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How much you wish to wager, Bob... ?

Apeiron
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3/24/2013 12:52:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
...all of it? All of it ok!

Pascal argued that we have Pragmatic Justification for Christian belief. One can hold a belief pragmatically wholly apart from that belief being epistemically justified. Warrant is epistemic justification, a property that transforms mere true belief to knowledge.

A Pragmatic Argument (PA) provides grounds for holding to a particular belief because of the benefits gained from holding that belief. Now a Truth-Dependent PA is where one holds to their belief since doing so one benefits if it"s true.

Truth-Dependent Pragmatic Argument: Pascal"s Wager

If our options are even, and limited to Christianity or Atheism, then Christianity is to be pragmatically preferred to Atheism. Since Christian Theism is pragmatically justified because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in believing it.

To help illustrate the decision, the Expected Utility Principle in Decision Theory is used to maximizes the utility of your choices,

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First, multiply each of the mutually exclusive outcomes by the probability of each of the two states" obtaining, then add these products together and make the choice having the highest expected utility.

Symbols

Infinity, Y
Any natural number, n

Calculate the utility choices:

i. (A * .5) + (B * .5) = (Y * .5) + (-n * .5) = Y
ii. (C * .5) + (D * .5) = (-Y * .5) + (n * .5) = -Y

Clearly, choice i has infinite gain and ii has infinite loss. Thus the believer has a greater expected utility than the unbeliever if the odds of state I & II are assumed even. Therefore, even given the preponderant evidence for theism, one should believe Christianity.

Furthermore, we can give a truth-independent PA for Christianty
William James wrote in his essay, "The Will to Believe" that we"re sometimes pragmatically justified in willing to believe something in the absence of evidence if the belief is for a genuine option (a choice which is living, momentous and forced).

A living choice presents to you a belief to which you can give genuine assent. A momentous choice is one such that a great deal hangs on it, presents a rare opportunity, and the consequences are irreversible. A forced choice is one wherein you have no option of remaining indifferent, if to not choose to believe is, in effect, to choose to not believe.

James argued that Christian belief meets all this criteria, and is beneficial in this life regardless of its benefits for the next. Plus in his studies he found that believers are more balanced, happier, and virtuous. The same is true today given population statistics.
Nur-Ab-Sal
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3/24/2013 1:02:21 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
While I generally don't like Pascal's Wager, I think it'd be pretty convincing to someone on their deathbed.
Genesis I. And God created man to his own image: to the image of God he created him: male and female he created them.
dylancatlow
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3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :)
Pennington
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3/24/2013 1:10:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:06:52 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Also, by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

There be no other Gods.
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Pennington
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3/24/2013 1:11:29 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :):

Maybe it is you that needs more thought. He simply states that Theism offers more than atheism.
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dylancatlow
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3/24/2013 1:12:27 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:10:06 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:06:52 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Also, by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

There be no other Gods.

Other than which God?
dylancatlow
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3/24/2013 1:16:31 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:11:29 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :):

Maybe it is you that needs more thought. He simply states that Theism offers more than atheism.

If you don't give me the computer you're typing on I condemn you to ETERNAL torture in hell. If a computer is just a finite thing, and what I'm threatening is unlikely but INFINITE, then why should you give it to me? Seems ridiculous? That's because it is.
Pwner
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3/24/2013 1:23:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Hm, there's a lot to say in response. I'll leave aside calculation issues with infinity and focus on more philosophical problems.

It's not clear that Christianity entails (or even implies) that 'atheism' leads to hell. The most demographically populous sects of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) believe that atheists can go to heaven, given things like invincible ignorance. See, a just God wouldn't send anyone to hell for believing what they sincerely thought was true.

But, let's suppose that contrary to what most Christian theology teaches, atheism is a ticket to hell. Christianity doesn't seem to entail (or even imply) that hell be eternal. Christian Universalism is on the rise, especially in academia. Heavy weight scholars like N.T. Wright are arguing that Jesus never even mentions the traditional hell in the Gospels. Many other scholars are on board with this, such as Keith DeRose. I highly recommend The Evangelical Universalist on this.

But, let's suppose that contrary to Christian universalism, hell is eternal.

Should it worry the atheist that he'll go to hell if Christianity is true? No more than it should worry him that he'll go to hell if Islam is true, and since Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive, any probative force this worry would carry cancels out. It shouldn't lower affect his reasons for being an atheist in any noticeable way.
Pennington
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3/24/2013 2:07:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:16:31 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:11:29 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :):

Maybe it is you that needs more thought. He simply states that Theism offers more than atheism.

