Re: virus: Faith vs Relig

Eric Boyd (
Tue, 23 Mar 1999 15:40:35 -0500


Snow Leopard <> writes: <<
I guess when I say Ďreligiousí, I mean those who put whatever faith they have in their priest, the name of their church, or the traditions, rather than the God those things are supposed to point to.

We come from profoundly different view points. When I say religious, I mean people who have spent the time to look into issues, spent the time to look into themselves -- those rare people who are in control of their own divinity. They are the phaithful, to use the new term.

When I say "faithful", I mean those who ignore themselves and trust somebody else to make their decisions for them -- be it the priest, the church, the traditions, the bible, or whatever they think their God to be.

The reason I come from this angle is that there are *many* religions, and members of them all have the potential to *be religious*; not with-standing the fact that some religions lack gods, and faith.

The bare definition of the Christian faith is ďJesus Christ, the perfect Son of God is the only thing that can save us from our own wrongdoings. All you have to do is let him live through you, accepting him as Lord and Savior.Ē

Well, you've summed up what *Paul* said Christianity was. Now do you care to find out what *Jesus* said it was? Or *James*?

Or how about -- horror of horrors -- what *you* personally have found of value in Christianity?

Personally, I donít understand what there is to lose. I remember learning to ride my bike, I couldnít keep the confidence to keep looking ahead unless my fatherís hand was on the seat, holding me up. Even if the hand wasnít there, itís the confdence that counts. So, if there is no God, then I have a confidence that makes me comfortable. At what cost? If there is no God, then I am acting well, but thereís no one to answer to, if God is all in my mind, than a projection of a God-concept, coming from me encourages me to live right, and itís just my conscious.

On the other hand, if there is a God, the one that I believe there is, then heís happy with me, at least to some degree. And, to be brutally honest, Iíd rather have more than I need, than need more than I have.

This argument is known as Pascal's Wager, after Blase Pascal, who first made it. There are many refutations available, but consider this:

Calvin: Well. I've decided I do believe in Santa Claus, no matter how preposterous he sounds.
Hobbes: What convinced you?
Calvin: A simple risk analysis. I want presents. Lots of presents. Why risk not getting them over a matter of belief? Heck, I'll believe anything they want.
Hobbes: How cynically enterprising of you. Calvin: It's the spirit of Christmas.

Pascal's Wager, although at first convincing, has some serious flaws, not the least of which is that it assumes one can *choose* to believe whatever one wants to. Next on the list is that Pascal's wager does not consider the fact that perhaps choosing to believe in the *wrong* God could have infinite negative consequences, balancing off the infinite positive consequences of belief in the correct god.

"Suppose we've chosen the wrong god. Every time we go to church we're just making him madder and madder"