• Ndoki
    2
    Why I'm posting:
    I'm a big fan of philosophy, and I spend a lot of my free time contemplating what little I know about it. One of my favorite things to consider is Pascal's Wager, and upon researching it I feel I've come to a few realizations about it that I haven't seen addressed. So I'd like to share them in the hopes that they might be of interest to others. However, being that I'm a selfish person I'm going to be posting this in multiple forums at the same time out of fear of someone possibly trying to take credit for my idea.
    However, I'm sure I'm not the first to come to these conclusions, and it may already be something covered elsewhere, but I've yet to see it. If it is I would appreciate any direction towards it

    About me:
    I'm a philosophy layman. I have no formal education on the matter, and if I'm being honest, I'm not much of a reader either. All my knowledge comes from the few things I’ve read, discussions I’ve had, and concepts I’ve pondered. Because of this, I have practically zero knowledge of proper terminology or processes more academic philosophers may have, and as I also said above, this might already all be covered somewhere, so if it is I apologize.

    The concept:
    I won't go into detail of what Pascal's Wager is, I'm assuming everyone reading this either already knows it, or will look it up. However, I must address some of the criticisms, and the basis behind it.
    The first criticism I have seen against it is the problem of which God to worship.
    The second criticism is that by worshipping God, they are wasting a portion of their life and therefore paying a cost which prevents it from being a zero risk situation.

    I feel that the solution is as follows:
    Firstly, in order to fully follow the wager, one must apply it universally, to worship all the deities. In other words, to not only become a polytheist, but an omnist. This way you are essentially guaranteeing success from any outcome.
    Now the counter to this expands on the previous criticism of spending time in worship. If worshipping one deity takes up time, then worshipping ALL deities will take up all your time.

    However, I feel that the spirit of Pascal's Wager is that any attempt is better than no attempt, and therefore, that something as simple as believing in all deities takes no time, but offers an infinitely better chance than rejection of some or all deities.
    Of course this brings up new issues, such as how certain deities claim that worshipping others is actually worse than not worshipping at all. However, the only case we have of this is from the words of man, so there's no guarantee this is true at all and should be taken with a grain of salt and left as an unavoidable possibility.

    And finally, to cover everything, I propose a (possibly) new concept. As I have no knowledge of it already existing I'm not sure what it should be called, although it is somewhat close to Pascal's wager (If it's indeed a new concept I call dibs on "Ndoki's wager”) and is as follows:
    If a deity is truly benevolent and loving, then it should understand and appreciate your reasonable devotion (belief) to all deities, and would accept you for that.
    And if, on the other hand, it is selfish and only cares for your full devotion to it, then not being accepted by it isn't really a loss considering its unreasonable treatment and expectations.
    In simpler (Christian) terms: if God is loving, he'll understand and accept you into heaven for trying, and if he's a selfish jerk, I don't consider it a loss not being able to spend eternity with him.

    So in summary, if Pascal's Wager asserts that worshipping God is better than not, then my Wager is that worshipping all deities even a little, is better than dedicating yourself to one, or none at all.


    Sorry for the long-windedness, I'm terrible at explaining myself. If nothing else I hope I've provided at least a little entertainment for someone, or a little food-for-thought.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    Of course this brings up new issues, such as how certain deities claim that worshipping others is actually worse than not worshipping at all. However, the only case we have of this is from the words of man, so there's no guarantee this is true at all and should be taken with a grain of salt and left as an unavoidable possibility.Ndoki

    The same is also true of the claim that we're rewarded iff we believe and punished iff we don't believe. If we're going to assume that this is true then why are we not also assuming that something like the First Commandment is true?

    And if, on the other hand, it is selfish and only cares for your full devotion to it, then not being accepted by it isn't really a loss considering its unreasonable treatment and expectations.
    In simpler (Christian) terms: if God is loving, he'll understand and accept you into heaven for trying, and if he's a selfish jerk, I don't consider it a loss not being able to spend eternity with him.
    Ndoki

    Except the alleged punishment is eternal suffering. That's a terrible thing that ought be avoided, whether or not God is a selfish jerk.
  • Ndoki
    2
    God isn't a selfish jerk but he won't let humans do whatever they want. He is just and fair according to Christianity.René Descartes

    Yes, but all we have to go on are scriptures written by man. Of course they may be true, but they also may not be, or it may have been a lie to test man, such as when God told Abraham to kill Isaac.

    You also missed out the possibility that every religion actually follows the same God, and that each God is actually the same God or Gods, just in different forms.René Descartes

    That is definitely a possibility, but considering how abstract some of the more obscure religions deities are, or the non-Abrahamic ones (Gilgamesh, Quetzacotl, the Horned God, etc) I feel it's more likely that there are multiple different possibilities.


    The same is also true of the claim that we're rewarded iff we believe and punished iff we don't believe.Michael

    That is true, but since there is no chance of reward from lack of belief, there's no reason not to.

    Except the alleged punishment is eternal suffering. That's a bad thing, whether or not God is a selfish jerk.Michael

    Of course, but my point is if heaven is run by such a petty and selfish God, it would be eternal suffering either way, so it becomes a non-issue.


    However, I appreciate all the feedback, and thanks for the welcome.
  • Michael
    7.4k
    That is true, but since there is no chance of reward from lack of belief, there's no reason not to.Ndoki

    There might be a God who punishes believers and rewards non-believers.

    Of course, but my point is if heaven is run by such a petty and selfish God, it would be eternal suffering either way, so it becomes a non-issue.Ndoki

    It might not be. Heaven might be a paradise, even if God is petty and selfish.
  • Cuthbert
    216
    Ndoki: A man in a pub told me that Zeus is a dead cert at 25:1.
  • gurugeorge
    517
    I think this is a pretty good idea, but you have to be careful because obviously there are many contradictions between the various ideas about God, gods, deities, etc., in general.

    The resolution would be that which is expressed in the parable of the "blind men and the elephant". Each blind man is touching some portion of the elephant; then perhaps one erroneously describes the whole thing as "a flexible tube", another as "two giant curving teeth", etc., etc.

    In an analogous way, it may be the case that the various religions are seeing the same "thing" through a glass darkly.

    But also, while there are some contradictions between the various religions, there are also some commonalities - e.g. all the major religious messages do seem to lay a lot of emphasis on this "thing" being to do with love, with being kind and compassionate to each other, etc., and also often with at least some of the traditional virtues (brave, thoughtful, proud, honest, etc., etc.).

    So I think it's possible and rationally justifiable to take Ndoki's wager with that sort of ecumenical or "perennial wisdom" sense of the Divine. So long as you're a good person as most cultures tend to have described, and as most people seem to instinctively have a grasp of, then you're probably safe, and since being a good person is also what's recommended in naturalistic views, then so long as everyone's a good person, then (more or less, in the round) everyone's probably going to be ok.

    But there's always that possibility that the One True Religion is the religion of the Alpha Centaurians, who claim that you will go to Hell if you behave in the way we would characterize as being a "good person" :)
  • LD Saunders
    314
    If the Muslims happened to be right, and you worshipped pagan Gods along side Allah, you'd still go to hell. You can't side-step the criticism that Pascal's Wager doesn't take into account the problem of worshipping the wrong God, by assuming any such God would not object to being worshipped as one of many merely to get beyond the wager's difficulties. After all, any God childish and immoral enough to send someone to hell cannot be assumed to accept such an offer based on universal worship in order to hedge one's bets. Keep in mind, Pascal's Wager assumes God is immoral.
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