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Pascal on my mind. . .

I was searching for something else when I came across this video by Zinnia Jones  (love her!) on the subject of Pascal's Wager. 

There are many people who completely misunderstand atheism, assuming that we really believe in gods, we're just really mad at them, and not on speaking terms at the moment.  That's why Pascal's Wager doesn't work for those of us who don't believe in any gods.  There are too many problems with it - starting with the notion that we believe in a god, we're just "rejecting" him. 

Pascal's Wager would have to suppose the existence of gods, or "THE GOD" (which, in reality, could be any version of the Abrahamic god, but you'd better pick the right one, or risk his wrath), in order to work.  Atheists don't believe in the existence of gods, not because we're really believers, just angry or disappointed in them, but because we don't have any convincing evidence that any exist. 

Pascal's Wager is clearly ineffective.  Do you think there's a way to convince someone who doesn't believe in the existence of any gods?  Do you think your god (again, supposing that he exists) would judge someone on their inability to believe in him?  Would that be just? 

Answer Question

Asked by jsbenkert at 4:07 PM on Jul. 2, 2012 in Religious Debate

Level 37 (89,331 Credits)
Answers (27)
  • We choose to believe or disbelieve whatever information that comes our way.

    Answer by Dardenella at 4:10 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • You mention the inability to believe, which I think is worth repeating. It's interesting to me that so many people think we could just decide to believe in their god(s). I sincerely doubt that if they deeply believe in their god(s), that they could wake up one day and decide to stop believing.

    Answer by JulieJacobKyle at 4:15 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • I knew someone was going to go the "free will" route. How about if the information contains nothing to indicate even the possibility of gods?

    Answer by SWasson at 4:15 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • its not my job to convince you (in general) of the existence of the God i choose to believe in. why do so many wish we would try?..assuming you(in general) were interested enough to want to wish.

    Answer by dullscissors at 4:26 PM on Jul. 2, 2012


    This leads to the next logical question. If you must believe in a god to be susceptible to Pascal's wager, doesn't that mean, in turn, that those who admit they only believe because "what if I'm wrong" are actually no different than other practitioners of the same faith, but use the Pascal disclaimer for some other reason - perhaps to save face in the presence of atheists/agnostics/people of other faiths or to disguise agnosticism?

    Answer by NotPanicking at 4:33 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • why do so many wish we would try?..

    Who wishes that?  It happens regardless of our wishes, and whether or not you are among those who try.


    Comment by jsbenkert (original poster) at 4:53 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • perhaps it does. you asked it in a debate forum where the most of us do not. go figure.

    Answer by dullscissors at 5:06 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • No, I find Pascal's wager just as repulsive and ineffectual as you do

    Answer by bandgeek521 at 5:10 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • I don't know how God would judge atheists.

    I don't think anything I say would convince someone of God anymore than someone could convince there is no God. I assume atheists have spent just as much time as I have reflecting on what they believe. Sometimes atheists become believers in God, and sometimes believers stop believing. I don't think this happens based on something someone says to them, but on their own thought processes and expirences.

    Answer by RyansMom001 at 5:42 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

  • "Do you think there's a way to convince someone who doesn't believe in the existence of any gods?"

    That depends on the person and how open that person is to the information I'll be sharing. It's been my experience that those that demand that I prove it just really want more ammo to attack back and aren't really open to see if I actually have a logical point to make. I don't think those people can be convinced, but them again, it's neither my responsibility or my desire to do so, so why would I even bother?

    "Do you think your god (again, supposing that he exists) would judge someone on their inability to believe in him?"

    Yes. He gave us our free will, it doesn't mean there are consequences for our choices. But I cannot say how each of us will be judged, it's too personal.

    "Would that be just?"

    Why not? We're all given the exact same opportunity to look for Him, approach Him


    Answer by momto2boys973 at 6:02 PM on Jul. 2, 2012

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