Why Pascal's Wager Sucks

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Why Pascal's Wager Sucks

A friend forwarded a message received from a xian attempting to use Pascal's Wager. The reply is classic.


The message:


Someday, you'll understand. I feel sorry for you. Just promise me one thing, IF you were to hypothetically end up burning in hell or something, don't curse the religious for not saving you int time. Just consider that if my beliefs are wrong, so what, I'm worm food or whatever, no big loss. But if you're wrong, you're screwed. But you still have tons of chances to get it. Believe it or not, God loves you and when you meet your maker, you'll remember this and regret not taking it seriously. Good luck on your road of life, maybe our paths will cross someday.

My friend's reply:


Hey, Bud! Thanks for your thoughts. When you sent your notice of pity, it would have been a lot more helpful had you mentioned which God I should avoid being screwed by.

There’s Allah whom the Muslim vehemently deny is triune; who say that Jesus is just a prophet, who say your Bible has been corrupted and so on. They give evidence from ancient history, science, archeology, Greek and Hebrew, Christian scholars, the early church fathers and the Bible itself to support their claim.


Or, how about the Jews. They say that Jesus at best was a good (if not problematic) Jewish Rabbi, but not the Messiah and certainly not God. They give evidence from ancient history, science, archeology, Greek and Hebrew, Christian scholars, the early church fathers and the Bible itself to support their claim.


Or, how about the Mormons who say that there are a multitude of gods and we can become one through acts like believing in their holy books and that Joseph Smith was a prophet of God. They give evidence from ancient history, science, archeology, Greek and Hebrew, Christian scholars, the early church fathers and the Bible itself to support their claim.


Or, how about the Jehovah’s witnesses who deny the trinity also. They say that Jesus was just a man and that the holy spirit is Jehovah’s active force. They say he is not omnipresent, that we are annihilated and not condemned to Hell and that Jesus has already come secretly. They give evidence from ancient history, science, archeology, Greek and Hebrew, Christian scholars, the early church fathers and the Bible itself to support their claim.


Even the Roman Catholic Church, who while saying they have the same God as you, say also that you can by God’s grace (through the sacraments and other good works) earn salvation. They believe such go to Purgatory when they die and one should do nearly every act of worship toward Mary that you do to Jesus, just don’t call it worship. They give evidence from ancient history, science, archeology, Greek and Hebrew, Christian scholars, the early church fathers and the Bible itself to support their claim.


It seems partner that “god” has “left you without a witness.” Anyway you slice it, you are just as screwed as I am! But don’t worry! Look at these passages:

Deuteronomy 20:10-17 "When you draw near a city to fight against it, offer terms of peace to it. And if its answer to you is peace and it opens to you, then all the people who are found in it shall do forced labour for you and shall serve you. But if it makes no peace with you, but makes war against you, then you shall besiege it; and when the Lord your God gives it into your hand you shall put all its male to the sword, but the women and the little ones, the cattle, and everything else in the city, all its spoil, you shall take as booty for yourself; and you shall enjoy the spoil of your enemy, which the Lord God has given to you. Thus you shall do to all the cities which are far from you, which are not cities of the nations here. In the cities of these people that the Lord your God gives you an inheritance, you shall save alive nothing that breathes but you shall utterly destroy them, the Hittites and the Amoriotes, the Canaanites and the Jebusites, as the Lord your God has commanded."

Deuteronomy 7:2 "and when the Lord your God gives then [the enemies] over to you, and you defeat them; then you must utterly destroy them; you shall make no covenant with them, and show no mercy to them..."

Numbers 31:7, 17 They warred against Midian, as the Lord commanded Moses, and slew every male…[Moses said to them] "... Now therefore kill every male among the little ones, and kill every woman who has known a man by lying with him..."

I Samuel 15:1-3 And Samuel said to Saul, "The LORD sent me to anoint you king over his people Israel; now therefore hearken to the words of the LORD. Thus says the LORD of hosts, `I will punish what Am'alek did to Israel in opposing them on the way, when they came up out of Egypt. Now go and smite Am'alek, and utterly destroy all that they have; do not spare them, but kill both man and woman, infant and suckling, ox and sheep, camel and ass.'"

II Kings 2:23-24 He [Elisha] went up from there to Bethel; and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, "Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!" And he turned around and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out from the woods and tore forty-two of the boys.

Looks like we didn’t have to worry about God being all that loving after all.


I hope that the Pascal Wagerer felt that bitch slap!

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I don't understand the

I don't understand the concept of "best religion".

Do you mean most likely to be true?


I also don't understand the concept of "choosing to believe".

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In the movie Religulous with

In the movie Religulous with Bill Maher, a guy dressed as Jesus says "what if I'm right".

Bill answers "what if I'm right?"


I think a better answer would have been something such as "what if the Mulsims are right?".


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dchernik wrote:Well, just

dchernik wrote:

Well, just because there is disagreement among believers as to which religion is the best one does not mean that there is no best religion. You are just being lazy by not investigating these faiths carefully and making your own conclusions.

 At any rate, Pascal's wager is not meant to be used in decisions as to which religion to follow. It is supposed to be a tie-breaker for any person who has examined the evidence for Christianity and is still not fully convinced. If he thinks the probability of Christianity's being true is ~50-50, then Pascal's wager may be of some use to him to clinch his choice toward belief.




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No, it’s not about a tie between belief and nonbelief in Christianity. Pascal’s Wager is unworkable since it’s based on the probable validity of biblical salvation. But the bible equivocates about what the requirements for salvation actually are. Even if you rule out all other religions as invalid, you’re still left with a bible that supports a number of mutually preclusive salvific methods.


Galatians 2:16 wrote:
 Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified.

 Yet when the rich man asked Jesus what good deed he had to perform to enter life, Jesus told him to obey the commandments. (Matthew 19:16, 17)

 At this point you will probably pull out your dispensation card and say that Jesus was still under the Old Testament. Paul precludes this explanation when he says “NO flesh.” Either the Jews of the Old Testament weren’t made of flesh, or there’s some part of the word no that I don’t understand.

 If Christianity is true, then millions of misled Christians will be standing in front of god trying to explain why they believed Paul knew more about the requirements for salvation than Jesus did.

 50-50 chance that Constantinople or Byzantine is right.  Heads I win tails you lose. And the stakes are high.