Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

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Ndoki
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Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Ndoki » February 12th, 2018, 11:11 pm

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.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Eduk » February 13th, 2018, 2:54 pm

I would rather go to hell with my child and wife than end up in heaven based off of a nonsensical wager.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Alias » February 13th, 2018, 6:32 pm

Ndoki wrote:
February 12th, 2018, 11:11 pm
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.
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.
Arguably, believing takes no time at all; believing in thousands of deities is no more expensive than believing in one.
It's obeying a god that's costly, not least because the interpretations of any particular god's edicts fill many fat mutually contradictory volumes and many obese pontifical heads. If you must cherry-pick the commandments to satisfy your personal notion of one god's wishes, imagine the investment in research you'd need to obey even the most simplified version of all their demands!
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.
Even simpler: if he were that, he would understand your reasons for unbelief.
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.
Down-side: most of them have quite nasty means of retribution.
Those who can induce you to believe absurdities can induce you to commit atrocities. - Voltaire

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Greta » February 13th, 2018, 7:56 pm

Any existent deity worth a pillar of salt would surely see through any "cheats" for bringing a favourable afterlife. On the other hand, a deist's god would not be conscious as we are; rather It would respond according to Its own metaphysical laws, just as energy acts according to physical laws.

Whether the ancients actually worked out those metaphysical laws is another matter, especially given the obvious manipulation of their proposition. It's rather convenient to present a proposition that must not only be agreed with, but not even questioned (considered to be a failure of faith) lest one suffer dire consequences after death - from annihilation to burning in hell for eternity to undergoing painful future incarnations. I smell a rat.

I doubt that a person would be rejected by any deity who lives their life with as much sincerity and goodwill towards all - human and nonhuman - as they can manage. The the game of life is basically about harmony, which is also conducive to enjoyment and inner peace.

It seems to me that some religious rituals are also designed to bring inner peace, or to enliven. However, most rituals of the bland and generic "all things bright and beautiful" variety are just cultural artefacts with the usual social bonding to firm the boundaries between "us and them". I suspect that focusing on getting life right will do better on all fronts than spending much time observing rituals with the sole purpose of saving your own skin. From most reports, deities seem to prefer a less self-oriented attitude.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Namelesss » February 21st, 2018, 1:47 am

the 'wager' has been successfully refuted a long time ago.
Pascal was no philosopher.

Men never do evil so completely and cheerfully as when they do it from religious conviction.
-Blaise Pascal (Pensees, 1670)

Pascal's Wager Refuted!
http://www.update.uu.se/~fbendz/nogod/pascal.htm

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Theleman » April 2nd, 2018, 6:46 pm

I don't know exactly what Pascal's wager is, but regarding worship of God, not all God are to be worshiped.
There are God, that you want to unite with = you become the God.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Erribert » May 1st, 2018, 4:54 am

Thank Ndoki for the post. I have not thought about Pascal’s wager for quite some time. I like your ideas, and your enthusiasm. I also recently joined this forum to try it out. Don’t worry about the grouches, they are in every forum. I read the so called “refutation of the wager” as well and found it to be extremely pedantic. But that is just me, and it was probably not written by a genius such as Pascal.

Okay, so there are millions of Hindu “deities”, some say 33 million, so we have to be careful in what is meant by belief if we can’t even know what there is to believe in.

If you read William James’ “Variety of Religious Experiences” and Aldus Huxley’s “The Perrenial Philosophy” it may narrow down your beliefs chore. Finally, reading Joseph Campbell’s “Hero of a Thousand Faces” and maybe a book or two by Huston Smith, then the chore will become manageable. I used to have to commute a ways to work so I had many books on audio. I would check one or two CDs from the library every week and also get a book every month from Audible. There are also a number of free audiobooks sites online. Anyway, this made reading a lot easier. I listened to so many books that I would sometimes check a book out I had already read, but listen to it again anyway. In this way, there is plenty of time to “read”, trust me. Reading stimulates the imagination much more than YouTube, in my opinion. There is nothing worse than watching or listening to the news which is never new. They should call it “the olds”. Yes, I am a grouchy human... :-)

Anyway, with that sage advice :-) out of the way, Pascal thought believing would be better than not and believing takes but a second. Put your finger in a flame and see how long it takes to believe. There is nothing complicated or intellectual about believing. Intellectual belief is simply a game people play; the intellect can create whatever story it wants. Intellectual belief is based on words. If you look up the definition of a word, then look up the definitions of the definitions, eventually you will get back to the same word. So wordy belief is simply a self-indulgent circle of words that have no ground to stand on. Like some kind of bubble floating around that people find important while howling at the moon. The intellect has never been about belief. It is a hobby for humans. How does one intellectually believe that something tastes good? Intellectual beliefs are a form of rumination. Chew swallow spit-up and chew again. This is what atheists do not understand. They are in their intellect, believing they are their thoughts. Ask yourself why you believe you are your thoughts and you will have your answer. Because only your thoughts can answer. No, I really don’t have much of an opinion ;-)

The main thing that humans do with their brains, in my opinion, is create Meaning. Whatever it is, it has meaning for us. In a way, we worship Meaning. This includes listening to music, looking at art, etc. perhaps even sex has meaning. Atheism has great meaning for many people as does the worship of a god. They are all the same thing even though we do argue about some very minor subtle differences between theism and atheism. They are all meaning we worship. We cannot help it. We create meaning like bees create honey. Yes, we are as grand as the bees! And indeed isn’t meaning grand?

