It's Sunday again, so I thought I'd reach for the opposite extreme in my prefrontal cortex and suggest that logic argues for belief in something like an afterlife. Richard Dawkins and most of the subscribers of Free Inquiry would not be pleased. But the germ of reasoning that Heaven remains in my thoughts is that there could well be psychological value to believing, for the other fearsome option is eternal gloom.
There is, of course, Blaise Pascal's Wager:
- God is, or God is not. Reason cannot decide between the two alternatives.
- A Game is being played... where heads or tails will turn up.
- You must wager (it is not optional).
- Let us weigh the gain and the loss in wagering that God is. Let us estimate these two chances. If you gain, you gain all; if you lose, you lose nothing.
- Wager, then, without hesitation that He is. (...) 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. And so our proposition is of infinite force, when there is the finite to stake in a game where there are equal risks of gain and of loss, and the infinite to gain.
- But some cannot believe. They should then 'at least learn your inability to believe...' and 'Endeavour then to convince' themselves.
- There are something like 4200 religions, so if you pick the wrong one, 4199 Gods will be pissed, and you won't get into their Heaven. Just be smart about this and pick the right one.
- If you accept Pascal's Wager, take a look at the Atheist's Wager, which is funny with valid points.
- Come on, do you really think God is that dumb as to be fooled by your bet-hedging?
- If you presently don't believe, no way will you suddenly believe because of Pascal's Wager.
- About half of the world believe in an afterlife.
- A quarter think they will just cease to exist.
- Another quarter, not sure.
- Most people around you will less likely look upon you as some kind of untrustworthy malcontent.
- An attitude of belief might well diminish the frightening feelings of eternal gloom upon death.
- There must be something to why more believe in Heaven than not
- I could be wrong.