Reversing Pascal’s Wager

Pascal’s Wager is an extremely popular topic among atheists and theists alike. It’s an old argument that’s been refuted time and time again, by many people including three of my favorite atheist YouTubers, JaclynGlenn, CosmicSkeptic, and Rachel Oates. I’ve even briefly touched upon it before, here. On the off chance that you haven’t heard of it, Pascal’s Wager is a bargain of the existence of heaven and hell vs whether or not you ought to believe in God.

The old “wager” by Blaise Pascal can be summed up by this table:

pascal

Although it can be expressed as a table, or complicated sets of “ifs”, such as “well if God exists, but you don’t believe in him…” or “if hell exists, and you’re a Christian…” Pascal’s Wager actually is much more common than it may sound. It’s anytime someone says to you, “What if you’re wrong?” “Aren’t you afraid you’re going to hell?” or “You can’t live wrong and die right.”

Being such a popular topic, many flaws have already been found with the wager, such as:

  • Wouldn’t an omniscient God know that my belief in him was just a facade to get into heaven?
  • Wouldn’t an omniscient and omnipotent God know exactly what it takes to get me to believe in him? If so, he’s not doing it, and because of this, it’s his fault that I’m going to hell, not mine.
  • If I were to be able to believe in a god purely to cover my bases and end up in heaven, how will I know I’m believing in the right god?
  • How can I be sure that belief is the ultimate trait that I need to get into heaven? How do I know it’s not honesty or selflessness or pursuit of the truth (which often leads atheists to where they are)?
  • I can’t really control what I believe. If the existence of God truly and honestly doesn’t add up for me, then I can’t just believe in it. If I said I did, I’d be lying.
  • If God is all loving, then he would forgive me for not believing and send me to heaven. Since he doesn’t, he must either not be all-loving or not be all-powerful.
  • Couldn’t I just be an atheist my whole life and have a deathbed conversion and make it into heaven?

To sum that up, Pascal’s Wager has more holes than swiss cheese. There are a lot of arguments for God, but to me, Pascal’s Wager is one of the weakest. It’s really more of a threat than an argument anyways. Even if I believed in God, it wouldn’t be one of the reasons why. All it might do is make me feel undeservedly good about myself and my “correct beliefs” that are so much better than yours when in reality, the chosen ones that God decides to hand a ticket to heaven to aren’t any better than the rest of us.

I’m not writing this to debunk or refute Pascal’s Wager, though. It’s been done enough. Instead, I’d like to reverse it.

Usually, the way that it’s presented is that if you’re an atheist and you’re wrong, you have everything to lose, but if you’re a believer and you’re wrong, you have nothing to lose. I absolutely disagree. If you live a Christian life, following strict and vague rules and believing that you’re a depraved sinner, even spending years of your life studying the bible for guidance or writing weekly sermons, all for a god that hasn’t even been proven to exist, you’re gambling the entirety of what’s likely your only life.

I’ll give an example that in my opinion is extreme, but it is unfortunately common. At my Christian school, there is a surprisingly large amount of LGBT students (more LGB than T, as it is somewhat less taboo in the Christian community). It’s not too surprising, as it’s becoming more and more common for Christians to try and accept homosexuality and Christianity together. One of the biggest ways that people do this though, is through celibacy. I feel as though celibacy for LGBT individuals is one of the most cruel things that religion causes people to do to themselves. You can’t tell me that someone feeling disgusting about their attraction or orientation and choosing to spend their life without a significant other, or without sex at all for that matter, and putting their religion and their fear of sin above one of the greatest parts of life, romantic love, all for a god that doesn’t exist, doesn’t count as losing something.

So I’d say that whether you’re a believer or an unbeliever, there always may be something to lose if you’re wrong. It could even be expressed this way: both my brother-in-law (the pastor) and I write every Sunday. He writes his sermons (then spends hours reciting and memorizing them, then presenting them) and I write my blog posts. As he preaches about God and I write about God’s nonexistence, one of us must be wrong, and one of us must be wasting our time. We both have something to lose, but I’m confident enough in my nonbelief that I don’t worry that this blog is a waste.

I’ll sum up my response to Pascal’s Wager this way: be present. Don’t live for an afterlife. Even if there is one, we have no way of knowing, but what we do know for sure is that we have the life we’re living now. And if you happen to be Christian, believing in heaven, and you’re wrong, then you haven’t wasted your earthly (and only) life gambling on the next.


