mon Jul 08, 2019 8:32 am

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:You find out which religion is most likely to be true by studying the claims and evidence for it. We know that Islam is probably not true because they claim that Jesus was not crucified, and almost all modern scholars agree that he was.
OK, let's look precisely at your thinking process. Which religion is most likely to be true? is answered by comparing to one religion, Islam, and related to one, single belief, in religions with thousands of beliefs. Do you see the problems here? Chrisitianity is the most likely religion to be true because it has one belief that is supported by more scholars today. That is unbelievably weak evidence. And it is not evidence that the core beliefs of the religion are true: that Jesus was the son of God, or anything at all in the OT, for example, or even that God exists.

There is a hidden assumption in here, further, that one of them must be correct, so if we pick the most likely, we are making a good bet.
Of course, we have good historical evidence for Christianity
We have incredibly good historical evidence for the existence of Christianity but that is not the same as evidence that the ontological beliefs of Chritianity are true.

Moreover, Catholicism doesn't teach that "half the world is going to hell simply by being born in the wrong part of the world." There is something called "invincible ignorance" which posits that people that have never heard of Jesus can still go to Heaven. Just because someone was born in the Amazon rainforest and never heard of Jesus doesn't mean he's going to Hell.
this is correct, but it's absurdity should be obvious to anyone. Why would God make it such that some people, briefly informed something about Jesus should go to Hell for eternity, those bred into Christianity having thus a vastly better chance of coming to Heaven, while at the same time the whole Russian Roulette with souls is actually not important since the good Jivaro hunter in the amazon will get into Heaven without hearing any of it. Makes you wonder what was so important about Jesus if some souls get into Heaven (and an unbelievably large number in the early years of Christianity since vast swathes of the world has no exposure to Jesus. Makes Jesus look quite superfluous, expect for this threat, suddenly, people who hear a tiny bit about Jesus, but grew up, say in Islam, are suddenly in front of an eternal firing squad.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:30 pm

Karpel Tunnel wrote:
FreeSpirit1983 wrote:You find out which religion is most likely to be true by studying the claims and evidence for it. We know that Islam is probably not true because they claim that Jesus was not crucified, and almost all modern scholars agree that he was.
OK, let's look precisely at your thinking process. Which religion is most likely to be true? is answered by comparing to one religion, Islam, and related to one, single belief, in religions with thousands of beliefs. Do you see the problems here? Chrisitianity is the most likely religion to be true because it has one belief that is supported by more scholars today. That is unbelievably weak evidence. And it is not evidence that the core beliefs of the religion are true: that Jesus was the son of God, or anything at all in the OT, for example, or even that God exists.

There is a hidden assumption in here, further, that one of them must be correct, so if we pick the most likely, we are making a good bet.
Of course, we have good historical evidence for Christianity
We have incredibly good historical evidence for the existence of Christianity but that is not the same as evidence that the ontological beliefs of Chritianity are true.

Moreover, Catholicism doesn't teach that "half the world is going to hell simply by being born in the wrong part of the world." There is something called "invincible ignorance" which posits that people that have never heard of Jesus can still go to Heaven. Just because someone was born in the Amazon rainforest and never heard of Jesus doesn't mean he's going to Hell.
this is correct, but it's absurdity should be obvious to anyone. Why would God make it such that some people, briefly informed something about Jesus should go to Hell for eternity, those bred into Christianity having thus a vastly better chance of coming to Heaven, while at the same time the whole Russian Roulette with souls is actually not important since the good Jivaro hunter in the amazon will get into Heaven without hearing any of it. Makes you wonder what was so important about Jesus if some souls get into Heaven (and an unbelievably large number in the early years of Christianity since vast swathes of the world has no exposure to Jesus. Makes Jesus look quite superfluous, expect for this threat, suddenly, people who hear a tiny bit about Jesus, but grew up, say in Islam, are suddenly in front of an eternal firing squad.


I disagree with your entire post.

First, have you read any Catholic apologetics? Saint Thomas Aquinas? Have you read arguments from brilliant and quite devout Bible scholars? If not, I recommend that you do.

http://www.catholic.com has some great resources.

