Isn’t it better to believe in God, just in case...?

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.

‘Religion, since it has its source in terror, has dignified certain sorts of fear and made people think them not disgraceful. In this it has done mankind a great disservice – all fear is bad. 

I believe that when I die I shall rot, and nothing of my ego will survive. I am not young and I love life. 

But I should scorn to shiver with terror at the thought of annihilation.

Many a man has borne himself proudly on the scaffold; surely the same pride should teach us to think truly about our place in the world.’ Bertrand Russell (1872-1970) philosopher and social activist


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