What are you willing to risk?
Kristie Lynn Nelson
The wager of faith and God’s existence
What would make an argument perceivable when it comes to the existence of God? The argument that Blaise Pascal made in Blaise Pascal, Thoughts, translated by W.F. Trotter (New York Collier and Son,1910. “Yes, Faith is a logical bet” provides a very convincing argument on the side of God’s existence. Yes, God is not visible in the flesh, Yes, he doesn’t speak to you verbally where you can hear him by voice, but can you achieve answers from him? Can you see him in the creations surrounding you? Can you feel him in the aura around you? Faith is not achieved without the knowledge in your soul of these perceptions and the actuality of these occurrences taking place in an individual’s life. Yet, is it worth wagering it all on faith? Pascal states “Since these benefits of faith promise to be infinite and the loss equally infinite, we must gamble on faith.” (Blaise Pascal, Thoughts, translated by W.F. Trotter (New York Collier and Son,1910).
A gamble on faith that God exists is certainly a gamble worth taking but, how do we get ourselves to that point where we are willing to gamble on this idea and believe? What will it take and is faith enough?
A person’s everyday life consists of many different occurrences throughout every minute of their everyday. People find themselves challenged multiple times throughout their lives, this is when we start to question whether it’s all worth it and if there is anyone in our lives that we can truly count on. We begin to look for answers via the internet, friends, peers, loved ones, co-workers, books, doctors and so on, but are we really ever finding the source that truly provides us with the answer that fills our souls with the hope and reassurance we are truly seeking? We begin as human beings to fall into one or more paths in our lives, some people fall into depression and seek answers from sources like, Aleister Crowley, a British occultist from the early 1900’s.
Aleister said” Do what thou wilt” meaning to tell people to do as they wish at their own will, with no regards to the law or the repercussion of who might be watching from above.
Others will fall into seeking their faith and looking to the Lord for their answers through biblical texts such as, The King James bible, John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
But which is the right path? Does God really exist? How can we believe what we can’t see, feel or hear? We know we can count on ourselves; we can see what results from the choices we make on our own accord. We can choose to go about our ever day lives without ever believing in anything or anyone but ourselves. This too is a gamble but then we can only blame ourselves if we lose. We can choose to follow a sinister person because he is visibly present, we can clearly see Aleister Crowley exists, we can see and hear him speak, but does that make him worth believing in? Perhaps, perhaps not. We can choose to follow God, a spiritual being and feeling in our hearts and souls and wager that such choice will be the right one based on results that occur within our lives that prove relatable to our beliefs and the faith we have chosen. Of course, it’s an easier choice to believe in what you can see right in front of you, but does that make it the right choice?
Look around you, can you imagine that such beauty and creation can occur just matter of fact or via a “Big Bang”? Can you gamble on the idea that all of earth’s beauty and life itself was created at the hands of one designer, one great creator of purpose?
Can you look upon a woman blessed with the seedling of another human growing within her womb or look into the eyes of a newborn child and truly say there is no God? Can you witness the act of a tragic accident and coming out of it unscathed and not believe in a higher power? Faith is not something you can just choose but something you feel in your heart and within your soul. It’s feeling the warmth of a purpose surrounding you, it’s finding the answers you are seeking via happenings that take place in your life. Often, they are not always the answers you are hoping for, but they tend to be the ones that give meaning and purpose to the path you are on and guide you in your life going forward.
“Where one door closes, another window opens”. “God doesn’t give us anything we can’t handle, or he isn’t willing to guide us through”, “Put it all in God’s hands, he will guide the way” these are all sayings family members or our elders taught us to believe when life seemed tough or things seemed unfair or hard to handle. Yet, Does God really exist? Is he worth believing in? Can we count on him to see us through life’s difficult times.?
There is really no visible human existence of God. He is not of human form and allows no means of seeing him or feeling him physically. But how do we know that any of us truly exists, that we aren’t all spiritual entities floating around this world? Yes, we can see each other, feel each other, speak to each other verbally in person, but does that mean that we exist?
Perhaps we are all part of a spirit world where God has just chosen not to reveal his physical person yet. Some would say that If God really existed why does he allow all the evils in the world, such as children with cancer, cancer itself, the abduction and abuse of any human being? The death of so many to the hands of violence? Is it possible that these evils occur from our own sinful actions, that God has sewn into us the ability to choose good or evil and that while God allows these horrific things to happen, just maybe these are the ways in which God is looking to see, who is strong enough to keep their faith in him through it all and to know that he has a reason for why these evils exist in our world. Maybe these things are the devils work to lure us to his side by losing our faith and reacting to these horrific moments in our lives with vengeance and hate.
Will we reach out to help those in need? Will we pray for those who impose hurt? Or will we just blame God and seek our own response?
It says in The King James version of the Bible, 2 Esdras 4:30, “For the grain of evil seed hath been sown in the heart of Adam from the beginning, and how much ungodliness hath it brought up unto this time? And how much shall it bring forth until the time of the threshing come”? So, will a threshing come? Is there a hereafter? Some people aren’t so sure, and this again calls into question if we as humans are infinite or if there is a finite end to all of us. The answers to these questions most assuredly require faith.
It is believed that from the moment Adam and Eve partook in the eating of the forsaken apple after being seduced by the devil, evil has been bestowed upon us and we as humans have been given or burdened with the choice and the opportunity to make life as we choose it to be. The ability to live under God’s will and purpose without needing to choose has been taken from us by Adam and Eve’s sinful acts. So, do you choose to be evil or good? Will our hereafter truly be based on our choices in life? Do we even have control of the choices we make? Is God making these choices for us or is he merely guiding us in the choices we choose?
These thoughts and questions again lead us to the idea of faith and whether we are willing to believe in the existence of God. Pascal states “you don’t have an option you must wager a choice.” but you do have an option. You have the option to just wait life out and see what happens in the end or the option to search out the answers and find that place in your life to make a choice of faith and to believe in his existence and a hereafter, if that is where your search takes you. St. Anselm argues that God” A being than which no greater can be conceived and which exists” must be real, because if he lives in your mind he must live in reality.
No one is ever forced to believe that God exists, but for some, its unimaginable that he doesn’t, and they believe the world would be an even scarier place if he did not.
Without faith in the existence of the all mighty creator and the knowledge that he is there with them every day, guiding their daily choices in life, their world would turn upside down and swirl out of control. Without belief that there is a God and an ever-after where your souls return and you meet up again with the ones you loved and lost , how would you ever get through those moments of loss throughout your life or ever deal with the thought of death being inevitable and life ending with no answers to what happens from then on? Are you finite and is there nothing more at the end of your life than turning to dust in the ground? Is there a hereafter, where your souls return to the heavens and meets up with those you loved and lost? This is where faith comes in and believing in your heart and soul that there is a God, that he has a plan for all of us, makes life and death somewhat easier to endure for most of us. The other side of this is to just simply go on existing and never believe in anything but your day to day existence and just making it through every day the best you can. You could perhaps choose to believe in the devil, some say it’s easier to believe in him, with all the cruelty, sin and evil in the world, but I ask yet again, can you see the devil? Can you feel him? Can you hear him? Does he truly exist? Of course, this too would require some form of faith, would it not?