The reason all the other thousands of religions and belief systems died out is because they were clearly not true. Christianity has endured for 2,000 years because of all the evidence that it is true.

Regardless, getting back to the original point, Pascals wager is about the benefits of belief.

You atheists are in the worst imaginable spot because you are rejecting the possibility of an infinite good.

If atheists are right, you'll never even know it. If you're wrong, you may suffer eternal loss.

Death is coming and it's coming quick. The rational choice is to believe in God.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby phyllo » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:36 pm

You atheists are in the worst imaginable spot because you are rejecting the possibility of an infinite good.

If atheists are right, you'll never even know it. If you're wrong, you may suffer eternal loss.
Don't good people go to heaven, even if they made a mistake and picked the wrong religion or no religion at all?
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 4:50 pm

phyllo wrote:
You atheists are in the worst imaginable spot because you are rejecting the possibility of an infinite good.

If atheists are right, you'll never even know it. If you're wrong, you may suffer eternal loss.
Don't good people go to heaven, even if they made a mistake and picked the wrong religion or no religion at all?


No. Heaven or hell are what we choose. It's completely up to us. Atheists that continuously reject God are rejecting heaven.

I chuckle when atheists all claim they're good people. All of us have huge flaws.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby phyllo » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:01 pm

No. Heaven or hell are what we choose. It's completely up to us. Atheists that continuously reject God are rejecting heaven.

I chuckle when atheists all claim they're good people. All of us have huge flaws.
That's pretty sad.

I know lots of non-Christians who are decent, good people. It seems to me that God ought to give them a break and let them into heaven. What harm would it do? His house has many rooms.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:04 pm

phyllo wrote:
No. Heaven or hell are what we choose. It's completely up to us. Atheists that continuously reject God are rejecting heaven.

I chuckle when atheists all claim they're good people. All of us have huge flaws.
That's pretty sad.

I know lots of non-Christians who are decent, good people. It seems to me that God ought to give them a break and let them into heaven. What harm would it do? His house has many rooms.


God won't override their free will. I certainly don't think all non-Christians are choosing hell but I do think the average Richard Dawkins internet atheist does.

They clearly are choosing hell.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby phyllo » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:15 pm

God won't override their free will.
It doesn't override free will. They are either good or bad while they are alive. Then when they die, God decides where they go. Since they chose good behavior, they were on the right path all along. The choice was always between good and bad, not between heaven and hell.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:22 pm

phyllo wrote:
God won't override their free will.
It doesn't override free will. They are either good or bad while they are alive. Then when they die, God decides where they go. Since they chose good behavior, they were on the right path all along. The choice was always between good and bad, not between heaven and hell.


No one is completely good, though. Jesus said if we do something bad in our hearts, we've done it.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:24 pm

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:
phyllo wrote:
No. Heaven or hell are what we choose. It's completely up to us. Atheists that continuously reject God are rejecting heaven.

I chuckle when atheists all claim they're good people. All of us have huge flaws.
That's pretty sad.

I know lots of non-Christians who are decent, good people. It seems to me that God ought to give them a break and let them into heaven. What harm would it do? His house has many rooms.


God won't override their free will. I certainly don't think all non-Christians are choosing hell but I do think the average Richard Dawkins internet atheist does.

They clearly are choosing hell.


Richard Dawkins only claims to be a biologist, and he only speaks from the evidence.

You claim that by simply believing in god, you are one of gods chosen.

The evidence in god is not in the Bible ...

Per Phyllos argument, which of the hundreds of sects of Christianity is the correct one?
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby phyllo » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:28 pm

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:
phyllo wrote:
God won't override their free will.
It doesn't override free will. They are either good or bad while they are alive. Then when they die, God decides where they go. Since they chose good behavior, they were on the right path all along. The choice was always between good and bad, not between heaven and hell.


No one is completely good, though. Jesus said if we do something bad in our hearts, we've done it.
That means that the Christians who get into heaven were not completely good either. All people have flaws. God can look past that.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 5:32 pm

I believe Catholicism is the best because it goes back to the Apostles and doesn't change doctrine.

