Saturday, March 28, 2009

Pascal's Wager

PREACHER: If God really exists and you don't accept His existence, then you are being ungrateful to Him for creating you. If you don't like the way He created you then, since you don't believe in Him, you have no one to voice your complaints to.

SKEPTIC: Well, I have no complaints, so I guess I'm okay.

PREACHER: If I am wrong about what is waiting for us after this life I have nothing to lose. If you are wrong you have all of eternity to lose.

SKEPTIC: Ah, yes, Pascal's Wager, or the "Just in Case" theory, as I like to call it. I should believe in God, just in case there really is one. Which seems to me to be a pretty weak reason for believing anything. How sincere is your belief if that's the foundation?

PREACHER: Why do people buy car accident insurance? According to your thinking it would make sense to cancel my insurance at the next possible moment since I haven't had an accident yet. Of course the "just in case" theory isn't the foundation of my faith.

SKEPTIC: So it's NOT the foundation of your faith, but it should be the foundation of my faith? Should I employ the same logic to believe in all the other gods that people around the world believe in, just in case one of THOSE is the real god?

PREACHER: It shouldn't be the foundation of your faith either. It should be a good reason to reconsider your foundation. (A rock is a lot firmer than sinking sand.)

SKEPTIC: I think I'll go ahead and use science as my foundation. Call me crazy, but it just seems logical to me to view the world through the eyes of a discipline that attempts to create knowledge from actual research and reason instead of myths and superstitions.

PREACHER: Science tells you what and why things happen the way they do now. It doesn't tell you about what happened in the past. That is left up to our memory or the accounts that other men have written. To assume that the present is a clue to the past is a leap of faith, just as much as a belief in a creator God is a leap of faith. However it really doesn't matter what you believe if you don't have a God to answer to. I find the belief in science (it all started from nothing into something without a purpose) rather impersonal. I find believing in God a source of strength. If it's not true I won't know the difference anyway as I cease to exist according to your theory.

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