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666
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12 Apr 2006, 3:55 pm

Okay, most of you probably know who Blaise Pascal was, so he doesn't need an introduction.

Basically, he proposed the following. If God does not exist then when you die, you die, regardless of whether or not you believe in God. On the other hand, if God does exist, then believers go to Heaven when they die and nonbelievers go to Hell. The worst possible outcome of believing in God, therefore, is at least as good as the best possible outcome of not believing in God, so logic dictates that the only rational choice is to believe in God. At least that's the best choice according to Pascal.

Discuss.



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12 Apr 2006, 5:34 pm

666 wrote:
Okay, most of you probably know who Blaise Pascal was, so he doesn't need an introduction... ...Discuss.


Thanks for the compliment!

If it's as tidy as that, then why does St. Paul say, in the midst of a passage insisting on the importance of the resurrection as fact...
"If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all men most to be pitied."


Isn't there also an artificiality in Pascal's starting conditions? There are more hypotheses about the afterlife than the judging Christian deity and non-existence. Reincarnation might change the bet, seeing it as better to move towards "rta" than hold to false precepts.

At the very least, then, not done and dusted.



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12 Apr 2006, 8:55 pm

But which god? Humans have created hundreds since the beginning of recorded time. The chances of any of the gods created being the one true god are very slim. Maybe the punishment for not believing in any god are smaller than in believing in the wrong god.

In the end the whole imaginary friend scene is just mental masturbation.



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12 Apr 2006, 11:10 pm

reincarnation is a joke. 30 years ago, there were 3 billion people on earth. 30 years before that, there were 1.5 billion. Previous to that, populations didnt double every thirty years, so the sum of the 90 years before today is less that the sum of todays population, 6.xx billion people. Extra human souls MUST be appearing, with no chance of having exprienced reincarnation.

One might assume that most people people are reincarnated animals, but there is a problem with that. You see, three very common animals have their populations tired to human populations. The three are the pig, the cow, and the chicken. Goats too, i'd guess. Chickens, for example, have roughly the exact same population(at any given instant) as people. therefore, to produce all the chicken products we eat, there needs to be 6 billion chickens. Likewise, the other animals will each feed several people, but must be produced in higher numbers as the population grows. Undoubtably, more creatures populations are pegged to ours too.

Where are their souls coming from? Bacteria, virus' and bugs? no. Because the total biota of the simple cells alive on eath is greater than the biota of complex animals. that is, their weight exceeds all the other animals wieght as a whole. and.... each complex creature on earth plays host to these simple parasites. as more animals are born, more room is provided, and their(the simple creatures) population grows to fill it.

No reincarnation.



666
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13 Apr 2006, 1:19 am

Fuzzy wrote:
No reincarnation.


According to Hindu views on reincarnation, the number of living things in the universe must be more or less constant with a definite maximum value, so how the population of a planet could continually grow certainly boggles the mind. However, who's to say there isn't a planet orbiting some distant star whose population is dying? Souls aren't necessarily bound to their respective homeworlds.

Emettman wrote:
Isn't there also an artificiality in Pascal's starting conditions? There are more hypotheses about the afterlife than the judging Christian deity and non-existence. Reincarnation might change the bet, seeing it as better to move towards "rta" than hold to false precepts.


The flaw in Pascal's Wager is that it assumes only two possibilities out of many that have been proposed. Even though most other religions aren't as bent on proselytization as the majority of Christian denominations, It'd certainly be awkward for whoever devoted his life to the Judeochristian god only to be judged by Thoth and not the saint he was expecting. Pascal may have been a brilliant mathematician and physicist, but maybe philosophy's a topic he should've left alone, eh?

Oh by the way, what does "rta" mean?



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13 Apr 2006, 1:48 am

The real question is, Is hell endothermic, or exothermic?


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13 Apr 2006, 2:25 am

666 wrote:
It'd certainly be awkward for whoever devoted his life to the Judeochristian god only to be judged by Thoth and not the saint he was expecting. Pascal may have been a brilliant mathematician and physicist, but maybe philosophy's a topic he should've left alone, eh?

Oh by the way, what does "rta" mean?


I've met worse theologians and philosophers, but that's not actually reassuring.

Rousseau: "Whatever I feel to be right is right. Whatever I feel to be wrong is wrong."
Well that helps immensely with 9/11. Whoever thought it was right, including the hijackers is right, and whoever thought it was wrong is correct in their assessment and outrage too.
Thanks, Jean Jacques.

And then there's Kirkegaard!

rta (I've most often seen it (ok, that's not often) without capitalisation) is Hindu for, roughly, the course of nature. How things are, how things work.



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13 Apr 2006, 3:09 am

Philosophy is not a topic you can f**k up. Any knowledge is worth exploring, bad ideas, illogical ideas, even insane ideas can be thought over for the wisdom they might hold.


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13 Apr 2006, 3:11 am

666 wrote:
Okay, most of you probably know who Blaise Pascal was, so he doesn't need an introduction.

