Pascal’s Wager vs. the Ontological Argument

2450 Words Sep 1st, 2011 10 Pages
Pascal’s Wager vs. the Ontological Argument
Pascal’s Wager was a groundbreaking theory posed by the French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal. Pascal, who is said to be the father of modern probability, felt that that religion should be approached as a gamble. It was one of the first efforts to incorporate the concept of infinity. The wager stated that, even though the existence of God cannot be determined through reason, one should wager as though God exists, because living accordingly, has essentially nothing to lose and experiences can only be beneficial. Pascal’s Wager consists of three arguments. The first is the argument from super dominance. Pascal wrote: “God is, or He is not. But to which side shall we
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Additionally, he suggests that even if the chance of God existing was a slim one, the reward for believing is an infinite one (Heaven). Therefore one can conclude that it would just be unwise to doubt God because one could chance missing out on a substantially enormous reward. Though Pascal’s Wager seems to be a fairly simple concept it has earned many weaknesses, specifically nine. Most of these stem from the bible, the first being whether believing God is sufficient for salvation because the bible implies that salvation is dependent on good deeds, baptism, repentance, etc. There is also the question that involves the matter of which God to believe in. Christians believe in Jesus, God, and the Holy Spirit meanwhile Muslims believe in Allah—also, the Scriptures and the Qur’an differ greatly. Additionally, one must ask if human belief matters at all, and whether heaven really is the ultimate greatness. Perhaps the biggest arguments are whether one can make themselves believe if they truly are doubtful, and how do we know God’s criteria for salvation? Pascal, himself, would ask whoever is reading his works to analyze his position and imagine themselves in it. If one truly cannot decide the matter of God’s existence, then a coin toss is the only remaining option. However, placing a wager is an

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