What if you’re wrong? Isn’t it safer to believe in a god because if He is real, and you don’t believe in Him, then you’ll lose out?
In the 16th century, the French philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal posed a suggestion that the existence of God could not be determined through reason, so a rational person should wager as though God exists, because one living life accordingly has everything to gain, whilst one who doesn’t, has a lot to lose if God truly exists. This ‘wager’ is more commonly known as Pascal’s Wager. It is however, flawed in many ways and is a false dichotomy.
First thing I would ask you is ‘which God?’. Civilizations have believed in thousands of gods throughout human history, so first, you’ll have to pick the God to believe in. If you are a Muslim, Allah is just as real to you as Wotan was to the Vikings, or Zeus was to the Greeks, or the God Brahma, who has been believed in far longer than the Abrahamic God of the Muslims, Christians and Jews, is to the Hindus even to this day. Pascal’s Wager ignores all other possible religions. It ignores all other heavens and all other hells. It makes the claim that believe and worshipping costs you nothing. This is wrong. Time and money spent in deference to a God is wasted.
Secondly, it makes a complete mockery of your God’s intelligence by claiming that your God can be fooled into believing you have belief in Him. A rational individual can not come to make itself believe in something without evidence, but a brainwashed person quite easily will.
If God can be defined as omnibenevolence, all loving and caring, and omniscience, all-knowing, He would know me better than I know myself. He would know me better than any person knows me. He will know everything about me, including the turning point in my life when I lost belief in Him. He will be aware of all my experiences that led me to the conclusion that such a being as God can not exist. God will understand my reasoning, my thought process and how I came to the conclusions that I did.
Bertrand Russell once said if he had to present himself in front of God, he would say “God, you didn’t provide us with enough evidence”. I would go one step further and ask God that if He provided me with this critical mind, one that listened to reasoning, and questioned superstitious beliefs, why then punish me for something when I did exactly that?
If I did found myself standing in front of God, say specifically Allah, my immediate reaction would be of complete shock to find that such a being exists. I would want to know how my reasoning was wrong. I would really want to know that. I would beg for Him to explain to me where did I go wrong. If God truly is omniscience, He will know that I took truth very seriously. He will know that my disbelief was an involuntary reaction to what I perceived a deficit of evidence for God’s existence.
If God truly is omnibenevolent, then I can sooth myself with the knowledge that such a loving and caring God, would not see it fair to punish me for simply using the critical faculties that He provided me with. If God thinks I still deserve to go to hell, then He isn’t omnibenevolent and isn’t merciful, and He isn’t worthy of worship. In which case, I can reverse the question to you; what if you’re wrong about the God you worship?