If you want to see a better Pascal’s Wager table than the one above, Rachel Oates made one and included it in her video that is really in-depth, and I like it a lot.

Finally, I made a graphic that corrects the saying “You can’t live wrong and die right” to what I believe to be correct, “You live and die.” It’s the size of an iPhone 6/7/8 wallpaper, and I have versions that work best as a lock screen and a home screen. Feel free to download and use them!

91 Replies to “Reversing Pascal’s Wager”

  1. I agree with you. I hope someday you are okay enough to share your first name with us. Pascal’s Wager is a bad argument. It also faols to note the believers risk of hell for not beimg in a particular sect or.following the wrong religion. I will await your criticism of other arguments for God though. Good day.

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      1. Yes, you will pass…straight into Hell. Please, please don’t make the same mistakes millions have done before you. Hell was NOT made for humans but the Devil. But God made us with a free will to choose to accept him or not. Anyone who ends up there have only themselves to blame. I admit many people who have called themselves Christians have shamed God’s name by screaming at unbelievers telling them they are dammed. God isn’t like that. He cries for you, he pleads for you, he’s earnestly desiring that the scales are lifted from your eyes so you can see the truth, because no-one who enters Hell, enters without God grieving for their souls. He loves everyone of us and is so so sad when we make that choice to turn away from him and enter the devil’s stinking pit.

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        1. You’re complaining about Christians damning unbelievers while you condemn me to hell for an entire paragraph. Wow! You actually believe that you’re showing me love. It’s obvious you suffer from Stockholm Syndrome with your beloved Jesus. You assume that I SHOULD have it too. I DID for about four decades. I sounded just as ridiculous as you do with your eternal threatenings. You serve an angry god who chose to set up human kind for failure than got pissed that we failed him. You dont have a savior, you have an abusive boyfriend.

          Liked by 4 people

        2. And for all of that, how do you KNOW? Has anyone returned from the dead and told you? You only know what you have been told by other people who don’t know either. It’s like that with everything, but in most instances it’s still all hearsay if you don’t have the proof. Show me an individual who has returned from the dead.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Uh hello? His name is the Lord Jesus Christ? Ask Saul of Tarsus. Ask Paul the apostle. Ask the five hundred. Ask Thomas. Ask Peter, James, John. Ask anybody who has engaged their God given brain.

            And if you are serious, read the New Testament which is further documented, verified, and historical proof which answers your question absolutely.

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            1. That’s nice neil.

              Now try reading it with your heart, and allow the truth to speak to you as it is supposed to, as opposed to the dry crap of Degrasse and Nye.

              And oh by the way, there is more true science in scripture.if you were honest, and if you pay attention.

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            2. Now try reading it with your heart, and allow the truth to speak to you as it is supposed to, as opposed to the dry crap of Degrasse and Nye.

              Oh, I did. And that’s why I am no longer a Christian.

              I found that much of what my pastors and Christian apologists were telling me, could not be found in the New Testament. In particular, the New Testament did not make a persuasive case for the resurrection, not did it make a persuasive case for the divinity of Jesus.

              I did appreciate the moral teachings of Jesus. Unfortunately, too many Christians fail to practice those. By their fruits ye shall know them.

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            3. Maybe you should try allowing the scriptures to defend itself.

              That is, if ‘your’ pastor tells you that Jerusalem, Joppa, Jericho, Babel, Nineveh, and Bablyon were fables…………maybe you should get a new pastor.

              Then again, you could always read it on your own. The truth of scripture buries all stupidity.

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            4. Maybe you should try allowing the scriptures to defend itself.

              Yes, I tried. In fact, I got as far as Genesis 1, where I discovered that it got the physics wrong.

              Well, okay, I wasn’t too troubled by that. I was able to make excuses, such as that the Bible wasn’t intended to be science text book.

              Then I got to Exodus. And there, I saw that God hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and then punished him and his people for having a hard heart. This seemed grossly unfair and unchristian. And if this was the same God as that of the New Testament, then God was evolving over time.

              If God evolved over time, but was supposed to be timeless, this strongly suggested that it was man who created god in his own image. And the god that men created was evolving along with the evolution of human culture.

              Liked by 5 people

            5. Yeah yeah yeah, same old gripes, all without context or understanding.

              Sure, God got the physics all wrong! He who holds all things together forgot to read the Atheistic Manual of Survival!!!

              As to your myopic view of Pharaoh, it was the truth of God which hardened his heart, just like you at the moment, and by so doing God ‘hardened his heart.’ Rather simple to understand.

