Wednesday, March 2, 2011

FacePalm of the Day #62 - Debunking Christianity: A New and Better Pascal's Wager: If God Asked You to Wager Before Being Born What Would You Choose?

John Loftus prompted another facepalm by posting the following quote:

Why didn't we get a choice in whether or not we would be born on earth? Wouldn't the reasonably good thing to do is to create us and then ask us if we would want to be born knowing the risks involved? God could have presented us with an informed choice to either be born or to be put out of existence forever, with heaven up for grabs if we wanted to take the risk. God would accurately inform us what the probabilities are to gain heaven should we be sent to earth as a babies somewhere. And we would know the probabilities that we might not be raised in the right Christian family and might therefore be sent to hell because of it. We would be fully informed persons about the risks involved. After all, this would be our lives! We're sentient conscious moral beings. Why wouldn't God give us a choice in the matter? It's unethical for him not to do so. It would be a Pascal's Wager in heaven before being created on earth. If I were given that choice I would simply say "No, count me out! Put me out of existence now." That would be the reasonable thing to do if I became informed about the odds. Only a fool would choose otherwise. And yet here I am without my choice who apparently will be condemned to hell.

John Loftus is forgetting the scripture he claims to know. He seems to think that God capriciously puts people in situations where they could possibly end up in hell. This is exactly opposite from what the Bible says.

22 Paul then stood up in the meeting of the Areopagus and said: “People of Athens! I see that in every way you are very religious. 23 For as I walked around and looked carefully at your objects of worship, I even found an altar with this inscription: TO AN UNKNOWN GOD. So you are ignorant of the very thing you worship—and this is what I am going to proclaim to you.

24 “The God who made the world and everything in it is the Lord of heaven and earth and does not live in temples built by human hands. 25 And he is not served by human hands, as if he needed anything. Rather, he himself gives everyone life and breath and everything else. 26 From one man he made all the nations, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he marked out their appointed times in history and the boundaries of their lands. 27 God did this so that they would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from any one of us. 28 ‘For in him we live and move and have our being.’[b] As some of your own poets have said, ‘We are his offspring.’[c]

29 “Therefore since we are God’s offspring, we should not think that the divine being is like gold or silver or stone—an image made by human design and skill. 30 In the past God overlooked such ignorance, but now he commands all people everywhere to repent. 31 For he has set a day when he will judge the world with justice by the man he has appointed. He has given proof of this to everyone by raising him from the dead.” - Acts 17:22-31

God tells us that he has placed us all in the circumstances where we can best find him, but does not promise that we will all find him. This explains how people who are not raised in Christian families can still find Jesus. I also always amazed by the attitude that says that we have opinions and rights that God should respect. Why? He made us. He is control. We don't know nearly as much as he does. Why should he listen to anything we have to say? We don't even know what we need or even how to pray. Compared to him we are not equals but more like unconscious clay. And he is the potter.

14 What then shall we say? Is God unjust? Not at all! 15 For he says to Moses,

“I will have mercy on whom I have mercy,
and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.”[f]

16 It does not, therefore, depend on human desire or effort, but on God’s mercy. 17 For Scripture says to Pharaoh: “I raised you up for this very purpose, that I might display my power in you and that my name might be proclaimed in all the earth.”[g] 18 Therefore God has mercy on whom he wants to have mercy, and he hardens whom he wants to harden.

19 One of you will say to me: “Then why does God still blame us? For who is able to resist his will?” 20 But who are you, a human being, to talk back to God? “Shall what is formed say to the one who formed it, ‘Why did you make me like this?’” 21 Does not the potter have the right to make out of the same lump of clay some pottery for special purposes and some for common use?

22 What if God, although choosing to show his wrath and make his power known, bore with great patience the objects of his wrath—prepared for destruction? 23 What if he did this to make the riches of his glory known to the objects of his mercy, whom he prepared in advance for glory— 24 even us, whom he also called, not only from the Jews but also from the Gentiles? - Romans 9:14-24

Debunking Christianity: A New and Better Pascal's Wager: If God Asked You to Wager Before Being Born What Would You Choose?
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