If anything I am a gnostic. The Gnostics believe that the God Christianity worships is a FALSE GOD. They (I) call it Yabaldaoth. It is a self centered creation that resulted from a mistake by Sophia. Yes, the Christian God was a mistake according to Gnosticism. That is why Gnosticism was labeled heretical and completely destroyed by highly political and ruthless priests, (not to say that Constantine did not play a part). Just read about the slaughter of the Cathars in France by some pope. I mean really, going to war carrying the cross which symbolized your sacrificed god? Constantine at his best! Clever chap. Islamists certainly do not do that. So, there you go. If I need a belief in a deity then it would be the Gnostic pleroma. At least that makes sense to me. Of course there is Gnosticism in Catholicism, especially orthodox. To be honest, besides the bread and wine bit, I don’t think there is much difference between Catholicism and Christianity. At least the Catholics have some cool rituals. What kind of rituals do atheists have? Sunbathing? Sorry, the Egyptians had a god that represented that. Do atheists believe in evolution or Mother Nature? Sorry, already taken by the Goddess Gaia. Everything atheists believe in has a god associated with it. :P

So, If not Gnostic then I worship multiple gods. Science is polytheism. All the forces and phenomenon they claim as controlling can be matched one to one with the Greek gods. Clock time is Chronos, Electromagnetism is Zeus, etc. The Big Bang belief results from the religious need for beginings. There are no Big Bang beginings in Hinduism (well, maybe), Buddhism, Taoism. Science is the result of polytheism and Judeo Christianity. Remember, it started in monasteries. Oh, and how we worship the weather, it’s on TV all the time. The perfect storm is not random it is Poseiden. What does random mean anyway (I just don’t know why, it was the God called Randomness). Let’s not forget the Greek god Chaos. The Greeks were great scientists, and were happy without technology.

Yes, we still worship the same gods just with different names. And, we don’t even celebrate that part about being human. What has happened to us? We worship money more than reality. Then we claim human sin when it comes to the earth’s temperature. Oy ve. :roll:

And, blah, word, blah, word, blah. I have no idea why I wrote all this. I hope nobody reads through it. What nonsense! Maybe my trial membership will end suddenly. I was really just trying to be funny or clever. Mea Culpa.

Keep thinking, and perhaps do some reading.

But what do I know, It was not my intention to insult anybody’s beliefs. This is just my naive opinion after all.

Cheers

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by CIN » May 4th, 2018, 9:38 am

"Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell)." (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager)

This argument presumes that God is more likely to admit into heaven, and save from hell, a person who does not believe in God but pretends that they do, than a person who does not believe in God but does not so pretend. In other words, that God prefers dishonest sycophants to honest disbelievers and doubters.

Since this would be immoral behaviour on the part of God, it is inconsistent with God's nature which is to be perfectly good.

Therefore if God exists, behaving as Pascal advises would actually mean that we were behaving less well than God wishes us to.

I suggest we ignore Pascal's wager. If God does not exist, it will do us no good, and if he does exist, it could put us in his bad books.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Felix » May 4th, 2018, 3:40 pm

This argument presumes that God is more likely to admit into heaven, and save from hell, a person who does not believe in God but pretends that they do, than a person who does not believe in God but does not so pretend. In other words, that God prefers dishonest sycophants to honest disbelievers and doubters.
Not really, you have to read the context behind the statement, e.g., Pascal said, "If there is a God, He is infinitely incomprehensible, since, having neither parts nor limits, He has no affinity to us. We are then incapable of knowing either what He is or if He is."

Accepting that, the honest person would know that they cannot really know, and belief or disbelief becomes a matter of disposition. As a Christian, Pascal was predisposed to believe, although his argument actually supports agnosticism.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Eduk » May 4th, 2018, 4:14 pm

The honest person cannot define a God which is incomprehensible and would therefore know that whatever God they did believe in it wasn't the incomprehensible one they were aiming for.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Felix » May 4th, 2018, 11:33 pm

The honest person cannot define a God which is incomprehensible and would therefore know that whatever God they did believe in it wasn't the incomprehensible one they were aiming for.
Perhaps they feel no compulsion to define Him, but just accept and believe in him as he is.... incomprehensible, that's what you are, incomprehensible, though near or far.
"We do not see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Thinking critical » May 6th, 2018, 4:54 pm

Pascal's Wager relies of the individual's predisposition that they except the possibility that gods can exist in the first place. If we see no good reason to contemplate even the possibility that gods exist then pascals wager is as silly as telling people they should always walk around with some garlic in there pockets in case they encounter a vampire.
This cocky little cognitive contortionist will straighten you right out

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Eduk » May 6th, 2018, 6:13 pm

Not just a god TC but a very specific God. First of all it would have to be a God who self identifies as the God of the Bible. Then it would need to be one who accepted your definition of the God from the Bible. Then it would have to be the case that the God of the Bible only cared about lip service towards believing in him and didn't test for actual belief. Said God would then need to do the whole sorting into good and bad place thing. Then the bad place definition would need to be right. Lastly someone would need to explain to me how an eternity in heaven could logically be any different than an eternity in hell. Eternity is a long time, at night if I stare at a fixed point on the wall without moving my eyes or blinking then shapes disappear. I believe this is some effect to do with the unchanging nature of what I was seeing. That only takes a minute or so to experience. An eternity of seeing the same thing would, I assume, render one blind, deaf, dumb and unconscious after only a short time, say a billion to the power of a billion years? Which of course is still infinitely far away from eternal. I mean it wouldn't matter how long the effect took compared to eternity it would be instantaneous.

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Re: Possible new take on Pascal's Wager?

Post by Namelesss » May 6th, 2018, 10:35 pm

Eduk wrote:
May 6th, 2018, 6:13 pm
Said God would then need to do the whole sorting into good and bad place thing.
Nah, It has Mengele waiting in the wings for that!! *__-

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