              You are no different. Hearts turned to stone every day. Truth does this 😉

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            6. the NT is verified by…believers. By popes, kings, priests and monks. Few of which ever saw Jesus but only heard about him second hand, or maybe even further down the road, in another time, another language.

              There is no physical (expetive deleted) proof of any of it. Fragments of the true cross, gathered together, could probably restore the redwoods in toto. If you were a lawyer and someone wanted proof that your client was in a certain place when he died, would he accept your word on it? Would he accept your credulous assertion that “because I read it on a piece of paper…” was valid?

              Someone hands you a bloody rag and says, this is the cloth mary Magdalene used to wipe the blood from Jesus’ face and you fall down in adoration. Face value. All we have is someone telling someone thus and so was told to my father and he passed it along to me…
              You ask for proof from atheist scientists about the big bang, about gravity, about scientific research, yet when someone asks about Jesus you wave the bible at them and say, ‘right here, silly. Read it.”
              How IS the New Testament verified? Im curious about that. Does that mean someone wrote it down?

              Liked by 2 people

            7. How is the New Testament verified? you ask?

              Easy. By history, logic, facts, common sense, and of course the greatest proof of all: your God given conscience, something the hyena lacks.

              And btw, I ask for no proof from the atheist; a man may as well try to unlock a bank vault with a paper knife.

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            8. I can see you’ve started referring to hyenas again. Classic. I love watching your debating style. Are you watching Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom while you type these responses.

              I still prefer your comedy over Branyan’s. Your material never fails to disappoint!

              Liked by 2 people

            9. Hi gill-

              Sorry bout the critters, but they seem to make the point rather well. Those snickering yet ravaging beasts who only live to feed their appetite.

              So unlike sheep and that lustrous wool, or whitetail deer with the leather that keeps me warm. lol

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            10. No need to apologize. It’s very entertaining.

              By the way we all live to feed our appetite. Even sheep and deer. Well feeding our appetite…that and procreating.

              Anyway, I’m going to go back and read some of the great debate victories between God and ants. The ants were well organized, but they definitely couldn’t defend themselves against God’s persuasive rhetoric.

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        1. Your “loving” god murdered his only begotten son.

          Your “living” Jesus said he’d return to the generation he spoke to during his earthly time and he still hasn’t returned 2000 years later. He’s either a liar or doesn’t exist.

          And you have no way of knowing that there is an eternity. If you say you do because…bible, well, you still have no proof. Your bible has been rewritten again and again repeatedly for centuries. It’s hard to know what was actually contained in the original manuscripts. There are gospels that have been included and others that weren’t even considered. Mary supposedly had her own gospel. Your bible is folklore that Constantine, King James, the Catholic church and so many others have put their own personal spin on for political and social reasons. It is a guide book to relentless punishment, manipulation, torment and mental anguish.

          I became a Christian at three years old. I receieved my theology degree at 20 years old. After a 20 year deconversion process, yes, twenty years, I became an atheist half a year before my 40th Birthday. That was five and a half years ago.

          Don’t think for a minute that I became who I am because of the internet and books. I studied to show myself approved. And the very thing that the Bible led me to do became my spotlight to guiding my way out of Christianity.

          Your cutsie one liner has no substance and can’t be taken seriously about your faith, so, I’m done here.

          All the best to you in finding your way out of the blood cult.

          Liked by 3 people

  2. You explained it better than I could have. I think the first time I heard it was from my step-Dad (a very nice Christian man) when I was a teen. He didn’t explain it very well either, but what I came up with was: “But believe what? Which God? Which version of that God?”

    To me, Christians can’t even convince each other what their God is like or what he wants. How in the world do they expect to convince me? And Muslims think he’s different than that (though similar) and has different rules. And other religions… You get my point.

    All religions can’t be right (because they contradict each other). But they can all be wrong. Until they sort it out for themselves, come up with some evidence for the existence of any of it, and stop protecting priests who molest children, I’m going to pass.

    Liked by 5 people

    1. the other thing that concerns me deeply: living for the spiritual reward of heaven ONLY. You slope through your life, read, pray, debate, litter, make messes on the planet, because it won’t matter later, you’ll HAVE your reward.
      Let the guys left behind clean it up.

      Live for God, ignore what’s right in front of you, and pay no mind to the trail of damage that follows you. It won’t matter. You’ll have entered Heaven. Riiiight.

      Liked by 3 people

    1. seems like such a waste of a brain and a life, doesn’t it. When these holier than the rest of us people spend most of that life reading bibles and going to church and praying endlessly for gifts of life, health, support. And what a shame to wake up one morning to find the world has moved on, and you’re dead.

      And about prayer. What a supreme arrogance it must take to present your self to your god begging for something. That huge, almighty, overweening creation out there, and you, tugging on his robe/hem/loincloth like something out of Dickens, “please, sir. a favor?” and the equally supreme arrogance of insisting that because YOU prayed to Him, the baby lived, the dog had puppies, the car missed the truck or the lottery ticket came in.

      Liked by 2 people

  3. Interesting post, though I think many Christians quite like their rather strict life, can give them a sense of purpose (if it’s untrue after they die, its not like they’ll know this anyway). About the celibacy thing, strictly speaking, arent heterosexual couples meant to abstain from sex too unless its for procreation?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Actually it’s the catholic thing, although protestants (remember that word?) do espouse it as well. Catholics were not supposed to use birth control, and it you didn’t want a baby, well, you um. didn’t. Which is why I have two cousins who had sixteen kids in ten years. yikes. THEN they went on birth control.

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  4. An atheist and a theist die at the same time and arrive at the gates of heaven at the same time. The theist walks up first.
    The god says “I gave you your senses and a wonderful brain to reason out the world you live in. You gave them all up to believe things on faith. For not using the gifts I gave you, you shall not enter heaven.”
    The god looks at the atheist and says “You may enter.”

    Liked by 4 people

  5. I have a relative that has joined Buddhism, Mormonism, Moonies, hinduism and a few others in the past just to cover her ass in the afterlife. Her real god is the Smirnoff bottle though, and she lives in fear. Funny stuff to me.

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  6. From a Christian perspective, I’ve never thought Pascal’s wager could be an effective defense of the faith. It’s useful for the simple-minded who are looking for the easiest exit from an argument in which they are uncomfortable & out of their league. But as an apologetic it is pitifully weak.

    (Almost) All religion seeks as its end goal some sort of heaven or afterlife. So such a concept is useless in the theism/atheism debate. If you have desire for an afterlife to give this earthly life more meaning, then you’ll look into religions for your answer. So let’s all agree that this wager is weak. However, your arguments against it are equally lacking.

    If you as an atheist are not concerned about an afterlife, then let’s just talk about this one. There is much that Jesus had to say (which the Bible records) that can help us live a better life for the betterment of society, family, & ourselves. Whether or not you acknowledge Christ as Lord of your life, Jesus’ teachings in the Beautitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), for example, provide an excellent source of life principles for seeking your own betterment as well as the betterment of society & your sphere of influence. So there is value in Christianity beyond the great eternal hope. If my life for Christ makes my little corner of the world a better place for the people with whom I’ve come in contact, then I’ll die with a smile on my face & joy in my heart. And if there really is an afterlife (a real heaven & hell) as Jesus also talked about, then that’ll be icing on the cake.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Whether or not you acknowledge Christ as Lord of your life, Jesus’ teachings in the Beautitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), for example, provide an excellent source of life principles for seeking your own betterment as well as the betterment of society & your sphere of influence.

      Agreed. But if you pay attention to that, you are going to quickly notice the hypocrisy in the practices of Christians.

      Liked by 3 people

      1. Unfortunately you’re right. But my true faith & belief in Christ stems not from my perceptions of other Christians in their faults (including hypocrisies), but from my relationship with Christ & His acceptance of me regardless of my hypocrisies. I regret that so many people who claim the name of Christ also do damage to that claim in their blatant hypocrisies.

        Liked by 3 people

      1. Funny, @arkenaten, you seem to have deleted your first response (asking how we know what Jesus “actually said”) to which I had not had time to write my reply. I will address that first set of now deleted questions by simply saying to you that the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth is indisputable. There is more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth than there is for George Washington. Do your research. And make sure your sources are sound in their scholarship.

        Granted a lot of “what Jesus actually said” is recorded in the Bible, but many ancient non-biblical historical writers acknowledged the existence of Jesus as fact. Then there’s the worldwide impact his life and ministry has had upon the world. We even divide our calendars on the supposed year of his birth (even though we now know that date was off by a few years). So if the historical data supports his existence, then it is no large leap to assume that the Bible which contains his teachings would also be an accurate account of the words he spoke. (Or do you also doubt that Muhammed wrote or spoke the words attributed to him in the Kuran? Do you also doubt that the teachings of Buddhism originated with the Buddha?)

