Topics Worth Investigating

  1. Pascal writes in this essay:

    …there is an infinity in number. But we do not know what it is. It is false that it is even, it is false that it is odd; for the addition of a unit can make no change in its nature. Yet it is a number, and every number is odd or even (this is certainly true of every finite number. So we may well know that there is a God without knowing what He is.

    In what sense of the word "exist" is God said to exist? I.e. consider the different senses of existence for the following kinds of things: (1) matter, (2) mind, (3) numbers, (4) imaginary numbers, (5) space, and (6) nothing. How the ontological argument for God's existence related to the problem of existential import in elementary logic?

  2. Discuss the following criticism of Pascal's Wager:

    Pascal's wager suffers from the logical fallacy of false dilemma, relying on the assumption that the only possibilities are:

    1. the Christian God exists and punishes or rewards as stated in the Bible, or
    2. no God exists. 

    The wager cannot rule out the possibility that there is a God who instead rewards skepticism and punishes blind faith, or rewards honest reasoning and punishes feigned faith. In societies where faith is often rewarded by economic and social benefit, its potential moral significance is dubious. It also assumes faith costs nothing, but there may be both direct (time, health, wealth) costs and opportunity costs: those who choose to believe in, say, scientific theories that may contradict scripture may be able to discover things and accomplish things the believer could not.[1]

    Is the opportunity cost of belief in any manner comparable with an infinite payoff? Can the false dilemma be avoided by acknowledging the following Hindu belief? Krishna states:

    With whatever motive people worship Me, I fulfill their desires accordingly. People worship Me with different motives.[2]

    Would a God who understands the limitations of human reasoning permit any belief which is appropriate to the believer?

Notes

[1]

Pascal's Wager. Wikipedia.

[2]

Bhagavad Gita, 4.11.