If you don't give me the computer you're typing on I condemn you to ETERNAL torture in hell. If a computer is just a finite thing, and what I'm threatening is unlikely but INFINITE, then why should you give it to me? Seems ridiculous? That's because it is.:
Sadly that doesn't equal the point made here.
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Pennington
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3/24/2013 2:11:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Silly atheist thinking this is about them. This is simply a argument that Theism offers more than atheism. It is true and you can not doubt it. No one is arguing that theism is true or that it is evidence for the atheist that God exist.
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philochristos
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3/24/2013 2:15:01 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
My biggest problem with Pascal's Wager is that I don't think our beliefs are under the direct control of the will. I don't think we believe things as a result of choosing to believe them. For example, even if somebody offered you a million dollars if you could choose to believe there's a pink elephant flying around outside above your head, you probably couldn't choose to actually think it's true even if you had a lot of motive to do so. At best, you could CLAIM to believe it, but you couldn't actually think it's true just by willing to believe it.

But I think Psacal's wager (or something like it) could work in another way. Let's say you're faced with a religion like Christianity in which the stakes are really high. It seems to me that if the stakes are high, it's worth looking into, but if the stakes are not high, then it's not worth looking into. So Pascal's wager can work as a good argument for why one ought to at least investigate the evidence for Christianity.

That first occurred to me when I was learning about Mormonism. According to Mormonism, everybody gets to go to one of the three kingdoms of heaven (except the few people, if any, who know with 100% certainty that Mormonism is true, but they reject it anyway). All three kingdom's are unimaginably better than this world, so you really can't lose.

The worst people go to the telestial kingdom. That's for people like Hitler and Stalin.

Only Mormons go to the celestial kingdom.

That means most of us will probably go to the terrestrial kingdom. The terrestrial kingdom is pretty much like what most Christians expect heaven to be like. It's a wonderful place free of sickness, death, and suffering.

So imagine you're a Christian trying to decide if it's worth the trouble of finding out whether Mormonism is true. If Mormonism is true, but you don't bother to find out about it, then you're going to the terrestrial kingdom. But if Mormonism is false, and you convert to it anyway, then you're probably not going to be saved at all because you'd be placing your faith in a false gospel. So it seems like the safer bet is to stick with ordinary Christianity.

After all, even if Mormonism is true, and you convert to Mormonism, that's no guarantee that you'll go to the Celestial kingdom. There are still other things you have to do. For example, you have to get married and have your marriage sealed for eternity. Think about that. Think about how scary it is to get married to somebody just knowing that it's either for life or else you're going to have to go through an unhappy divorce. Even though there's an out, it's still scary. But if you have to have your marriage sealed for eternity, there's no out. Death doesn't even do you part. You're stuck with the same person forever and ever. That ought to scare the beJesus out of anybody.

But besides that, if you're an unattractive social phobe, like me, there's a good chance you'll never get married anyway. For people like me who are probably never going to get married, there's absolutely no advantage to converting to Mormonism. If I converted to Mormonism, and it's true, my fate in the after life would be no different than if I did not convert to Mormonism. Either way, I'd still be going to the terrestrial kingdom. So there's really no reason for me to go through the trouble of finding out whether Mormonism is true. There's especially no reason for me to convert to Mormonism and accept all the life restrictions that would come with it. I'd have to give up alcohol and Dr. Pepper.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
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3/24/2013 2:18:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:06:52 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Also, by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

But all the other gods aren't threatening people with eternal hell. It seems to me the stakes are a lot higher with Christianity than they are with most other religions.

Now, you could do a cost/benefit analysis with each religion, and do it in pairs, like a single elimination context.

Christianity v. atheist = Christianity.

Christianity v. Hinduism = Christianity.

Christianity v. Judaism = Christianity.

Christianity v. Wicca = Christianity.

Christianity v. Islam = that one is close, but probably Christianity there, too. Not sure.

I think Islam is the only religion that even comes close to rivaling Christianity in a cost/benefit analysis.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
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3/24/2013 2:21:48 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:23:18 AM, Pwner wrote:
Hm, there's a lot to say in response. I'll leave aside calculation issues with infinity and focus on more philosophical problems.