        “It may seem remarkable, but no Bible spokesman places more stress on hell as the final consequence of God’s judgment of condemnation than Jesus. God’s Son was the great theologian of hell.” (https://www.crossway.org/articles/what-did-jesus-teach-about-hell/)

        Luke 16:23 – And in hell he lift up his eyes, being in torments (King James says hell, whereas other English versions transliterate the Greek word Hades. Either way, it’s clear that this man in question was in an afterlife of torment, so that’s hell no matter what you technically call it.)

        Matthew 5:22 – anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.

        See also Matthew 5:29-30, 10:28, 16:18, 18:9, 23:15, 23:33; Mark 9:43, 9:45, 9:47; Luke 12:5; Revelation 1:18.

        Some of these verses in the Gospels are considered parallel passages which means it may be multiple accounts of the same message or event, but it is clear that even just one of these verses refutes your claim that Jesus NEVER talked about hell. In fact He had more to say about hell than any other speaker or writer in the Bible.

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        1. Actually the deletion may have been by the host. I have no executive powers over her blog! 🙂

          Some people don’t like my rather direct approach to the the superstitious nonsense of religion.

          the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth is indisputable.

          That is the most ridiculous fallacious statement for which you have zero evidence to support it. And please do not patronize me. You do your own bloody research!
          There may well have been a smelly little eschatological itinerant rabbi running around who got himself crucified for sedition but that is your lot.
          You do not even have any verified archaeological evidence for anywhere called Nazareth, just guesswork, and the etymology of the word does not even point to a ”Nazareth”.
          And the description of a ”city” in Luke is completely farcical.

          Even the mention of the priestly course is considered a probable forgery. Certainly the man who supposedly discovered it was a known fraudster.

          As for Hell:
          Jesus H, I seriously cannot get over just how ignorant Christians are at times over their own religion.
          Let me lay it out for you.
          The character Jesus was a Jew. Born a Jew, raised a Jew and died a Jew.
          There is no Hell as described by Christianity and Christians in Judaism any more than there is Original Sin or Noah’s Ark, or Moses and the Exodus
          Jesus talked about Gehenna.
          And that is all.
          And if you do not know what or where Gehenna is and what it is today, I suggest you go do some research.

          Liked by 4 people

          1. Indeed the host may have shown great wisdom in deleting that initial rant. Too bad she wasn’t as quick on the draw with this one. And why such vehemence? I stated from the outset that my reply to @theclosetatheist was from a Christian perspective. I have afforded you & others a certain level of dignity & respect which you seem incapable of returning. I welcome any dialogue with anyone who seeks the truth with an open mind to all things secular or religious. But I will not entertain the closed minded vitriol of scoffers with no interest in mutual enlightenment. I meant no disrespect with my suggestion about research. I assure you I have already done mine & will continue to do so for the rest of my earthly life. I pray that one day your spiritual understanding will be awakened to the truths of Christ without the continuous casting of stones at his followers.

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            1. So no genuine response to the fact the biblical character did not ever mention hell?
              If you are pursing truth as you claim should you not start with the source of your belief, the bible and at least develop a working understanding of the language it was written in and its history?
              So let me reiterate. Jesus was a Jew. There is no Christian Hell in Judaism.
              As a Christian,I am interested as to why do you not know this?

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            2. I will be glad to give a genuine response to a genuine question. But I will not respond to vehemence. I already addressed the fact that Jesus (the biblical character) did mention hell, and he talked about it more than any other character in the Bible. I gave scripture references to support my claim. Whether or not you choose to believe that the Bible does indeed record the actual words of Jesus, you cannot argue that the Jesus in the Bible never mentioned hell when that same Bible records his teachings where he did exactly that. I also said that the Greek word he used was Hades. I acknowledge that the other word he used for hell was Gehenna. And yes, I know exactly where and what Gehenna was. It was a nearly perpetually burning trash pit.

