Thanksgiving is a time for a little contemplation. For example: Whenever I have a burst of unbelief, I find myself turning to Pascal’s Wager -– the argument that it is in one’s own best interest to believe in the existence of God and to behave accordingly, since the possibility of eternal punishment for not believing outweighs any advantage of believing otherwise. . . .
Thank you, Lord, for your abundant blessings!
Still, there are many mysteries in life. None is greater than the existence of God, the Divinity of Christ, life after death, and the many dogmatic teachings of Christianity. So why do I believe in this God to whom I give thanks? Why am I not an agnostic?
I suppose one reason is because of my upbringing –- born and raised a Catholic. Perhaps it is my sixteen years of Catholic education. Perhaps it is my reliance on Pascal’s Wager (See below).
In addition, my faith is often reinforced by the many mini-miracles that have occurred in my life and experience. Those that surrounded the death of Gary (my 42 year-old son) were particularly powerful. The frequent response to my prayers and requests also gives powerful witness to my belief system.
Still, I wonder why God has made himself so obscure -– such a mystery? . . . But then –- perhaps he hasn’t. Perhaps I am blind. He has in fact given us a Bible with a comprehensive summary of his revelations, Old Testament and New Testament, Jesus teachings, the Apostles teachings, etc. He has given us a Church to codify its interpretations and teachings – and a Catechism explaining them in layman’s language.
Frankly, I must keep reminding myself of these things to erase the doubts that occasionally creep into my mind. And I thank God for repeatedly rescuing me from heresies and/or secularist nonbelievers.
As mentioned above, when I have an unusually strong burst of unbelief, I often turn to Pascal’s Wager -– to motivate me to renew the tenets of my faith, and the arguments supporting them via Sacred Scripture and the Wisdom of the Ages.
1. The argument that it is in one’s own best interest to behave as if God exists,
since the possibility of eternal punishment in hell outweighs any advantage of
Wikipedia provides an interesting description of and discussion of Pascal’s Wager, it’s pros and cons, its Theological validity, etc. If you ever find yourself in doubt, you might go to Wikipedia for a quick overview.
Pascal’s Wager – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Pascal’s Wager is an argument in apologetic philosophy devised by the seventeenth-
century French philosopher, mathematician and physicist Blaise Pascal …
Of course, if that’s not enough, there are many other discussions available on the Internet. Or better yet, read Pascal’s posthumously published Pensées (“Thoughts”). These previously unpublished notes were assembled – to form an incomplete treatise on Christian apologetics – and to put Pascal’s own arguments and that of his supporters on the record.
Please do not interpret this note as encouraging you to be a doubter. If you have unwavering faith, you have been abundantly blessed. If you believe, with little or no doubt, based on the Wisdom of the Ages, Jesus’ word, the teaching of his Apostles, the Authority of the Church that Jesus and his disciples established –- then you are beyond the need for Pascal’s Wager. You are probably already saved and en route to your eternal reward.
Nothing could be more grand!
In God we must trust . . . but we must always do our part -– to secure and promote the truth and a better way – to protect our freedom and interests -– and to defend our competitive, free-market system and the Judeo-Christian American-Way.