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About God and Atheism

Menu

Pascal's Wager: Is it safer to believe in God
even if there is no proof that God exists?

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Quotations:

bullet "This is conclusive, and if men are capable of any truth, this is it." Blaise Pascal (allegedly said by him after finishing his argument in his book "Pensées.)"

bullet"I cannot conceive otherwise than that He, the Infinite Father, expects or requires no worship or praise from us, but that He is even infinitely above it." Benjamin Franklin, from his "Articles of Belief and Acts of Religion," 1728-NOV-20.

bullet"The reason Pascal’s wager does not work is the same reason why you should never plan your retirement on winning the lotto." Massimo Pigliucci. 1

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Overview:

Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) was a 17th century French mathematician, inventor, and scientist. It was a great tragedy that he died at the age of 39. One wonders what he could have accomplished if his life span had been doubled.

One of his accomplishments for which he is famous today is "Pascal's Wager. It has been briefly paraphrased as:

"If you believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you have lost nothing -- but if you don't believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you will go to Hell. Therefore it is foolish to be an atheist."1

The Internet Infidels have abbreviated Pascal's Wager into four simple statements:

  1. One does not know whether God exists.

  2. Not believing in God is bad for one's eternal soul if God does exist.

  3. Believing in God is of no consequence if God does not exist.

  4. Therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God."

At first glance, Pascal's Wager may well sound very convincing. However deeper analysis shows that it has some weaknesses.

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Topics included in this section:

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above menu. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Massimo Pigliucci, "A refutation of Pacal's wager and why skeptics should be non-theists," Massimo's Skeptic and Humanist Web, at: http://fp.bio.utk.edu/skeptic/essays/
  2. "Pascal's Wager (God is a safe bet)," The Internet Infidels, at: http://www.infidels.org/news/atheism/

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Home > Christianity > Christian personalities > God > here

Home > Religious information > here

Home > Spirituality > God > here

 Home > Ethical groups etc > Atheism > here
 Home > Ethical groups etc > Non-theistic groups > Atheism > here

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Copyright © 2001 to 2012 by Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Originally written: 2001-OCT-26
Latest update: 2012-SEP-27
Author: B.A. Robinson

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