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Ask the Patriarch 270
From Pointlessness to Pascal

from: Len

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Why put all this effort into this site?

Just curious, because I can't wrap my mind around any focal point you could possibly have. From what I can see, you simply focus a lot of energy to attempt to disprove other peoples thought, actions, and beliefs, but provide no real tangible, or intangible benefit to anyone, in any way. The question being, in anything that you, I, or anyone needs to ask concerning our life's work: How likely is it that people will think "wow!_____ changed (or improved) my life dramatically" ?....so, once more, I am just wondering what the reasoning is for you to put so much effort into something that is actually just pointless, and is based solely being annoyed by other people's beliefs. I apologize, but it is the very definition of pointless.

An interim reply...:

Len:

Thank you for your comments. They will be published along with a reply in the next site update - provided that I have not committed suicide before then in despair now that you have pointed out the pointlessness of it all.

John Tyrrell

Len responds:

Hey man,

I am sorry for how I came across, it was not my intent--in the written word, I tend to be very direct, because I dislike typing and get right to the point. I do apologize for my rashness.

If I may, I would like to re-try to this, so...this was my point. As I understand it, your site is Agnostic, not Atheist. Agnostic, at it's definition, is the belief that God's existence, or non-existence cannot be proven, or unproven. Which all of that dictating my belief structure for a long while in my life, so I 'get it'. I would like to make a point, and that is what Agnostic is all about (conversation, and debate), is it not? I will take my time, make my point, then ask a question near the end if you care to humor me, and entertain my debate, and question.

Can I prove God's existence? No, I cannot. I do believe that Satan's existence would be easier to witness, because we Christians believe that Christ reveals himself to us through our faith, and those without faith cannnot see, or feel his presence. And I believe that one cannot believe in Satan without believing in God, and visa-versa.

Just for fun, let's assume God exists, and therefore Satan exists. Now, as God has stated, Satan, more than anything desires to be worshiped, and at a close 2nd, detests the fact that God is worshiped. So, Satan would, obviously, create a religion that contests God's. This would be a religion (all the things that God hates) of hate against other human beings, one that was intolerant, one that embraced & rewarded violence, one that detested Judaism & Christianity. This would be a religion whose God would promise great rewards to followers who carried out intolerant and unbridled violence against Jews & Christians. This would be a religion that allowed and accepted lying, and killing. This would be a religion that would go against God's laws (Sexual immorality, lying, violence, hate, crimes against children, mistreatment of women. This religion would seize governmental power, and make it a criminal act (punishable by death) to follow God, or Christ. Can you think of a massively followed religion that meets this criteria? I am sure you can. But Satan would in NO WAY stop there, because God (fictitious, and just for fun here) loves all his children, and Satan (just assuming for fun, once more) wants to steal each and every soul from God that he can, because he already knows his fate, and the fact that he loses the war, and wants to take every extra soul with him, into the fire that he can.

So, just having that one religion that obviously HATES God would not be enough, because any child of God would easily recognize that religion as evil at its core, and would win very few of God's children. So, how could he live up to he title as 'The Great Deceiver'? Surely the first religion would keep many, many away from Judaism & Christianity, but how could he get to those who follow God? Ahhh! To have a religion that claims to follow God, but perverts that teaching, and misleads God's children!... a religion that welds political power, a religion that would kill in "God's' name (kill millions in fact), one that is misleads in it's teachings, and has the head of it's church that is nearly worshiped like God himself. One that would little, by little assume more and more of it's own identity, and make it's own rules, but does it all in the name of Christ. One that would make it acceptable to worship & pray to idols (statues, beads, metals), one that would ordain it's ministers & priests with the power to forgive sins, a power that the Bible states that ONLY Christ has. One that would make it acceptable to address it's church heads as Father (Matt. 23:9), a religion that would create and promote ideas of their own such as Purgatory, it would cause followers to be confused such as stating God himself has a mother named Mary (though in the Bible it directly states that God is the beginning and the End, in all things, and creator of all things), one that would create laws different from God's law such as forbidding church leaders to marry, or parishioners to eat certain foods (1Timothy 4:3). I really could go on and on concerning the direct blasphemy of the Catholic Church, and the evil nature of the Nation of Islam.

