Would a modern day Pascal make his wager?

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Mikhael's picture
Would a modern day Pascal make his wager?

Hello, new member, not new sceptic. What got me to join was a question that's been half formed for a while but that I couldn't quite place till now. Pascal said there was no proof either way for god but it was safer to believe yadda. Well, we've discovered so much more about supposed Bible history and biology as to make it scientifically certain at the very least that Pascals idea of a Christian god does bot exist, st least so far as the Bible is concerned. Do you think with this evidence a modern day Pascal would still wager?

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David Killens's picture
At the time, Pascal's wager

At the time, Pascal's wager was groundbreaking because it dealt with new topics such as probability and game theory. It is constructed on these arguments.

1) God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives
2) A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up
3) You must wager (it is not optional)
4) Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing

This argument appears to be sound, with one fatal flaw. It dealt with just one religion. But what if christianity was wrong, and the sole god (hypothetical) was Odin?

All of a sudden what maybe 50/50 odds at worst become a thousand to one against any specific religion.

The effective counter to Pascal's wager is "but what if you worship the wrong god?"

Mikhael's picture
That definatelt ties into my

That definitely ties into my thought here. Most or at least many people in the western world believe that there's so much historical or archeological evidence for the stories of the Bible that it makes sense for them to assume that if any religion is true it's Christianity, but we have more and more discoveries every year that counteract that notion that Christianity somehow has more credibility just because it's written down. So without an obvious base religion to go off of, would someone coming up with that wager today still find it wise.

David Killens's picture
Argumentum ad populum (

Argumentum ad populum ("argument to the people") is a is a fallacious argument that concludes that a proposition must be true because many or most people believe it.

At one time almost every person believed that tobacco smoke was not harmful.

The bible is the assertion, not the proof. Notwithstanding what is in the bible, historical or archeological evidence for the stories of the Bible are severely lacking. In other words, there is practically zero proof supporting the stories outside of the bible.

The bible is the assertion, not the proof.

David Killens's picture
"there's so much historical

"there's so much historical or archeological evidence for the stories of the Bible that it makes sense for them to assume that if any religion is true it's Christianity"

My Spiderman comic has the Brooklyn Bridge in one of it's stories. Does that make Spiderman true?

Mikhael's picture
Def not, no.

Def not, no.

I use to be a Catholic apologist, knew my arguments inside and out, studied and took classed on apologetics and theology, etc, and now as a non believer I'm trying to find ways to answer the arguments I myself would have given someone 5 years ago. That's where I'm coming from with this, just to be clear. I know how Christians see Pascals wager because I was there once , convinced that the "many gods" argument didn't work because there was "so much" proof for Jesus and none for, say, Shiva. So from their POV the many gods argument doesn't hold water because they believe there is so much evidence for their god and only their god.

Essentially what I'm thinking about is, yes, there will always be those who use confirmation bias to see their god in fake scientific facts or flat out ignore science and history to make their god work, but in a modern world with so much access to actual history and knowledge, could anyone on the fence actually take the wager seriously? It was based on, we can not prove (the Christian) god but let's believe just in case, but now centuries later it almost seems, well we can actually DIS prove the evidence of god, so it has nothing left to stand on

Tin-Man's picture
Re: "Would a modern Pascal

Re: "Would a modern Pascal still make the wager?"

Howdy, Mikhael. Welcome to the show! Always nice having another rational brain among us... *grin*...

As much as it pains me to say it, the answer to your question is self-evident. Even in today's modern world there are millions of people (some of them quite intelligent) who still make that wager every day. I was actually one of those wagering folks for a vast majority of my life. Despite my doubts about the bible and religion. Despite all the other things I knew that refuted said bible and religion. Despite all the illogical contradictions associated with the bible and religion. Despite all of these things, I maintained the mindset of, "Well, the whole mess may not make much sense, but I suppose it is better to be safe than sorry. So I'll just keep on 'believing', even though it makes my life miserable." (By the way, during that time I had never heard of Pascal's Wager.) Took me over 45 years, but thankfully I was finally able to escape that mentality.

So, yeah, sadly enough, Pascal's Wager is still alive and well. Here is another bit of info you can use to counter that, though. According to most Christians, their god is omniscient, right? Knows EVERYTHING. Therefore, how do they suppose they are going to trick their "all-knowing" creator by acting like they believe in it, even though they strongly doubt its existence? Either their god sees straight through their charade and knows they doubt it, in which case they are screwed. Or their god is totally oblivious to the fact they are bluffing and hedging their bets, in which case it is obviously NOT an omniscient being, and therefore not worthy of worship. Anyway, just another tool for your debate belt. Hope it helps.

