Click a question below to get an answer
Some people, who admit that there is no evidence for gods or for god or the one God, say that, even so, it is better to live as if such god or gods do exist and to believe accordingly.
This idea is at the heart of ‘Pascal’s Wager’. Pascal
was a French philosopher who argued that it was prudent to believe in
God because if God does exist, then you might win eternal heaven. If
he does not, you have just wasted Sundays going to confession – not
too much of a burden. But if you don’t believe in him and he does exist,
then think of the eternal torture you will suffer.
Of course, Pascal’s argument is pretty bad. After all, which god should you believe in? Should you be going to a Catholic church or a Protestant church – to a temple, mosque, or synagogue?
More fundamentally, we cannot just choose to really believe something, even if we think it will help us get some benefit – our beliefs are not something we can switch on and off in this way. Humanists would go further than this and say that, even if we could turn our beliefs on and off in such a way, that would not be wise, because the best way of ensuring our beliefs are true is to base them on evidence, not on hopes and fears.