Okay. So you’ve probably heard this term somewhere online, when people try to debate not only the validity of faith, but a reasonable explanation for having faith and believing in, the Christian God. At its most basic, the idea can be broken down to the following simple premises:
- Either a Christian God exists or he doesn’t.
- You can choose to believe in him or not.
- If you believe and he does exist, when you die you will go to heaven.
- If you believe and he doesn’t exist, well you’ve lost nothing.
- If you choose not to believe and he does not exist, when you’re fine.
- But if you choose not to believe and he does exist? Well you’re just going to have burn in the fiery pits of hell for all eternity, with a red hot poker up your arse. So you might as well just err on the side of caution and ‘believe’ anyway!
Yes, I know, that’s a huge oversimplification of the idea. But that’s pretty much the essence of it. However, if you click on the following link, there is a much more in-depth examination of each of the premises within this argument:
You might already be thinking “But we can’t choose to believe in something if we don’t already inherently have a belief in it being true!” And you’d be right. That problem, as well as a few other issues surrounding the validity of Pascal’s Wager are actually dealt with pretty well in the above link to the Philosophy of Religion website.
For further reading, you might also be interested in a somewhat tongue-in-cheek rebuttal to the premises contained within Pascal’s Wager, by clicking on the following link:
Now I’m really not Richard Carrier’s greatest fan – his attempt at creating an elitist SJW-tastic clique of atheists in the ‘Atheism +’ movement, really left a vile taste in my mouth, which I’m sure I’ll get around to ranting about at some point in the near future – but as far as the topic of Pascal’s Wager goes, this counter-argument, is actually pretty good and even funny (despite not actually intending to be all that humorous!) I can recommend you giving it a read if you’ve got a spare 10 minutes and want to see the different premises of the argument, taken a little bit further and given a decent bashing!