It's not clear that Christianity entails (or even implies) that 'atheism' leads to hell. The most demographically populous sects of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) believe that atheists can go to heaven, given things like invincible ignorance. See, a just God wouldn't send anyone to hell for believing what they sincerely thought was true.

But, let's suppose that contrary to what most Christian theology teaches, atheism is a ticket to hell. Christianity doesn't seem to entail (or even imply) that hell be eternal. Christian Universalism is on the rise, especially in academia. Heavy weight scholars like N.T. Wright are arguing that Jesus never even mentions the traditional hell in the Gospels. Many other scholars are on board with this, such as Keith DeRose. I highly recommend The Evangelical Universalist on this.

But, let's suppose that contrary to Christian universalism, hell is eternal.

Should it worry the atheist that he'll go to hell if Christianity is true? No more than it should worry him that he'll go to hell if Islam is true, and since Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive, any probative force this worry would carry cancels out. It shouldn't lower affect his reasons for being an atheist in any noticeable way.

Pwner, it seems to me that the only thing that follows from what you said is that if a person were to convert to Christianity, they ought to convert to one of the branches that denies univeralism and affirms hell. The stakes are highest with those branches.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
philochristos
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3/24/2013 2:22:17 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :)

I think dylancatlow makes a good point.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Skepsikyma
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3/24/2013 2:53:46 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 2:18:14 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:06:52 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Also, by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

But all the other gods aren't threatening people with eternal hell. It seems to me the stakes are a lot higher with Christianity than they are with most other religions.

Now, you could do a cost/benefit analysis with each religion, and do it in pairs, like a single elimination context.

Christianity v. atheist = Christianity.

Christianity v. Hinduism = Christianity.

Christianity v. Judaism = Christianity.

Christianity v. Wicca = Christianity.

Christianity v. Islam = that one is close, but probably Christianity there, too. Not sure.

I think Islam is the only religion that even comes close to rivaling Christianity in a cost/benefit analysis.

Some forms of Buddhism have a particular frightening post-death realm, that of the pretas, or hungry ghosts. It's probably the most horrifying description of an afterlife that I've ever read: basically one who is greedy in this live becomes a shriveled, emaciated spirit, unable to interact with the physical world in any way but forever burning with torturous hunger and thirst. Tartarus also blows Hell out of the water, in my opinion.
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philochristos
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3/24/2013 3:03:14 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 2:53:46 AM, Skepsikyma wrote:

Some forms of Buddhism have a particular frightening post-death realm, that of the pretas, or hungry ghosts. It's probably the most horrifying description of an afterlife that I've ever read: basically one who is greedy in this live becomes a shriveled, emaciated spirit, unable to interact with the physical world in any way but forever burning with torturous hunger and thirst. Tartarus also blows Hell out of the water, in my opinion.

That sounds like it sucks. I guess I better look into that. I've never heard of it before.
"Not to know of what things one should demand demonstration, and of what one should not, argues want of education." ~Aristotle

"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
DakotaKrafick
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3/24/2013 3:26:00 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
Pascal's Wager suffers many problems, many of which have already been stated by other members here:

(1) The logic utilized by Pascal's Wager would lead us to holding beliefs (or at least acting in accordance to holding beliefs) in many ridiculous things. For example, it is better to believe the plane you are about to board will crash (and so not board it after all) and be wrong than it is to not believe it will crash (and so actually board it) and be wrong. Therefore, you shouldn't board that plane.

(2) Belief is not the on/off switch Pascal seemed to think it was. Even if I were to agree that it's statistically more beneficial to believe in the Christian God's existence than to not, I couldn't just therefore force myself to believe in the Christian God's existence. I need a little thing called evidence in order to persuade me.
Pwner
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3/24/2013 4:07:16 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 2:21:48 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:23:18 AM, Pwner wrote:
Hm, there's a lot to say in response. I'll leave aside calculation issues with infinity and focus on more philosophical problems.

It's not clear that Christianity entails (or even implies) that 'atheism' leads to hell. The most demographically populous sects of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) believe that atheists can go to heaven, given things like invincible ignorance. See, a just God wouldn't send anyone to hell for believing what they sincerely thought was true.

But, let's suppose that contrary to what most Christian theology teaches, atheism is a ticket to hell. Christianity doesn't seem to entail (or even imply) that hell be eternal. Christian Universalism is on the rise, especially in academia. Heavy weight scholars like N.T. Wright are arguing that Jesus never even mentions the traditional hell in the Gospels. Many other scholars are on board with this, such as Keith DeRose. I highly recommend The Evangelical Universalist on this.

