The Irrationality of Irreligion
by Jamie Cassata
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Most of us have heard of Pascal’s Wager. Here is the argument in a nutshell: if one does not see the force of the various arguments for God’s existence, one must “wager,” or “bet,” on whether God IS or whether God IS NOT.
•If God actually does exist and you wager on him, you gain an infinite reward (EPIC WIN).
•If God actually exists and you wager on him not existing, you have an infinite loss (EPIC FAIL).
•On the other hand, if God does not actually exist and you wager on him existing, you lose nothing (FAIL).
•And if God does not actually exist and you wager on him not existing, you gain nothing (meaningless win).
Therefore, since it is irrational to ever risk losing an infinite reward and having an infinite loss, it is rational to “wager” on God, and it would be irrational to wager against God.
Go on YouTube and you will find many, many videos of atheists insulting and trying to disprove this argument. The sheer number of the videos and the ferocity with which they resist the argument reveal how threatened atheists are by the argument. And for good reason. The truth is that the argument is a valid one and should scare the atheist to death.
The principal counter-argument used by atheists against the Wager appeals to the existence of different, mutually exclusive religions and “gods.” In the words of atheist George H. Smith in his book "Atheism: the Case Against God,"
“[Pascal] mistakenly regards Catholicism and total disbelief as the only two alternatives. Such is not the case. What of other non-Christian religions that prescribe punishment for Christians?…how are we to choose between alternative religions? Indeed, it is possible to have an unlimited number of religious doctrines, each of which prescribes eternal torment for all other beliefs” (184).
Amazingly, atheists tend to disregard an obvious point: to be reverential toward ANY god/religion reduces the risk of infinite loss and punishment, insofar as that god/religion just might be true. When the wager is made on no god whatsoever, the risk is substantially increased.
The force of the argument stands, because it is never reasonable to risk an infinite loss. With stakes at an infinite level, reason dictates that such a risk must be reduced as much as possible. The risk is further lowered when the claims and teachings of each religion are closely examined philosophically, historically, and otherwise, and one is chosen prudently.
Furthermore, the atheist is being disingenuous with his counter-argument because he knows full well that Christians, Jews, and Muslims all believe in the same eternal, all-powerful, all-knowing, creator God (HE WHO IS), though they understand aspects of his nature differently.
The matter is as simple as that. In the face of the possibility of eternal hell and the loss of heaven, it is irrational to believe in nothing.
It’s equally important to remember that God’s existence can be demonstrated through rationally persuasive arguments. Check out my website at http://JamieCassata.com.
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