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Atheism--Pascal's Wager

Atheism--Pascal's Wager

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January 23, 2011

Question: What would Ayn Rand say about this? I know none of you can answer for her but you might could speculate.

Pascal's Wager (God is a safe bet): "If you believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you have lost nothing--but if you don't believe in God and turn out to be incorrect, you will go to hell. Therefore it is foolish to be an atheist."

Answer:  Objectivism is an atheistic philosophy because there is neither a coherent concept of what God would be nor are any of the arguments offered for God's existence correct. As a philosophy of reason, Objectivism therefore is atheistic.

There is no Hell, not in the literal sense, nor can anyone clearly say what Hell really would be. See my  answer on Objectivism's metaphysics  for why the supernatural doesn't make sense.

So what is Pascal wagering over? Would he care to bet a dime that there is gold under my feet at the moment? If so, I will take that bet at every step, and throw in for free a shovel. There is no rational wager between what exists and what simply does not and cannot exist. Is it rational live a life in fear, and obey a moral code that is divorced from the needs of life on this Earth, for the sake of an idea that is most basically an arbitrary assertion?

In essence, Pascal is taking a position not very different from that of agnosticism, which asks us to wager cognitive effort entertaining the notions of God and the supernatural, because we "cannot know" that these ideas are false.

Don't sweat it. You won't go to Hell for not believing in God.