[LMB] Pascal's Wager ... Re: OT: All discussions re religion vs. atheism

JenL jenl1625 at gmail.com
Tue Sep 13 00:27:41 BST 2011


On Mon, Sep 12, 2011 at 6:52 PM, Howard Brazee <howard at brazee.net> wrote:

>
> On Sep 12, 2011, at 4:42 PM, JenL wrote:
>
> > I think I have a blind spot for agnostics, because my church always had
> such
> > a bright line (you believe or you're lost) sort of attitude - it could
> > actually be scary because it starts getting into that area where, if you
> > think the God they describe might be real, you'd better be on His good
> side.
> > It's one of the reasons it took me a while to admit I was an atheist -
> the
> > consequences of deciding He wasn't real and being wrong... ?
>
>
> Taking Pascal's wager requires that you pick the most likely belief that
> can save you.   I doubt very much if many people study a bunch of religions
> and pick the most likely out of those who punish people for guessing wrong.
>

No, I'd imagine most people are deciding between the beliefs they grew up
with (which have an emotional hold, to boot) and whatever they found next -
whether that's another religion or a disbelief in religious claims.

But then again, Pascal's Wager is something of a debating trick.  It's not
something a person generally consciously thinks through when deciding their
own beliefs - that's more like "I don't think I believe in Him.  Ack!  I'll
go to h*ll for thinking that!  Wait, does that mean I believe in h*ll (and
therefore God) or do I believe He doesn't exist firmly enough to trust that
there's no h*ll to go to? Ummmm....."   Or was that just me?

Because you can make a logical decision that you don't believe in the
religion you grew up with, but (for me, and I think for some others as well)
there's also an emotional component that has to catch up.  And while you're
in that emotional component, your logic is arguing with a fear you may have
carried around since childhood.

jen
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