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Should We Believe?

Updated on December 22, 2017
Corey Campbell profile image

Corey has been a student all his life but his cynical outlook comes from his external experiences and shaping his personality.

Suspending Disbelief

So the question has been identified. The question is no longer does God exist but has moved to "should we believe in a Deity?" As an atheist I, ordinarily, would answer with a quick 'no' but recently I have been challenged by theists that I meet in my everyday life, arguing that belief in their God is beneficial.

Personally, I would like to assure that this document will address religion as a more general matter, not about one religion in particular.

Pascal's Wager

Born in 1623, Blaise Pascal offers a view of religion that most Atheists do not consider, consequentialism. Pascal proposed a theory that states that regardless of our personal feelings, an atheist should believe in the Christian god and worship him due to the consequences tied to this choice.

Picture it: if you believe in God and in the end God exists, you are rewarded with eternal happiness in Heaven. However, if you do not believe in God and God does exist in the end, you will be punished with eternal torture. The flip side of this is that if God does not exist neither party is affected in the end.

On a personal level, this on first sight makes sense and should be considered but on actively looking into this, it starts to fall apart.

A quote from Friedrich Nietzsche

Is man merely a mistake of God's? Or God merely a mistake of man?

A painting of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) painted by Francois II in 1691.
A painting of Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) painted by Francois II in 1691.

Was Pascal Right?

Firstly, Pascal started this with one assumption that is not one that makes sense here: the only God this applies to in context is the Abrahamic, Christian god. This is a terrible assumption to make as, since time began, there has been thousands of gods. Based on this fact, why should we presume that the one god that does exist is that of the Christians? It is as likely (or rather unlikely) to be Allah, Zeus, Shiva or even Poseidon is the one true deity.

In addition, believing only because of the consequences is dishonest and would therefore result in the aforementioned eternal punishment and condemnation to the true deity's equivalent of Hell. This would occur as it's physically impossible to just will yourself to believe in something that you don't truly think to be correct.

Nonetheless, if Pascal is right to that you should believe in a god for this reason, that is not to say you would still go to "Heaven". According to most respected theologians, the reason you are condemned to Hell is due to the guilt harboured that you may never lose by yourself. This in itself means you will forever be in Hell if you choose your beliefs for a selfish reason.

I'm curious...

Do you believe in a god/gods?

See results

© 2017 Corey Campbell


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    • Corey Campbell profile image

      Corey Campbell 3 months ago from United Kingdom

      Hey Paladin_ thank you for the feedback! Any suggestions for articles would be greatly appreciated as, despite my love of writing, I often get my passion from hearing other people's opinions and their suggestions for what I can voice.

    • Paladin_ profile image

      Paladin_ 3 months ago from Michigan, USA

      Welcome to HubPages, Corey! I look forward to reading more from you on this topic (which is near and dear to my heart).

      As to Pascal's infamous wager, I enjoy quoting the words of the great philosopher Homer Simpson:

      "...What if we pick the wrong religion? Every week were just making the real God madder and madder!.." :-)

    • Corey Campbell profile image

      Corey Campbell 3 months ago from United Kingdom

      Thank you so much Zachary! It's lovely to get some feedback and (if you don't mind) could you please share this?

    • profile image

      Zachary Diaz 3 months ago

      I agree with this so much! It’s amazing to see my thoughts in someone else’s work!