A Critical Survey of Pascal’s Wager for the Existence of God

Journal of Philosophical Theological Research 12 (47):5-37 (2011)
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Abstract

Pascal’s Wager is one of the most important and challenging arguments for the existence of God and the rationality of religious believes. According to this argument, where the rational and theoretical arguments for the existence of God are not satisfying, still in practice and decision-making, living on the basis of belief in God and other religious doctrines like life after death, is the most prudential and rational option and the best bet; although these believes are not rationally and certainly provable; Avoiding the probable loss of atheism, namely eternal and infinite damnation in afterlife – that is more important than certain utility and restricted and finite pleasure of life in this world, is the ground of rationality of this decision-making. The psychological use of this argument is very effective, but the justificatory use of it have many difficulties; This article is concerned with the most important criticisms of this argument in terms of plurality of religions, rationalism, evidentialism, ethics of belief, voluntarism and probabilities calculus.

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Reza Akbari
Imam Sadiq University

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