What If Im Wrong And There Is No God !!LINK!!
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Do not, then, reprove for error those who have made a choice; for you know nothing about it. "No, but I blame them for having made, not this choice, but a choice; for again both he who chooses heads and he who chooses tails are equally at fault, they are both in the wrong. The true course is not to wager at all."
"That is very fine. Yes, I must wager; but I may perhaps wager too much." Let us see. Since there is an equal risk of gain and of loss, if you had only to gain two lives, instead of one, you might still wager. But if there were three lives to gain, you would have to play (since you are under the necessity of playing), and you would be imprudent, when you are forced to play, not to change your life to gain three at a game where there is an equal risk of loss and gain. But there is an eternity of life and happiness. And this being so, if there were an infinity of chances, of which one only would be for you, you would still be right in wagering one to win two, and you would act stupidly, being obliged to play, by refusing to stake one life against three at a game in which out of an infinity of chances there is one for you if there were an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain. But 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.
We only have two things to stake, our "reason" and our "happiness". Pascal considers that if there is "equal risk of loss and gain" (i.e. a coin toss), then human reason is powerless to address the question of whether God exists. That being the case, then human reason can only decide the question according to possible resulting happiness of the decision, weighing the gain and loss in believing that God exists and likewise in believing that God does not exist.
Voltaire explained that no matter how far someone is tempted with rewards to believe in Christian salvation, the result will be at best a faint belief. Pascal, in his Pensées, agrees with this, not stating that people can choose to believe (and therefore make a safe wager), but rather that some cannot believe.
Since there have been many religions throughout history, and therefore many conceptions of God (or gods), some assert that all of them need to be factored into the wager, in an argumentation known as the argument from inconsistent revelations. This, its proponents argue, would lead to a high probability of believing in "the wrong god", which, they claim, eliminates the mathematical advantage Pascal claimed with his wager. Denis Diderot, a contemporary of Voltaire, concisely expressed this opinion when asked about the wager, saying "an Imam could reason the same way". J. L. Mackie notes that "the church within which alone salvation is to be found is not necessarily the Church of Rome, but perhaps that of the Anabaptists or the Mormons or the Muslim Sunnis or the worshipers of Kali or of Odin."
Pascal says that the skepticism of unbelievers who rest content with the many-religions objection has seduced them into a fatal "repose". If they were really bent on knowing the truth, they would be persuaded to examine "in detail" whether Christianity is like any other religion, but they just cannot be bothered. Their objection might be sufficient were the subject concerned merely some "question in philosophy", but not "here, where everything is at stake". In "a matter where they themselves, their eternity, their all are concerned", they can manage no better than "a superficial reflection" ("une reflexion légère") and, thinking they have scored a point by asking a leading question, they go off to amuse themselves.
David Wetsel notes that Pascal's treatment of the pagan religions is brisk: "As far as Pascal is concerned, the demise of the pagan religions of antiquity speaks for itself. Those pagan religions which still exist in the New World, in India, and in Africa are not even worth a second glance. They are obviously the work of superstition and ignorance and have nothing in them which might interest 'les gens habiles' ('clever men')". Islam warrants more attention, being distinguished from paganism (which for Pascal presumably includes all the other non-Christian religions) by its claim to be a revealed religion. Nevertheless, Pascal concludes that the religion founded by Mohammed can on several counts be shown to be devoid of divine authority, and that therefore, as a path to the knowledge of God, it is as much a dead end as paganism." Judaism, in view of its close links to Christianity, he deals with elsewhere.
The many-religions objection is taken more seriously by some later apologists of the wager, who argue that of the rival options only those awarding infinite happiness affect the wager's dominance. In the opinion of these apologists "finite, semi-blissful promises such as Kali's or Odin's" therefore drop out of consideration. Also, the infinite bliss that the rival conception of God offers has to be mutually exclusive. If Christ's promise of bliss can be attained concurrently with Jehovah's and Allah's (all three being identified as the God of Abraham), there is no conflict in the decision matrix in the case where the cost of believing in the wrong conception of God is neutral (limbo/purgatory/spiritual death), although this would be countered with an infinite cost in the case where not believing in the correct conception of God results in punishment (hell).
Ecumenical interpretations of the wager argues that it could even be suggested that believing in a generic God, or a god by the wrong name, is acceptable so long as that conception of God has similar essential characteristics of the conception of God considered in Pascal's wager (perhaps the God of Aristotle). Proponents of this line of reasoning suggest that either all of the conceptions of God or gods throughout history truly boil down to just a small set of "genuine options", or that if Pascal's wager can simply bring a person to believe in "generic theism", it has done its job.
Pascal argues implicitly for the uniqueness of Christianity in the wager itself, writing: "If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible...Who then can blame the Christians for not being able to give reasons for their beliefs, professing as they do a religion which they cannot explain by reason"
An uncontroversial doctrine in both Roman Catholic and Protestant theology is that mere belief in God is insufficient to attain salvation, the standard cite being James 2:19 (KJV): "Thou believest that there is one God; thou doest well: the devils also believe, and tremble." Salvation requires "faith" not just in the sense of belief, but of trust and obedience. Pascal and his sister, a nun, were among the leaders of Roman Catholicism's Jansenist school of thought whose doctrine of salvation was close to Protestantism in emphasizing faith over works. Both Jansenists and Protestants followed St. Augustine in this emphasis (Martin Luther belonged to the Augustinian Order of monks). Augustine wrote
Since Pascal's position was that "saving" belief in God required more than logical assent, accepting the wager could only be a first step. Hence his advice on what steps one could take to arrive at belief.
Since at least 1992, some scholars have analogized Pascal's wager to decisions about catastrophic climate change. Two differences from Pascal's wager are posited regarding climate change: first, climate change is more likely than Pascal's God to exist, as there is scientific evidence for one but not the other. Secondly, the calculated penalty for unchecked climate catastrophe would be large, but is not generally considered to be infinite. Magnate Warren Buffett has written that climate change "bears a similarity to Pascal's Wager on the Existence of God. Pascal, it may be recalled, argued that if there were only a tiny probability that God truly existed, it made sense to behave as if He did because the rewards could be infinite whereas the lack of belief risked eternal misery. Likewise, if there is only a 1% chance the planet is heading toward a truly major disaster and delay means passing a point of no return, inaction now is foolhardy."
Sorry, just a couple more thoughts:In my experience, it is not the best thing for parents to be the primary or only spiritual counsellors or advisors in situations like this. I could be totally wrong, but from what I have seen, it is very hard for them to be objective since they are so close to their children and so invested in the outcome. It is often hard for them to allow their children to make their own choices and mistakes, and not be controlling (it depends on the parents, of course). I would suggest if your boyfriend is open to it, to talk with another pastor or spiritual mentor as well.Another thought: as you have just recently become a Christian and it was your boyfriend who led you to the Lord, I think it is very important that you make sure that your relationship with God is your own, and stands independent, regardless of your boyfriend and whatever happens with him. I think the only way to do that is to take some time apart to seek God and Christian counselling/mentoring in order to build yourself up in your faith apart from him. Then see what happens with the two of you. But if his parents are determined to separate you, and he listens to them, there may not be much you can do. Blessings on you.
I think this is spot on. In some cases, God may have someone specific in mind- but in most cases, the bible seems to convey that it is really our choice. My question would be whether the choice you make for a marriage partner can change the purpose or destiny God may have for us. If you have an answer Id love to know what you think
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