My Old Kentucky Homesite

Sucker Bet

Posted by Larry Wallberg on 04/25/2010

I got to thinking about Pascal’s Wager this afternoon, because a couple of bible-thumpers knocked on my door and asked if they could tell my wife and me some good news about Jesus.

For those of you who don’t know about Pascal’s Wager, it’s ol’ Blaise’s cute, little, irrational homily on why it’s always a good idea to gamble on belief.  He claimed that he was examining the odds for the question : Should you or should you not believe in a god? But honestly, his wager is all about the afterlife.

To paraphrase: You have to bet; you can’t choose not to be in the game. If you gamble on belief in heaven, and there is no heaven, you don’t lose anything when you die; but if there is a heaven you win big-time. Conversely, if you gamble on non-belief in a heaven, and there is no heaven, you don’t win anything when you die; but if there is a heaven, you’re up holy shit’s creek without a paddle. So why risk not believing?

Clearly, Pascal (and many religionists, in fact) are most concerned about what happens to you after you’re no longer you. But the pair of Jesus-jumpers who appeared at my door were definitely alive, although not exactly lively.

Today was a dreary, drizzly day here in Lexington, and it was immediately evident that those two were trying to summon up some ersatz joy despite their general sogginess, as well as — I’m guessing — the many rejections they’d had. Their efforts at feigning religious ecstatsy were completely unsuccessful, if the discouraged expressions on their faces were any indications of their real mood.

I hate to admit this, but I actually felt sorry for them. Not sorry enough to welcome them in for some hot cocoa while they told me about the glories of the Christian afterlife. Just sorry enough so that I didn’t yell “screw you” as I sent them on their not-so-merry way.

After they’d gone, I wondered what kind of an afterlife they imagine for themselves. Do they see each other going door-to-door in an unending witless witness. Yes, they would have won Pascal’s wager, but they’d have nothing to show for it except an eternity of damp hair and even damper spirits.

So I came up with what I’ll call Wallberg’s Wager.

You don’t have to bet. You can leave with what you have in your brain right now plus a few lovely parting gifts. If you do choose to be in the game, bear in mind that the casino is run by religious fanatics.  However, f you’re a theist with a couple of eons to spare, you’ll probably want to gamble on whether there’s a heaven or not.

If you gamble that there’s a heaven, and it turns out that there is no heaven, you will have spent years depriving yourself of certain terrestrial joys forbidden in your religion’s narrow morality: (e.g., non-marital intercourse; dancing; eating pork; sleeping late on Sunday morning; using colorful language whenever the fuck you want to; playing cards; masturbating; reading whatever you’d like to read; refusing to bomb infidels; wearing any kind of underwear you choose; and most important of all, thinking for yourself). Also, you’d have contributed hard-earned money to a worthless enterprise, stilted your children’s ability to have a broad education, and uselessly worn out dozens of shoes going from door to door to door spreading news that just made you look stupid. You lose.

On the other hand, if you gamble that there’s a heaven, and it turns out that, yup, there is a heaven, you’ll have to continue depriving yourself of those previously mentioned joys, and you’ll be stuck forever with a group of self-righteous glad-handing bores who keep jockeying for position in god’s heirarchy. On top of which, your attendance will be compulsory at countless church socials, bar mitzvahs, anti-tax rallies, jihadist training classes, and occasional slaughters of the innocent — all of which will require that you wear an “In God We Trust” license plate screwed firmly onto your ass. Not only that, but every Christmas you’ll have to stop George Bailey from killing himself. Also, you’ll probably still be obliged to spread the news, if not in physical person, then in spirit, by watching over those surviving relatives who are trudging from house to house on a wet Kentucky afternoon. You lose.

Of course, the truth is that you don’t actually get to choose whether to believe or not to believe. That’s not a question. You either do or you don’t; nobody wakes up one morning and says out of the blue, “Hey, today, right after I pee, I think I’ll start believing in a heaven.” You can claim to believe, of course; but you can’t believe unless … duh … you believe. And you can’t not believe just by willing yourself not to. Sometimes, neither theists nor atheists seem to understand that.

So the whole wager thing, be it Pascal’s or Wallberg’s, is actually pretty dumb. But if you could choose, it sounds like a no-brainer to me. Why risk belief in a heaven? It’s a sucker bet: You lose either way.

Advertisements

59 Responses to “Sucker Bet”

  1. Excellent turnaround of the ol’ standard. Too bad you didn’t get a chance to share yours with the Christianity dealers.

    I think if their heaven exists, there isn’t a need for a hell because if we all have to go there, it would be both, wouldn’t it? For them, perhaps bliss. For us, fucking torture, and there’s no way I’m saving George Bailey. What a putz.

  2. Philly:
    Yes, the Eternal After-Hours Club would be a horrendous place. Lime Jell-O shots only, and the band never stops playing rock. “Of Ages,” that is. Sorry, but there’s reserved seating, and it’s already been assigned. You’ll be at the same church picnic table with George Bailey. But don’t worry, because every time you hear a bell ring, an angel gets his chicken wings.

  3. I always feel sorry for those rubes that come to my door. I am very polite. I wish just once that Jeebus would harden my heart long enough for me to reply with something like this:

    If I have been a non-believer based on the available evidence and there turns out to actually be a just and loving god, wouldn’t he invite me into his heaven with wink:

    JALG: “Just kidding. I really do exist. Go on in and have a cup of Ambrosia.”

    Me: “You really got me. That was a good one. Hey this Ambrosia tastes exactly like [no longer brewed] Ali’i Amber Ale. Heaven is awesome.”

    But those evil bastards always send out the sweet little old ladies. I would have a lot less difficulty telling a young person to quit wasting his time. How do you tell someone with one foot in the grave that they have wasted their lives and will never get that coveted reward for which they have sacrificed so much?

  4. Pity is insulting. Treat them like the adults they are and speak honestly. That’s what I do with Larry, even though he’s ancient.

    Look, there’s nothing more precious than time, and if someone tries to waste some of that finite resource of mine, they’re going to hear it from me, regardless of whether their supply is near empty or not. I usually tell them all, “I’m not into superstitions” and leave it at that. It’s then up to them to walk away or try to push the sale, and god help them if they try to push the sale. ;)

  5. Wouldn’t it be more fun if every time a bell rang, an angel got a kidney punch?

  6. Des:
    The thing I don’t understand about those door-to-door people: They always act as if they’ve got something really original to say. Can they possibly be so deluded as to think that somehow, somewhere here in America, there’s a person more than three years old who has never heard of Jesus? Next time one of those messengers comes by, if I can spare a few minutes, I might try:

    Me: What did you say you want to tell me about?
    God-pusher: Jesus.
    Me: Cheeses? You’re selling cheeses door-to-door?
    God-pusher: No, Jesus.
    Me: What are Jeezes?
    God-pusher: Jesus isn’t a what. He’s a him. He died for you.
    Me: Jesus is a guy’s name?
    GP: Yes.
    Me: And he dyed for me? Y’mean, like a T-shirt, or a pair of shorts? I don’t remember ordering anything like that.
    God-pusher: No, he didn’t dye anything. He was nailed on the cross — for you.
    Me: Nailed on the cross? Is that like a basketball term, or something? Sorry, but I don’t follow sports.
    etc.

  7. Bwahahaha. That would be great. I can’t think of anything worse than a semi-professional god-botherer encountering someone ostensibly even more clueless. I should write that down and try it on the next Jehovah’s Witness that comes by.

  8. Philly:
    Treat them like the adults they are and speak honestly. That’s what I do with Larry, even though he’s ancient.
    You can say anything you want, Sonny, but if you try to help me across the street again I’ll kick you in the shins.

    It’s then up to them to walk away or try to push the sale …
    I usually tell them, “You’ve come to the wrong place for Jesus talk.” After that, hardly any of them make an attempt to close the deal. I do wish, though, that they’d do something similar to what the 1930s hoboes did, and leave a secret mark on the sidewalk warning their colleagues that there’s no point in stopping at this house.

  9. Des:
    I should write that down and try it on the next Jehovah’s Witness that comes by.
    If you do decide to try that, I have to warn you that it’s very difficult not to crack yourself up.

  10. I do wish, though, that they’d do something similar to what the 1930s hoboes did, and leave a secret mark on the sidewalk warning their colleagues that there’s no point in stopping at this house.

    If there was such a mark, I’d love to know what it is because I’d make it myself. What we usually get around here is a car parking and well dressed people spilling out like it’s a clown car. That’s always the sign of Christianity pushers. Oh, and they’re usually fat, which makes the site of them spilling out of the car very amusing, and somewhat miraculous. Perhaps they should just demonstrate that for everyone as an example of the power of Jesus! “Behold as we enter and exit this vehicle in defiance of physics thanks to the power of god!”

    Anyway, I like to ask them, “what are you selling?” They really hate that and usually just start into their pitch. If they don’t say they’re from a particular church or don’t make it clear up front, then I repeat the question until they do and then I say, “I’m not into superstitions.” Only once did I have some punks say something as they walked away. When I asked them to repeat it, they didn’t turn around, to which I said, “That whole ‘turn the other cheek’ business wasn’t meant for mumbling wiseass comments, pal. What’s the matter, fear your god can’t protect you from my wrath, oh ye of little faith? Yeah, you’re a hell of a salesman.”

  11. For some reason your comments don’t allow images. Hmmmm.

  12. I live a little bit off the beaten path, so I don’t get too many Pushy Proselytizers coming down my lane. (I don’t get any kids at Halloween either – too far to go for a candy bar, and it’s unlit and spooky). But once in awhile a car full comes down, parks and wants to talk to us about Jeebus.

    In the summer I’m usually down by the pool, usually basking in the buff, and I’d welcome a few blue hairs to discuss matters involving the afterlife.

    Me: Hello, can I help you?
    Them: {averting gaze} Sir, you’re not dressed!
    Me: True, how observant of you. I have no neighbors so I’m enjoying nature the way god first presented it to Adam and Eve. My name’s Adam, what’s yours?
    Them: We can’t talk to you unclothed.
    Me: You’re not unclothed, but if you feel so inclined, the dressing room’s over there. By the way, why do you keep turning your back to me. That’s a bit rude. Would you like a beer?
    Them: Alcohol shall not pass our lips.
    Me: Suit yourself. Hey, what do you think of this tattoo on my butt? That’s not the Star of David, it’s a pentagram. Neat huh?
    Them: {Sounds of screaming as they flee}

  13. Philly:
    I usually know that my visitors are Christ salesfolk before I get to the door, because nobody else ever comes to my house uninvited. So, I ought to keep a leather-bound volume of mythology handy to grab as I welcome them. Then, before the old ladies can finish pasting on their smiles, I’d say: “I’m so glad you’re here because I have some good news about Aphrodite.”

    SI:
    For some reason your comments don’t allow images.
    Well, I don’t think WordPress allows you to embed an image directly into a comment. You have to leave a link.

    In the summer I’m usually down by the pool, usually basking in the buff, and I’d welcome a few blue hairs …
    You have to jump into very cold water if you want that to happen. You’ve got the color right, but you haven’t singled out the correct body parts.

  14. Linwood said

    I had the misfortune this weekend of witnessing a jesus peddler in action. I was with a friend in the hospital when the doctor informed her that her husband had died. She was asked if she would like the chaplain to come to speak to her, and said she did. I was surprised by the blatent phony sincerity he displayed. Admittedly, this is different from the door to door sellers, as she was a willing buyer, but if you’re dispensing comfort, you should at least do it with sincerity. Perhaps this just supports what you wrote, Larry, either you believe or you don’t. If you do, you swallow it hook, line and sinker.

  15. Linwood:
    Yes, divinity students have to take Insincerity 101, particularly if they’ll be “ministering” to the recently bereaved. Many years ago, one of my religious great-aunts died, and at her funeral, the rabbi kept talking about what a wonderful woman she’d been. That was a lie; she was a mean bastard. But the most blatant lie of all was when he said he’d known her, and was sure that she’d be adoringly remembered by her loved ones. He mentioned her name about ten times during the course of his little eulogy, and mispronounced it every single time. By the fourth mangling, those of us in the “audience” were openly giggling, and the hilarity continued to build with each subsequent mention. It was like the “Chuckles the Clown” episode on The Mary Tyler Moore Show, only the deceased had never made anybody laugh when she’d been alive.

  16. Linwood:

    There’s nothing I hate more than a pastor/priest/shaman who is just phoning it in. A prostitute is at least expected to make an effort at taking the role seriously.

  17. Godless Randall said

    sorry to interrupt the small talk, but

    Of course, the truth is that you don’t actually get to choose whether to believe or not to believe.

    that was ^kidding^ just for this post, right?

  18. Godless:
    Nope. That was serious. A person can choose to become educated, or to examine evidence, or to think about the nonsense with which he or she has been indoctrinated. And those actions might make one’s beliefs evaporate. But you can’t actually choose whether or not to believe.

  19. srsny said

    I’m sorry folks. I know you are having just a ball thinking up nasty, sarcastic, derisive comments to make to people who bother you by coming to your door to sell you their belief systems. But, really, why is is so necessary to insult and belittle these people. Are they any more annoying than an encyclopedia (earworm alert!) or magazine salesmen? I don’t know because I live in New York City, and the Watchtower people usually do their stuff in a Subway station, where they can reach more people than going to apartment-to-apartment in a city where very few people are ever home.

    But all these nasty comments seem to have more involved than just to swat away an annoyance. The “nasties” seem to have something to prove – or teach (?) – to their doorknocking accosters. Like, I don’t know, how stupid you are for believing what you believe? Is it, perhaps, an attempt to counter-proselytize? Is it to reinforce the myth of the odious nature of aetheists? (Because it certainly will accomplish that!) Is it to show someone whom you consider ignorant how smart YOU are? This reminds me of the time my brother was having a ridiculous argument with his then-5-year-old son. I can’t remember what it was about, but it went on far too long (at the dinner table when we all were visiting my parents in Florida). When my brother won the argument, I said, “Congratulations! You have proven that you are smarter than a 5-year-old.” I feel like saying something similar in this case. Can’t a civil “No thank you” suffice? If you believe this will not stave off this horrible attack on your – I don’t know what – and that the “truth” seller will not be deterred, then I recommend a suggestion someone once gave me about how to bring an escalating ridiculous argument to an end: Always let the crazy person speak last.

  20. Srsny:

    Always let the crazy person speak last.
    Just so that you know I don’t think your crazy, I’ll answer:
    First of all, when I lived in New Yawk these door-to-door Jesus-jumpers didn’t bother me, either — because they never rang my bell. I’ve been living in Kentucky for seven months, and I’ve had about six visits so far, nearly one a month. That’s not salesmanship; it’s harassment.

    Second, when an encyclopedia (earworm Code Orange!) guy, or a Fuller Brush person, or an Avon Lady, or the kid who wants to mow my lawn, comes to the door, that person is working for a living, selling a real product or service. When I open the door, I’m greeted by an eager person who will attempt to offer me something tangible in exchange for my money. God-pushers, on the other hand, are working, not for a living, but for a happy afterlife, and they have nothing to offer except sky pie, which is not nourishing and can damage your brain if you eat enough of it. So my annoyance level is completely different than it would be if I opened the door to find, say, a Girl Scout trying to sell me cookies.

    Third: If a Brownie — an apprentice Girl Scout — came to my house, and I said, “No, I don’t care for Do-si-dos or Samoas,” as young as she is, she probably wouldn’t come back later to try to sell me exactly the same cookies again. She might say, “Well, how about Lemonades, or Daisy Go Rounds?” But those Jehovah’s Witnesses never change their cookies. It’s Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves, Jesus Saves, over and over again.

