Monday, October 22, 2007

Improving Pascal’s Wager

I think I got this argument from Peter Kreeft but I don’t remember which one of his books. For those who don't know Pascal's Wager it is an argument for believing in God. The basic argument is to look at the big scheme of life as a bet. If you place your bet on there not being a God and are wrong, then you are in trouble. If you are right you gain nothing. But if you place your bet on their being a God and there is in fact a God you gain eternal happiness. If you are wrong then you loose nothing.

The only logical bet is to bet on God. The logic behind this argument is strong but I never thought this argument was convincing for a couple of reasons.

1. The faith is not a saving faith motivated by love but only a cover your butt type of faith. This isn't a huge problem because in reality we probably all start our faith here and at least it gets us searching and listening for God to knock on the door.

2. The whole thing seems conniving and self-centered.

3. It does not really inspire people to change because the argument is based on a low self-centered motive.

4. It does not show what God to bet on.

But there is an angle that satisfies at least some of the weakness I found in the argument. There is an argument that has its core in Pascal's wager but is based on the higher and more altruistic motive of justice. If there is a God, justice demands total faith, love, hope, obedience and worship. If we do not worship and there is a God then we commit an infinite injustice against an infinite being. The only way to be just is if we worship. To be infinitely unjust, is to not worship.

No comments: