In the past when presented with Pascal's Wager, I've given this argument: Why would somebody consciously "choose" to believe in a God "just in case"? If God is real, wouldn't he see through such a hypocritical belief?
Most people I've talked to -- Christian and atheist and everything in between -- like this response. But today in conversation with a Christian friend of mine, I thought of the following. Here's my new response to Pascal's Wager:
It's a moot point. I live my life as best as I can, donating to charity and helping people simply because I want to, because it's important to help people. Since I don't believe in an eternal reward or eternal punishment, I'm doing these good deeds from my heart, NOT out of some warped desire to impress a deity to earn everlasting salvation. The goodness is in my heart.
In the Bible, Jesus even said that it's important that we have goodness in our heart, that we don't behave hypocritically. (It's late, and tomorrow I can find some exact verses.) So if I'm living a life of goodness from my heart, just as Jesus taught us, then I have nothing to worry about. I don't believe in the Christian God, nor do I believe in Jesus. But in the highly unlikely event that after I die I suddenly wake up and find myself sitting before Jesus for some kind of judgment, then I'm not worried at all. I was a good person and had goodness in my heart.
That's my new response to Pascal's Wager. I don't believe in God, and I'm not worried, because if there is a God, he'll see the good person that I am. (Incidentally, does that mean I'm leaving open the possibility that there's a God? Nope. I don't believe one bit in the Christian God. He's not real. But at least I don't sit around dreading it either way.)
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