It was brought to my attention last evening the possibility that god might come down to judge us all and what would he do with me. Now, being that I doubt the very existence of god…I find this a highly unlikely scenario though, I admit, not impossible. The proposal harkens back a bit to pascals wager, i.e that there are two possibilities for the existence of god and two possibilities for belief in a god thus yielding four possible combinations:
1. You believe in god and he exists – you win
2. You believe in god and he doesn’t exist – you gain nothing and lose nothing except time
3. You don’t believe in god and he exists – eternal damnation awaits
4. You don’t believe in god and he doesn’t exist – you gain nothing and lose nothing.
Thus, Pascal surmises that since the two options associated with not believing in god have no benefits…your best bet is to believe in god. Of course, I would ascribe a definite benefit to scenario 4 in that you have lived a rational life full of meaning and free of the fear and control of a dictatorial deity. Also, this whole exercise assumes that God view’s hedging one’s bets as a moral activity. If this is so, shouldn’t we add a disclaimer to prayers. “Now I lay me down to sleep…pray to you my soul to keep…because I think that’s really the best move in light of all other options presented and not at all because I honor your immense power and authority over my existence.” Furthermore, pascal makes the false assumption that all four scenarios are equally likely to occur…not quite right there either. If we look at all the gods that have ever existed what is the chance that you have picked the correct one. Thus, we have many more scenarios to consider that all focus around you believing in the wrong god which is far more likely than you believing in the right god. So if we re-evaluate our statements we have now the most likely scenarios assuming that any gods exist as being a 50:50 shot ( I think I’m being generous with this when we have no real evidence for god). We can also assume that you have a 1 in 50 chance of picking the right god (really there have been so many “one true gods” that this is also being generous)
1. God exists and you picked the right one – you win the lottery woo hoo (1 %)
2. God exists and you picked the wrong one or don’t believe at all – he gets pissed and you lose (49%)
3. God doesn’t exist and you believe in him – you’ve just wasted a lot of energy which you could have used helping people or having fun (25%)
4. God doesn’t exist and you don’t believe in him – you lead a satisfying life without the guilt of belief following you around (25%)
No we can look and see that of our two good outcomes that are possible, 1 and 4…you have way better odds if you go with the not believing in god route than the beliving in god one because you’ve got at least a 50:50 shot of being on the money. So if we return to the question of…what if I’m wrong about there not being a god. Well, the scarier question is … “what if you’re right and there is a god?” Then we are both screwed. I’m gonna keep my fingers crossed on this one. The great Bertrand Russell (who has since become something of an atheist luminary) was once asked what he would say if ever confronted with god. His reply, “'I should reproach him for not giving us enough evidence.” Most certainly right. Patrick OUT!!!