The first key passage of Pascal’s Wager:
“God is, or He is not.” But to which side shall we incline? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separated us. A game is being played at the extremity of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up… Which will you choose then? Let us see. Since you must choose, let us see which interests you least. You have two things to lose, the true and the good; and two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose… But your happiness? Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is… If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing. Wager, then, without hesitation that He is.”
When it comes to using Pascal’s Wager as a valid argument, there are many much more weaknesses than strengths when viewed in a rational and mathematical view. There have been such men who have studied the rationale and basis of Pascal’s Wager using equations: Mackie 1982, Rescher 1985, Mougin and Sober 1994, etc and have considered the Wager valid. However, there are also some who have considered it to be invalid because it is simply comparing it to a toin coss and as such, a decision matrix that looks like this:
||God does not exist
|Wager for God
|Wager against God
However, even I would like to ignore this decision matrix, and instead not to solely conform this Wager to the limitations of math and predetermined cases of rationality. I would structure this argument into more of “if you believe, you will win, if you don’t, you will not win” instead of “if you believe, you will win, if you don’t, you will lose”. In essence, Pascal’s Wager is validated through mathematical and scientific reasoning because its nature is written to appease to the scientific and mathematical community, and those like him.
Suppose that for it to be explained by a mere high school student like me, the strong points I would offer to refute its weaknesses would be towards, attractiveness and simply “what have you got to lose?” There is no reason to put someone as intangible as God into an equation, and though many may argue of the uncertainty factor of Pascal’s Wager, well in reality, obviously nothing is certain; therefore one should place their faith in the best outcome. I know it might not sound religious putting this in the context of reaping what you sow, but it is understood best by most when put into this kind of context.
When you think about it, without adding human sciences but placing it into the dimension of our lives. Going to mass, praying to God, believing in Him, etc, and you go to Heaven when you die? Isn’t that the best possible odds that you can have? Having all that sense of security that when in your life ends, you can go to Heaven forever. If there is no God in the universe (and I know there is), then you would have only devoted such a small effort for something that has a positive addition to your life. There is no harm in believing in God, truly there is. And if atheists prefer their sense of logic, then by means of opportunity cost and risk, then they are picking the wrong choice.