    All right, so let’s say that some nine-year-old in a uniform rings your doorbell every single month and proceeds to tell you how delicious Tagalongs are, with their yummy layer of peanut butter hidden under the chocolate on top. (I know you find peanut butter gaggy.) No matter how many times you inform the girl that you don’t want to buy those particular treats, she keeps coming back telling you how delicious they are, and saying maybe you should try one because it would make you feel terrific and do you a lot of good after you die. Don’t you think you’d get pissed off by repeated urgings to buy those things when you’d already turned them down four or five (or more) times already? If not, then click here.

    Did you order your Tagalongs?

  21. srsny said

    Well – you got me with the Peanut Butter. But I also began to think about really irritating sales techniques.

    Yes, I have chased menu distributors out of my apartment building – because they’re trespassing. The menus I just throw away. It’s the trespassing that bothers me, not the menus. Well, yeah, the menus do, too. But they are passive. The hired guys who walk around my building, littering (ostensibly) are not passive and should be actively chased away. Many buildings in my neighborhood have signs posted: No Menus. I have no idea how well that works. I have called repeat offending restaurants to complain, and a few times, have even gone by to dump piles of paper in their doorways. But I was much younger then. I pick my battles now.

    Phone sales- I have no problem with phone sales people any more, ever since I decided the perfect thing to say to them: “I have a policy, which I never break: I do not EVER buy anything over the phone.” That’s my phone sales mantra, and it has been years since I received an unsolicited phone call.

    Robot phone calls: I have a 3 “hello” limit. If you can’t get your machinery operating in that time, fuggeddaboutit. If it is so important for you to reach me, you can hire a human being to call me.

    Companies and agencies that, when you phone them, make you “Say 1 for this, Say 2 for that, etc.” I repeatedly say “I need to speak to a person,” until the machine can’t figure out anything else to do but transfer me to a person.

    I often get angry, but I don’t get nasty, because that takes away my high road. If a “customer service (SIC)” agent is annoyingly stupid. I ask for a supervisor. And because the underlings always tell me their names, I always write down all the names, and take notes about every misunderstood and/or contradictory thing each one has told me, so that when I finally reach the person who understands SOMETHING I read the entire litany of what happened. That way the person with a brain in his/her head becomes my ally and goes the extra mile to show me what a caring, understanding organization he or she works for, so I end up getting what I want.

    But – what would I do if I were constantly irritated by members of the God Squad? Probably ask them who let them into the building, inform them that they are trespassing, and offer to escort them safely out before someone calls the police. I don’t care what they’re selling; they don’t belong here.

    If I lived in a private home, I think it would be the same kind of issue for me – unsolicited visits. Not because it has to do with god, but because it has to do with invading my space. Maybe a sign: No Unsolicited Sales. Maybe a sign: This Door Is Electrified. Oh – here’s an idea: Lehman College now has erected on one of its lawns three black metal cutouts in the shape of dogs – or wolves – to keep away the gaggle of Canada Geese that frequently congregate there, consuming grass and leaving behind what are euphemistically refered to as “green cigars.” How about a black metal cutout of – hmm – can’t think of anything (devil is too obvious). Any ideas?

  22. Srnsy:
    Nice diatribe. Press “1” for more compliments. Press “2” for a year’s supply of peanut butter. Press “3” for an idea for a metal cutout. Or stay in the thread to speak to an operator.

    Obviously, you pressed “3.” (Or you might have begun to spell out something that starts with an “f.” Hmmmmmmm.)

    How about a metal cutout of a burning bush, and a loudspeaker that rumbles over and over, “Avert thine eyes, O ye door-knocking sinners, for thou art in the presence of the great and powerful Lord! Go thou, and chin no more!”

    Of course, if the visitors decide to investigate the contraption on your lawn, the recording will have to add, “Pay no attention to that man behind the cutout.”

