ronbutters at AOL.COM ronbutters at AOL.COM
Sun Dec 20 18:01:13 UTC 2009

Hmm. I don't know if I believe or not. How do I even know that it is an important question? I just try not to be anxious.

------Original Message------
From: Jonathan Lighter
Sender: ADS-L
ReplyTo: ADS-L
Subject: Re: [ADS-L] atheist
Sent: Dec 20, 2009 11:10 AM

As Pascal observed, remaining neutral is not the safer bet at all, if by
"safe" you mean, "to my (heh heh) advantage."

If God exists and demands that you believe in Him, remaining neutral isn't
good enough. You do your believing or you don't.  Neutrality is disbelief.

If you're a Greek pagan and don't believe in much of an afterlife for anyone
but great heroes and fiendish villains, you may have nothing to
lose through neutrality. You go to Hades and become a shade of your former
self regardless. (Unless Pascal's God is real, in which case you might get a
pass as a "virtuous pagan," especially if you were in the ground before the
First Century AD.)

On the other hand, if you fear that God punishes and rewards everyone
eternally in an afterlife, the safer bet is to believe.

Just to (heh heh) work the odds. Know what I mean?


 On Sun, Dec 20, 2009 at 10:56 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at> wrote:

> ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> -----------------------
> Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
> Subject:      Re: atheist
> -------------------------------------------------------------------------------
> At 12/19/2009 11:26 PM, Laurence Horn wrote:
> >At 9:41 PM -0500 12/19/09, Joel S. Berson wrote:
> >>At 12/19/2009 09:19 PM, Mark Mandel wrote:
> >>>  3. and he chooses to behave as if there is no God.
> >>
> >>Risky.  The probabilistic expectation is greater if one chooses to
> >>believe in God.
> >So you're wagering with Pascal then?
> Now that Larry has refreshed my memory, so that I know whom to look
> for at the casino, yes.
> And in response to Dave Wilton:
> >The safer bet is remaining neutral and not believing in any.
> The safer bet is to believe in one (in the right one?  in the right
> several?).
> Joel
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society -

"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

The American Dialect Society -

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