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Christian Tractatus

(Text as at 12/08/2007 10:17:46)

Pascal's Wager is not to be accepted.

  1. There is an argument, known as Pascal's Wager, to the effect that although we are unsure whether there is a God or not, we still ought to believe in him on the basis of expected reward (using "expected" in the probabilistic sense of V * p, where V = "value of outcome" & p = "probability of occurrence of outcome").
  2. The argument proceeds as follows. Since the gain obtained if our belief in the Christian God turns out to be well placed is infinite (eternal bliss) whereas the loss incurred by believing in vain is finite (loss of some pleasure during a finite life), we are being rational to believe however low the probability of our belief being correct is taken to be, because our expected gain is infinite, whereas our expected loss is finite.
  3. This argument is fallacious1 for several reasons.
  4. The reason I have stressed this point is because religion is for many an insurance policy, and many seem to accept the Wager on this basis. It would be easy to slide from belief to this position. To do so would be to evade all the issues.

Note last updated Reference for this Topic Parent Topic
12/08/2007 10:17:46 190 (Pascal's Wager) CT Introduction

Summary of Note Links from this Page

Pascal's Wager - Fallacious        

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Summary of Note Links to this Page

CT Introduction Did I believe in security of salvation? Why still a Christian? T1    

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Authors, Books & Papers Citing this Note

Author Title Medium Extra Links Read?
Blatti (Stephan), Ed. The Lives of Human Animals Paper Medium Quality Abstract   Yes
Garber (Daniel) Religio Philosophi Paper Low Quality Abstract   Yes

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