Pascal's Wager

Discussion in 'General Baptist Discussions' started by Benjamin, Sep 17, 2011.

  1. Benjamin

    Benjamin
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    Have you ever resorted to using this logical argument as a tool in debate with an Atheist? Have you studied it? See any value in it?

    Example:





     
  2. Martin Marprelate

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    Pascal's wager is quite clever and perfectly sound and true. Men have everything to gain and nothing to lose by trusting in Christ for salvation.

    I have used the argument on a few occasions. I have to report that in my experience it has never saved anyone. I doubt it saved Pascal himself. He underwent a far deeper and more experiential salvation if his diary is to be believed.

    Steve
     
  3. Deacon

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    Not sure there's a clear reason to repent.

    Rob
     
  4. webdog

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    Just used it yesterday in fact. I first try to get them to realize you cannot prove a negative since the majority want concrete proof, hence there is no such thing as an atheist, and at best they are agnostic. If you can get them to admit that you have won half the battle and it opens up the conversation to what you put forth in the OP.
     
  5. PamelaK

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    I get the logic and it's great logic, as logic goes. But where does the heart issue come in? The Bible says even the devil believes and trembles. To choose to believe just because it's great logic is not true salvation. That's always what has bothered me about Pascal's wager.
     
  6. Tom Butler

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    I like this. We should name it Webdog's Wager. Unless somebody else thought of it first. No matter, to me it'll always be Web's Wager, since I heard it from you first.
     
  7. canadyjd

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    As a debating tool against an atheist, the logic is sound.

    As an evangelistic tool...it is lacking that which is essential.

    peace to you:praying:
     
    #7 canadyjd, Sep 17, 2011
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 17, 2011
  8. Jeremiah2911

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    Amen, I have enjoyed these posts and thoughts--I'd never heard that called "Pascals wager" so I've learned something! :) I have at times in my life tried to "reason" with people who call themselves atheists--Using Scripture is the only hope of one of them ever seeing light, however, Scripture itself teaches us what we're up against:

    1 Corinthians 2:14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.

    So, my experience has been they almost always will argue that I can't prove the Bible is true [again, I've had people tell me that my salvation was nothing more than a brain washing so it does no good that I can see to reason with them regarding the change in my life]; when they say I can't prove that the Bible is true, I like to say, well, I may not be able to prove in your mind the Scripture is true, BUT, read this particular passage which was written around 2000 years ago:

    2 Corinthians 4:3-4 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost: 4 In whom the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them.

    Then I ask them, now can you PROVE to me this isn't speaking of you?

    I've never really gotten a good answer from any of them, so I assume it at least gets them thinking!

    I don't know there is ever any value in debating an atheist, but there is always value in letting our lights shine! :saint:

    God bless
     
  9. Dempster

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    I agree with you 100%. It's one of those things that sounds good because it's, well, logical, but it is a mind thing and not a heart thing.

    Who was it who said, "Before you can get 'em saved, you have to get 'em lost." That's the secret. Forget the games of logic. Someone has to realize that they are lost in their sins and in need of a Savior before they can be saved.
     
  10. preachinjesus

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    Pascal's Wager is useful and does make a definite point. It is one of the items I include in most of my discussions with seekers, atheists, agnostics, other religions, etc.

    In general the approach provides a suitable launching off point for other claims. While it has never been the sole approach I've use it has helped my efforts.
     
  11. canadyjd

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    Ouch!:thumbsup:

    I use a similar approach with Mormons. I'll say, "yeah, when I was a kid I saw this commercial that said the Book of Mormon was another gospel of Jesus Christ, is that right?" They have responded, every time, "yes, that is true, it is another gospel of Jesus Christ."

    I then take them to Gal. 1:8-9 "But even though we, or angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we have preached to you, let him be accursed. (9) As we have said before, so I say again now, if any man is preaching to you a gospel contrary to that which you received, let him be accursed."

    Most of the time they will just leave. Sometimes they will change their minds and claim that the gospel of Mormonism is not "another gospel" after all, that it is no different from the gospel found in our Bible... to which I will ask, "why do we need Mormonism then, if they are the same?"

