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All Bets Are On God!

Pascal’s Wager

By Vinnie MacIsaac


French philosopher, mathematician, and physicist Blaise Pascal presented to the world philosophical simplistic mathematical bases for the acting on the belief of God.  His reason goes like this:

Pascal’s wager is a simplistic way to boil down the soundness of mind rooted in faith.

1. “God is, or He is not”
2. A Game is being played… where heads or tails will turn up.
3. According to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions.
4. You must wager. (It’s not optional.)
5. Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
6. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (…) There is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.

The cross tracks of faith is reason. 

The Christian faith is not an unthinking faith, or a faith based solely on emotion or superstition as some would wrongfully charge. Blaise Pascal, who was one of the most brilliant minds not only of his time but all time, reminds us we do not have to divorce reason and belief. This is a man who was a groundbreaking French mathematician, physicist, inventor, writer, philosopher and serious defender of the scientific method. We are talking about a man who literally invented the concept of the mechanical calculator; and so it has been rightly reasoned that we may see him as the great, great, great, grandfather to the microprocessor. Simply put, the man was no dummy, nor a slave to childish fantasies about some grand deity in the sky. He was a brilliant academic and logistician who contributed more to scientific advancement then most can and will ever be able to claim.

 And what did all that brilliance do for him? It made it clear, the most logical and safe assumption is in the assumption of the existence of God and the soundness of embracing the Christian faith. Pascal is a little to clinical for me at times but what he does is take away all the nonsensical arguments that faith and reason must be at odds. Pascal’s Wager may not be where you want your faith to ultimately work from but it is a radically logical jumping on place.

His unfinished work Pensées (“Thoughts”) Apologie de la religion Chrétienne (“Defense of the Christian Religion”) remains to this day to baffle his most contentious critics of the sound thinking of his faith. And it is out of this unfinished innovation he comes to the conclusion of Pascal’s Wager. Perhaps, it is those of faith, who do not shut their brains off and do not deny their faith who are actually completing Pascal’s Pensée.



Related Articles:

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Simply Faith–not Simple Faith


Answering The Angry Atheist



  1. Canuck Carl says:

    Love it when a man with a brilliant mind such as Pascal puts his faith and trust in God. Well researched and presented article!

  2. Hey Vinnie, nice post! Here was my thoughts on Pascal’s wager a few years ago. I think it develops some of yours a little more.

  3. Thanks Vinnie! But I haven’t been writing many posts in the past few years as you will see.

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