              As for Jesus & hell, yes, Old Testament Orthodox Judaism then and to this day has no doctrine of hell, and very little doctrine of an afterlife. They believe more in soul sleep in the grave. However, the New Testament suddenly has many references to hell and the afterlife. How did this happen? The Jewish belief in heaven, hell, and eternal life developed during the intertestamental period, the 400-year period that transpired between the close of the Old Testament (Malachi) and the beginning of the New Testament (Matthew). The Jewish world that Jesus came into as a baby and in which he grew into his ministry years was full of teaching about heaven and hell. This can be attributed to the biblical idea of progressive revelation. That God’s plan as seen from Genesis to Revelation. For example, Jesus was the fulfillment of all Old Testament prophecies regarding the Messiah. There are allusions to the idea of heaven and hell in the Old Testament, particular in the Psalms, and then the New Testament confirms those allusions and goes into more detail about the concept to form a more holistic doctrine. So yes, Jesus was a Jew, but a Jew who did believe in heaven & hell in a Jewish culture that was struggling with the concept of the afterlife. The Pharisees believed in a resurrection, but the Sadducees did not. I believe that looking back from today, the Sadducee belief eventually won out and the Pharisees eventually gave up their fight.

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            3. I will be glad to give a genuine response to a genuine question. But I will not respond to vehemence. I already addressed the fact that Jesus (the biblical character) did mention hell, and he talked about it more than any other character in the Bible

              Yes, the biblical character did talk about hell in the English translation of the bible. Except the gospels were originally written in Greek. And when this was translated into English…well, they just made Hell out of it all.

              How come you do not know this? You are a Christian for the gods’ sake?
              The biblical character Jesus the Nazarene was a JEW.
              There is no Christian Hell in Judaism.
              Do you understand now?
              Glad you know what Gehenna was.
              And this was the ”hell” the character Jesus the Nazarene talked about.

              the beginning of the New Testament (Matthew).

              Fail …. Mark.
              Oh the gods … don’t tell me you also beleive they were authored by MMLJ and these were disciples too?

              Not a single OT Prophecy came true. Not a single one.
              What are you, some sort of Biblical literalist who believes the bible innerant?
              What next, chariot wheels on the floor of the Red Sea?
              Genesis is myth. Historical Fiction for the credulous.
              If you are unsure about the Genome Project look it up.
              No Adam and Eve.

              To close: Jesus did not mention hell so therefore he could not have preached it.
              Sorry old sport, but you have been indoctrinated.
              I sincerely hope you have no contact with kids.

              Liked by 3 people

            4. Dr Jay:
              You should know that the cement hat worn by the littlestonegod has crushed his logic abilities, and he is completely unable to differentiate between things which are provable from a mere few thousand years ago, (especially the irrefutable genealogies) yet at the time claims proof from a few billion years ago………….purely laughable to any sane mind.

              Therefore there is an excuse that people such as this cannot reason. Pressure on the brain and all that. lol

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        2. You wrote, … many ancient non-biblical historical writers acknowledged the existence of Jesus as fact. I would be interested in knowing the names and tittles of some of these “historical writers.”

          Liked by 3 people

        3. … by simply saying to you that the historicity of Jesus of Nazareth is indisputable.

          It has been disputed, and often is disputed. So it cannot be indisputable.

          There is more historical evidence for the existence of Jesus of Nazareth than there is for George Washington.

          I have often heard that apologetic claim. But it is clearly false, unless you have an extremely permissive meaning for “historical evidence”.

          Personally, I do accept that there probably was a Jesus. But I also recognize that the evidence is weak.

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      2. From that comment, I take it you have never read the bible. I love WordPress because it gets people chatting and discussing and should never be a platform for arguements, so I do not say this with contempt, but sadness….why do people make comments about Jesus when they evidently know nothing about him or what he said? Please get to know the real Jesus, not the one you’ve heard ignorant people talking about – your very life depends on it. xx

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          1. Well, if you did read it twice all the way through, I feel even more sorry for you because you wasted your time by reading it with a hard heart, rather than a pliable one. It is not a book of words but a love-letter from your Creator, so if you spent all that time reading it and didn’t hear his voice at all, then you may as well have not bothered.

            I don’t really understand your other comments – they make no sense at all, so I guess it’s your comments that are making you look silly. But let’s not tit for tat – I just wish you well and hope that at the time you are taking your last breath, you will have got your soul on the right side of Heaven.

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            1. Love letter? Good grief!
              A god that practices, misogyny, slavery genocide, incest, murder, rape, torture.

              If that’s your idea of a good love letter then Christian Grey has no chance of rocking your world!
              Puts a whole new spin on: ”Jesus I’m coming! ”

              Liked by 5 people

        1. Sorry, but you are sadly misinformed. I would venture to say one of the biggest reasons many people (if not all) leave Christianity is because they have read the bible … all of it.

