May 10, 2011

49 Pascal’s Wager: Just believe and go to heaven

Believer’s statement: Pascal’s Wager states that it’s better to believe in God. If there’s a God, you go to heaven because you believe

Skeptic’s response: Well, that’s some master plan. The catch is you need to know that the God you worship exists. But you don't know. And what's more, let's say just skeptics go to heaven, so the religiously faithful are completely out of luck. Assuming a God exists.

Recap: I fully expect that reality has something to say about an afterlife. There isn't any way to know there's an afterlife for certain, and somebody's belief in heaven can't make it exist.

If I'm a Mormon I can't go to heaven if the Catholic God exists--assuming one of the Gods exists in the first place.

Related post:
91 What if you're wrong and there’s a God

1 comment:

  1. That's very easy. You believe in the God that promises you the best afterlife. To simplify matters, let us suppose that religion (A) postulates that you get a harp and play it on a cloud with wings for eternity, religion (B) postulates that you get 72 virgins in the afterlife, religion (C) postulates that you live forever in paradise on Earth, religion (D) postulates that you become a God, unlimited power, complete knowledge, immortality and eternal life, and non-religion (E) postulates that you are simply dead and even if your descendents manage to avoid extinction due to a build-up of harmful mutations and manage to escape the planet before the Sun goes red giant, they'll still eventually get wiped out by the heat death of the universe.

    Assuming that all explanations have an equal possibility of being true, it should be obvious that religion (D) offers the highest expected value. Non-religion (E) offers zero expected value and should be discarded right from the outset.