I also don't believe that other Christians (or Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, etc., etc.) are choosing hell...

P.S. Richard Dawkins has repeatedly described himself as an atheist and he also has a 7th grade level understanding of Christian theology...
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Silhouette » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:34 pm

FreeSpirit1983 wrote:You find out which religion is most likely to be true by studying the claims and evidence for it. We know that Islam is probably not true because they claim that Jesus was not crucified, and almost all modern scholars agree that he was.

There are no means by which to directly study the alleged events. If you're familiar with academic research, you will know Christianity is all source based, and Saint Paul is a secondary source, the Apostles being the primary source. So the claims and evidence there is available to study is not just indirect, but indirectly indirect. Add to this the adjustments that have occurred over history, problems of translation, metaphor being confused with the literal, on top of all the stuff I said about the people at the time being uneducated, mostly illiterate, gullible, not necessarily seeing the events close enough, just as susceptible to Chinese Whispers and recreating memories as we are now - it's no wonder the books of the New Testament are inconsistent with one another in various ways and merely echo the same old tropes of older religious saviour stories. I'm sure they were very popular in all forms seeing as how so many people wanted to be saved from their desperately horrible earthly lives.

In any other subject than religion, such "evidence" would be laughed out the room. This is why you might need to resort to Pascal's Wager - in case you have the intelligence to doubt the quality of such evidence. It's not to say that the events are unfounded entirely - I have no problems in believing that plenty of people were called Jesus from that time and place, probably one or more started some following, that schizotypal personalities existed in that time in history just as they do today, and that the repeated events were probably metaphors about natural events that really occurred without any supernatural stuff involved - plagiarised from previous stories just as Christianity did to traditional events that pre-dated it. You can even grant all the stuff in the New Testament actually happened and it would still not prove Jesus was the son of God etc. There's a lot of borrowed wisdom flowing through all the many ancient religious narratives - by all means learn from what still rings true today in the same way you could about Aesop's Fables for example. Perhaps make a wager that Aesop's Fables is true and live a good moral life. It lacks the alternative of "hell", in which case the most compelling wager to make is with the story that speaks of the most serious costs for not believing in it: the most fear-based representation of these old wisdoms. What is worse than eternal hell? It was a race to the bottom for these stories, and that's exactly why the monolithic "God of All" with omnipotence and omnipresence, who threatens with the maximum pain over the maximum time "wins" this race to prevail over all religions in an aesthetically presented "trinity" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Of course the majority are going to be weak enough to fall for it.

I have a logical proof that God does not exist, so even though I am open to evidence I'm hardly expecting any possibility at all of the existence of a square circle. If I confront a sqaure circle after I die, likely I'll struggle to understand how I'm seeing one, but maybe it'll all make sense once I see one, in which case I'll be equally mystified by how the road to reward was to believe in things with grossly insufficient evidence. I'd also be confounded by the fact that death, the shutting down of all my physical and mental faculties one by one ends in them all being completely restored. When the trickery is logic and reason that demonstrably apply best throughout life by a gigantic shot, I struggle to accept how the exact best thing in life that every fibre of my being unifies me towards, and away from religion, could be the exact thing that damns me. Pascal's fleeting afterthoughts born of his still-entirely-Christian environment throughout his life are no consolation.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 7:47 pm

Silhouette wrote:
FreeSpirit1983 wrote:You find out which religion is most likely to be true by studying the claims and evidence for it. We know that Islam is probably not true because they claim that Jesus was not crucified, and almost all modern scholars agree that he was.

There are no means by which to directly study the alleged events. If you're familiar with academic research, you will know Christianity is all source based, and Saint Paul is a secondary source, the Apostles being the primary source. So the claims and evidence there is available to study is not just indirect, but indirectly indirect. Add to this the adjustments that have occurred over history, problems of translation, metaphor being confused with the literal, on top of all the stuff I said about the people at the time being uneducated, mostly illiterate, gullible, not necessarily seeing the events close enough, just as susceptible to Chinese Whispers and recreating memories as we are now - it's no wonder the books of the New Testament are inconsistent with one another in various ways and merely echo the same old tropes of older religious saviour stories. I'm sure they were very popular in all forms seeing as how so many people wanted to be saved from their desperately horrible earthly lives.