          More likely, it is Christians who have not thoroughly read it. Instead, they simply absorb what their pastor, priest, or other church leader tells them. And I can pretty much guarantee the emphasis is on certain scriptures while ignoring others.

          Oh and BTW, trying to convert people by using the threat of “hell” rarely succeeds. Especially on a blog like this one where most of the visitors are non-believers.

          Liked by 5 people

          1. hi nan-

            I would mildly correct your observation regarding people who have ‘actually read the bible,’ and thus became atheists. Ah, many a fool can count to ten.

            But it is precisely the opposite that is true. ‘Reading’ and ‘understanding’ are not twins in the world of intellect.

            It is because some for example, both read AND understand, that leads them to see the jewels of scripture, which have no equal. Dare you say the sun has competitors which bring forth light, warmth, and the ability to make the heart glad so unlike wine?

            But truth be told, the word of God is a sealed book to the atheist. For God’s sake, if you do not even give Him the courtesy of existing…………..

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            1. I though you would say that, but remember, God and His word have never lost a single argument to ants. 😉

              Why? Because His word is higher than His name; you know, better than our paltry oaths and all that. You may just want to consider How He knows things about you, and cares for you………..while you sleep.

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          2. It also helps if, when you read the Blble, you also read histories of the world as it was then, who was in charge, who was in trouble, what wars were being fought. It also is mandatory to read the myths of the time, both Greek and Roman, since many of the so called saints of the Catholic church (including Mary) were modeled on Roman gods and goddesses. It made the Romans of the era more comfortable with accepting christianity. Really.
            One thing I have always wondered about: in the beginning of the New Testament there is a statement about the upcoming birth of Jesus, and the words, “and he shall be called Emmanuel.” Nowhere before or after, does the name Emmanuel appear. ??

            Liked by 2 people

      3. Matthew 25 45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.’
        46 “Then they will go away to eternal punishment, but the righteous to eternal life.”
        Matthew 13 49 This is how it will be at the end of the age. The angels will come and separate the wicked from the righteous
        50 and throw them into the blazing furnace, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.
        51 “Have you understood all these things?” Jesus asked. “Yes,” they replied.

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        1. Yes, fine.
          And where in this is there mention of Hell?
          He only refers to Gehenna.
          Furthermore, you have absolutely no way of ascertaining whether the character Jesus the Nazarene said these words in the first place, now do you?

          Liked by 1 person

          1. If “they will go away to eternal punishment” isn’t hell what is? Sorry, but if you can’t see that is exactly what he is talking about there is no reason to continue. And the jesus in the bible is an obvious fiction. There is no real person that did or said any of the nonsense in the bible under that name. So yes the fictional character of jesus did “say” those words just as much as any fictional character could. Literary characters talk through their words but it doesn’t make anything they say non-fiction.

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            1. As a kid, we asked the nuns what Hell was–I think they gave the most cogent, careful answer I have yet to fine. Sister Mary said, “Hell isn’t a place, it’s a state of mind; when you discover you have lost the right to heaven, that sense of loss will go with you forever.” That description can cover a great deal of territory, since there are all kinds of hells right here on earth, too. And we got exactly what she meant.

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        2. That’d be ‘the end of the age’ he predicted was coming real soon, while his disciples were still around, while those listening to him were? If he was wrong about that – and he was – what makes you think he was right about ‘eternal punishment’? (Spoiler: he wasn’t.)

          Liked by 2 people

          1. It was in reference to a statement above saying jesus never spoke about hell. The bible character of jesus is an obvious fiction.

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    2. Just because the bible says so, is no proof of anything. It claims that someone named Jesus said this, and that, often after death (which is really creepy), and they wrote it down. So it must be so.
      I really really have problems with that one.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. From a Christian perspective, I’ve never thought Pascal’s wager could be an effective defense of the faith. It’s useful for the simple-minded who are looking for the easiest exit from an argument in which they are uncomfortable & out of their league. But as an apologetic it is pitifully weak.

    (Almost) All religion seeks as its end goal some sort of heaven or afterlife. So such a concept is useless in the theism/atheism debate. If you have desire for an afterlife to give this earthly life more meaning, then you’ll look into religions for your answer. So let’s all agree that this wager is weak.

