Pascal’s Wager: Why it is wrong, and why following it suggests we should be bad, not good!

Pascal’s Wager: Why it is wrong, and why following it suggests we should be bad, not good!
Pascal’s suggested in his wager that, while we could not reasonably prove the existence of God, a rational man would nevertheless behave as if he existed, because the cost was nill and the benefit immense. By God, of course, Pascal meant the 19th Century Christian God. Because this God offered eternal life as the reward for faith and moral behavior, and assured the faithful that they could attain this reward through no-other path, the rewards for faith were indeed high.
But for Pascal’s wager to be valid, we must assess the likely utility of faith in this God not just by comparison to no faith in this God, but to faith in all the possible Gods.
Faith in any one of these other possible Gods may rule out rewards from whichever turns out to be the real God.
And we have many versions of what is required of the faithful, and mistaken choices here again rule out the reward.
Many Gods also do not offer Heaven. Greek mythology, all men pass over the Styx into Hades. To varying fates assuredly (vis Sisyphus), but none to heaven. What if God has been deposed by one of his offspring (a distinctly possible outcome even in modern christendom, and the origin of the Devil – a powerful counter-god, with his own place of eternal life). In Christian mythology, hell is bad, but the wagerer but account for the possibility that Satan is, like 20th century fighters against slavery a moral improvement from his former lord. What Pascal’s wager fails to provide, then, is any guide as to what it is we should do to gain rewards in an unknown after-world.
I also find it repugnant to conflate moral behavior with rewarded behavior, and God might too. SO, you just have to figure out what is right (most of us are well equipped to do this), and then do it (most again can).
PS: Pascal’s Triangle is still just fine 🙂
Pascal suggested in his wager that, while we could not reasonably prove the existence of God, a rational man would nevertheless behave as if he existed, because the cost was nill and the benefit immense. By God, of course, Pascal meant the 19th Century Christian God.
Because this God offered eternal life as the reward for faith and moral behavior, and assured the faithful that they could attain this reward through no-other path, the rewards for faith were indeed high.
But for Pascal’s wager to be valid, we must assess the likely utility of faith in this God not just by comparison to no faith in this God, but to faith in all the possible Gods.
Faith in any one of these other possible Gods may rule out rewards from whichever turns out to be the real God!
And there are numerous extant versions of what is required of the faithful, and mistaken choices here again rule out the reward.
Even worse, many Gods do not offer Heaven. Greek mythology, all men pass over the Styx into Hades. To varying fates assuredly (vis Sisyphus), but none to heaven.
Finally, what if God has been deposed by one of his offspring (a distinctly possible outcome even in modern christendom, and the origin of the Devil – a powerful counter-god, with his own place of eternal life). Belief on the ex-God may now be punished. Alternatively, while in Christian mythology, hell is bad, the wagerer must  account for the possibility that Satan is, like 20th century fighters against slavery a moral improvement from his former lord.
We might too look around, and wonder about the God who chose to expresss his creation through millenia of evolution and extinction, and even today programs sentient beings with crippling genetic diseases. You might too, like me and many moral philosophers, find it repugnant to conflate moral behavior with rewarded behavior, and God might too: Faking it won’t work.
What Pascal’s wager fails to provide, then, is any guide as to what it is we should do to gain rewards in an unknown after-world.
So, you just have to figure out what is right (most of us are well equipped to do this), and then do it (most again can).
PS: Pascal’s Triangle is still just fine 🙂
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