The flaw in Pascale's wager

Pascale's (bastardized) wager basically states that you should believe in God because:

  • If God exists and you believe in God, you'll gain eternal happiness.
  • If God exists and you don't believe in God, you'll gain eternal damnation.
  • If God doesn't exist and you don't believe in God, nothing happens.
  • If God doesn't exist and you believe in God, nothing happens.

Going by game theory, you'll almost certainly want to pick the first option. You have the most to gain by choosing it. This is probably the philosophical game that John Von Neumann played with in his late stages of cancer, when his purported fear of death caused his Catholism to intensify.

Whether the anecdote is true or not is beside the point, because the list of options in the logic of Pascale's (bastardized) wager is wrong. Nothing does not indeed happen in the last option.

If you live your life by the last option then you rob yourself of the freedom and autonomy to just be the universe experiencing itself. You will be slave to a false reality for the entirety of your belief structure's lifespan, which could very well be your entire life.

So if you're on the ropes about the whole concept, there's a 50% chance that if you do end up believing in God that you're eliminating the once in an ever opportunity of existing as a completely free and unbound being.