September 14, 2014

Dismantling Pascal's Wager

Blaise Pascal argued that if reason cannot be ...
Blaise Pascal argued that if reason cannot be trusted, it is a better "wager" to believe in God than not to do so. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Like it or not (and I don't like it one bit), it is apparent that those of us who limit ourselves to producing text content are limiting our reach considerably. The people, particularly the younger ones, want podcasts, image-oriented memes, and YouTube videos. And while I don't plan to do any of this anytime soon, I'm glad that others are doing so. We need variety, especially if it leads to greater reach.

I've only recently started to watch more than the occasional atheist-oriented video on YouTube. I know, I'm horribly behind the times in this regard. I'm not sure what to say except that I haven't wanted to do anything that requires me to sit in front of a computer for any more time than I already sit in front of a computer. This has meant that I probably haven't been watching more than 1-2 YouTube videos a month.

After picking up a Chromecast recently, I've been watching more atheist-oriented videos on YouTube. I may still be anchored to the TV to which I attach it, but I can at least move around while using it. Watching more videos has been an interesting experience because I am finally starting to become familiar with some of the names I've heard regularly but did not know much about.

After reading about Matt Dillahunty's Atheist Debates project on Friendly Atheist, I thought it sounded interesting and watched the video on Pascal's Wager (below).



I thought this was an excellent video. I really like the idea of brief videos designed to thoroughly dismantle some of the more commonly encountered Christian arguments. I imagine such videos will be of great interest to atheists who may not have spent much time studying these arguments and their many flaws. I found this one to be a great refresher, since it has probably been 20 years since I devoted any serious thought to Pascal's Wager.

Perhaps videos like this will even lead any Christians courageous enough to watch them to start asking questions about some of what they have been taught. I'm not suggesting that Christians will instantly be converted after watching one of these videos. Far from it. But I think that watching videos like this might prompt some to examine their faith more critically, ask more relevant questions, and even begin to doubt their faith.

In any case, Dillahunty is a perfect example of someone I have heard about quite a bit but with whom I've had little familiarity. I don't have much interest in watching his call-in show (or any other call-in show for that matter), but I'd love to see more videos like this one. I think he's on to something useful here, and I look forward to seeing what he comes up with next.

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