Anyone gullible enough to fall for the Wager, we’d love to have you

The Punch today publishes a silly piece by a fundamentalist Christian (“Steve Kryger has a passion for Jesus, Rachael (his wife), social media and politics – in that order!”) running the “but what if there’s life after death” line as if that leads naturally to the conclusion that the Bible is “authoritative” and some kind of rational response to this human desire:

Generally speaking, Australians are pretty confident that ‘this’ isn’t all there is, and when life’s umpire raises his finger to the sky and sends them back to the dressing room, they will find themselves in a ‘better place’.

While this is certainly a nice thought, whenever anyone expresses this sentiment I usually respond with two follow-up questions.

Firstly, what evidence do you have that there is a ‘better place’?

And secondly, what confidence do you have that you will be going there?

And he then tries to pretend that he does have this “evidence” and can provide some “confidence” as to who’ll be going there. But, as I commented over there –

You don’t have any “evidence”, either (that’s what “faith” is for – arriving at a conclusion without evidence).

I’d love there to be an afterlife, because the idea of this being all there is is rather depressing. But how do you get past the suspicion that you’re just fooling yourself to avoid facing a depressing reality?

Funny, isn’t it, that the world is full of religious people of all different faiths, absolutely convinced that theirs is the right one and that everyone else is going to hell. And yet they can’t all be right. Funnily enough, hardly any of them have genuinely considered alternative religions – the vast majority of religious people have picked the religion of their parents and/or the country in which they live.

And it’s no more rational to say “I’m going to believe every word in this arbitrarily-constructed Bible” than it is to say “If there’s a heaven I think I’ll get there because I’m a good person”. Just because your creed is more complicated and convoluted doesn’t make it more likely to be right.

Do Christian apologists really not understand the massive logical holes in Pascal’s Wager? Or do they understand them perfectly well, but don’t mind playing on potential converts’ ignorance?

9 responses to “Anyone gullible enough to fall for the Wager, we’d love to have you

  1. Do Christian apologists really not understand the massive logical holes in Pascal’s Wager? Or do they understand them perfectly well, but don’t mind playing on potential converts’ ignorance?

    Or, most likely, the wager is the only thing they actually need to be believers. The rest is just filler in order to support their answer to their personal fear of death.

    If it’s enough for them, then surely it must be enough for us. Right?

    Except they forget that not everybody needs made up, feel good answers. The cold hard truth is enough, if maybe a little depressing sometimes (but not always).

    Oh, and I like this bit from the opine:

    “Of course, there’s the occasional atheist who is convinced that they have no eternal soul that will endure beyond their last breath, but from my random sampling, these are few and far between.”

    *stereotype alert*

    If his random sampling is cab drivers, then it’s no surprise he only comes upon a few atheists. Perhaps he should start talking to people on the outsides of cabs and churches.

  2. There is an all powerful being in the sky who demands loyalty without proof of his existance. You must do his bidding, through his intermediarys that generally can only be men, sexual perversion accepted, and be prepared to kill those with differing beliefs. Misery and suffering in this life are all part of the grand plan because your ancient relatives did wrong. Oh, and by the way… If you stray from his command you will spend all eternity in the fires of hell………….but he loves you.
    Please……. Might have worked 100 years ago.

  3. narcoticmusing

    I always find it amusing that the premise of Pascal’s wager, and many religions people’s justification for their faith, is ‘What if I’m wrong?’ The whole, “Take this path or go to Hell.” First, it ignores the possibility that they are wrong – with so many religions out there, they can’t all be right. But secondly, and more importantly, it assumes their all powerful, all knowing God is a gullible idiot. As if, “I totally faked believing and God bought it – sucker” will work.

    And notasheeple, I agree – at best God doesn’t exist. At worst he is an abusive parent. Do what I say or I’ll smite you isn’t the god of love.

  4. I love how they’re trying to from premise A – death being the end is quite depressing – to conclusion B – you must obey every word in the Christian Bible. Step C is presumably “Profit”.

  5. I prefer the proposition attributed to Marcus Aurelius:

    Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.

  6. He was a wise man. Damn Joaquin for murdering him.

  7. Any god that would come up with the idea of hell, especially the way some people see it can go and get fucked.

    Hope you had a good Christmas J, and that next year is a good for you and Keri.

  8. If heaven is taking in fundamentalist christians, I’d rather be in hell then spend an eternity with them, doing nothing except worshipping and praising a god that did absolutely zip to help relieve the suffering of the living while I was still alive. At least hell has stuff to do – a whipped dog eventually comes to like the whippings. BDSM beats eternal boredom.

    The whole heaven/hell thing is just the religious’ wish to one day prance about singing “I was right! You were wrong! Ha ha!”, while not realizing that doing so would damn them to their own hell if their god were truly just.

  9. “When did I realize I was God? Well, I was praying and I suddenly realized I was talking to myself.” Peter O’Toole

    That’s it, not much more to say. IMHO we are all Gods/Goddesses, and because being a God means existing forever, and eternity being pretty boring after a while, we invented life, to escape the boredom of being a God. When we die we go back to being Gods, catch up with other Gods in Godland, and when we are fed up with godliness, we line up and parachute into a creature being born at that moment. One time round we want to find out what it is like to be a hungry child in Africa, next time round we line up in the rich kid column.

    IMHO it’s all about gathering different kind of experiences, see the world from many angles. I am a spiritual being who is having a human experience.

    Any belief someone holds, as crazy as they might sound to some, has the same chance of being the truth as the christian, muslim, hindhu or any other faith has. Its probability of being true can be calculated with the following formula:

    A person’s belief / Never-ending possibilities = 0.000period01 %

    Pretty slim I must admit, but not any less either. And now, just to introduce another possibility, what if whatever one believes would happen to one’s soul at the time of death, will actually happen to this soul?

    In other words, if you approach death and are worried that all your bad deeds will lead you straight to some kind of flamin hell, then that is where you’ll go. Or if you believe you’ll get reborn as a cow, you’ll actually be reborn as a cow, and so on. The options are endless, but just in case, on my deathbed I’ll be thinking of a nice situation I want to spend eternity in, like living with a nymphomaniac who owns a bottle shop.

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