  23. SRSNY: Imagine if you had people repeatedly coming to your door to sell you assless pants. Assless pants? Yes, assless pants. Quite the ridiculous thing to sell, and something you’d never dream of wanting or caring about I’d guess. Now imagine if most people wore assless pants, you’ve been told your whole life how important assless pants are, how you couldn’t be a good person or a true American without assless pants, and that if you simply opened your heart and ignored logic, you’d see the wonderful Truth of assless pants.

    Now when these assless pants pushers coming ringing at your door, cheeks clapping in the breeze, how would you react? If you were less than polite to these flapping fannies, would you be trying to prove something? Like, I don’t know, how stupid they are for believing in assless pants? Perhaps to show them how smart YOU are for wearing proper pants, and perhaps to counter-proselytize for a properly panted bottom? Or maybe you’d just want to be reinforcing the myth of the odious nature of guarded bottomers?

  24. Philly:
    I assume that assless pants come without any back pockets. So where do those people keep their wallets?

  25. Why are you hating, Larry? Clearly your belittling comment about assless pants people belies something negative about you.

  26. I will, next time I am bludgeoned by a Jesus freak, steal your idea (with malice aforethought and no thought of renumeration) and pretend I have never heard of Jesus. And be intentionally obtuse. Should be fun.

    I was wondering why no one has tried to witness me recently. They must have all gone to Kentucky to bring the colonel back into the fold.

  27. Philly:
    Clearly your belittling comment about assless pants people belies something negative about you.
    Well, I must confess: I hate a backdraft.

    (((Billy))):
    Maybe I should tell my visitors that they’ve mistaken me for you.

  28. Well, I must confess: I hate a backdraft.

    With the right diet, you can keep the draft flowing in the other direction. Rumor has it you’re good at it.

  29. SI:
    Yes, that rumor has been noised about.

  30. the chaplain said

    Having done more than my fair share of proselytizing for Jesus over the years, I’m not sure what to say. Larry asked whether Bible-thumpers really believe that no one in the USA over the age of 3 has never heard of Jesus. My experience has been that many of them think most “unsaved” people have been misinformed about Jesus, and it’s their job to show poor sinners the right way to eternal bliss (although, truth be told, heaven always sounded more like hell to me and vice versa). The attitude is a strange mixture of naivete and arrogance. At this point in my life, I’m not interested in counter-evangelizing them.

  31. Chappy:
    The attitude is a strange mixture of naivete and arrogance.
    Very well put, and one of the main reasons why those people are so annoying.

    So here’s a serious question for you, since you’re my only friend who has fought actively as an adult on both sides in the “culture wars.” What do you say to bible-thumpers when they ring your doorbell?

  32. srsny:

    I know you are having just a ball thinking up nasty, sarcastic, derisive comments to make to people who bother you by coming to your door to sell you their belief systems. But, really, why is is so necessary to insult and belittle these people.

    My point was that I am never rude to them, but I wish I could be. They just seem sweet and innocuous. Perhaps if I encountered them shortly after a Fire-and-Brimstone sermon at their local Jesus-mart, they would present a much more deserving target for derision. Until then, I will continue to smile politely and accept the Watchtower (oddly, usually in Spanish) or the ad for some helmet-haired faith healer.

    Of course, as so often happens, the topic devolves into assless pants.

  33. the chaplain said

    Larry:
    Strangely enough, I’ve only had one encounter of the proselytizing kind in the past 15 years: a couple of bike-riding Mormon missionaries accosted me on the sidewalk one afternoon. I exchanged some polite pleasantries about the weather and what-not with them, told them I wasn’t interested in what they had to say, and continued on my way.

    I suspect that my response to door-knocking Bible-thumpers would be similar to my stock response to telemarketers: I’m not interested. This declaration is typically followed by an immediate hanging up of the phone. In the case of people standing in my doorway, I think I’d close the door instead of hanging up the phone.

  34. Godless Randall said

    But you can’t actually choose whether or not to believe.

    why not? people do all the time

  35. why not? people do all the time

    Really? Choose to believe in Leprechauns for me, and convince me that you’re sincere.

