What if you're wrong...

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What if you're wrong...

I don't really have the time to refute Pascal properly today. I did it 5 times yesterday....


(I directed her here)

----------------- Original Message -----------------
From: Heavenly Places
Date: Oct 21, 2006 11:41 PM

I would like a "Rational Response" to this question... out of EVERY BIT of knowledge there is to ever be known... Is it NOT POSSIBLE... that there is a God? Because out of EVERY BIT OF KNOWLEDGE... how much do YOU really know... Tell me this, what if your wrong? - Megan

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What if a god exists but you

What if a god exists but you picked the wrong one? That's considered by the major gods to be as bad as atheism. And if we are right, we lived our own life without wasting time and money on religion - and not needlessly worrying if our actions offended a voyueristic ghost. Or what if there is a god, but he values rationality and only will reward those who look at the evidence and conclude there is no god?

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Maybe you should have things

Maybe you should have things typed up for the common aguments with a little foot note saying if this does not answer your question please go to our site and ask our memebers. Or even simply give a link to a post about the argument.

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Quote:I would like a

I would like a "Rational Response" to this question... out of EVERY BIT of knowledge there is to ever be known... Is it NOT POSSIBLE... that there is a God?

Of course it is possible - but what on earth makes you think that god will be anything like you've been told it is? What makes you think mere possibility is something to base rational belief upon?

It is also possible Bigfoot exists and that Elvis is still alive. Personally, I would deem both of those propositions as more likely to be true than any transcendental, concious, supernatural being.

That something is simply possible does not mean that any sane person should assume it to be true or bet that it is true.

We operate on a thing called inductive reasoning - don't run away, let me explain.

The simply fact is there is VERY little we KNOW with complete certainty.

Will the sun rise tomorrow? It's been rising every day for more than 4 billion years (well, 6,000 years if you're a fool). Are you sure it will rise tomorrow? Any reasonable person, even a creationist, would say, yes, the sun will rise tomorrow, but there IS the possibility that it will not. How seriously should we entertain this possibility and why? Answer that yourself - then ask yourself the question you asked us.

If we have NEVER observed something, if we have NO confirmable evidence for something, if something has NEVER happened and we have strong evidence from science there is no reason for that something to happen, that that something is not necessary and if that something were to happen that it would violate most of what we understand of the universe - what conclusion might we draw?

Because out of EVERY BIT OF KNOWLEDGE... how much do YOU really know... Tell me this, what if your wrong? - Megan

And what if you are wrong, my dear? Hey, you claim to have a loving and all-knowing deity.

So, rather that give you all the standard arguments about how we are essentially in the same boat, because you could be worshipping the wrong god, I'm going to appeal to your sense of justice and fair play.

You gave me life and the capacity to think, did you not? So are you saying that you would punish me for using the very gifts you gave me? I don't believe in you, because I've pondered the issue, very seriously, and for several years. I've read the books you wrote that many say your words before they ask me for money on your behalf. I think I know you and your books better than many who worship do, yet I do not believe in you. In fact in a very real sense, it is because I know so much about you that I reject you as completely ridiculous. But then again, don't you know everything - you knew I wouldn't believe in you before you made me, didn't you?

So, Megan, would you torture me for such things? I don't think you would.

Perhaps a being of infinite wisdom would be at the very least as compassionate as you. I would hope so - otherwise, what does that say about that being? Pettiness, jealousy, spite and abject cruelty are hardly qualities becoming of the most perfect being in the universe, are they? I mean, how could you possibly be more compassionate than that being? Right?


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Why this bothers me

Pascal's Wager is easily refuted. What bothers me is that with the great big internet out there, and so many repetitions of the refutation, that there are actually people who don't know the error.

Here's the thing, HP. Pascal's wager has a simple error in it. It doesn't take into account all the possibilities. Virtually all Christians make the same mistake. Choosing between one god and no god is one matter, but the fact is, there is not one god. There are literally thousands. Even if we took only the ones that are considered "relevant" we'd still have upwards of a dozen, and that doesn't take into account the fragmentation within individual religions. Southern Baptists often think that Catholics are not true Christians. Jehovah's Witnesses believe in Jesus, as do Mormons. So the question in Pascal's Wager involves choosing first between the existence of a god or not, and if you choose the existence of a god, you still have a very small percentage chance of picking the right one.

Furthermore, almost all religions rely on some sort of supernatural revelation -- a still small voice, a feeling, a voice in your head, the word of a preacher, so there's no help. Going by the size of the religion wouldn't lead you to Christianity. Going by the age wouldn't either.

Christians, and particularly American Christians, are dangerously unaware of this thing called R.O.W. That's "the Rest Of the World." In the history of the world, there have been far more non-christians than christians, and far more religions than just the "big three" that seem to kill each other the most.

Seriously, HP, do yourself, and everybody else a favor, and get yourself out of the country for a while. Visit the far east! That's a wonderful part of the world, and they've been living happily for millenia without Christianity. Pascal's Wager is terribly ethnocentric and based on a remarkably narrow view of the world.

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Can you be certain that you

Can you be certain that you actually have a heart? Tell you what...there is the possiblity that perhaps inside your skin there is really only air. You've never seen your heart...so how can you be so certain you have one? You cannot possibly be one hundred percent sure....have you ever seen your heart?

Now as you may think this is completely irrational...I propose the same to you when you ask me if I see a possibility in a God. I guess, I'm not omniscient, so I cannot say for 100% certainty that there is no god..however...I think you can't by that logic, then, say you're 100% confident you do have a heart now can you. Sure, there's ways of proving you have a heart, MRI's, X-rays, hell you can open up your chest cavity that shows you have a heart....proof, right?

Now here's the kicker...show me proof god exists.

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In response

What if I am wrong? Well, then I am wrong. There are a lot of things that are possible Megan, actually, for almost everying isn't impossible, just highly improbable. But yes, there is a possibility that there is a god, and yes, there is even the possibility that it is the Christian God, but that by no means mean that we should believe it. There is a possibility that we will all die tomorrow, but do we act like it? Do we sell our houses and spend all of our money while we can? It's possible you will win billions of dollars, or trillions, but just because it is possible, do you believe it is true? I am going to guess that the answer is no. You base a lot of what you believe on evidence, and on past events. Many people do this except for a few areas in your life, religion being one of them. Faith is not a virtue. Believing something without evidence is not smart, no more than getting into a car with a stranger who claims your mother is sick and he was sent to get you. Please, consider that fact that you too might be wrong in this.

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Ok after contacting her

Ok after contacting her again, I got this response to my MySpace page:

RE: No Subject
Body: I'm not interested in arguing what I KNOW to be true... Weather your "group" believes it or not is of couse their decision, If christianity is a lie... then it is of no importance at all... You just believed something in life that you found to be untrue in death.... big deal. HOWEVER, If it is not a lie, and you don't believe it... then it is the single most important thing there has ever been... because you didn't believe and found it to be TRUE in death... how unfortunate for you. I would rather believe and be wrong... than NOT believe.. and be wrong...... The greatest trick the devil ever played was to make a world believe he doesn't exist.

Respectfully, Megan.

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Tell her to stick Pascal's

Tell her to stick Pascal's wager up her smelly twat.

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I see this has been bumped,

I see this has been bumped, but I'll respond anyway.

I would like a "Rational Response" to this question... out of EVERY BIT of knowledge there is to ever be known... Is it NOT POSSIBLE... that there is a God?

Yes... Kirk... it is possible... that there could... be no... god.

Because out of EVERY BIT OF KNOWLEDGE... how much do YOU really know...

Does it... matter? If you think... it is impossible... no not believe in god... without knowing everything then it... is impossible to believe in god... without... knowing... everything...

Tell me this, what if your wrong? - Megan

What if you are wrong? What if we are both wrong?

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I love it. The hit and run

I love it. The hit and run evangelist approach. "I'll tell you that I'm right, and stick my fingers in my ears and sing 'Faith of our Fathers' when you try to tell me that I'm not right."

