Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Pascal's Wager is the Stupidest Thing I've Ever Heard

Pascal said that it was best to believe in God, because if you were wrong you'd have nothing to lose, but if you were right you'd win an eternity in heaven.

If you were wrong you'd have nothing to lose???

How about 500 Sunday mornings spent at church when I could have been out riding my bike, or hiking in the mountains, or home writing my blog posts for the week or, god forbid, sleeping in?

How about those thousands - thousands - of mornings I got up before dawn, before the rest of my family woke, and sat on the sofa reading my Bible and praying, and desperately trying to wrench some meaning from all of this ancient claptrap?

Nothing to lose?

I finally realized why becoming an atheist has left me so incredibly pissed off. Okay, there are a whole bunch of reasons, but this is a big one.

All that time I've wasted! I could have been going to the gym, or getting more sleep, or writing BOOKS for god's sake. I could have been taking my kids on fun outings rather than making them sit through Sunday school. I could have been reading actual, real, intelligent and entertaining books instead of forcing myself through that goddamned Bible over and over and over and over again.

Pascal was an idiot.

I'm pissed for myself, and for my family, for all the time we've lost. Now that I realize there is no afterlife, every single moment of this life is that much more precious...  and I've wasted so much of it. I'm completely heartbroken over this. I will never get those hours back.

But even bigger than this, even more than the tiny self-absorbed consideration of little old me, is the time and intelligence wasted - wasted! - throughout history. All those smart people who could have been studying science or mathematics or anything that might be actually useful... who instead spent their lives "parsing a collective delusion" (as Sam Harris said in Letter to A Christian Nation.)

So much waste!

Someday, maybe I'll come back around and find some good in all that time I spent studying the Bible, all that time I spent praying.



But I'm a long way from that. Right now I'm pissed. Not to mention, I'm pretty flabbergasted that someone really smart like Pascal could have come up with something so obviously stupid that even I - not the sharpest tool in the shed - have been able to see it.

Damn it. I'm pissed.


  1. My oh my, do I ever understand you. I just deconverted last summer, after 26 years of devoted Christianity. This is the things that sticks in my craw the most, I think. How much time did I spend spinning those wheels and reinforcing that self-immolating doctrine day in and day out.

    Next month would be my 26th wedding anniversary. Instead it will be my 24th. It could be worse, of course, but my wife and I spent two years suffering while the church tried at times to split us up or to remake me in their image. Actually, my wife couldn't figure out why the hell I bought in quite that deeply, but I was hooked, and we *were* in love, and I will never be able to be grateful enough no matter how long I live that she stuck it out.

    There are a lot of other - things - in that conversation. Suffice to say that we have lost much. We may have gained a few things, but nothing that couldn't have been gained outside the church. We've stopped the bleeding and can spend those Sundays the way they should be spent.

    BTW, I just found your blog today. I totally get it - I'm looking forward to reading more :)

  2. I hear and feel the anger in your words. How I ever believed in a talking snake is beyond me! I tried to ignore physics, science, biology, evolution - and of course, climate change - but gradually the evidence sunk in. I sincerely understand the feeling of wasted time. But you could have waited until you were 65 as I did . . and you didn't. You're already on your road of freedom even it is not obvious to all. And you're blogging and allowing others of us into your life and mind. So thank you.

    I must keep my newly found freedom to myself as well. It doesn't seem right, does it, that after discovering such a great gift of non-belief that you can't let everyone know it? Twisted it is. But when making a living is involved, and other people you love will be hurt from going public, you keep it inside and go looking on the Internet for others who understand.

    So hang in there. You are doing good.

