The Pascal’s wager is a very popular argument among theists and deists as well. Although it is a utterly fallacious argument, it is still used for self-satisfaction. Let me explain it.
The wager uses the following logic (excerpts from Pensées, part III, §233):
- God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives.
- A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
- You must wager (it is not optional).
- Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
- Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
But some cannot believe. They should then ‘at least learn your inability to believe…’ and ‘Endeavour then to convince’ themselves.
This basically states that a believer is in a infinitely safe position than the disbeliever. If God exists, the believer gets an infinitely happy life and a disbeliever gets an infinite torture, if God doesn’t, the believer still loses nothing and the disbeliever gains nothing.
This is a ‘Appeal to consequences’ argument.
Appeal to consequences, also known as argumentum ad consequentiam, is an argument that concludes a hypothesis (typically a belief) to be either true or false based on whether the premise leads to desirable or undesirable consequences. This is based on an appeal to emotion and is a type of informal fallacy, since the desirability of a consequence does not make it true.
However, I strongly hope that most of the theists also understand the point that the argument neither proves the existence of God nor likens it. The position I will try to establish in this article is that, it can’t even be honestly used as a self satisfaction or to be clear “God exists” is not a safe position at all.
Let me do it by making some points:
1. If God doesn’t exist. The believer misses his entire life.
We only live once, so do the believers(they are among us after all). The devotee christian lives his life according to christian principle, a devotee Muslim lives his life according to Islamic principles. No religious person can live their life freely. So, if the beliefs from which the believer’s life is fundamentally based, turns out to be wrong, then he is definitely a kind of losing his own life. Which makes the disbelieving wager a little bit wiser.
2. There are other options to be noted.
Think about it. The question is not exactly, ‘Does God exists?’. The question is ‘Among the thousands of gods, does any God exist?’. A Muslim will bet that Allah exists, a Christian would bet that the Christian God exists, a Hindu would claim Brahma exists and so on. In that case, everybody is as much in danger as are everybody else. So, every choice would be the same if we judge them by their consequences. Which at last makes the disbelieving wager equal to the believing one.
3. If the God turns out to be unlike every other major religions’ definitions, and does in fact sends believers to hell and atheists to heaven, then believers are in a positive danger.
Both has the same amount of evidence. So why it can’t be a choice?
Conclusion: The Pascal’s wager seems to be fundamentally flawed and a self-refuting argument. It in no way makes believers life different than a disbeliever as demonstrated.
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