Mikhael's picture
Howdy. I was in that boat

Howdy. I was in that boat when I went totally down the Catholic rabbit hole when I was about 19. Fun times. In my church, performance and behavior was what was important in that wager. Behaving like you believed was fine because it wasn't a saved by faith church, no matter what they say. And being deep into a church that taught, we are the only true historical church, we have all the evidence, we have the proof and heritage, was a very damaging thing and probably a big part of why I'm wanting to study up on counter apologetics, particularly towards Catholic answers and dogma. Thank you for your response! For me, it was that I logiced myself out of religion enough that even the "just in case" seemed insignificant. What was it with you?

Tin-Man's picture
@Mikhael Re: "For me, it was

@Mikhael Re: "For me, it was that I logiced myself out of religion enough that even the "just in case" seemed insignificant. What was it with you?"

That is a very good question. I'm afraid I do not have a particularly spectacular answer for it, though. Matter of fact, it is something I even think about from time to time, but I have yet to be able to come up with any specific event or moment that finally allowed me to make my escape. As I have said before in various other threads, I was raised in a Christian (Baptist/Methodist) family primarily in a typically Southern small town Christian environment. Regular Sunday school church services, including most Sunday nights and many Wednesday nights. And, of course, vacation bible school in the summer. But even from the very beginning, as early as age 7 and 8, the entire concept of the religion I was taught never made sense to me. Too many things simply did not add up, not even in my tiny little kid brain. But I trusted my elders and so went along with the program figuring one day I would be old and wise enough to understand it all. Well, wouldn't you know, that never happened. If anything, all the religious nonsense made even LESS sense to me the more I learned and the more I experienced in life and during my travels around the world. Unfortunately, the seeds of heaven/hell and the Devil had been deeply planted in my psyche during my childhood years, and its clinging roots had quite a nasty stranglehold around the part of my brain that would normally allow me to use my critical thinking skills to their fullest potential.

Naturally, I eventually got mentally/emotionally exhausted trying to figure it all out, so I basically went into "avoidance mode" for many, many years. Did my best to stay away from any type of religious topics of any shape or form. Then I spent a few years working with and around a guy who was an atheist. He was intelligent, funny, and had a great work ethic. Suffice it to say, I had much respect for him, and over the years we ended up having a few conversations during which he helped open my eyes to many things I had never known. He even got me started reading various books that really helped get me thinking about things in a whole new light. Still, sadly, I was always hampered by that annoying little voice in the back of my head telling me, "The Devil is trying to lead you astray." Fast forward a few more years to when I met my wife. She was a yoga instructor and had grown up attending a Christian school from kindergarten to high school graduation. Bible Study was a graded course that had to be passed each year in order to graduate. Suffice it to say, she knows the bible better than some preachers. As such, she had ended up converting to being Pagan not too long before she and I met... *chuckle*... Granted, there were many other factors involved, but my meeting her is probably the best spot I can pinpoint that I was finally on my way to freeing myself from the grips of my religious indoctrination.

Long story short, a couple of years after we got married, she became FaceBook friends with a guy who claimed to be and atheist. Turns out, he lives literally less than four miles from us. (Small world... lol) Anyway, he and I ended up meeting one day and gradually became pretty good friends. Then my mother died in early 2017. And that was probably the last thread that had been keeping me tied to religion. But my journey away from its clutches was still long and laborious. I spent hours and hours on the computer writing and writing and writing trying to figure out how and what I felt. Trying my best to describe the foreign feelings that were suddenly flooding my brain. It was exhilarating, scary, and depressing all at the same time. And the biggest problem is that I had hardly anybody to talk to about these things other than my wife. (My buddy down the road has a family to attend to, and had very little free time to listen to my rants... lol) Anyway, toward the end of that year (2017) my wife finally suggested I find an atheist website to join as a means of venting and having discussions with other atheists. (Keep in mind, at that time I was still not able to refer to myself as being an atheist. Still waaaaaaay too much taboo associated with that word in my mind at that point.) But, I took her advice (thankfully) and signed up to join the AR on 12/01/17. Best.... decision.... ever.

And here I am today. Not a care in the world in regards to religions of any way, shape, or form. Matter of fact, I actually find the whole thing incredibly fascinating nowadays (along with being unexpectedly amusing at times... *grin*...). So, as you can see, I cannot point to any one specific thing that allowed me to finally break away from religion. It was pretty much just a long and arduous process, really. I only wish it could have been a few years (decades) faster... *chuckle*...

