123abc123

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"Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« on: November 13, 2018, 01:51:13 am »
The title is why people convert to Christianity. Your thoughts?

I think this is why Pascal's Wager exists.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pascal%27s_Wager

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ArtD

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #1 on: November 14, 2018, 06:53:58 am »
Now, if you only pick the right Christian sect (Baptists says Catholics aren't saved, Catholics say Baptists aren't),
and if Islam isn't right in saying that anyone who believes God begat a child goes to hell,
and if Jews aren't right in saying Jesus isn't their messiah,
and if Buddhists don't have the one true religion,
and if Hindus don't have the one true religion,
and if the Bible isn't mostly fairy tales,
and if several other things I won't bother to mention . . .

then I suppose you're right.
ScienceAsNaturalTheology.org

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Lawlessone777

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #2 on: November 14, 2018, 07:20:37 am »
To play devil's advocate, art, even if we believed in denominationalism it would still follow that the Christian has a percentile chance of a good afterlife. The atheist has a zero percent chance of a happy afterlife
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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kurros

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #3 on: November 14, 2018, 07:33:13 am »
To play devil's advocate, art, even if we believed in denominationalism it would still follow that the Christian has a percentile chance of a good afterlife. The atheist has a zero percent chance of a happy afterlife

Unless God thinks believing based on faith is silly and likes atheists. Or there is no God but there is still an afterlife and it works some totally different way. Maybe when we die we just take off our VR headsets and wake up in the future where they have been running an ancient Earth simulation for fun.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 07:34:58 am by kurros »

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Lawlessone777

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2018, 08:06:03 am »
Well there are two presuppositions I lean on when dealing with Pascal's Wager. One is that if a God existed which required a certain soteriological commitment to gain entry to the "good place" then it would follow their soteriological would logically be one of the major world religions, else they would be rather inpotent as a deity.

The second is that even if we were in some sort of VR world it would still follow that picking a particular religion would be the best option given you would take off your VR headset regardless of what choices you made in life. So it would still follow that Christianity was a safer bet.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 08:45:30 am by Lawlessone777 »
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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Relativist

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #5 on: November 14, 2018, 09:01:11 am »
The problem with Pascal's wager is that beliefs are not formed in this way. It's like holding a gun to someone's head and demanding they believe something.

On the other hand, it does relate to the tenacitity of irrational belief in God;  there's a disincentive to give serious consideration to the non-existence of a god.

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Lawlessone777

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #6 on: November 14, 2018, 09:10:42 am »
The problem with Pascal's wager is that beliefs are not formed in this way. It's like holding a gun to someone's head and demanding they believe something.

On the other hand, it does relate to the tenacitity of irrational belief in God;  there's a disincentive to give serious consideration to the non-existence of a god.

I've never considered belief in God based upon the fear of Hell to be particularly irrational. If someone told me to be careful of a certain section of my household because the floor may break and I may be swallowed alive I would likely avoid that area just to be safe. I don't see this as being irrational, quite the opposite I'd rather avoid eternal damnation if at all possible.

I fail to see how that's a bad thing?
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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Relativist

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #7 on: November 14, 2018, 09:16:36 am »
Sure- and just to be safe, you should avoid stepping on cracks, because it just might result in your mother having an orthopedic emergency.

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Lawlessone777

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #8 on: November 14, 2018, 09:47:53 am »
Funny enough my son does that, but you don't seek to be disputing my point. If I operate under the assumption that if God did exist and had a soteriological it follows it would be a major world religion, it follows that the most pragmatic choice would be to go for what I felt was the best major world religion that had a particularist soteriology.

Hoping for universalism doesn't work given you'd be saved regardless of whether you were a Christian, or atheist. So it's still smarter to be Christian.
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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Soren

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #9 on: November 14, 2018, 10:15:31 am »
Funny enough my son does that, but you don't seek to be disputing my point. If I operate under the assumption that if God did exist and had a soteriological it follows it would be a major world religion, it follows that the most pragmatic choice would be to go for what I felt was the best major world religion that had a particularist soteriology.

Hoping for universalism doesn't work given you'd be saved regardless of whether you were a Christian, or atheist. So it's still smarter to be Christian.
Except one could easily imagine a God for whom the only unforgivable sin (or perhaps one of the few) would be believing that good people were going to hell for beliefs or unbeliefs formed in good faith, in which case the one thing you could do to miss out on the afterlife would be to join a particularist religion.

Separately, I think Relativist's point is that it is impossible to believe something you don't believe just on the basis of wanting to. In fairness, I think Pascal himself was aware of this -- I've always thought Pascal's wager as envisioned by Pascal was a sort of "fake it till you make it" thing, where you would practice Christianity as if you believed until you, hopefully, actually came to believe. But I have read very little on this, so take what I say with a large grain of salt -- I could be completely wrong.

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Relativist

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #10 on: November 14, 2018, 10:19:30 am »
I absolutely agree that it can make more sense for a Christian to tenaciously rationalize his belief rather than seek to objectively explore the truth. Obviously, that doesn't work for all of us.   

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Lawlessone777

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #11 on: November 14, 2018, 10:39:02 am »
The issue I take with imagining scenarios where God only accepts atheists is as I laid out before; if there was a God who held a particular soteriological requirement for salvation it would make no sense for that God to write a whole bunch of rules and then never tell anyone they existed, but then punish them for not following them.

So whenever we see, "Well maybe there's a God who accepts atheists," I can reject that on the basis that if such a God existed we ought to expect a major world religion to preach such a message, which we don't

As for faking it till you make it I do recall Pascal acknowledging that flaw in his theory. To my mind, however, adherence to the law for the sake of adherence to the law is likely not something that God would reject as valid. If you tried your best to follow the rules, even if your reason for doing so was avoiding hell, I don't see him deciding that even though you followed all the rules you should still go to hell because you didn't follow them for the right reasons.
« Last Edit: November 14, 2018, 10:40:52 am by Lawlessone777 »
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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Paterfamilia

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #12 on: November 14, 2018, 10:44:43 am »
All of these are afterthoughts, and basically irrelevant.

The path to belief is response to the prompting of God’s spirit, which takes many forms.

“Objective exploration of the truth” as you call it won’t get you there.

"First I knocked them out of a tree with a rock.  Then I saved them."

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Lawlessone777

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #13 on: November 14, 2018, 11:21:30 am »
I actually would disagree, Pater. While I acknowledge the existence of the calling of God's spirit (I felt it myself when I was young) if someone were to find a treasure by being called, and another found it by searching with a magnifying glass, I don't see God disregarding one simply because they didn't arrive at the conclusion from a certain path.
God willed both to reveal himself to man, and to give him the grace of being able to welcome this revelation in faith.(so) the proofs of God's existence, however, can predispose one to faith and help one to see that faith is not opposed to reason.

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Paterfamilia

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Re: "Christians" have nothing to lose and everything to gain....
« Reply #14 on: November 14, 2018, 12:05:38 pm »
"No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws them, and I will raise them up at the last day.”

John 6:44
"First I knocked them out of a tree with a rock.  Then I saved them."