Tonight for the discussions we’re bringing back three of our guest from last season to dig in deeper to the divine question. Is there a God and is Atheism really as rational as some believe? From this discussion; what are the ramifications to evolution and the nature of man? These and more tonight at 8p Central. You can watch the live show here or send in questions during the broadcast if you’re connected to our “Sunday Night Discussions” page on Google + or Face Book. So grab a friend, some coffee, and come ready to discuss.
Is There Anybody Out There?
by steve | Feb 16, 2014 | Sunday Night Discussions | 4 comments
Lonnie, I hope we were able to answer your question adequately enough on the show. Also, I believe Dow left a good follow-up.
Chase; thanks for stopping by the neighborhood and the input. You are right on with referencing Pascal as he was a very deep and rational thinker. It would seem that much of this and other debates simply come down to the will of the person rather than the rationality of the mind.
Great discussion. Great points and very interesting.
Your comments about logic and rationality got me thinking about a book the I read years ago called Against the Gods (not what you might think, it is actually a history of financial risk management), by Peter L. Bernstein. One of the great points in the book on page 69-70 is from the famous mathematician Pascal who in my opinion makes the ultimate logical argument.
“Pascal explained that belief in God is not a decision. You cannot awaken one morning and declare, ‘Today I think I will decide to believe in God.’ You believe or you do not believe. The decision, therefore, is whether to choose to act in a manor that will lead to believing in God, like living with pious people and following a life of ‘holy water and sacraments.’ The person who follows these precepts is wagering that God is. The person who cannot be bothered with that kind of thing is wagering that God is not.”
“The only way to choose between a bet that God exists and a bet that there is no God Dow that infinite distance of Pascal’s coin-tossing game is to decide whether an outcome in which God exists is preferable – more valuable in some sense – than an outcome in which God does not exist, even though the probability may only be 50-50. This insight is what conducts Pascal down the path to a decision – a choice in which the value of the outcome and the likelihood that it may occur will differ because the consequences of the two outcomes are different.”
“If God is not, whether you lead your life piously or sinfully is immaterial. But suppose God is. Then if you bet against the existence of God by refusing to live a life of piety and sacraments you run the risk of eternal damnation; the winner of the bet that God exists has the possibility of salvation. As salvation is preferable to damnation, the correct decision is to act on the basis that God is.”
I think of this as the door stop argument. As your discussion explored, it is not possible to definitively prove the existence, or non-existance, of God. At some level it is a matter of faith. However, for those who insist on a logical or rational basis, this argument makes it very difficult to close the door on God. Any rational person is forced to at least leave the door open a crack.
Of course., using this thinking you could theorize that someone who chooses to bet against the existence of God, despite it clearly being the lessor of the two bets is like someone who forgoes funding their retirement (planning for the long-term) so they can spend as they please in the short-term. You may enjoy the additional freedom in the short-term but it may lead to suffering in the long-run. But doing what you know you are supposed to do deep down now may lead to happiness in the long-term.
Keep up the good work.
Great to be watching again. One comment in response to the above comment and the panelists response. “There is no material way to prove if there is life after death.” There is one way, if you were to go to life after death and come back to tell others about it that would be eye witness evidence, and you would have experienced material evidence. The resurrection of Jesus makes him the only authority on the subject.
I just wonder if there life after death?