Tulasipatti's picture
Well you have defective

Well you have defective definition of God. God is one without the other. So now whoever is God that we come to know later, when we become intelligent enough. First thing is, believing in God actually means following his instructions. Just like a good citizen will follow government laws even with or without knowledge who is ruling. Why? For his own sake not for government sake. Similarly nature works according to laws. Only very few of these laws are discovered by our modern science. But all laws work regardless of any discovery or acceptance.
Now the problem here is that currently you don’t find actual religion. Religious Principles currently all around the world are moulded just to satisfy personal/social/national motives. That is major reason people get bitter experience when they try to follow these religious institutions. Result is their becoming atheist.

So this Pascal’s wager is absolutely correct if you find real religion. We can’t just close our eyes and become atheist, because laws of nature will act. Ignorance is not excuse.
We can clearly see that we are changing our body from childhood to youth hood to adult hood to old age. So an intelligent person asks what’s next. What kind of body I get after this body expires. what body we get next is in nature’s hand. Actual guidelines of scriptures of God are for such intelligent people. Not for dum ass rascals who can’t think beyond this life.
So if somebody knowingly or unknowingly act like a dog in this life gets dogs body next life.
So leave God for now, at least safe guard your own interest.
Please make it very clear nature doesn’t care for our views or our beliefs or philosophy. So this atheism or that ism not going to save us. Better get knowledge of how nature works and how we need to work under natural laws. And this knowledge only comes from scriptures. All others are failures in this regard. When the law says “stop at red light and move at green”. Your ism and my ism can’t do anything there. What happens to one who applies his “ism” and crosses red light? Same goes for nature’s laws. At once punishment. We can see this practically also. We smoke we get problem or disease according to our extent of smoking. Eat too much and get indigestion. we can’t even blink according to our will. Stop blinking and get problem in eyes. So real intelligence begins here. When a person asks why I’m under so much rules and regulations and can’t avoid. Accident is not the answer for this. I would slap so hard with my shoe on a persons face who tells me this all an accident. This accident is such rascal explanation to this most important question of our life only a dog would believe it, as I would rather take a chance and follow rather then put my head in hole of this atheism. “There is no hunter” you rascal ostrich now get shot.

Tin-Man's picture
@Tulasipatti (aka: Basil Leaf

@Tulasipatti (aka: Basil Leaf?... *scratching head*...)

...*mumbling to self*... (Oh, lord, here we go again.)... *heavy sigh*... Oh, well...

Howdy, Basil. Welcome to the AR. Gonna take a stab in the dark here and guess you are from India, maybe? Anyway, just a couple of quick questions for you...

1. Which god(s)?

2. Which set of "instructions" should we be using? (After all, there are only a few thousand from which to choise.)

Tulasipatti's picture
Well who am I talking to.

Well who am I talking to. Anyways you seem like somebody with some interest. May be just pretending to be, whatever. My understanding about current state of world about spirituality is correct I guess. people are so confused and had such bitter experiences with religious institutions that they prefer to become atheist. And God and his service actually is very much pleasurable. One can never have bitter experience if he doesn’t have any ulterior motive in his heart while he is following a authorised spiritual institution. Everybody who had bad experience didn’t meet either both or one of these conditions.

Well as for your questions.
Who is god! If I tell you, you wouldn’t believe as you are not in correct state of mind. As of now just understand that as gold is gold and cannot be categorised in any way similarly god is god and he equally is for everybody. People call him with different names like allah, Christ, Krishna etc. but he is one. different people follow him in different ways according to their place and circumstances. This is why different religious institutions are formed to give facility for people to become god Concious according to their place time and circumstances. So one can follow any authorised spiritual institution provided that it’s rules and regulations are not adulterated from original otherwise he will not get desired result and eventually become atheist due to lack of proper realisation. Unfortunately that is the problem real religion is nowhere to be found, there is just money making. Because real religion is so tasteful so pleasurable that finest liquor in this world or sex pleasure is nothing in comparison. This is the reason why those who are advanced in spirituality don’t prefer to indulge in sex life which is highest pleasure for atheists. One cannot leave lower pleasure without getting higher pleasure. This is actual purpose of religion to give us highest pleasure. You might be wondering why I’m telling you all this, well you are too dum for logic.

Tin-Man's picture
@Talus-... (oops)... Tilasu-.

@Talus-... (oops)... Tilasu-... (dang-it)... Saladpoo-... (aw, hell. fuck it.)... @Basil

Re: "This is the reason why those who are advanced in spirituality don’t prefer to indulge in sex life..."

