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An Analysis of Wagering on God


            An Analysis of Wagering On God by Blaise Pascal.
             Wagering On God is a persuasive essay written by Blaise Pascal in the 17th century. Pascal describes God as being "incomprehensible" and having "no affinity to us" because we are unqualified to answer either what He is or if He is. Pascal states that non-Christians should not blame Christians for not backing up their religious beliefs with facts, because they "profess a religion for which they cannot give a reason". Pascal then goes on to say that we must wager and it is not a choice for one to make. A person must decide if God does truly exist. The essay then turns to Pascal's mathematician background in which he brings a game into play that is constantly recurring. This "game", in brief, is one in which two equally skilled players decide to leave the table before the a game is finished and must divvy up the score and points. The points are allocated in such a way that the players would infinitely tie, for each would score the equal amount of points infinitely. Pascal returns to his question of if there is a God and whether we should wager for or against it. It is here where the thesis is revealed; "But there is here an infinity of an infinitely happy life to gain, a chance of gain against a finite number of chances of loss, and what you stake is finite." In the conclusion, the writer tells us, "when one is forced to play, one must renounce reason to preserve his life, rather than risk it for infinite gain, as likely to happen as the loss of nothingness.".
             The thesis is perhaps confusing to the person who only reads that sentence. Upon extensive examination of the essay, the thesis is explained and true. Pascal eludes to the fact earlier in the essay that if you decide to wager that God does exist you will: (1) be right and have eternal life or (2) be wrong and lose nothing. If you decide to wager against the existence of God you will: (1) be right and gain nothing except rightness or (2) be wrong and lose the possibility of perpetual happiness.


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