On Pascal's Wager


You may or may not be familiar with Blaise Pascal, or his famous wager, but if not it is well worth a quick look.  Just a bit on Pascal himself, he was a French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer and Catholic theologian.  A child prodigy who developed one of the first mechanical calculators, did extensive work in many other areas of mathematics and science before dying at an early age of 39.
Here is Pascal’s Wager in no uncertain terms:

A rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell)



The logic behind it:
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.
5.   Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
6.   But some cannot believe. They should then 'at least learn your inability to believe...' and 'Endeavour then to convince' themselves.

You might also find it interesting Blaise had a very intense vision/near death experience on the night of November 23, 1654 that changed his life.  From this point on he took the Christian faith very seriously.  From whatever happened to him this night he kept these words he wrote down sewn into his coat with him at all times:
GOD of Abraham, GOD of Isaac, GOD of Jacob
not of the philosophers and of the learned.
Certitude. Certitude. Feeling. Joy. Peace.
GOD of Jesus Christ.
My God and your God.
Your GOD will be my God.
Forgetfulness of the world and of everything, except GOD.
He is only found by the ways taught in the Gospel.
Grandeur of the human soul.
Righteous Father, the world has not known you, but I have known you.
Joy, joy, joy, tears of joy.
I have departed from him:
They have forsaken me, the fount of living water.
My God, will you leave me?
Let me not be separated from him forever.
This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and the one that you sent, Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
Jesus Christ.
I left him; I fled him, renounced, crucified.
Let me never be separated from him.
He is only kept securely by the ways taught in the Gospel:
Renunciation, total and sweet.
Complete submission to Jesus Christ and to my director.
Eternally in joy for a day's exercise on the earth.
May I not forget your words. Amen.


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