How do you argue with someone who's bought into Pascal's Wager? (i.e. that their reason tells them god probably does not exist, but they choose to believe anyway, overriding their rationality, because, on the off-chance god does exist, fooling themselves will reap cosmic reward as as opposed to cosmic punishment for their earthly doubt.) How can you argue with someone who purposefully divorces themselves from their own common sense?
It would be a waste of time on your part to try to reason with a person who has suspended reason. That is the time you say adios!
Pascal's Wager is a red herring. It depends on the built-in assumptions that a sincere belief is a matter of choice, or that an insincere belief would fool an omniscient God.
For example, could you choose to believe sincerely that leprechauns actually exist? No matter how hard you try, could you ever muster a genuine belief that the Gnome Queen of the Potato People has taken up residence in the haystack behind your neighbor's barn?
If hard-pressed, you might be able to fake it, but will your cynical faith ever fool or be acceptable to the omniscient Yaweh, who can read your mind and heart, and wants (above all else) to be believed in with your entire being?
It's also worth pointing out that living a religious life for a promise of reward is far more empty and cynical than living a sincere and ethical life for its own sake, without religion or theism.
Pascal's Wager doesn't work for nontheists because there is no way to win it.
Assuming you are talking to a Christian: What about Islam? What about the thousands of other religions which your brain tells you is not real. Some of them also commit non-believers to a fate worse than death. Some of them also commit believers in the wrong god to that same fate.
Bottom line is this: it doesn't matter which religion you choose, there will always be another religion condemning you because of it... may as well pick the one that makes the most sense.
Challenge them to this one made earlier.
Smith's wager works for me.....
we can call that the atheist's wager .
What a load of Cognitive dissonance!
Pascal’s Wager- A favorite amongst Christian apologist. The question still remains – Which God? The Christian God? Is that what Pascal is alluding to? And if it is Christian – which denomination? Mormon? Southern Baptist? Westboro?
Even if God does not exist, we lose nothing? Really? How much money in your lifetime have you contributed to religion? You have not lost time? Time spent praying and attending services and weekly meetings?
I would argue that Pascal wager is not just a 50/50 split on the odds. The odds of (let say) the Catholic God being the right choice carries way less statistical weight then atheism. What are the odds that Scientology is the correct religion? 50/50?
Is Pascal wager any reason to believe? There is something insincere to believe in a god over this wager. Would not an all powerful god see this mortal making this wager (even though the wager is foolish as explained above). To choose to believe over the statistical odds of being wrong. Seems insincere.
Oh .. they have a name to that argument .. i didn't know that :))
Just wondering: does Pascal’s Wager apply to Santa Claus? Is there any danger at all that, if I stop believing in Santa, those presents will stop showing up under the tree every December 25? Perhaps I should play it safe and believe.
And what about Thor? Might he zap me with a lightning bolt if I don’t believe in him?
It’s pretty clear that the most expedient thing for me to do would be to believe in every deity that might possess the power to affect my life. After all, if they don’t exist, what harm is done, other than the loss of a little self-respect at believing something manifestly preposterous? Better that than risk losing those presents.