A Long-Winded Reply To Pascal’s Wager

People use Pascal’s Wager on me surprisingly often, which I don’t understand as it’s been done to death and is easily defeated by simply asking the question, “Which of the tens of thousands of gods being worshiped today is the one to be faithful to?”

The petty one that created us solely to have us worship it because it has such a fragile ego it’ll send us to an eternity of misery if we don’t endlessly praise it despite a rational disbelief in the absurd, supernaturally-based proposal for its existence? Or the one who gave us free will but then killed everyone and everything because he didn’t like the way they used their free will despite knowing in advance the way in which they’d end up behaving? Or the one with blue skin and four arms whose followers have the highest retention rate, by a fair margin, of all the religions of the world? Or perhaps the one worshiped by nearly 2 billion people, the most loved god of all time?

Pascal's Terrible Wager

Blaise Pascal: brilliant mathematician, terrible gambler.

If there is an all-powerful, all-knowing, all-loving god — as the culture I was brought up in and indoctrinated with from the age of 5 would have me believe — then I would expect its judgment of me to be just, rather than the petty, egotistical judge of modern myths who would turn you into a pillar of salt for the harmless “sin” of looking over your shoulder or send me to an eternity of misery for preferring humaneness over killing others on his command.

And what of the protestation that if there are no gods or an afterlife, why does it matter what anyone does or believes? If there is no afterlife, it’s true that ultimately it doesn’t matter what anyone believes. Eventually we’ll all be dead and the universe will go cold (which is why I’m a nihilist). But it matters a lot to us during the time that we do exist. It matters even more in the parts of the world where they are still torturing and killing people simply for not believing in the same god as the ones who claim to speak in that god’s name.

And while I exist, I care not only about myself, but also the existences of others who I see wasting the only time they have living this life in misery — attempting to conform to the ancient writings of a long-dead barbaric people in the hopes of it all paying off after they die — when instead they could be spending that time enjoying the one life they do get in a way that suits their own way of being instead of that of a bunch of old men who are utterly out of touch with modern society.

But, you know, that’s just me. As long as you’re not attempting to insert your supernatural beliefs into legislation or to force it on others in any other way (such as through indoctrination), it’s your life to live. If you derive joy and happiness through subservience to a mythical being, great. As for me, I don’t fit the one-size-fits-all mold of religion and refuse to spend what little time I have miserably trying to force myself or my children into it.

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