Blaise Pascal's Essay "The Wager" And Three Well Known Objections To It.

1077 words - 4 pages

Blaise Pascal's "The Wager" is not an argument for the existence of God but rather an argument as to why one should believe in the Christian God. It may seem like a good idea but in my opinion Pascal fails to make a valid argument. In the following essay I will present a summary of "The Wager" and present a few explanations as to why I think it is not a good idea to take the wager. There are many more reasons why it is not a good idea but I will mainly focus on those that I think are the strongest.I view "The Wager" as being divided into two main parts. In the first part we see Pascal argue that both the nature and the existence of God are beyond the understanding of the human mind. He states that while faith can lead us to God he is much too infinite and unlike us so it is impossible for humans to know whether or not he exists. This, he says, clears Christians of not having proof of God. Then he deals with the matter of those who do not believe in God. To them he offers a wager, which states that since we cannot know whether God exists but it would be most beneficial to believe in him considering the following possibilities; if God does exist and you believe in him then you will go to heaven and exist in eternal happiness. If God does not exist and you believe in him then you lose nothing. If God does exist and you do not believe in him then you will go to hell and be punished for eternity. And finally, if God does not exist and you do not believe in him you, once again, lose nothing. In considering this, Pascal argues that your best bet is obviously to believe in God. This seems like a valid argument at first glance, but upon closer scrutiny one can see that it is immensely flawed.My main objection to "The Wager" is in concern to the nature of belief. The wager relies on the ability of one to will oneself to believe in something. I don't think that this is possible. In order to believe something one must first believe that something to be true. If you do not know that something to be true then you cannot believe in it. There must be evidence to support this belief. One cannot, out of the blue, claim to believe in something just for the sake of believing in it. There are many examples of this but the most famous one goes something like this: If I were to give you a million dollars to believe that gravity no longer applies to you could you will yourself to believe it? No, of course you couldn't. It doesn't matter how fantastic the reward is for believing something if it is impossible for you to believe it. Pascal openly states that there is no way to have proof of whether or not God exists so how can we believe that God does exist. Pascal objects to this argument by stating that one should act like a believer and by doing so one would eventually find oneself believing in God. I don't think...

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