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Sunday, December 12, 2010

LIV. The Wages of Pascal

Blaise Pascal, a famous mathematician and scientist who lived in the mid 1600's, came up with a philosophical puzzle about God.  He basically claimed that if you are to argue either for or against the existence of God it is better to error on the side that there is one so that one can reap the benefits and not suffer the consequence.  Even if then there is no God and you lived life according to scripture then you wouldn't have lost anything anyway.  This is now known as Pascal's Wager.  This is also a huge argument that atheists will use to say that there is no God.  How?  Because the argument can go as far as:  well who is to say which God this argument is referring to?.  What if Allah is the one true God, then shouldn't it be beneficial for all of us to live according to the writings of Mohammed?  Or what about Buddha?  Confucius or any other known deity?  So if the wager can be used on any religion and if there can be only one of them right then how can the same be said about all of them?  Therefore all religions must be wrong.  Therefore since all claim to worship a deity then there must be no deity.

Probably one thing the atheist has a problem with is the fact that during Pascal's life a new way of thinking called Enlightenment was taking hold.  One idea of the Enlightenment was that God may exist but He doesn't intervene.  Many of the Enlightenment thinkers (Locke, Rousseau, Voltaire, Montesquieu and some even say the likes of Jefferson and Franklin) thought that it may be a waste of time worrying about the afterlife and that you should seek happiness in this one.  Pascal did not hold onto these theories and yet remained "enlightened", helping lead the way to discoveries about number probabilities and space theories.

So here is the question:  is Pascal's Wager valid for Christianity only, open the door for all religions, or doesn't matter anyway?

The answer:  It doesn't matter anyway.  Whether we want to believe in God or not does not take away the fact that He does exist.  He is there whether we live by His rules or our own.  If we believe in Islam, so what.  God still exists.  If we choose not to believe in any deity, so what.  God will still exist.

The more important question is:  Why is Christ the one True God and not the others?

The answer:  Here is the view of the writer.
  1. Being raised in a family that believed in God was a starting point.  There was a foundation built on Christian principles. But that is not where it had been left.   Journeys in life are not just about what one has been taught but what one can learn.
  2. One can get a lot from reading the Bible. It is filled with relevant information that can calm, encouragement, and lead people onto the right paths and can make people think of what they want to be like in terms of what they are now.
  3. Even if one was born to different parents than the ones they have now with different ideas, they could still think for themselves as an adult. One can get the same rendering. There are other self-help books and religious ideas that may do the same thing.
  4. There is a book you may want to read.  It is short and simple to read. It is by Josh McDowell called, More Than a Carpenter. McDowell says that there are only three things you can think about Christ. You either think He was a liar, a lunatic, or He was in fact the Lord. In short, if He was a liar, why would he tell others to tell the truth? If He was a liar why would he ultimately go to the cross and be executed for his ideas? Maybe He was a lunatic. But He didn’t do any pathological activity that would classify him as one. Unlike David Koresh, He didn’t make people live in communes locked away. He didn’t have a harem for his own benefits. Everything recorded by Christ has beneficial consequences and not one thing contradicts anything else He said. If He was not a liar or a lunatic then He must be what He said He was: God.
  5. Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Confucius. What do they all have in common?  They all are “founders” of a religion. They all teach about how to live a life that will bring you peace. They all have left a book for others to read and learn. What is the main difference? Only one claimed to be God. The others only claimed to either be a messenger of God or not even that.  Jesus said He was God. Liar? Lunatic? Or Lord? Some other differences: Buddha said there is a harmony in this world. If there is good there is an equal amount of bad. In other words, there is no reward for doing good because it causes someone else to do bad. Mohammed tells people to kill the infidel and claims that we all will get 72 virgins in the afterlife in we do such an act. Confucius was just a poet. Christ had life lessons. We actually read about his life and not just thoughts of one person.
  6. Nothing else makes sense. Primordial soup? An accident that created life as delicate, complicated and sophisticated as we know it…an accident? If you look to the vastness of creation and you can see too much beauty and too many intricacies of every day life to think it was all an accident. http://ideasoftimreligion.blogspot.com/2009/12/xlv-dark-side.html
  7. People have life experiences. They have seen miracles. They have witnessed the power of God in their own lives. They feel a presence of a the Spirit. Now, that may sound strange to you. But until you have been in their shoes then that will have to do. And yes, this is where faith comes in. The thing that all atheists have a problem with is faith. If you see something, hear something, feel something but you can’t explain why, then faith has to start to take over. We all have faith whether you believe it or not. Each time you drive a car you faith in your abilities to get out of an accident. You have faith in the brake you step on, even without thinking about it.
There is 7 reasons right now, but all the atheist can say is: Prove God exists. And that is enough for them to not believe. Well, the actual burden is on disproving God. Science can’t do it. Just ask Josh McDowell, CS Lewis, Lee Strobl, and Blaise Pascal who all had problems believing and tried to disprove God. But all came to the conclusion, there is a God and Christ is He.

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