But, let's suppose that contrary to Christian universalism, hell is eternal.

Should it worry the atheist that he'll go to hell if Christianity is true? No more than it should worry him that he'll go to hell if Islam is true, and since Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive, any probative force this worry would carry cancels out. It shouldn't lower affect his reasons for being an atheist in any noticeable way.

Pwner, it seems to me that the only thing that follows from what you said is that if a person were to convert to Christianity, they ought to convert to one of the branches that denies univeralism and affirms hell. The stakes are highest with those branches.

Well, not just to a denomination that affirms hell, but to one which affirms that a person will go to hell for being an atheist (pace most of Christendom). But, any reason this argument could give someone for joining one of these denominations, it'd give them just as much reason to join the mutually exclusive religion of Islam, meaning the argument shouldn't convince anyone to change their religious beliefs.
AlbinoBunny
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3/24/2013 8:46:26 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 12:52:42 AM, Apeiron wrote:
If our options are even, and limited to Christianity or Atheism, then Christianity is to be pragmatically preferred to Atheism. Since Christian Theism is pragmatically justified because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in believing it.


That's a big if. Does pretending to believe because it sounds like a good option actually work with "God"?

James argued that Christian belief meets all this criteria, and is beneficial in this life regardless of its benefits for the next. Plus in his studies he found that believers are more balanced, happier, and virtuous. The same is true today given population statistics.

Define "more balanced, happier, and virtuous" and how such things should be measured, and were measured in the study. Also, aren't crime rates (especially violent ones) higher in Christian countries than more no religious countries?
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AlbinoBunny
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3/24/2013 8:57:42 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 2:18:14 AM, philochristos wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:06:52 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Also, by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

But all the other gods aren't threatening people with eternal hell. It seems to me the stakes are a lot higher with Christianity than they are with most other religions.

Now, you could do a cost/benefit analysis with each religion, and do it in pairs, like a single elimination context.

Christianity v. atheist = Christianity.

Christianity v. Hinduism = Christianity.

Christianity v. Judaism = Christianity.

Christianity v. Wicca = Christianity.

Christianity v. Islam = that one is close, but probably Christianity there, too. Not sure.

I think Islam is the only religion that even comes close to rivaling Christianity in a cost/benefit analysis.

The jealous ex-girlfriend/boyfriend.

The atheist doesn't love them, but he loves no one else, either. They might not be happy, but they won't destroy your life.

Any other religion may love the ex-girlfriend/boyfriend back, but they only love one person, and it could be anyone in the world. If the ex finds out you love someone else (and this, supposedly jealous, one would) then they are going to be far more angry than if you didn't love anyone else.

The atheist makes the safest bet.
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Apeiron
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3/24/2013 9:22:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:12:27 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:10:06 AM, Pennington wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:06:52 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
Also, by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

There be no other Gods.

Other than which God?

I've already said in the argument that if it were limited to atheism and Christianity. But regarding the objection of many gods, it seems that in decision-making context, we"re justified in ignoring sates which are less probable than Christianity and atheism. Nevertheless, my strategy was to limit options to a tractable number if only in principle: Christianity v Atheistic naturalism.

That said I think it's clear that any reasonable person would agree that Christianity, complete with all of its ~22 philosophical and historical arguments, are in principle more probable than all other religions that actually make truth claims. But this is a side issue I don't want to get into for my formulation of the Wager.
Apeiron
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3/24/2013 9:27:18 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :)

I don't see how that follows by utility theory. First, Christianity has a plausible basis (esp if we're assuming it's even odds with atheism) for believing in infinite gains. Some guy coming up to me and demanding money with the less plausible basis that I'll have infinite gains is irrelevant to the plausibility we're assuming for Christianity (and atheism). Think it over.

by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

Again, I said tat this objection is irrelevant first since less probable views are irrelevant to more probable views in this decision matrix alone. Second, we're assuming in principle that it's only between Christianity and atheism. So this point is irrelevant.
popculturepooka
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3/24/2013 9:31:59 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 1:23:18 AM, Pwner wrote:
Hm, there's a lot to say in response. I'll leave aside calculation issues with infinity and focus on more philosophical problems.

