And I can’t tell the difference between ABC News,
Hill Street Blues,
And a preacher on the old time gospel hour
Stealing money from the sick and the old
Well the God I believe in isn’t short of cash, mister!
– Bono (of U2), “Bullet the Blue Sky”, in Rattle and Hum
I really don’t like hearing churches ask for money. I’ve often thought that in an ideal church, there would be no collection plate passed around during the service, and no annual fundraising drives. The church budget would be extremely lean, and would grow if and only if there were unsolicited contributions discreetly made. Continue reading “Is God short of cash?”
Blaise Pascal was a 17th century French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist. He invented a mechanical calculator, and a modern computer programming language is named after him. His contributions had long-lasting impact in the fields of gambling theory, economics, and actuarial science. He was also a deeply religious man. His Pensées, an ambitious work meant to provide a thorough defense of Christianity, were unfinished at the time of his death. The most famous idea to emerge from his draft has been called Pascal’s Wager.
The basic idea is that either God exists, or He does not, and the matter cannot be proven one way or the other. If He does exist, you have everything to gain by believing that He does, and living your life accordingly, and everything to lose by rejecting or ignoring Him. If He does not exist, you have nothing to lose either way. Regardless of what probability you assign to his existence, the rational “wager” is to live as if He does exist.
Critics of Pascal’s Wager attack not the mathematics of it but the various underlying assumptions. Continue reading “Does Pascal’s Wager make sense?”