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The Wager : It is more rational to believe in God than not to believe

The Wager : It is more rational to believe in God than not to believe

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The Wager : It is more rational to believe in God than not to believe

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  1. Fideism The Wager: It is more rational to believe in God than not to believe • If God exists and you believe: infinite reward. If God exists Blaise Pascal (1623-62) and you don’t believe: infinite loss If God does not exist and you believe: finite loss; if you do not believe, finite gain 3) Since the 50-50 possibility of getting an infinite reward greatly outweighs any actual finite reward, it is rational to believe in God

  2. William James: Will to Believe (1842-1910) • Belief in God does not and should not depend on dispassionate reason (or even “the odds”); instead it must depend on the practical difference it makes in our life • We are justified in believing on insufficient evidence when options are genuine (live, forced, momentous). If we don’t risk being wrong, we lose any chance of being right

  3. Knowing God Without Arguments • Alvin Plantinga: Belief in God is a foundational belief on which other beliefs are based (b. 1932) Objection: so-called “foundational” beliefs seem to vary from group to group Jay Van Hook (b. 1939)

  4. Volitional Arguments for Belief:Søren Kierkegaard (1813-55)(Religious Existentialism) • Religious beliefs are not bits of knowledge; they are acts of unconditioned faith • Authentic existence is not simply doing what feels right based on teachings of the church or society (the “aesthetic” life) or following the dictates of reason (the “moral” life), but acting without justification (the “religious” life)

  5. Abraham: The Knight of Faith • The religious person acts “by virtue of the absurd,” without justification • The religious life is based on a “leap of faith” that is not guaranteed or comforted by any knowledge of what God wants of us • Existence is personal: we care about our lives; we should not describe our lives in terms of objective facts but in terms of subjective, non-universalizable truths