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In Blaise Pascal’s commentary, “Yes, Faith is a Logical Bet”, having faith in God is a rational choice in contrast to not having faith in God because there is plenty to gain, and nothing to lose (Rickabaugh Lecture). According to Pascal, hypothetically, it is possible that there may be a God, and if we have faith in Him, we may experience an infinite gain beyond the finite that we know. However, because of the finite world in which our finite bodies inhabit, we are incapable of truly knowing the existence of God because His infinity is beyond our parameters of knowledge. Thus, we cannot be certain that there even is an infinite, let alone a God. With this mindset, Pascal reasons that despite insufficient proof of God, it is still rational to have faith because if there is an infinity beyond this finite life we live, we will gain its rewards. However, if there is not an infinite, yet we still gamble our faith, there is nothing to be lost because the outcome of finite life will remain the same. Although Pascal is correct in his thinking of faith being logical and rational, the manner in which he presents his argument is invalid and misleading. In reality, faith in God is not a simple concept. Rather, it is quite intricate because there is plenty to gain, and plenty to lose.
The manner in which Pascal presents his argument offers a false sense of simplicity. It is comprehensible that one would gamble faith if there was absolute certainty that nothing would be lost. The only options are to gain something that was not acquired before, which would be beneficial, or for the situation to remain the unchanged, which would be an indifference. However, having faith is a gamble in itself because of the amount of loss at stake. While having true faith in God, one is being challenged to abandon the pleasures of our finite selves: sin. To ultimately have faith in God, one is to acknowledge the bad nature of their sins, and attempt to relinquish the pleasures in what our finite bodies cling to.
Although sin is still alive and functioning in the everyday lives of those who have faith in God and those who do not, there is a difference in those who have sacrificed pleasures to obtain this faith. Those who have faith acknowledge and attempt to rid of their sin for God: an infinite. Those who do not have faith, either do not acknowledge their sin, or acknowledge it and attempt to rid of it for their own wellbeing: a finite. When comprising or attempting to comprise the desirability of these pleasures, a true faith in God is present because a sacrifice of a finite being given on behalf of an infinite. Whereas one who does not have true faith sacrifices a finite for a finite. Ridding of finite, sinful pleasures may not seem like much is in jeopardy if an infinite experience is to gain. However, according to Pascal, there is not a way to prove an infinite God. If reality is that there is no God, ridding of what is most desirable to us in our finite lives is a lot to gamble away because the finite pleasures would be the only pleasures.
In conclusion, faith in God is not an easy choice. The gamble of gains and losses is a risk many are not willing to take without sufficient proof. The idea of partaking in a possible infinite may sound intriguing, but the consequences of sacrificed pleasure retract many from dedicating full faith. Only those who have true faith are willing to suffer the loss of finite pleasures in hope of a greater infinite beyond what our finite minds could imagine. Having faith may be logical and rational for its hypothetical rewards, but there is a large dedication and sacrifice to make for a hypothetical infinite.
Pascal presents his argument very well. The intellectual language he uses constructs intelligence and credibility. To fully interpret it, I had to read it three times. Within each segment of reading, I slowly came to the conclusion that his viewpoint on faith and my personal beliefs do not align. Having faith has been the most rewarding, yet challenging journey of my life. I have found self-identity which has provided security and comfort. However, I had to give up a multitude of relationships and passions that kept me content in my finite life. Overall, Pascal is correct when he states that having faith is logical, but his approach to it has many faults.
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