    If you as an atheist are not concerned about an afterlife, then let’s just talk about this one. There is much that Jesus had to say & that the Bible records that can help us live a better life for the betterment of society, family, & ourselves. Whether or not you accept him as Lord of your life, Jesus’ teachings in the Beautitudes (Matthew 5:3-10), for example, Serve as an excellent guide to living a good life that benefits those around you. So to live for Christ in this way is not a waste of time because in it you attempt to leave the world a better place for others. Even if there’s no heaven, there is value in living out the teachings of Jesus to impact the people around you & influence their behavior for the good for generations to come. So I’m not wasting time, I’m seeking to influence the world that we will all one day leave behind. And if I happen to leave this world & find heaven, that will be icing on the cake. And if I just rot in the ground, then I’ll rot with a smile knowing that I made at least a small difference in the lives of people I encountered in this life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There is much that Jesus had to say & that the Bible records that can help us live a better life for the betterment of society, family, & ourselves.

      Such as ….
      Luke 14:26
      If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

      Or …
      Matthew 10:37

      He that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me: and he that loveth son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.
      And he accepted Old Testament Law as well …
      Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Matthew 5:17

      So, Yeah, there’s a guy you can trust with your life! Not!

      Liked by 3 people

    2. esus does have some positive teachings. The problem is that the idea of eternal life tends to actually make one live for the next plane of existence instead of this one. And the message Jesus isn’t the only part of the Bible. And people are also naturally going to trust religious leaders in their community as well. So if a religious leader says good Christians go to church, they come. Good Christians don’t eat meat on Good Friday. They don’t. Good Christians don’t have sex before marriage. They don’t. All of a sudden there are all these rules which people can follow like a checklist and if they do enough of them they will feel like a Good Christian without having spent any time making the world a better place for anybody, but still feel like they checked enough boxes to make it through the pearly gates. And for many denominations the focus is on the after life, not this one.

      Next we have the fact that if you are looking for books to help you live your life better and be a good person, Jesus isn’t the only answer. We can turn to Buddhism, Hinduism, Islam, and find good messages within. And there are many more modern books that also have great advice in them.

      I do applaud your attitude, my mother is a Christian much like yourself I think, but at some point the truth does matter. The idea of heaven and hell is either true or it isn’t, and it faith in it’s existence has far more disastrous consequences in the long run, because a cosmic punishment and reward system can be used as a tool of coercion through fear, in addition to a form of self-delusion that you are doing enough to satisfy some divine list of rules.

      *note to The Closet Atheist

      I think I may have hit reply in the wrong place and thus have posted this comment elsewhere. Feel free to delete the other one!

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Pascal’s wager is probably one of the most common “arguments” slung around. It gets old pretty fast. I found your explination of it really simple to understand. Plus all your points given against it pretty much sum it up.
    In my mind, if you’re just living for a afterlife, what’s the point anyway? What’s the point of really trying to enjoy the only life you got if you’re going to end up in some fancy cloud city? Wouldn’t a afterlife make life a lot less precious in the end?
    We don’t know for sure what happens after we die, but is it worth sweating or worrying over? If there’s a afterlife, cool, whatever. If there isn’t, well, you won’t exist to care.
    Yeah, live life to it’s full potential, don’t feel bed or regret who you are, don’t let some dumb, inaccurate, book tell you that you’re horrible for who you are or how you feel. Life is a giant roller coaster, it’s got ups, downs, twists, slow moments, and fast moments. Is it worth worrying over what happens at the end of the ride or are you just going to enjoy it while you’re on it?

    Liked by 3 people

    1. The thing is, enjoying the ride is only for a moment compared to eternity which goes on and on forever. Is it worth foolishly disregarding the inevitable? In the financial world we call that foolishness because everybody has insurance for so many possibilities. Yet death is not a possibility, it is certain. How crazy that we play around with the most important aspect of our lives! Very sad.

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      1. You go to heaven, no death, no sin, no dirt, no swearing, no sex, no alcohol, no need to work, eat, go to the toilet but simply praise the Lord for eternity, on and on forever?? …. hey guess what? You would want to be F—– dead again.

        Liked by 3 people

  9. I used to think that Pascal’s Wager was a strong argument.

    But then the time came for me to leave Christianity. I could no longer believe it. At that time, I thought of Pascal’s Wager. And, somehow, it had lost all of its persuasive power.

    On your reversal argument — yes, I agree. Since dropping out of Christianity, I have had a happier life. No more feelings of guilt induced by religion. No more time wasted listening to boring sermons. And no more worrying about whether heaven would turn out to be excruciatingly boring (for eternity).

    Liked by 6 people

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