In any other subject than religion, such "evidence" would be laughed out the room. This is why you might need to resort to Pascal's Wager - in case you have the intelligence to doubt the quality of such evidence. It's not to say that the events are unfounded entirely - I have no problems in believing that plenty of people were called Jesus from that time and place, probably one or more started some following, that schizotypal personalities existed in that time in history just as they do today, and that the repeated events were probably metaphors about natural events that really occurred without any supernatural stuff involved - plagiarised from previous stories just as Christianity did to traditional events that pre-dated it. You can even grant all the stuff in the New Testament actually happened and it would still not prove Jesus was the son of God etc. There's a lot of borrowed wisdom flowing through all the many ancient religious narratives - by all means learn from what still rings true today in the same way you could about Aesop's Fables for example. Perhaps make a wager that Aesop's Fables is true and live a good moral life. It lacks the alternative of "hell", in which case the most compelling wager to make is with the story that speaks of the most serious costs for not believing in it: the most fear-based representation of these old wisdoms. What is worse than eternal hell? It was a race to the bottom for these stories, and that's exactly why the monolithic "God of All" with omnipotence and omnipresence, who threatens with the maximum pain over the maximum time "wins" this race to prevail over all religions in an aesthetically presented "trinity" of Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Of course the majority are going to be weak enough to fall for it.

I have a logical proof that God does not exist, so even though I am open to evidence I'm hardly expecting any possibility at all of the existence of a square circle. If I confront a sqaure circle after I die, likely I'll struggle to understand how I'm seeing one, but maybe it'll all make sense once I see one, in which case I'll be equally mystified by how the road to reward was to believe in things with grossly insufficient evidence. I'd also be confounded by the fact that death, the shutting down of all my physical and mental faculties one by one ends in them all being completely restored. When the trickery is logic and reason that demonstrably apply best throughout life by a gigantic shot, I struggle to accept how the exact best thing in life that every fibre of my being unifies me towards, and away from religion, could be the exact thing that damns me. Pascal's fleeting afterthoughts born of his still-entirely-Christian environment throughout his life are no consolation.


Saint Paul was not ignorant. He was highly educated and graduated from a school that was the equivalent of Harvard at the time. He was brilliant.

All of the Apostles including Saint Paul were murdered because they believe Jesus rose from the dead. Why would they make it up?

If you look at other religions, the founders had reasons to lie. Mohammad was a warlord and very powerful. Joseph Smith had dozens of wives. The Apostles had no such reward on Earth.

The vast majority of Scholars agree that Jesus was executed and his tomb was empty and that the skeptical Apostles reported seeing him risen from the dead.

Of course, we can't prove this with 100% certainty. We also can't prove with 100% certainty that we're not living in the Matrix :-)

So, we should be like Pascal and look at the outcomes. If we believe in Christianity and we're right, we get an eternal gain. If we're wrong, we don't even know it.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby Ecmandu » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:49 pm

Freespirit,

Like I said before, and you totally ignored, a good person who doesn't believe in god and/or karma is an INFINITELY BETTER person than one who does.

Their goodness is necessarily MORE PURE!!!

So, if god and or karma exist, it is these people who will be given more dominion over the believers.

It's called the reverse wager. And it's a fact. The goodness of these people really is purer.
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Re: Pascal's Wager is brilliant!

Postby FreeSpirit1983 » Mon Jul 08, 2019 10:58 pm

Ecmandu wrote:Freespirit,

Like I said before, and you totally ignored, a good person who doesn't believe in god and/or karma is an INFINITELY BETTER person than one who does.

Their goodness is necessarily MORE PURE!!!

So, if god and or karma exist, it is these people who will be given more dominion over the believers.

It's called the reverse wager. And it's a fact. The goodness of these people really is purer.


Not according to Christianity.

And how do you define "good?"

As I've already stated, atheists think they're really good. They define goodness as them. But, they are completely wrong.
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