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Friday, January 18, 2013

18 January 2013

Filosophy Fridays for your Saturday mornings!

Lately religion has become a dirty word; active faith is a taboo, atheism is all the rage, and militant atheism is on the rise. It all started with the secularists like Bertrand Russell and AC Grayling, popularized by the militant atheists like the late Christopher Hitchens, and found an ally in the sciences via Sam Harris and Charles Dawkins.
However, most of us don't know these names - so the trend has been more paradigmatic than academic.
The times, they are indeed a-changin'.

Today on Filosophy Fridays, we discuss one of the most comically simple solutions to the life-long dilemma of religious faith.
Blaise Pascal was a 17th Century French philosopher that proposed a deeply logical solution, known as Pascal's Wager, or Pascal's Gambit.

Basically, it presents two options to the ambivalent individual - either devote to God and the respective lifestyle, or do not devote to God, and reap the rewards of such a lifestyle (but be damned in the afterlife).
Here we have a choice, and as logical beings, we weigh up the pros and cons. What do we have to lose in each case, and is it worth the sacrifice? Well, clearly the latter option is logically the far more grievous one - a lifestyle of sin for an eternity of damnation.

Pascal's Wager is, therefore, live your life by the rule of God, because there is far, far less to lose that way. Whether God and heaven and hell end up being real or not, by taking this option, you are covered either way.
It's kind of like a cosmic insurance policy. Does it make sense? I guess so...


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