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Keymaster

To take up immanuelay’s point on Pascal’s Wager, it is certainly true that the number of different beliefs allows no easy application of it. According to certain interpretations of Christianity all the Moslems are going to hell for not believing that Jesus is God, whereas many Moslems say that believing that he is provides the fastest way to get Allah to send you to the fire. It seems that if you just want to be sure of avoiding the threat of punishment, you can’t win.

What happens after death if you have picked the wrong God rather depends on the character of whichever one happens to be right. Zeus, Jupiter and Knishna all had character traits which suggest that they could have benefitted from a course in ethics, but they weren’t intolerant of those with a preference for worshipping their rivals , and as a consequence their devotees were not concerned to convert everyone else to their belief.

Pascal’s Wager does tend to reduce hope of an afterlife to a sort of theological quiz show, in which those who have guessed wrongly receive the booby prize of everlasting torment. It has always seemd to me that this does not suggest a deity/quizmaster with a particularly exalted character, and I wonder how others are able to both believe in such a being and consider it worthy of worship.

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