It's not clear that Christianity entails (or even implies) that 'atheism' leads to hell. The most demographically populous sects of Christianity (Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy) believe that atheists can go to heaven, given things like invincible ignorance. See, a just God wouldn't send anyone to hell for believing what they sincerely thought was true.

But, let's suppose that contrary to what most Christian theology teaches, atheism is a ticket to hell. Christianity doesn't seem to entail (or even imply) that hell be eternal. Christian Universalism is on the rise, especially in academia. Heavy weight scholars like N.T. Wright are arguing that Jesus never even mentions the traditional hell in the Gospels. Many other scholars are on board with this, such as Keith DeRose. I highly recommend The Evangelical Universalist on this.

But, let's suppose that contrary to Christian universalism, hell is eternal.

Should it worry the atheist that he'll go to hell if Christianity is true? No more than it should worry him that he'll go to hell if Islam is true, and since Christianity and Islam are mutually exclusive, any probative force this worry would carry cancels out. It shouldn't lower affect his reasons for being an atheist in any noticeable way.

Just a minor point: NT Wright does indeed argue that most of the most of the texts refering to hell actually are talking about punishment in this life. IIRC , mostly the destruction of Jerusalem. However, he's not a universalist. As far as I can tell he still believes in an eternal hell, albeit in a much more tame form than a lot of other Christians. You're right, though, the Evangelical Universalist is well worth a look.
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Apeiron
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3/24/2013 9:35:06 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 3:26:00 AM, DakotaKrafick wrote:
Pascal's Wager suffers many problems, many of which have already been stated by other members here:

Note that I formulated the Wager in such a way that avoids those problems.


(1) The logic utilized by Pascal's Wager would lead us to holding beliefs (or at least acting in accordance to holding beliefs) in many ridiculous things. For example, it is better to believe the plane you are about to board will crash (and so not board it after all) and be wrong than it is to not believe it will crash (and so actually board it) and be wrong. Therefore, you shouldn't board that plane.

This doesn't follow with the modern decision theory as formulated by Von-Newmian-Morganstern utility theory.


(2) Belief is not the on/off switch Pascal seemed to think it was. Even if I were to agree that it's statistically more beneficial to believe in the Christian God's existence than to not, I couldn't just therefore force myself to believe in the Christian God's existence. I need a little thing called evidence in order to persuade me.

Pascal died before completing his work on this wager, it was most likely part of a much larger project wherein he sets the wager up in such a way so as to avoid these problems. Nevertheless, as I've already said, "A Pragmatic Argument (PA) provides grounds for holding to a particular belief because of the benefits gained from holding that belief."

Such pragmatism was defended in part by William James and in our every day life, this reasoning is considered rational given our variegated epistemic positions. And in a much more modest approach, William James wrote that we're sometimes pragmatically justified in willing to believe something in the absence of evidence if the belief is for a genuine option (a choice which is living, momentous and forced).

So your last objection is again irrelevant since we're focussing on pragmatic justification wholly apart from evidence.
dylancatlow
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3/24/2013 9:36:37 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 9:27:18 AM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/24/2013 1:05:16 AM, dylancatlow wrote:
By this logic, you should give me all your money if I tell you that you will suffer infinite consequences for not doing so. Think this over, buddy... :)

I don't see how that follows by utility theory. First, Christianity has a plausible basis (esp if we're assuming it's even odds with atheism) for believing in infinite gains. Some guy coming up to me and demanding money with the less plausible basis that I'll have infinite gains is irrelevant to the plausibility we're assuming for Christianity (and atheism). Think it over.

by committing yourself to the Christian faith, you are possibly risking eternal hell to all the other Gods.

Again, I said tat this objection is irrelevant first since less probable views are irrelevant to more probable views in this decision matrix alone. Second, we're assuming in principle that it's only between Christianity and atheism. So this point is irrelevant.

Don't you see, that man IS Christianity to the atheists.
dylancatlow
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3/24/2013 9:41:53 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
The main point you are missing here is that atheists REALLY don't think the Christian God exists. It's not like they KINDA believe it. So telling me that I should be a Christian because maximization of utility says I should really is no different than a made up church telling me I should hand over all my wealth in the unlikely case that if I don't I'll go to hell forever. I think the existence of the Christian God is just as likely as a generic God that would send me to hell for faking a belief (like you are trying to argue is the best path), so therefor, I choose not to believe in a God for THIS life, which I know is true.
philochristos
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3/24/2013 9:55:32 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 4:07:16 AM, Pwner wrote:

Well, not just to a denomination that affirms hell, but to one which affirms that a person will go to hell for being an atheist (pace most of Christendom). But, any reason this argument could give someone for joining one of these denominations, it'd give them just as much reason to join the mutually exclusive religion of Islam, meaning the argument shouldn't convince anyone to change their religious beliefs.

