awkwardly

Saturday

Pascal's Chicken Noodle Soup Dance Wager

[I just came up with a mighty cute refutation of "Pascal's Wager" on a certain Google group, and I thought I would paste it here for your enjoyment. Pascal's Wager is basically that if you believe in God and he doesn't exist, you don't lose anything. But if you don't believe God and he does exist, you lose Heaven and you burn in Hell forever. So you have everything to gain, nothing to lose, might as well believe in God.]

The stakes don't always indicate whether it's wise to place a bet. By that reasoning, we should all play the interstate lottery every day when it gets up to $150 million or $300 million, even though the chances are tiny that you will ever win that much.

There are stories about a fountain of youth somewhere in America, and advanced civilizations like Atlantis lost under the ocean or hidden inside the Earth. Even if there is a chance that these might be myths, it seems (by your line of reasoning) that to keep seeking the treasures would be worth it no matter what the cost.

No, actually it's not worth it if they're just myths. Any cost or any searching would be a waste if they're just myths. Wouldn't you need some kind of hint that they're not myths *before* you devote all your life to searching for the Holy Grail or the fountain of youth or the lost city of Agartha? Or do you put your trust in the stories being true and never question deeply after that point, claiming that the only way others will understand the truth of Atlantis is if they decide to predispose themselves to believing in Atlantis?

Those treasures aren't perfect comparisons either, because you're talking about a story where we have paradise to gain, and eternal suffering if we don't reach paradise. So suffering in Hell is a lot worse than simply living a normal life and deciding not to search for Atlantis if it wasn't a myth.

Pascal's wager seems to make sense, except that any propagandist can duplicate this claim.

Joseph, I read the Bible last night and I finally decided that everything you said was right. I'm going to mass tomorrow if I can find one nearby. Oh, and by the way, the angel Gabriel just appeared to me this afternoon and wanted me to let you know that your foot will fall off this week if you don't look up the Chicken Noodle Soup dance on the web and perform it for at least fifteen minutes out of every two hours, all day and night.

Here's the youtube link Gabriel wanted me to give you:
http://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=%22chicken+soup%22+dance

Losing your foot might not seem like very high stakes, but that's only what will happen this week. If by the 20th of January you have not performed this dance step for fifteen minutes out of every two hours all day and night, for at least one straight week, then I'm afraid it shows you are not willing to listen to God (via his messengers Gabriel and me), and you will then be shunted into an area where you cannot feel God's Presence and you will never experience anything good again. I was unclear whether this will feel like a "Lake of Fire", but Gabriel assures me it will be the worst thing anyone has ever felt, and it will last forever.

Now, yes, it's a sarcastic example. Of course you will want to dismiss it as an insulting rant, but underneath the silliness of my example, I'm feeding back a situation to you that will show you my perspective. I don't trust the source of your information about God or Heaven or Hell (the Bible). You don't trust the source of my information about needing to perform the Chicken Noodle Soup dance to stay out of Hell (the source is only me). You say that the stakes are so high, paradise or damnation in the afterlife, that I should keep searching for understanding forever and never doubt that the Bible is true. The same is true for you being condemned to never again be in the presence of God unless you carry out the acts that He has requested of you through his servant Gabriel.

Pascal's wager applies to you performing the Chicken Noodle Soup dance all night long. It also applies to any claim that anyone wants to make about Islam, Hindu texts, Zoroaster, Thor, anything, as long as they claim that the stakes are as high as this. If they are lying or accidentally misrepresenting a myth as truth, you should theoretically do *anything they say* because the stakes are too high to assume they're lying. The stakes might be too high to ever again assume anyone is lying!

No, that's silly. You don't care about this threat of Hell because you feel that I'm probably lying. Even though your eternal soul ought to be worth spending one sleepless week doing the latest dance craze every two hours, you are willing to risk your soul! That's what it feels like for you to ignore Pascal's wager. That's why I will be able to sleep tonight with no problem, even though I'm knowingly risking my soul on Pascal's silly wager. (Also because I'm so tired after doing the Chicken Noodle Soup dance every two hours for the last week!!)

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