In my post Pondering the ‘Afterlife’ (Part 2 – Fear of Hell and Pascal’s Wager) I discussed, among other things, the pointlessness of a believer trying to urge an atheist to convert to Christianity on the grounds that:
..even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, a person should wager as though God exists, because so living has everything to gain, and nothing to lose.
This is called Pascal’s Wager. To put it another way, believers argue that:
..you’d rather believe in ‘God’ than not, because if ‘God’ doesn’t exist, presumably nothing has been lost by the believer and the non-believer. However, if it turns out that ‘God’ does, in fact, exist – then the non-believer will go to Hell, where as the believer will go to Heaven. From this it is argued that one would therefore be better off believing in ‘God’ than not.
One of my favourite atheism blogs has brought to my attention a wonderful video illustrating many of the problems with such reasoning. This video is a collaborative effort between Theramin Trees and Qualia Soup. Here it is, enjoy:
Meanwhile, here below is Matt Dilluhunty of the Atheist Experience TV Show tearing up Pascal’s Wager. He does it splendidly:
Matt’s show is available as a weekly audio podcast that you can download.
Bye bye, Pascal’s Wager.