Revision to Pascel's Wager is JUST AS or MORE defensible than atheism
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Pascel's Wager goes something like this. If you believe in the Christian God, than you will be better off than if you don't believe. If you don't believe, and the Christian God does exist, then you will suffer an eternity in Hell. If you do believe, and the Christian God does NOT exist, then you will have lost nothing. But if you do believe, and the Christian God DOES exist, then you will reap eternal rewards and avoid eternal punishment.
My revision is as follows. Instead of believing in a theistic God (Christian God), you believe instead in whatever God exists. You say, whatever God exists is the God I have an allegiance with. Of course, making sure to convey this idea to this God through prayer or whatever method of communication you prefer. You no longer have the problem of only pretending to believe as whoever this God is will see your genuine want to believe and communicate with whatever God actually exists. Is it really so hard to believe that this wonderful and complex universe was brought forward by some creative force or being? It won't take long to convince yourself enough for this God to see your effort.
This also deals with the problem that there different types of Hell and you may go to a different Hell than the Christian Hell. This is because you are genuinely interested in communication with a God that ACTUALLY exists. You will be on the side of any God listening, because you are trying to communicate with whatever God hears you rather than a specific God. I think that this is actually a more defensible and safer position than atheism.
I realize that I am not very concise when putting forth this philosophy, but I hope it gets across. The first couple of arguments may just be clarifications. This is why i wanted there to be 5 arguments each.
Atheism: A lack of belief in a god or gods.
God: A literal being with maximal power (The all powerful position is unsupported) that interacts with the inhabitants of Earth and cares about what they do.
Other definitions or clarifications may need to be made during the beginning of the argument.
p1) A single god exists
p2) There is a hell associated with this god
p3) this god decides entrance into hell by non-belief in him/her/it
C) Therefore, belief in this god avoids hell (and is rational)
Revision to p1: It could be a single god or multiple gods
Revision to p2: There is POSSIBLY a hell associated with this god
Revision to p3: I am not making the assumption that the god decides entrance into hell by non-belief in him/her/it. The hope is simply that you will be better off if you made the effort to try to please whatever god(s) exist, rather than NOT make the effort
Belief is not a choice. Let's say there is a red ball. We can choose to SAY it is blue, but we cannot choose to BELIEVE it is blue. Belief is what we perceive to be true and perception necessarily comes first. So, to have a belief in the absence of perception (or contrary to it) is an absurdity. Belief is a stance taken after considering the available evidence. Arbitrarily redefining this stance can be nothing other than intellectual dishonesty.
There are many assumptions in the argument. It could be that there is no god or there are multiple gods. It could be that multiple gods have a place of eternal torment or that there is no hell, it could be that god(s) are malevolent and entrance into hell has nothing to do with belief or occurs because of it. Anyone one of these circumstances being true makes the conclusion false. My opponent has no way to show which of these options are valid, and this leaves the conclusion, at best, dubious.
You are right. It seems that there are too many possible scenarios, and that my revision is NOT useful. Well let's compare a couple of the scenarios you have presented.
I would make some changes to this syllogism as to be crystal clear with my position.Revision to p1: It could be a single god or multiple gods
Revision to p2: There is POSSIBLY a hell associated with this god
In this scenario, my revision to Pascal's Wager FAILS. [...] Both the revision (an active position) and atheism (lacking a position) are equally useless.
God exists. He/she/it likes it when the humans he/she/it created try to appease him/she/it.
Is it so absurd to use this openness to belief as a reason to pray or otherwise attempt to please whatever god(s) exist?
You have to have at least SOME belief in order for an action such as praying to be meaningful.
To have multiple gods does not necessarily make the situation better. If one or more gods consider divided allegiance to be an insult, an individual would be no better off feigning belief and could be drawing the ire of multiple powerful beings.
Additionally, the possibility of no god has been overlooked. This is worth mentioning since the (presumably) lifelong efforts to appease a god are, at least, a waste of time, and, at worst, lead to a life of poor decisions based on a superstitious notions.
If an individual thinks they have a powerful ally, when in fact they do not, they might be more inclined to take risks where the non-believer would not.
Given that my opponent has allowed there could be no hell, I'm not certain how "brownie points" could be beneficial unless he is abandoning Pascal's wager completely. Pascal crafted this argument with the afterlife in mind, and it seems as though Pro may be subtly suggesting god-given benefits within our shared reality due to belief. I find no merit in this view as it cannot be objectively verified - this calls into question the 'usefulness' of the view. Ultimately, this strikes me as moving the goalposts.
However, the conception that there is some type of hidden belief revealed by split-brained individuals is to go far beyond what the evidence can tell us. Not to mention, it is cherry picking the evidence - after all, perhaps split brained people reveal hidden atheism! Of course, this last part is said with tongue firmly in cheek. In all seriousness, (not being an expert in neurology, psychology, or any relevant fields) I think it is quite safe to say the example my opponent provides is nothing more than a glimpse into how our brains work and not that we each have an atheist and a believer duking it out within our skulls!
Berrybloxinator has provided an interesting video discussing the religious views of a split-brained individual. One side of this person's brain believed in a god and the other side did not. From this Pro extrapolates everyone has an "openness to god" in which it seems he defines as 'belief in god'. It is true there are atheists with an openness to belief in god. By this I mean, atheists do not necessarily reject the possibility of believing in a god should verifiable evidence of god be presented and no corpus calloscotomy is necessary! On this, I assume Pro and I can agree.
Prayer to a deity generally requires belief in a deity.
I do see the possibility of the believer being more reckless than the non-believer. What I do not see is what relevance a persons recklessness has to do with my revision.
As I discussed in my previous post, I am relying on the openness to belief, not belief itself.
I did not mean for it to come across that I equated openness to belief as belief itself. I understand that it is not the same thing. I am simply saying that openness to belief is enough, and belief itself is not necessary for the revision.
I would agree with this change: Prayer to a deity requires an openness to belief in a deity. Nothing is stopping you from physically praying.
Let's say there are god(s) and an afterlife, but no Hell. This could still mean that these god(s) reward those who put forth effort to please them, and ignore those who don't. In this scenario, those using the revision will be better off.Let's now say that there are god(s), a Heaven, and a Hell. It is unsure, in this scenario, what rubric the God uses to separate the people who go to Hell and those who go to Heaven. The revision simply says that you hope your effort will be enough to convince the god to send you to Heaven. It doesn't pretend to know if this is actually the case.