  3. WELL,ALWAYS BELIEVED IN GOD AS "GREAT SPIRIT",major is christianity,love grace,and spirit,minor is buddhism,FOR I HAVE TO PRAY,AND IT DOES GET RESULTS,WE CAN INDEED CHANGE MATTER,when i was in a hospital,coumadin poisoning from "vanilla extract" from mexico,they used poison tonka beans not vanilla,THEY ARE PURE COUMADIN,ANYWAY,I LEGALLY DIED,THREE TIMES.my parents told as i was in intensive care 14days,by friend,who knew a indian medicine man shaman,eh,he would pray for me,he was priest for thousands in tribe in california,WELL,NOT A DREAM,IN INTENSIVE CARE,I WENT TO HIM,HE SUMMONED ME,I ASTRALLY TRAVELED,if you ever do this(and wanted to all my life,never could),i saw his back,smelled his incence sage,heard a unknown language,LIKE PEERING THRU BINOCULARS,SAW NOTHING ELSE!,buddhist tibetians say they can see 360degrees in their astral form,imagine,a human spirit eye!,anyway,VERY FIRST THING I HAD TO TELL PARENTS,ECT,WAS I ""WENT TO THIS MAN,THIS STRANGE PLACE,IT WAS NOT A DREAM",mom said hair stood up on back of her head,''HOW COULD I HAVE KNOWN",I MET HIM A YEAR LATER,YES,SAME LONG HAIR,BODY,HE SAID,""I THOUGHT I FELT YOU BEHIND ME"",SO TO ME,I WAS DEFINATELY PROVEN I HAVE A SOUL,AND IT CAN LEAVE THE BODY,MINE DID,AS TO GOD,JUST WORK IT OUT,HE'S A JOKER FOR SURE

  4. Christ isn't about church or religion. You complain about your life because you clearly don't know who God is. Jesus loves you whether you drag yourself to church or not. It's about a relationship with God. NOT religion. Complain all you want if that makes you feel better about yourself. I'll simply pray for you- whether you like it or not;)

  5. how i wish i was an exchristian again...i came back to faith after 4 wonderful years...i don't know how to leave again. i hate christianity and most of the things it stands for theologically, but my mind can't let go...i am trapped and i wish i never heard of it again...

  6. I will use Pascal's own words,"We arrive at truth, not by reason only, but also by the heart." You seem quite angry for wasting time reading the bible. Unfortunately you may have wasted that time by, not studying it correctly. I am only saying this because I am a nerd. I studied math and became an engineer, but before my life as an engineer I lived as an agnostic serving in the Marine Corps. Believe me, I had many reasons for thinking of such things as an afterlife in the corps. My point is I really wanted to know the truth. And the truth is the bible is pretty hard to read effectively. It's just like Newton's laws, and the theory of relativity. People can tell you about objects moving but unless you have taken the time to use bernoulli's equation, and worked the problems out, you won't really understand the beauty of Newton's laws. I can tell you about space time, but can you really understand relativity? I bought a book which explains the theory and it was pretty hard to read, though it was meant to be a layman's guide to understanding it. AND don't be one of those lazy people who say that math is beyond my head... I don't understand it so blah blah blah.... I wasn't always an engineer. I took the time to learn math and finish calculus and differential equations. I had a daughter and well into my 30's when I started learning calculus. I decided if I wanted the knowledge it would have to come slowly and painstakingly. I also took a physical anthropology, and astronomy class in college. I learned about our primates and how a star is born in space. My main point is not to impress upon you how college spoiled I am, it's to show you how much there is to learn regarding our planet and where we came from. I can assure you, even though I am good with math and follow modern science. I have yet to find any evidence proving or disproving the existence of GOD. Anyone who tries to tell you other wise is either flat out lying to you or is lost themselves. Now I have included a link of another bible nerd and his LIST of books that you need in order to learn the bible. http://www.ccburbank.org/blogs/BibleNerd/?page_id=29

    It is inspiring to say the least, once you use the tools to actually understand the words that were once translated into modern english so many years ago. Once you look up which greek or latin word was used to represent the word that you just read in english, but didn't quite get the context it was used for, then you can say i worked to understand something that is quite complex and inspirational. Now if you have read this far, I appreciate your patience, Now go back and read the first quote from pascal I included again. If you re-read it, I can only hope that you truly understand exactly what he implied. "ONLY," is a key word in that statement, because God want's your Faith. Not your trust that he is real because scientists have proven his existence. So far there is no proof for or against. This should hopefully put some doubt into your angry certainty. You seem absolutely convinced, but how can you be so sure if no one on this earth ever has any proof or evidence for or against?