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Pascal’s Wager – Debunked (Blaise Pascal Refuted)

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In 1670, the French mathematician and Christian philosopher, Blaise Pascal, published a collection of theological work titled “thoughts”, in which he put forward an argument that has since been known as “Pascal’s Wager”. Stated simply, Pascal’s Wager argues that you’re better of believing in god, because if you’re right, you stand to gain eternal joy, and if you’re wrong, it won’t make any difference whatsoever. Yet, on the other hand, if you don’t believe in god and turn out to be wrong, you’ll receive eternal suffering, whereas if you’re right it’ll make no difference at all. Throughout the video, I pint-point several flaws and fallacies that those who use Pascal’s wager tend to commit, but for a very brief summary (extremely brief), they are as follows:

1. Black & White fallacy:

Right from the get-go, the argument commits the Black & White Fallacy – making it a false dichotomy. It assumes that there is either a very, very specific god, or that there is absolutely nothing.

2. Ignores All Other Religions:

By committing the Black & White Fallacy, and again as already mentioned, Pascal’s Wager utterly ignores all other religions and religious subjects. Pascal himself was assuming that the god of Christianity, that the god of his culture, was the one and only true god. Yet if he had grown up in any one of a thousand other cultures he would’ve assumed the existence of any one of a thousand other gods. Which god is the real one? They all claim to be real, and if you just so happen to be born into the wrong culture, what then? And what if you choose the wrong sect of the right religion? After all, there are over 40,000 denomination of Christianity alone, who all dramatically disagree with one-another on very important issues such as abortion, equal rights and euthanasia.

3. Ignores All Other Heaven and Hells:

Furthermore, by ignoring all other religions, Pascal’s Wager also ignores all other possible havens and hells, which are central to many theistic religions. For example, religions descended from Mesopotamian culture, including Catholicism, Islam and Judaism, all have sects that describe 7 types of heavens and hells. This is also true of many eastern religions, such as some sects of Hinduism, who believe in 7 levels of Patala.

4. Claims that Devotion and Worship Cost you Nothing:

As if these objections and flaws weren’t enough, Pascal’s Wager also indirectly claims that belief and worshiping costs you nothing, when this simply isn’t true. Most theistic religions demand a great deal from believers, from abstaining from alcohol to praying several times today to not having sex before marriage (what’s wrong with you?).

5. Assumes That You Can Choose What to Belief:

Pascal’s Wager assumes that people can choose what they believe when this simply isn’t true. Either something makes sense to you – to varying degrees, or it doesn’t. For example, you can’t choose to believe that the earth is the shell of a turtle. Of course, it’s true that you can expose yourself to the arguments and evidence that support this belief – if there is any [there’s not] – but you can’t choose to wholeheartedly, 100% believe its true upon will. In fact, those who claim that you can indeed choose what you believe are either mentally ill or they’re lying. They’re lying to you, they’re lying to themselves, and ironically they’re lying to their deity.

6. Assumes That You Can Lie to God:

And on the topic of lying to their deity, this takes us comfortably to what many people belief is one of the worse flaws in Pascal’s Wager. It assumes that if there is a god, then it can be fooled by a human pretending to believe in it… However, considering that many theistic religions attribute the qualities of omnipotence and omnipresence to their deity, this necessarily means that their god is impervious to lies.

[Video and text source: Rationality Rules YouTube channel]

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