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Abigail Torres BSAT-4A

Application of Blaise Pascals Wager to Superstitious Beliefs


Almost everything around us can be decrypt by science, from the largest star in the
universe to the smallest organisms in the earth. And because of this, we thought everything has
been discovered. But theres still one thing that science or even all the smartest scientists in the
world that are put together in a room cannot unlock its mystery and that is God and his existence.
In the past, because of this mysterious and unexplained Being, a lot of scholars,
theologians, philosophers, and all other experts in different fields have tried to figure it out and
find answers, evidences and proofs about it. A lot of studies, beliefs, arguments, theories and
debates had been conducted and created by them. Although some of the studies have
commonalities, in the end they were very different from each other. An example is the claims
between the Theologians and Scientists about religion. The Theologians claimed that religion is
not a creation of the human spirit but it is a gift of the divine Spirit. While the Scientists claimed
that religion is just a special stage of human development. Though both have different view and
claims, both define religion as man's relation to divine beings.
Up until now, readers, teachers and even students like me are still reading and using these
theories and arguments to fully understand religion and God. And among those arguments and
theories Ive learned in my philosophy class, I think that Blaise Pascals Wager or the Pragmatic
Argument is what struck or interest me the most because this argument does not need a lot of
thinking. In other words, it is simple and easy to comprehend because we can easily relate it to
other things and to our own experiences. This argument is also about being practical. By being
practical means that we choose to relate things in reality rather than on ideas and desires. Since

life is full of decisions, from deciding the course to take up to choosing the company to apply,
most of us decide on things because of its practicality. In general, we choose to believe on things
that work rather than true belief because they just make our life easier. But first let us understand
Pascals and the pragmatists point in this argument.
What is Blaise Pascals wager? Unlike the other arguments, Pascals wager is not about
the proof or the evidences of Gods existence or if God is actually real. But rather in this
argument, he explained the practical benefits and consequences if we believe in God. Because of
this reasoning, we can understand why it is called Pascals wager and it is because its a bet
of Gods existence. When we hear the word bet, the thing that comes to our mind is gambling. In
gambling nobody wanted to lose, therefore the best decision is to invest their money and chips
into something that gives the highest or biggest gain. This gambling mindset or theory is the
same as Pascals wager. To further analyze the argument, Pascals thinking or his logic about
Gods existence are the following:
1. If you believe in God and God does exist, you will get an infinite reward and you will
have an eternal life in heaven.
2. If you do not believe in God and God does exist, you will have an infinite loss and
condemned to remain in hell forever.
3. If you believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded and you will
only have a finite loss.
4. If you do not believe in God and God does not exist, you will not be rewarded, but
just a finite gain because you have lived your own life according to what you want.
According to Pascal, among the four, the smart decision is to believe that God exists.
Though there are things we should give up if we believe in God such as pleasure, luxury and
others but these are only finite or limited losses. Whats more important are the infinite rewards

we would receive if we believe in Him. Pascals point is that even though we may not have
complete information and evidences, what we should do is to believe on things that gives us
greatest benefit.
There are no ideas and theories in the world that has no criticisms. And like any other
arguments, Pascal wager also received a lot of comments and criticisms. Common criticism in
this argument is that what if we choose to believe in God and therefore we abstain things that we
wanted to do such as partying all night instead of going to church or gossiping our neighbours or
others instead of being kind and good to them because these are against the commandments of
God but in the end God doesnt exist. Because of this we missed out things that make us happy
and enjoy our life. But for Pascal he argued that by being a believer of God it gives us great
personal benefits. According to him, people who believe in God has better lives not because of
the rewards they would receive but because they would live their life positively, that for them
their life is meaningful, that there is someone looking out for them, that the world is really the
most beautiful thing created by God and that there is life after death.
However, does betting about God means we can be rewarded in heaven? Doesnt God
want us to believe in Him because we believe in Him and not because we just bet on His
existence? For Pascal, reasons why and how we believe in God dont really matter. Because God
doesnt care how He gets you as long as He gets you.
In here, we can now see how practical Pascals wager is. Its all about believing or
choosing on something because of the benefits we would receive afterwards. There are a lot of
things and situations we can relate Pascals wager. For example, you are suffering from a serious
illness that hasnt been cured after long sessions of treatment and your doctor gave you a

medicine that might or might not cure you. Of course the reasonable thing to do is to take the
medicine because it might have a chance that it would heal you but if the medicine doesnt cure
you then nothing will happen.
To relate it to our society, Pascals wager is like believing on Superstitious beliefs.
Although superstitions contradict science because something causes something to happen
without any natural process or reason, people still follow and believe these. An example is the
belief during the eve of the first day of the year or New Year where in order to be lucky on
money one should wear anything with polka dots on it because it may bring money to them
because polka dots look like coins. Although there is no scientific basis on it but people still
practice it because of the slightest chance to be lucky on money. Base on superstitions we can
now understand Pascals point; we believe on something because of the great benefits it would
give to us. We may think that believing in superstitions is absurd and just a waste of time but
believing on it makes us cautious to our surrounding and to our actions and believing
superstitions are harmless.
In conclusion, Pascals wager is very relevant in our life and not just about Gods
existence. Although it may not prove God existence but it can help us to become a believer of
God but in a different way. So for people who wanted to apply Pascals argument, his solution is
to brainwash yourself in believing in God so that later in will become an honest conviction.