Does ‘Pascal’s Wager’ provide a convincing argument for belief in God?
Published in 1670 and named after French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal; the philosophical theory of Pascal’s Wager reasons that to believe in God is a decision made in a time of uncertainty. The Wager also explains that whether or not God exists, we can estimate the outcome; an infinite reward or an infinite punishment. This suggests that the rational choice to live as if God exists is the better of the possible choices; yet, through reason alone, one cannot come to the knowledge of God’s existence.
Many people’s beliefs may be in their own interest to hold, thinking, if we plan for the future it will pay off in the long run; or in other cases, we explain why somebody holds a belief by appealing to its causes. This being said, the idea of the Wager is deciding whether or not to believe in God and to consider the expected outcome for each of these options. I think that Pascal’s Wager is supposedly meant to provide reasons which would persuade any rational person that they should believe in God. However, I don’t think it is a valid argument, although it is convincing. The argument of Pascal’s Wager can be used for any God at all, so what happens if you pick the wrong God? Who is to say this God actually rewards belief and punishes those who do not believe? If we supposedly were to pick a god and it does exist, won’t this omniscient god know that we only believe just to be safe? Would our outcome still be an infinite reward, or would we not be rewarded for our fake belief? I don’t think we can be guaranteed any specific outcome, such as an infinite reward or infinite punishment, because if you believed in a god because you wanted to have chance on your side, then the God would know this, and would know that your belief was not real.
The belief in God relies on assuming that the god described is real and has those characteristics. The argument of Pascal’s Wager begins with...
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