But what if they're neither Christian nor Muslim? Wouldn't that give them some motive to at least become one of those? The only hard decision would be which one.
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"It is the mark of an educated mind to be able to entertain a thought without accepting it." ~Aristotle
Apeiron
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3/24/2013 10:11:43 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 8:46:26 AM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 3/24/2013 12:52:42 AM, Apeiron wrote:
If our options are even, and limited to Christianity or Atheism, then Christianity is to be pragmatically preferred to Atheism. Since Christian Theism is pragmatically justified because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in believing it.


That's a big if.

Doesn't seems so. If one were to survey all the arguments from both sides for and against, it would be difficult not to at least consider agnosticism. This HAS been a debate since, what, Parmenides?

Does pretending to believe because it sounds like a good option actually work with "God"?

We're not pretending to belief, we're discussing pragmatic justification.


James argued that Christian belief meets all this criteria, and is beneficial in this life regardless of its benefits for the next. Plus in his studies he found that believers are more balanced, happier, and virtuous. The same is true today given population statistics.

Define "more balanced, happier, and virtuous" and how such things should be measured, and were measured in the study. Also, aren't crime rates (especially violent ones) higher in Christian countries than more no religious countries?

This is pretty much irrelevant to the Pascalian Wager, but I think it's pretty clear what a balanced life is, as well as what happiness and virtue is. Regarding Crime rates in the poor countries that Christianity thrives, we're to look at the cause of those crimes, and never have I seen the cause of such crimes being a belief in Christianity. Actually, it's the Christians in such countries that are responsible for providing a refuge to victims! Just look at the underground church in China, Honduras, not to even mention Africa, simply put, at most your argument would show that Christianity thrives where it's needed... but that's not at all a surprise for a pragmatically rich worldview.
AlbinoBunny
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3/24/2013 10:42:08 AM
Posted: 3 years ago
At 3/24/2013 10:11:43 AM, Apeiron wrote:
At 3/24/2013 8:46:26 AM, AlbinoBunny wrote:
At 3/24/2013 12:52:42 AM, Apeiron wrote:
If our options are even, and limited to Christianity or Atheism, then Christianity is to be pragmatically preferred to Atheism. Since Christian Theism is pragmatically justified because we have nothing to lose and everything to gain in believing it.


That's a big if.

Doesn't seems so. If one were to survey all the arguments from both sides for and against, it would be difficult not to at least consider agnosticism. This HAS been a debate since, what, Parmenides?

You're suggesting our options are limited to no God or the Christian God and that both are just as likely as each other. That is a gigantic if.

Does pretending to believe because it sounds like a good option actually work with "God"?

We're not pretending to belief, we're discussing pragmatic justification.

Even if I "pragmatically justify" such a thought, I know in myself, that that alone can not make me believe such a thing. I could also not fool God into thinking I believe in him.

James argued that Christian belief meets all this criteria, and is beneficial in this life regardless of its benefits for the next. Plus in his studies he found that believers are more balanced, happier, and virtuous. The same is true today given population statistics.

Define "more balanced, happier, and virtuous" and how such things should be measured, and were measured in the study. Also, aren't crime rates (especially violent ones) higher in Christian countries than more no religious countries?

This is pretty much irrelevant to the Pascalian Wager, but I think it's pretty clear what a balanced life is, as well as what happiness and virtue is. Regarding Crime rates in the poor countries that Christianity thrives, we're to look at the cause of those crimes, and never have I seen the cause of such crimes being a belief in Christianity. Actually, it's the Christians in such countries that are responsible for providing a refuge to victims! Just look at the underground church in China, Honduras, not to even mention Africa, simply put, at most your argument would show that Christianity thrives where it's needed... but that's not at all a surprise for a pragmatically rich worldview.

I don't think it's clear. How about you spell it out for me.

You would also think that societies filled with "happier, more balanced and virtuous" people would also be the societies with the lower crime rates. This isn't saying that Christianity causes crime, but questions how a "happier, more balanced and virtuous" society can also be a society with more crime.
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