Should You Bet On God?

MATTHEW
POWELL
is licensed under CC BY 2.0

Does believing in God because the benefits outweigh the disadvantages make sense?

Ever hear of Pascal’s Wager? Simplified, it states it is better to believe in God than not because the consequences of not believing in God if he is real, are too great to ignore. Does this make sense? Should we worship God because it’s the smart bet?

It always reminds me of a scene in the movie The Mummy where a character is able to save his life by going through a litany of prayers until finally finding one that connects with the monster. I am not saying that they are equivalent. God is not a Hollywood monster.

Does it contradict faith to believe in God because it makes sense from a cost-benefit standpoint? Faith requires the annihilation of reason. Meaning, faith should have an individual make a decision without knowing the consequence or guessing the consequence. Religion requires embracing the mystery of their beliefs. Beginning to make decisions based upon fear of consequences seems to contradict the central tenet of religious doctrine.

But is that a completely accurate portrayal? People seem to make decisions all the time based on the fear of committing a sin, of upsetting their God. Some attack others based on their lifestyle choices and state that God will punish them. So consequences are looked at.

But if God exists would he punish someone for worshipping because they were hedging their bet? Unclear. As long as someone is faithful to the religious doctrine, motivation seems a bit unclear. For example, you could repent on your deathbed and accept God and no matter what terrible deeds you have committed you still get to go to Heaven.

So should you bet on God? Maybe. But which religion to pick, how to make sure you live the life according to religious doctrine, and not to offend others are all ways that affect your decision.

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