    They always leave at that point. Only once did I have a young man look as if he were thinking about what I had said. I pray God opened his eyes to his error.

    peace to you:praying:
     
  12. SolaSaint

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    I once liked to use Pascal's wager but have since stopped using it with unbeleivers. It seems to me to be selling salvation (just in case it is true.) I know it is true so why try to encourage someone to become a Christian by stating it as a fire insurance policy? That is like many today who just add Jesus to their lives with no transformation at all.
     
  13. John of Japan

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    Some here are questioning Pascal's Wager (PW) from the grounds of evangelism (no repentance, etc.). To me, PW should be called part of pre-evangelism, or more specifically apologetcs. I think it is very valuable to open someone's heart to the Gospel, just like disproving evolution or taking a loaf of bread to a poor person. PW is not evangelism, but it can prepare for evangelism--which then will include repentance and faith.
     
  14. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:
     
  15. sag38

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    It's a door opener to further discussion.

    As a side note, the last time I dealt with Mormon missionaries they kept telling me that they believed the same thing that I did. Finally, I grew tired of hearing this and asked them a question. "If you and I believe the same thing then why are you still standing here talking to me? You should be knocking on someone else's door who needs to hear the gospel." To which they responded, "but you have to be baptized into our church." They did not have a good answer when I asked them to show me in the Bible, which they said was authoritative, where it said that I had to be baptized into the Mormon Church.
     
  16. quantumfaith

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    :thumbs::thumbs::thumbs:

    PW was simply a mathematicians attempt to "mathematize" his philosophical thinking regarding his faith in the Christian God. Pascal, known as one of the early forerunners in statistical and probabilistic mathematics was attempting to integrate some of his thoughts in this area to his faith. Little did he know the degree to which "probabilistic mathematics" would take off and diverse applications it would have in almost every area of science.

    I do agree with you here, it may serve some purpose apologetically, but in truth, "hard core" agnostics and atheists can pick it apart and wiggle around its apparent solid logic.
     
  17. Jeremiah2911

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    Amen, I like your analogy! We live kind of in the middle of nowhere :) and have never had Mormons come; however, I remember when we used to have Jehovahs Witnesses come about 4 times a year--I would just listen for a moment and tell them I was a Christian Minister and then they'd leave for a few months etc....Finally about 7 yrs ago, a young couple pulled in our driveway and had 2 young kids, all dressed up, and I was thinking, this is a family any Minister would love to have in their Church serving the Lord, and I prayed, Lord what can I say to them?? And a simple thought came to my mind--when they came to the door, I let them talk for a moment and then I said to them, I would like to tell you what happened to me back about 25 years ago in this Church up the road here---I gave them my salvation testimony, and then I said, you know, I KNEW at that moment I was a Christian, I didn't have to have anyone tell me, I KNEW Jesus was alive and well and I KNEW the Bible was true at that moment, and that's how I became a Christian. Now I'd like to ask you a question, how did you become a Jehovahs Witness?

    Needless to say, I could almost hear the gears of their minds grinding as they had absolutely no answer for me [I know how they became a JW, someone knocked on their door and told them thats what they had to be]....Needless to say, I have never had another JW at my doorstep, although I'm ready for them when they come!! :jesus:
    God bless
     
  18. Magnetic Poles

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    Pascal's Wager is very flawed and unconvincing to an unbeliever. First, it assumes a false dichotomy of belief in God or no belief in God. There are other options. What is the Islamic god exists? If you believe in Christ, you could wind up in Islamic hell. What if a malevolent god exists? He could send the Christians to hell just for fun. Just a few possibilities. Plus, would God not see through one who chooses him to hedge a bet on eternal destinations?
     
  19. Alcott

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    Pascal's Wager is not useful as an evangelistic tool. An unbeliever who thinks there might be something or someone to believe in that transcends death would see it as a lotto, per se, of happening to be in the right time and place to acknowledge the 'correct' belief, and that only hypocritically. You can't read the book of Jude or other scriptures and see any value in that.
     
  20. Aaron

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    Pascal's wager is flawed. As Paul said, we of all men are most miserable if this is the only life. One has much to lose if he "chooses" to believe and finds that there really is no God.

    My approach is to show folks that they really do believe the Scriptures in how they desire to be treated by others. No parent wants to be disobeyed, no one wants to be lied to or about, no one wants to be stolen from or betrayed or to meet with a violent end. In short, everyone wants to be loved. In the manner in which one desires to be treated by others, he affirms God's law.
     

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