  36. Godless Randall said

    we’re not talking about choosing whether or not to believe in leperchauns though

    so how is that relevant?

  37. Leprechauns, gods. It’s all the same. We’re talking about the mental process of belief. You cannot will yourself to believe something that makes no sense to you. If the existence of gods makes no sense, (or the existence of leprechauns) how do you will yourself to believe they exist?

  38. Godless Randall said

    You cannot will yourself to believe something that makes no sense to you.

    ^that makes no sense to you^ wasn’t a qualifying condition in the original statement

    so how is that relevant?

  39. Des:
    And what topic doesn’t devolve into assless pants, huh?

    Chappy:
    In the case of people standing in my doorway, I think I’d close the door instead of hanging up the phone.
    Alternatively, you could always hand them the phone and tell them that they’ve got a call.

    Godless:
    I don’t think you’ve answered SI’s point. Assuming that you’re not a believer, could you wake up one morning and suddenly choose to believe? Not merely say you believe, or act as if you believe, but really believe. On the other hand, if you are a believer, could you similarly choose not to believe?

    Perhaps you could explain briefly how you’d go about making such a choice.

  40. Godless Randall said

    his point was different than yours

    his ^You cannot will yourself to believe something that makes no sense to you.^

    yours ^But you can’t actually choose whether or not to believe.^

    but it doesn’t matter because they’re both wrong if you’re just speaking for yourselves then that’s fine but there ^are^ people who choose to believe and there ^are^ people who choose not to believe. there are even people who will themselves into believing something that makes no sense. religious people do it all the time but its’ done with politics and other stuff too

    Perhaps you could explain briefly how you’d go about making such a choice.

    i pretty much woke up one morning and just knew the world was godless. since that day i’ve chosen not to believe

  41. Godless:
    i pretty much woke up one morning and just knew the world was godless. since that day i’ve chosen not to believe
    No, I don’t think you’ve chosen not to believe, at least if your comment is to be … um … believed. In the telling of your experience, the non-belief preceded the choice. I’m guessing that you then chose to live your life based on your sudden realization. That, of course, is possible to do, as many de-converts can tell you. But the realization, itself, wasn’t a choice — at least not in the way that you’ve presented it.

  42. Godless Randall said

    In the telling of your experience, the non-belief preceded the choice.

    okay dr. phil you speak for you and i’ll speak for me

    i chose to believe the universe is godless. there was a choice involved. besides i’m not the point there are plenty of people who ^choose^ to both believe and not believe. like i said religious people and other types of people will themselves into belief all the time

  43. I’ll try one more time, them leave you to your choices, GR.

    You may think that your atheism is one of choice, because you analyzed the evidence and came to a conclusion voluntarily. In that sense, you’re right.

    But you’re missing the point of Pascal’s Wager, which is the context of this discussion.

    Pascal wants you to choose a belief that may be contrary to your “choice”, for reasons unrelated to the same analysis you made to come to your belief in the first place.

    You could not honestly choose theism, for instance, if you’d already “woken up and found the world godless” simply because someone contrived a bet. In other words, Pascal wants you to force yourself to believe something you don’t believe.

    Could you force yourself to believe the sky is red when it looks blue if Pascal convinced you to believe it was red because doing so might earn yourself a million dollars?

  44. i pretty much woke up one morning and just knew the world was godless. since that day i’ve chosen not to believe

    Ah, and here I thought your invisible friend clued you in on it. Silly me. A gut feeling is, like, SO much more credible. But answer me this, how do you know Satan didn’t put that feeling there?

  45. Godless (cc: SI & Philly):
    Well, it took me a while, but … now I believe I know who else you are. (Yes, I’ve chosen to believe that.) Of course, I can’t say I know who you really are, because you have soooo many personae here in the Atheosphere. But anyway, if I’m right, you’re hilarious. (Actually, even if I’m wrong, you’re still hilarious.) Your comments may not be appreciated by everyone, but I always find you amusing. So feel free to come back, OK?