Hmmm... Perhaps you should pass that tidbit of info along to the Catholic priests and the clergy of various other religious sects throughout the world. Although, I venture a guess there are countless altar boys and other young children who would argue that point.

Re: "You might be wondering why I’m telling you all this, well you are too dum for logic."

Wow! Man, if I had a nickel for every time I was ever told that, I'd be super-rich by now... *sad sigh*... Be that as it may, have you ever heard the old saying, "Ignorance is bliss"? Well, if that saying is true, then I imagine you must be the most blissful person to ever walk the face of this Earth.

NewSkeptic's picture


"Wow! Man, if I had a nickel for every time I was ever told that,"

Wow, that gives me an idea. Let's cut a coin slot in your head. Then every time someone calls you dum, they have to put a nickel in your head. (a dime if they spell "dumb" d-u-m) I know you've passed the big 5-0, so you have to start thinking about your retirement.

Grinseed's picture
Oooh I don't think that would

Oooh I don't think that would be such a good idea New, Tin would be hauling so many coins in just a few days he wouldn't be able to walk for the weight of them and he'd be rattling like a freight train in the meantime.. How bout a credit card swipe device welded to his side, that way anyone who calls him 'dum' or 'dumb', can conveniently swipe the coin value directly to his bank account and get a receipt as well.

Tin-Man's picture
@NewSkeptic Re: "Let's cut a

@NewSkeptic Re: "Let's cut a coin slot in your head. Then every time someone calls you dum, they have to put a nickel in your head."

Well, actually I retired back in 2012. However, the extra income would certainly help supplement my retirement check. Although, I tried the coin slot thing a long time ago for other reasons (....*mumbling under breath*... I would rather not discuss), and there was a little glitch that caused a bit of a problem. See, when the coins went in, they filled one leg full before overflowing into the other leg. As you can imagine, this cause a rather inconvenient walking problem, especially on a busy day. Therefore, if I do the coin slot idea again, I would have to make a few modifications that would allow both legs to fill evenly. Otherwise, I like the idea.... *thumbs up*...

NewSkeptic's picture
"Well, actually I retired

"Well, actually I retired back in 2012".

Well fuck me. And here I am, in the office on the Lord's Day, slaving away, and I'm older than you. (well, I should be slaving away, instead I'm eating lunch and posting nonsense on here). Good on you, mate.

Nyarlathotep's picture
...following a[sic]

Tulasipatti - ...following a[sic] authorised spiritual institution.

Wow, they have a bureaucracy for everything these days!

David Killens's picture


"people are so confused and had such bitter experiences with religious institutions that they prefer to become atheist"

That generalization is an absolute boatload of crap.

I was raised in a christian family, and apart from throwing in a buck when they passed the collection plate, and not being able to sleep in Sunday mornings, never had any, NOT ANY negative experiences with my religion. It was a comforting place, I was surrounded by friends and family, it was something we all shared.

Even when I stopped attending church, I spent forty years searching for something spiritual. I really wanted to believe in a god.

Cognostic's picture
@Tallysassy: RE: "One cannot

@Tallysassy: RE: "One cannot leave lower pleasure without getting higher pleasure." I'm sorry.... Doesn't it all sorta start out as lower pleasure and then build to higher pleasure...... or ....... is someone doing nasty stuff to the wrong head?

David Killens's picture


"God is one without the other."

Please explain this statement, it seems more deepity than anything profound and realistic.

From the Urban Dictionary
A proposition that seems to be profound because it is actually logically ill-formed. A deepity balances precariously between multiple interpretations, at least one of which is obvious and trivial and at least one of which would be earth-shaking except that it is false.

Tulasipatti's picture
Man seriously, this word

Man seriously, this word juggling, wow. Perfect sign of a cheat. When you can’t reason then you start to make sophisticated words and sentences. Simply cheating business.

David Killens's picture


"Man seriously, this word juggling, wow. Perfect sign of a cheat. When you can’t reason then you start to make sophisticated words and sentences. Simply cheating business."

You are the one playing word games, my question was extremely simple and to the point, to explain "God is one without the other." Heck, I even offered the definition of "deepity" to avoid confusion and keep things clear and concise.

And since you could not offer any form of explanation and instead went on the offensive, my only conclusion is that I exposed your deepity.

I am not the one cheating, I am not the one being dishonest. You are.

Cognostic's picture
@Tulasipatti: Do you have

@Tulasipatti: Do you have any evidence that we are not using reason? Obviously is you can not prove we are not using reason: we are using reason. That's the way reason works.... well at least according to what you have posted.

I think, If you want reason, you have to be reasonable. Given that, I can't begin to see why everyone is not being utterly and absolutely reasonable to your comments.

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ Cog

@ Cog

Oh come on , you can see how reasonable Tally is being; it is quite simple if you are a reasonable being using reason for a reason that is reasonable then reason makes it inescapable that the reasonable person would find the conclusion eminently reasonable.

I think that's a reasonable conclusion.

Cognostic's picture
@Old man shouts ... I

@Old man shouts ... I understand what you are getting at but reason is only reasonable when it can be reasoned to be reasonable from a reasonably reliably reasoned source that has a reasonable way of reasonably expressing reasons in a reasonable time, in a reasonable place, and using reasonable reasons. In my opinion, that is exactly why Tally is not being reasonable at all. I had my computer turned off at the time he made the comments and I was in no way ready for the reasonableness of the replies when I turned it back on at a reasonable hour. Obviously he cares not about reason at all or he would have posted more reasonably by contacting via PM and telling me when he was going to post his BS.

Tin-Man's picture


For what reason did you turn off your computer? Was it a reasonable reason? And how could Tally reasonably know your computer was off before posting reasonable reason remarks? After all, tis the season for reason, which obviously mandates a reason for the season. It is unreasonable to believe that simple reason of logic can be reasoned away in any reasonable manner. Perhaps you should reevaluate your reasons for your reasonings of why your reasons are reasonable. "For it is not ours to reason why. It is but ours to do and die".... *tipping hat to Tennyson*...

Cognostic's picture
TIN: Clearly I gave you a

TIN: Clearly I gave you a reasonable reason for my reasons involving a very reasonable PM that should have reasonably been sent prior to posting reasons for his posting of the the previous reasons he reasonably posted. Have you tossed reason out the window? My reason for my reasoning is right there in front of you and reasonably so. This whole situation could have reasonably been avoided with just a little reason. Now it has gone completely mad and you know what Groucho Marx says about that: "“Humor is reason gone mad.”

Old man shouts at clouds's picture
@ TM and Cog

@ TM and Cog

Well, as a reasonable person it seems to me, if I reason it out that both of you are being unreasonable. The reason being that both of you are using very complicated reasoning to reach a simple, reasonable conclusion, Never mind the reasons that Tin Man has for insulting your very reasonable actions, Cog, in turning off your computer at a very reasonable. hour. Although I totally sympathise with Tin mans reasoning I find , in this case his attitude unreasonable and too much for any reasonable person to endure.
Therefore Cog, it would be entirely reasonable for you to fling poo at Tin Mans home, making sure of course that the poo is of reasonable quality and consistency and that the throwing distance causing a splatter factor is reasonable.

The reasoning I use in this reasonable judgement, is of course the judgement of any 'reasonable man in the street". A legal precedent that has guided many reasonable judgement from seemingly unreasonable and difficult cases. So by using your reason, and applying your powers of reason it is obvious what the reasonable conclusion must be when applying the reasonable decisions of the hypothetical man or woman in the street.

I mean, it stands to reason doesn't it?

Cognostic's picture
@Old Man Shouts... RE:

@Old Man Shouts... RE: Reasonable Reasons: "Two Paragraphs!!" FUCK IT!! "YOU WIN!"
I can't even reasonably remember the reason we are trying to be reasonable about reasoning. Reasonably proving that I am the most reasonable, I will offer a very reasonable apology to Tin Man. Thus demonstrating my magnanimous reasoning ability to reasonably reason reasonably. It's only reasonable that I, a reasonably intelligent primate, reasonably higher on the evolutionary ladder that a simple Tin Man, should make the first reasonable move towards reasoning a conclusion to these now unreasonable proceedings which have apparently lost all reason due to insufficient reason somewhere in the thread. Ergo, apologies to all and I will be off to the forums. Old Man Wins! And my magnanimous nature shines as the reasonable peace maker that I am well known for being.

Tin-Man's picture
@Cog and Old Man

@Cog and Old Man

Ummm... Would it be unreasonable of me to ask the reason for this discussion of reasoning based on the reasons of why one or more people here reasoned it was necessary to find the reasons for all the unreasonableness that has been posted for reasons of questionable reasons? The reason I ask is because I am almost reasonably certain Cog is trying to reason his way out of this in a most unreasonable manner for the reason of trying to maintain some reasonable amount of reason to his false reasons of virtue.


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