Basically, he proposed the following. If God does not exist then when you die, you die, regardless of whether or not you believe in God. On the other hand, if God does exist, then believers go to Heaven when they die and nonbelievers go to Hell. The worst possible outcome of believing in God, therefore, is at least as good as the best possible outcome of not believing in God, so logic dictates that the only rational choice is to believe in God. At least that's the best choice according to Pascal.

Discuss.



that's a flawed wager because it's implying that humans are right about going to hell when you die if you don't believe. at most in the bible, jesus only said that those who don't believe would simply die and not be in heaven.


so if that's the case....aren't the athiests getting what they wagered for in the end anyways?



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13 Apr 2006, 12:42 pm

Nomaken wrote:
...bad ideas, illogical ideas, even insane ideas can be thought over for the wisdom they might hold.


The ancient Persians, according to Herodotus, debated every issue twice to ensure they did not miss any valuable insights and points of view:
everything was considered once, drunk, and once, sober.



666
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13 Apr 2006, 2:23 pm

skafather84 wrote:
that's a flawed wager because it's implying that humans are right about going to hell when you die if you don't believe. at most in the bible, jesus only said that those who don't believe would simply die and not be in heaven.


so if that's the case....aren't the athiests getting what they wagered for in the end anyways?


I know, "the wages of sin are death." The whole fire and brimstone thing came later, but Pascal's Wager still applies. The worst possible outcome of believing in God is at least as good as the best possible outcome of not believing.



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13 Apr 2006, 2:56 pm

Well, I used to believe in God, but do not anymore. Can I say that this is better or worse? I really can't judge because then I would have to compare my life with what my life would have been like should I still believe, which I can't do.

I can however describe the difference in my life now compared to then. I am much more willing now to let things slide, then hang on to this constant need for justice. I realized a big part of my need for justice when I had faith was that when any transgression was made, I always found comfort in the fact that transgressor would be punished by God. Thus I could not let go of my need for vengence. But now that I believe that people will not get punished in the afterlife, I have let go of my need for vengence because theres no point in holding onto it, it is useless to seek revenge for everything. Yes, it makes the world seem like a very unjust place, but that just makes me appreciate my life even more.

Also, I appreciate this life much much more. Since I do not believe in an afterlife, it has forced me to do things I normally wouldn't do because this is the only chance I got, so I need to make the best of it.

I also consider myself much more morally grounded since I do things for the sake of doing them, not doing them to get into heaven.

These are just some things that have changed for me, there are many more, but I guess the main point is that losing my faith has made me a better person in this life. Which I guess would be a non-issue for those with faith, since their goal would be to be a better person in the next life.



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13 Apr 2006, 7:57 pm

the one part of the wager you miss out on is that you give up your free will and your will turns to that of the church....that isn't free will and i'd say that's a big loss if life ammounts to simply this life and no deity.



666
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14 Apr 2006, 12:18 am

skafather84 wrote:
the one part of the wager you miss out on is that you give up your free will and your will turns to that of the church....that isn't free will and i'd say that's a big loss if life ammounts to simply this life and no deity.


Ah, yes. The Atheist's Wager!



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14 Apr 2006, 5:11 pm

666 wrote:
skafather84 wrote:
the one part of the wager you miss out on is that you give up your free will and your will turns to that of the church....that isn't free will and i'd say that's a big loss if life ammounts to simply this life and no deity.


Ah, yes. The Atheist's Wager!



actually that pretty close to verbatum what i believe. except i'd say that calling it an atheist's wager is a poor choice in words because the attitudes expressed in it are more that of agnostics than atheists.

and the part that it leaves out is that the holy books and holy leaders are men. men claiming to be men of god...but men all the same and it's not completely out of probability that there was corruption somewhere along the line of interpretation of holy scriptures and even if there was one that was right, it might not teach all good things but also include the individual's biggotry....say....against homosexuals or against blacks or against women.....i mean many different holy scriptures have been used like this before. not just the bible. probably the worst is the koran which has been absolutely mutilated for the sake of the ruling class of male priests.

so you have to include into the wager the likelyhood of the scriptures being corrupted and not even teaching god's word anymore but some man's idea of the world, instead.



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14 Apr 2006, 10:39 pm

skafather84 wrote:
the one part of the wager you miss out on is that you give up your free will and your will turns to that of the church....that isn't free will and i'd say that's a big loss if life ammounts to simply this life and no deity.
I don't think that's mentioned anywhere in Pascal's wager. Furthermore, there is a distinction between the will of God (even the Christian God) and whatever church that worships him.

I have personally never liked Pascal's wager. I also agree that belief in God is beneficial in a "betting" sense, but not for the reasons Pascal proposes it is. I don't think negative reinforcement should be used with religion, nor do I think that unbelievers are necessarily doomed. Who am I to say? It's a matter between them and God. If I wanted to convert anyone, I would be doing essentially nothing different from what I do already, which is to try and provide a good example as well as actively answer questions and issues they may have.


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