    But, really, how come you haven’t linked to your own blog, on which — amazingly — you seem to know how to capitalize the pronoun “I” and the first letters of sentences?

    SI & Philly (cc: Srsny):
    If I happen to be wrong, I’d still take the advice of a wise ol’ gypsy woman I know, who said,
    “Always let the crazy person speak last.”

    Even he who is pure in heart
    And says no prayers at night,
    Can a Christian be when he wills himself
    If he isn’t very bright.

  46. Godless Randall said

    oh gawd here comes the back up

    You may think that your atheism is one of choice, because you analyzed the evidence and came to a conclusion voluntarily. In that sense, you’re right.

    that’s not what i said that’s what ^you^ said

    i didn’t say anything about analyzing anything i said i chose not to believe one day. in the same way i chose ^to^ believe when i was littler

    and for that reason what Larry said didn’t make sense and still doesn’t

  47. Godless Randall said

    Well, it took me a while, but … now I believe I know who else you are. (Yes, I’ve chosen to believe that.) Of course, I can’t say I know who you really are, because you have soooo many personae here in the Atheosphere. But anyway, if I’m right, you’re hilarious. (Actually, even if I’m wrong, you’re still hilarious.) Your comments may not be appreciated by everyone, but I always find you amusing. So feel free to come back, OK?

    you went from dr. phil to dr. cryptic so i don’t really know what to say

    ut, really, how come you haven’t linked to your own blog, on which — amazingly — you seem to know how to capitalize the pronoun “I” and the first letters of sentences?

    i don’t link to my own blog because its nothing and i don’t like what most people have to say. i’d be happy if you de-linked me but that’s your deal and i don’t see why there always has to be a jab about capitals. i spell my shit right most of the time so what’s the big deal?

    as for ^choosing^ if all you mean is we can’t ^all of a sudden^ choose to believe something we already think is a lie then we agree

    if you are saying one cannot care so little about a belief that they can’t choose to lose it then you’re crazy

  48. Godless Randall said

    i get it now ^i think^ :

    Well, it took me a while, but … now I believe I know who else you are. (Yes, I’ve chosen to believe that.) Of course, I can’t say I know who you really are, because you have soooo many personae here in the Atheosphere. But anyway, if I’m right, you’re hilarious. (Actually, even if I’m wrong, you’re still hilarious.) Your comments may not be appreciated by everyone, but I always find you amusing. So feel free to come back, OK?

    you are saying i’m that ^Gideon^ character

    HA!
    no but that crazy sonofabitch definitely made me laugh. he was like my uncle mike

  49. Godless Randall said

    okay okay i admit it, the link to my ^real^ blog :

    gideon.macrophile.com

  50. Godless:
    … he was like my uncle mike
    Does your Uncle Mike live in Kentucky? If not, he should think about moving here. He’d find a huge demographic group waiting to welcome him. (For one thing: Pascal runs hundreds of successful casinos in the Bluegrass State, each one making a good living from offering his wager.)

  51. oh gawd here comes the back up

    Don’t you mean “Team Scarlet”, Chris?

  52. Godless Randall said

    eh what the hell i ignored you the last time but

    Don’t you mean “Team Scarlet”, Chris?

    clue me in here

  53. Maybe you can clue us all in when Skateboarding Speaks on Religion, Spirituality and the Paranormal hits the shelves.

  54. Philly:
    I’m looking forward to The Goofy-Foot’s Guide to God.

  55. I hope it’s illustrated. I have a hard time following that stuff with pictures.

  56. Without pictures.

    Sheesh. Where’s my coffee?

  57. SI:
    Your venti sugar-free caramel latte with soy milk and extra foam is coming right up. Just don’t write anything for the next half hour while you’re trying to decide which one of our delicious scones to have with that.

    By the way, the book will have illustrations. But don’t expect pictures of any gods, because they’re invisible.

  58. Godless Randall said

    I’m looking forward to The Goofy-Foot’s Guide to God.

    WTF? are you guys talking about the ^surfing talk^ from common sense atheism or something?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

 
%d bloggers like this: