Consequences Must Outweigh Possibilities

Many years ago, I was made familiar with Pascal’s Wager. Derived by 17th century philosopher, mathematician and physicist, Blaise Pascal, the “wager” helps us determine how we should live our lives based upon the information we have in front of us. Pascal developed this because he believed that many “reasonable” people may have difficulty truly believing in God.

Since the existence of God can neither be proved or disproved by reason, posited Pascal, he developed the now-famous wager. There are 2 ways that one can live his/her life:

  • either God exists or He does not.
  1. If one chooses to believe – and live – as if God does exist, there are two outcomes – Infinite gain in Heaven, or insignificant loss of hedonistic pleasures in this life.
  2. If one chooses to believe – and live – as if God does not exist, there are two outcomes – Infinite loss in Hell or and insignificant gain in the hedonistic pleasure of this life.

SImply put, “if you bet God is, you live a moral life at the puny cost of giving up a few temptations. But that’s all you lose. If you bet God is not and give in to all your temptations, you’re forever damned. Consequences, Pascal concluded, must outweigh possibilities.” (John Bogle, founder The Vanguard Group)

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