Hence, think about this one, there are over 7 billion people on the planet, 2.1B are Christian, 1.6 are Muslim, and 1.1 are Atheist or Agnostic, and the remaining 2.2B are of smaller followings of other religions. Now, that being all said, IF, IF God existed, and Christ was the Savior of the world, then Catholics are being deceived, and cannot enter the kingdom of heaven, and that makes up over half of the Christian population, which would add yet more credibility to this (that as of now, only about 1.05B Christians would be saved)....then Christ said (Luke 13:23-23 & 28) "Then said one unto him, Lord, are there few that be saved? And he said unto them, Strive to enter in at the strait gate; for many I say unto you, many will seek to enter in, and shall not be able... There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out"

Satan would also--having much time in the world to do so--gain massive monetary, and political power to influence the leaders of the world. If he did this, he would attempt to lead human beings to embrace ideologies that are directly against God. (i.e. Abortions, gay marriage, Liberalism--which at it's very core is against God), turn it's back on Jews and demonize them by sympathizing with their enemies, undermine all references to God (too many examples to name in recent years. And think about it, years ago every 2 of 3 athletes gave thanks to God in interviews, now it is more like 1 of 50), politicians taking Oaths of office on the Quran, trying to take God out of oaths in court, creating an environment that is lenient towards Muslim's right to pray ect, but demonizing a Christians same right (when one preaches love, and the other is violent)..... just think about it man...there is a lot on the line.

Speaking of which, I submit my question:

IF you read all the above, and you are truly Agnostic (not sure b/c there is no hard evidence), then I think that is saying that you are very logical, and logic would dictate a logical conclusion.

IF all the points I made are accurate (I assure you they are correct). That would leave you with one of a two options (let's face it, no other option makes real sense), with understood results.

1) Choose to not believe in anything more than what we can see.
If you are right, then you lived as you choose, and nothing lost.
If you are wrong, you pay an eternal & greater price than anything anyone could fathom on this planet.

2) You could follow Christianity, and your life is led by a morally sound guideline, and with that usually comes increased stability.
If you are wrong, well you will of lived with what would have to be more stability, and structure.
If you are right, you gain a greater reward than anything imaginable for eternity.

Question...so,... If you truly just don't know... would it not make substantially more sense to choose to follow Christ, then to not follow Christ once you look at the the potential results for being right/wrong on either of these options.

Anyway... best of luck to you no matter what you do in life, and after :)

JT replies further:

Len:

I am quite disappointed. I was really looking forward to addressing the issue of your perception of the pointlessness of this site. It was going to be a fun piece - something to give the regular readers of this site - that is those who don't view it as pointless - something to chuckle over.

But noooooooo... you had to walk away from that simple issue, and write at length on what turned out to be nothing more than Pascal's Wager.

But the sort of "logical" choice offered by Pascal's wager only makes sense if:

  1. Either one can actually choose to believe something, or, faking belief is somehow considered by the deity to be the same as actual belief;
    AND
  2. The choice is binary rather than a choice between thousands upon thousands of varieties of religious belief, some overlapping, some mutually exclusive.

This has all been discussed many times before at length on this apparently pointless website.

It was a year ago that Pascal's Wager was last brought up as a question, and I quickly wrote it off graphically in Ask the Patriarch 259: What if God is real?. You'll see my few words supported with a handful of links in which Pascal's wager is also discussed.

But those are only some of the times Pascal's wager is addressed. Here's a few more articles on the issue:

And still, I have not exhausted all the mentions of Pascal's Wager on this site.

I'll refer to one more recent mention of Pascal's Wager. I responded to Leeon, one of our occasional Christian correspondents who writes to threaten me with hellfire with the following:

I would not want to spend eternity in the presence of a malign entity with so little sense of what is moral that it sentences those who do not believe in it to eternal torment. Nor would I want to spend eternity with a group of people with so little moral sense that they consider this malign entity to be a perfectly good god. That indeed would be hell. I'll take my chances with the other place.

You suggested "logic would dictate a logical conclusion."  I agree. Meditation 230 ended with that logical conclusion.

In the end, Pascal's Wager points to a single simple solution - devout agnosticism.

And going back to your original thought that this site was pointless... I suggest that it is not pointless at all... not for those seeking support in their agnosticism and perhaps seeking an introduction to ideas which demolish superficial arguments such as Pascal's Wager.

But I understand that you might find it pointless. The website advocates rejecting blind adherence to questionable interpretations of ancient texts which conflict with reality. It advocates thinking for oneself.  These are concepts in direct opposition to the organized religion in which you suggest it is worthwhile for me to pretend to believe.

You seem to think it reasonable that I should fake a belief in your god to save my soul (whatever that is.) - essentially that I should lie to your god about my belief. I happen to think that lying - even to a god I don't believe in - is morally wrong. I don't need a god to tell me that.

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