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Is Pascal's Wager a flawed argument in atheist vs theist debates?

Asked by: PsyduckMuffin
  • At Best only Half-Useful

    Life is fleeting and only death is real. So therefore, one should live one's life for the sake of pursuing virtue rather than for the sake of fleeting pleasures.

    There is no way to no the exact nature of the afterlife so Pascal's Wager is flawed. The only thing Pascal's Wager would justify is living a moral life. So it would at least be half-useful to the Christian position, but it wouldn't be a conclusive argument for theism.

  • Pascal's Wager Good Reason to Pursue Virtue. Not God.

    Life is fleeting and only death is real. So therefore, one should live one's life for the sake of pursuing virtue rather than for the sake of fleeting pleasures.

    There is no way to no the exact nature of the afterlife so Pascal's Wager is flawed. The only thing Pascal's Wager would justify is living a moral life. So it would at least be half-useful to the Christian position, but it wouldn't be a conclusive argument for theism.

  • It's very flawed as an argument,

    It's built around an idea that's better to be safe than sorry on the existence of a god. It automatically assumes that the believer is in better shape than the skeptic is. It fails to consider that on the existence of a god that the burden of proof is on who makes a positive assertion on the issue. Many theists believe that believing and being wrong is better than not believing and being wrong.

  • Only applies to a few religions.

    Many religions don't even have a hell, and of those that do, many only send evil people there. Christianity is really in the minority when it comes to sending people to hell for not agreeing with them. Not only that but they state their god knows everything, which means he knows when some Christian is just acting that way because they want to get in heaven.

  • It makes assumptions about God

    What if God is not the biblical God. What if he is the God of some other religion or even no religions human beings have ever come up with?

    What if God doesn't care if you believe in him or not? Or what if God punishes believers and rewards unbelievers? It is just as possible as him rewarding believers and punishing unbelievers.

  • It is a false Dichotomy

    Pascal's wager is a false Dichotomy because it forces someone to chose between the two extremes of a situation while excluding all possible other options and not providing proof that those are the only two options available. Most Theists use Pascal's wager when all of their other arguments are easily refuted.

  • Pascal’s Wager Explained.

    Pascal’s argument is insightful for its emphasis on the ethical grounds of theistic and atheistic belief; after all, most people are theists or atheists for ethical reasons, not because we are robots who coldly pursue what is rigorously demonstrated. Most people are incapable of properly evaluating philosophical arguments about the existence of God, and that includes most modern intellectuals, who have an impoverished understanding of rational demonstration, due to their mistaking of symbolic logic for real logic. The fact that belief or disbelief in God is primarily an ethical decision comports well with the Christian doctrine that faith or its absence should have moral consequences. Although atheists prefer to cast their unbelief as a purely intellectual decision, they can scarcely resist the urge to make moral condemnations of religion, betraying their own ethical concerns, in particular the desire not to be subject to any external moral authority. The fact that atheists are ethical does not diminish Pascal’s argument; on the contrary, he is counting on it, in order for them to evaluate the wager properly and see that their intellectual belief is in tension with their higher moral aspirations.

    Even atheists must devise consolations that are surrogates for religion, such as the vain hope that the progress of the human race will continue in perpetuity, substituting a collective immortality for individual immortality. Yet these consolations, unlike the hopes of the faithful, are demonstrably falsified by physics, and are at odds with the modern liberal belief in the immeasurable value of the irreplaceable individual, which arose historically from the Christian tradition.

    Nonreligious liberalism is doomed to be ethically disjointed, at once declaring the supreme moral worth of the individual and that only the collective endures. If we were to cleave only to our nobler inclinations, we would realize that only the prospect of personal immortality is consonant with the transcendent dignity that we recognize in each man. If there is no God, it is foolish to treat any ephemeral collection of matter as though it were a son of God, born with inviolable rights and other divine prerogatives. Although unbelievers like to say bleak things about the insignificance of humanity, they mostly think highly of themselves, of their work, and of those they love. Their intellectual life is completely at odds with their ethical life.

    Pascal attempts to bridge this gap by pointing out the powerlessness of reason before divine questions, and urging all men of good will to look to their nobler ethical nature for the more prudent response to such questions. Such a prudential calculation, it turns out, will not force us to become hypocrites, but will actually facilitate the development of the classical virtues. In fact, our reason and our will shall be in greater harmony than they would be if we pursued virtue only as a futile exercise in the face of annihilation.


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LostintheEcho1498 says2015-09-26T22:22:17.297
I would just comment on the opinions, but it seems pretty universal as to the idea that Christians send people to Hell for not believing. I would challenge this by saying certain sects believe this, not Christians in general. By no means are those who abstain from religion inherently evil, but it does not make them good either. It makes for a grey area in most Christian religions which gets filled by them saying atheists go to Hell.