wager argument: An argument developed by Blaise Pascal that urges an unbeliever to attempt to develop faith in God even if the evidence for God’s existence is not decisive. Pascal compared belief and unbelief in God to a wager and pointed out the potential gains and losses each bet holds. If some bet on God and are wrong, they will lose only the paltry pleasure from some sins in this life that they might have enjoyed. If others bet on God and are right, however, they stand to gain eternal bliss. The potential gains and losses are thus staggeringly disproportionate, and Pascal urged the unbeliever to pray, attend Mass and do whatever else may be necessary to develop faith. Pocket Dictionary of Apologetics and Philosophy of Religion. First Ed., Copyright © 2002 by C. Stephen Evans Electronic Edition STEP Files Copyright © 2006, QuickVerse. All rights reserved.
Pascal’s Wager can be described bests in four solutions.
- If I believe in God, I am guaranteed eternal life (some provisos here, of course)
- If I do not believe God, I am guaranteed eternal suffering
- If I wrongly believe in God, then I have lived a more moral life
- if I wrongly believe in God, I only miss out on sins, all of which have negative effects on us anyway.
Any way you slice it, the Agnostic/Atheist loses. Pascals’ wager remains.