Blaise Pascal (the 17th century French mathematician, physicist, inventor, philosopher, writer, and Catholic theologian) is world famous for his little "wager". Most atheists are painfully aware of it.
Pascal was inspired to write it in 1654, in one of his most famous works Pensées, after having a "religious experience". This unlikely state of mind puzzles me, since Pascal was an intelligent man who wrote in defense of the scientific method. (Science and superstitious beliefs make strange bedfellows.)
Pascal's Wager is essentially an argument intended to prove the existence of God. According to Pascal, we are all wagering with our lives, as to whether or not God does exist or does not exist. So why not conduct this wager logically?
Here is his advice: There are only two scenarios:
1) if God DOES EXIST: one stands to receive INFINITE PLEASURE by spending their afterlife in Paradise for an eternity—and avoid the eternal pain of Hell.
2) if God DOES NOT EXIST: one stands to receive INFINITE PAIN by spending their afterlife in Hell for an eternity—and avoid the eternal pleasure of Paradise.
Sign me up! I'm a believer! ...Oh...wait a minute. This "wager" is nothing but a simple logical fallacy called petitio princippi (begging the question). The entire argument is PRESUMING that God does exist and that heaven and hell also exist. But THAT is precisely what is in question: "DOES God exist?"
Sorry Mr. Rascal—er I mean Pascal—but you are nothing but a snake-oil salesman and your argument is as slippery as a preacher.
As a matter of fact, I can think of a far better wager: Permit me to call it "Andy's Wager"—and I fully expect to receive untold fame and fortune in the near future! (I wager I'll lose!)
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