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The is a rather famous logical argument for the pragmatic benefit of believing in god as opposed to defending his actual existence. As such, it is intriguing because it is intended to gain believers without having to solve the impossible problem of offering proof of God's existence.

Therefore, Pascal's wager is alluring in its simplicity. It's really an attack on'agnosticism' (in the colloquial sense that agnosticism equates with "being undecided" between theism and strong atheism) , for it states that the requirement of certainty is a false one. It states the following: Either God exists or he does not. If he exists and you are a beliver, you "win" everlasting life. If he does not exist and you are a believer, nothing is lost, because you gain or lose just as much as the non believer. However, If he does exist and you are not a believer, you lose out on eternal life. Of the four possible permutations:

Belief and God exists = believer is saved

Non Belief and God exists = non believer suffers hellfire

Belief and God does not exist = believer does not suffer more than non believer

Non Belief and God does not exist = non believer does as well as believer

...there is no place where a non believer benefits over a believer and in no case does belief ever bring harm. Therefore, logically, one should be a believer in god, if for no other reason than that atheism cannot ever benefit a person regarding the afterlife.

This argument is specious, for many reasons. I will list several:

1) One should accept a claim because there is a rational ground for holding to it. To do otherwise is to fall to the fallacy of arguing to adverse consequences.

Therefore, Pascal's dictum is invalid. Pascal intended his wager to circumvent frustrated reason. As such the wager is not an intellectual argument for belief so much as it is an attempt to extort belief through fear and greed by way of moral cowardice. Yet even if the wager were granted at face value, it would only establish the desirability of belief, "not provide grounds for belief itself." Pascal recognized this limitation and argued that one should use ritual and church attendance as a way to "deaden your acuteness," and eventually attain belief. In other words, he was advocating irrationality and conceding that his wager was an rhetorical ploy and not a logical argument. The fact that the creator of the wager concedes this is lost on those who continue to advocate his wager.

2) Pascal's wager does not tell us which god to follow. It only presumes one should be a christian because Pascal was a christian. One could be a believer in a christian god and still suffer hellfire from Allah or Zeus.

Therefore Pascal's wager commits the false dichotomy error and is invalid.

3) Pascal's argument does not offer proof that disbelief in God means one is banished to hell. It is only, again, an assumption in some religions, such as christianity.

4) Pascal is wrong to assume that atheist does not benefit from his decision, if god does not exist.

A person accepting a false religions DOES have a lot to lose - you lose your own ability to make choices, as well as fail to appreciate the world in a different, perhaps relativistic manner. (See secular humanism for more.) If God does not exist, and there is no afterlife, we should be devoting our energies towards extending lifespan, and this requires a scientific, not a theistic, worldview. We also have reams of historical documents showing that theocratic systems have brought about the greatest miseries in history. Clealry, one has a lot to lose by being a believer, and accepting false tenets from false religions.

5) Pascal may be wrong to assume that the atheist does not benefit from his decision even if there is a god!

Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete states that the Roman Catholic church's official position on salvation is that what matters is that a person be true to his beliefs. He declares that an atheist can 'go to heaven' granted that the atheist is in earnest about his atheism. Read this page for more:


From the page:

According to the New Testament, Jesus was born as a sign of God's love for humanity--sent to Earth so that "whoever believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life," as the gospel of John puts it. Over the years, this prerequisite for admission to heaven--believing that Christ died for your sins--has been a strong incentive to become or remain a Christian. But if God really loves humankind, shouldn't He let, say, a good Buddhist or Jew through the pearly gates? God goes further than that, says Monsignor Lorenzo Albacete in this clip from his meaningoflife.tv interview: even atheists are eligible for salvation. This radical reinterpretation of scripture, Albacete notes later in the interview, has now become official Catholic doctrine (unbeknownst even to many Catholics).

6) Lastly, I will surprise some by making an appeal to morality and faith. In a religious vein - doesnt this religion ring hollow? Does God really want his followers to come to him out of fear or desire for reward, and no other reason? I would maintain that even religious people would reject Pascal's wager for this reason. Therfore, it is likely that atheists, agnostics and theists can all agree that Pascal's wager is a vast oversimplification of a very difficult emotional decision.

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