Springingtiger's Blog


Of Faith and Pascal’s Wager
June 3, 2013, 23:32
Filed under: asperger's syndrome, autism, Parenting | Tags: , , , ,

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In a recent conversation a friend reminded me of Pascal’s Wager, which says, basically, that as it is impossible to either prove or disprove the existence of God, the rational person should believe in God just to be on the safe side. That may be true, however a rational belief requires a rational theology in which to believe.
For a belief to be reasonable it must be possible and, preferably, probable. Is there a creative force greater than our comprehension? Probably. Did Jesus exist? Probably, teachings are ascribed to him, thus he has as much historical evidence as Lao Tzu or Krishna. Was Jesus’ mother virgo intacta? Biologically impossible, to believe it would be irrational. Was Jesus crucified? Probably, many were. Did he rise from the dead? Certainly not from any state twentieth century medicine would recognise as death. Dead for three days? Obviously impossible. Did Jesus’ death wash away the sins of the world? Patently ridiculous and potentially dangerous as it removes from people the responsibility for their own actions. Of course there are many religions and just because some of the teachings of one are untrue does not mean it is entirely without value, neither does it invalidate all religions. However as far as I can tell most, if not all, religions have some irrational beliefs, this does not necessarily render belief in God irrational, but it does call into question the validity of religion and authority.
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What led to this discussion was my poem “Into My Life” inspired by an earlier conversation and childhood memories, in which I complained of the lies told to children. It is true that the existence of God cannot be disproved and so is not a lie. However it only requires one untruth to render any authority suspect and make it necessary for a rational person to test each of their assertions. This can provide in itself a degree of paradox, I use several homeopathic remedies, not because I believe in the assertions of homeopaths (duh), but because they work for whatever reason. There are many spiritual practices that have demonstrable effects, music  meditation, fasting etc. it is rational to pursue them, but not necessarily to accept the religious explanation of them. If something works use it, but you don’t need to take on board all the rubbish that goes with it, that would be like saying, “meditation works so we should practice suttee and caste discrimination”. The rational approach to belief is to subject everything to reason, to embrace that which works and is demonstrably true, keep an open mind for what can neither be proved not disproved, and reject what is false. What is not reasonable, is probably wrong. Just because it is rational to believe in God, does not make it rational to follow a religion and still less to accept the teachings of the men (usually men) who run it and, frequently profit, from it.

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