22 thoughts on “Pascal’s Wager fail

    1. Or Anne Ursu’s Cronus Chronicles trilogy.

      In The Shadow Thieves, a recently deceased character is standing in line waiting to cross the Styx, and talks to the next person in line:

      “What is this place?”

      “Greek Underworld,” he shrugged. “Who knew?”

  1. Once a faithhead claimed that “outsider’s test” is flawed because it is God who intervenes and makes sure that Christians are born into Christian families, so being born in a Christian family is a blessing from God that has made their life easier. So I suppose they can still maintain that they would have been a Christian even if God had not “blessed” them with putting them in a Christian family.

    Also, in a debate, Dinesh took a different approach. He admitted that if the British had not forcefully imported Christianity to India, his parents would not have been Christian and probably he would have been a Hindu or something. But he concluded that this means Christians should try to export Christianity as much as possible so that more children receive the “blessings” he did.

    Basically against dogma, “Outsider’s test” is as useless as any other reasoning.

    1. With a name like D’Souza, I don’t think he could correctly blame the British. It’s a Portuguese name common in Kerala where they had the first European colony at Goa.

    2. If Dinesh said what you said he said, Dinesh has a very poor understanding of Christianity in India. It has been around for far longer than there were “British” people. His name suggests that his ancestors were converted by Portuguese catholics on the west coast rather than by anglicans. Also, for much of its existence, the English administration in India was very leery of evangelists and missionaries, and there was a lot of friction between the two.

    3. Hmm, now I’m doubting myself. I’m pretty sure he said something to that effect but I’ll dig through soem of the debates where I think I had seen it; this is not going to be pleasant.

      1. Yes, you’re right, he talks about the Portugese. I think he has mentioned this a few times in his debates, this is the first one I found: youtu.be/PSeHsCPayXM?t=1h14m1s

    1. Thanks for the link – good video. But they left out one point which I find compelling. FAITH and DECISION don’t really go well together, do they? You can decide what to do or what to say, but cold-bloodedly deciding what to believe is not as easy. One might become persuaded, but that’s not the same. I didn’t simply DECIDE to become an atheist, I just became persuaded by facts. I cannot imagine going back.

  2. On the plus side, at least the Egyptian afterlife was based on virtue, not orthodoxy.

    On the minus side, piety was one of the virtues.

    On the double minus side, even the people who get pickled and preserved, don’t take along nearly enough grave goods!

  3. The Negative confession from the 1500 BCE Ancient Egyptian papyrus of Ani ( long before Moses 10 commandments ) :The doctrine of Maat is represented in the declarations to Rekhti-merti-f-ent-Maat and the 42 Negative Confessions listed in the Papyrus of Ani. The following are translations by E. A. Wallis Budge.
    42 Negative Confessions (Papyrus of Ani)

    I have not committed sin.
    I have not committed robbery with violence.
    I have not stolen.
    I have not slain men and women.
    I have not stolen grain.
    I have not purloined offerings.
    I have not stolen the property of the gods.
    I have not uttered lies.
    I have not carried away food.
    I have not uttered curses.
    I have not committed adultery, I have not lain with men.
    I have made none to weep.
    I have not eaten the heart [i.e., I have not grieved uselessly, or felt remorse].
    I have not attacked any man.
    I am not a man of deceit.
    I have not stolen cultivated land.
    I have not been an eavesdropper.
    I have slandered [no man].
    I have not been angry without just cause.
    I have not debauched the wife of any man.
    I have not debauched the wife of [any] man. (repeats the previous affirmation but addressed to a different god).
    I have not polluted myself.
    I have terrorized none.
    I have not transgressed [the Law].
    I have not been wroth.
    I have not shut my ears to the words of truth.
    I have not blasphemed.
    I am not a man of violence.
    I am not a stirrer up of strife (or a disturber of the peace).
    I have not acted (or judged) with undue haste.
    I have not pried into matters.
    I have not multiplied my words in speaking.
    I have wronged none, I have done no evil.
    I have not worked witchcraft against the King (or blasphemed against the King).
    I have never stopped [the flow of] water.
    I have never raised my voice (spoken arrogantly, or in anger).
    I have not cursed (or blasphemed) God.
    I have not acted with evil rage.
    I have not stolen the bread of the gods.
    I have not carried away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead.
    I have not snatched away the bread of the child, nor treated with contempt the god of my city.
    I have not slain the cattle belonging to the god.

    Christopher Hitchens noted that, even if you thought the Exodus happened, the Israelites would never have made it to Sinai unless they had a sense of law & order
    Wikipedia says about the dating of 10 commandments : If the Ten Commandments are based on Hittite forms that would date it somewhere between the 14th-12th century BCE.Archaeologists Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman argue that “the astonishing composition came together… in the seventh century BCE”. Critical scholar Yehezkel Kaufmann (1960) dates the oral form of the covenant to the time of Josiah. An even later date (after 586 BCE) is suggested by David H. Aaron.

    1. This list should be posted in public schools. There are too many people carrying away the khenfu cakes from the spirits of the dead these days.

  4. I always thought it would be interesting if the true religion were lost long ago to a false, but memetically fitter, competitor. With an untestable hypothesis, how would you ever know?

    1. Arguably, it did. If you take the true “religion” as being naturalism. Naturalistic life stances have been the small mammals scurrying around the feet of the religious dinosaurs until environmental conditions were right for them to flourish.


  5. As is so often the case, that great philosopher and towering intellectual Homer Simpson already nailed this one:

    “Suppose I’m praying to the wrong god and every time I do he keeps getting mad”

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