Blaise Pascal's Argument For Atheism

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Boom. Boom. Boom. Martin Luther’s hammer pounded upon his nail. As he stood back and admired his handiwork, he could scarcely know where his hammer had struck. From the spot where metal met metal, a shockwave of change penetrated the world. As his nail sunk into the door, his hammer also fractured the foundations of the whole world. Not only did he strike the nail, but he also struck at the heart of the medieval worldview. And from the resulting chaos, arose a man whose thoughts are of great value for the church to this day, Blaise Pascal. Pascal was found deeply rooted in the tradition of Augustine, but remained a committed Catholic. He spoke into a world filled with reformation induced confusion, and is remembered mostly for his wager. He argues we must wager on God’s existence, because we cannot know with certainty if he does or does not. Then he appeals to the reader to wager that God does exist, for it is the greater gain. If one bets in…show more content…
The infamous new Atheists have taken this form of argumentation and use it to argue for the merits of atheism over theism. This is a development that seems to be rooted in this new militant form of atheism, and goes something like this:
If atheism is true, then I will have freedom and intellectual honesty, and it won’t matter if I’m not a Theist, because God doesn’t exist. If a good god does turn out to exist, he will forgive me. On the other hand if I’m a Christian, I must be sexually and morally constrained, and believe in a God I find to be morally abhorrent. The cost of being wrong is losing my whole life.
This argument is at the emotional core of the new atheist position. While this argument does not address many intellectual concerns, it speaks to the heart of the postmodern. It asks if anything could be worse than losing personal autonomy, and emphatically answers
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