Pascal’s Wager serves as a philosophical reason to believe in God. The Renaissance philosopher Blaise Pascal developed the wager in the 17th century, and it’s still commonly touted as a “gotcha” to non-believers as to why they should believe in God. Pascal’s Wager is a fallacy seeped in bias, but it’s awful for women.
What is Pascal’s Wager?
The French Philosopher claimed everyone is better off believing in God due to his wager.
The basic assumption is that if you believe in God and are wrong, you’ll suffer no ill effects. However, if you don’t believe in God and are wrong, the results will be astronomical. Your afterlife, and by extension, eternity, will be wrought with suffering due to your disbelief.
Therefore, believing in God makes sense because you lose nothing if you’re wrong but gain everything if you’re right.
Pascal’s Wager Rife with Fallacies
Of course, Pascal himself believed, which clouded his judgment when initiating the wager, which is filled with flaws.
The most glaring flaw is deciding which of the thousands of gods humanity worshipped over its millennia of existence is the correct god. The Biblical God of the Christians has very different rules than Thor, Zeus, Ra, or Brahma.
Even if you do get the God right, you can easily get the rules wrong, as the many different sects that worship the same God interpret their rules differently.
The other major flaw in his argument is the belief that it doesn’t matter if you believe and are wrong. This fallacy in Pascal’s Wager hurts women far more than men.
What If You Believe and God Doesn’t Exist?
Pasal insists that if you believe in God, but it turns out he doesn’t exist, you’ve lost nothing. While this statement is untrue for everyone, it’s wildly inaccurate for women.
Everyone will suffer the consequences of living a life untrue to themselves for the sake of a deity that doesn’t exist, but women get the worse end of the stick.
In patriarchal religions, women get forced into subservience. “Godly” women submit to their husbands, birth children, and tend to the homes, ignoring all their inner hopes, dreams, and desires.
Meanwhile, men are free to pursue their dreams. Men can be artists, sailors, artisans, merchants, and more. They can live their lives on their terms, whether they choose the bachelor life or decide to settle down with a family. They can leave their kids to pursue their dreams, knowing the “good wife” will stay behind to raise them.
Women have no such agency.
Pascal’s Wager Detrimental To Women
Pascal’s Wager is false because women lose big if they believe in a God that doesn’t exist. They’ve lost their only chance at existence, sacrificing it for the sake of lies.
They could have lived on their terms, explored the world, created art, and enjoyed their short existence, but instead, they gave that all up for a life of subservience, all for nothing.
Is This Why Women are More Religious?
Pascals Wager could offer a clue as to why women seem to be more pious and more attached to their religious beliefs than men.
Men don’t have to give anything up to accept the wager. They can believe in God and go about their lives as they would if they didn’t.
Women don’t have that option. So if they believe, they must genuinely, deeply believe with every ounce of their soul because if they don’t, why would they willingly give up their only chance at life?
The wager creates cognitive dissonance in women because they can’t fathom the possibility that they’ve sacrificed everything for nothing, so they dig even deeper into their faith to protect their psyche from that uncomfortable possibility.
Think Critically About Pascal’s Wager To See It’s Wrong
People believe in God for numerous reasons. Most are faith-based and have nothing to do with Pascal’s Wager.
However, anyone who decides to believe based on Pascal’s philosophy should give it a second look. The consequences for being wrong about your belief may be more dire than you thought.
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