Is Satan not part of the biblical writings where God is also written to exist? So, if you believe in one would you not then by default believe in the other? Can we have evil without having good or good without evil? We can never really know if the choices we make in life are truly the right ones, but we can get a sense by the way are lives flow and by the happenings that occur as a result of our actions, if we are on the right path and whether our choices are serving us well or making our lives harder. We do this by finding our faith in God and speaking to him through prayer and allowing him to guide us by acknowledging that what is meant to be will be through the will of God. No one can make the choice of faith for you and no one can make the existence of God more real for you than you yourself. You can attend church, you can listen to the preacher and believe in what he is saying and the sermon he is sharing with his congregation, simply because you trust in him. You can read the bible or other forms of religious text, you can sing the hymns and wear the cross around your neck, but until you find it in your own heart, until you feel it within your own soul, you can never really know faith and you will never really know what it means to believe that God does exist. The King James Bible reads from the very first book and the very first verse Genesis 1:1 “In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth.” Though we have not seen the heaven yet and we can only imagine what it holds for us and we continue to search our faith for whether it truly exists for us, we can see the earth. We can see the blue skies, the clouds, the trees, the grass, and the many creatures abound. We can hear the birds singing, the winds blowing, the lakes and oceans flowing. We are witness to the birthing of new humans every day and the multitude of miracles that take place every day, Yet, somewhere in our minds and hearts we find it difficult to imagine that there is a God? For some reason we question the existence of a creator of all this beauty and human life and believe that quite possibly this all exists because it just does?
Maybe that’s true, let’s just entertain this idea that life exists because it just does, it just happened in a big bang. Wow what intricate detail this big bang created and if this is so, then how does life continue to go on and people continue to procreate, and earth continue to rotate? Seriously think about this, how did the intricate details of your brain and all the significant pieces of your body just happen? And for that matter why? So maybe the question is, why do we exist at all? What was the purpose for our creation and for the earth? Where did it all really originate from? It would seem there had to be some form of creator and some form of logic to it all. No? It might be hard to imagine God and his existence, but does it seem any easier to imagine this scenario? Of course, it is not for me nor anyone else to judge your choices or say if you should believe or how you should believe. It is merely a suggestion with great persuasion that you do your research entirely before you make any decisions regarding your faith and the existence of God.
God’s existence while questionable by some, was never meant to be visibly seen by the human eye, at least not yet. In biblical texts it states that God arose from the tomb and went into heaven after dying for all our sins and that God has no intentions of returning until judgment day, which shall be when he decides it’s time. There are so many things you can never be certain of and so many questionable moments that take place in our lives and so many times when we are asked to just have faith that something will happen for us. There are a multitude of religions and forms of belief in this world and we all have someone in our lives who takes religion and the belief of God to intense levels and we have seen people in our lives who have pushed their beliefs on others , especially their family members, but finding ones faith is really not to be forced or expected but really just hoped for at some point in their lives. Thomas Aquinas said it best, “To the one who has faith, no explanation is necessary. To the one who has no faith, no explanation is possible.” Thomas Aquinas.
If you truly believe in the existence of God and know how amazing it is to just know in your heart that he is there and with you always, you want nothing more than to share that feeling with someone else and to be a part of their realization to his existence in their lives. The one thing that you can always hold onto for certain is that you will never know for sure if the existence of God is true without first finding him, not on street or in a store or sitting next to you at work but rather, really finding him in your heart and feeling him in your soul.
Having said all of this and given you many things to consider when determining whether God exists, or he doesn’t. In this world we live in, this thought of God will always be in question and has been for many, many years. You can always find doubt in something you can’t see, touch, feel or hear, but maybe you can’t see him because you aren’t truly looking, maybe you can’t feel him because you haven’t really opened your heart to him, maybe you can’t really touch him because you haven’t truly felt that deep loss or that life- saving event hasn’t occurred for you yet, maybe you can’t hear him because you aren’t willing to listen to him yet. It’s possible he really doesn’t exist, maybe all these things just happen for a mysterious reason that we will never really know the answers to, but are you willing to just stop there and never search it out for yourself? Is it worth it to you to just throw your hands up in the air and say who cares? What will your answers be if the day of the threshing comes? Maybe you won’t have to worry about considering any of this. Perhaps it is all just a made-up lie, so churches can make money and people can have some form of hope to focus on to get through their daily discouragements and disappointments. So, the question in the long run from all this debate is quite simply this, if you really are questioning your faith in the existence of God, Is it worth the wager?
Blaise Pascal, Thoughts, translated by W.F. Trotter (New York Collier and Son,1910). “Yes, Faith is a logical bet”
King James version, The Holy Bible (World Bible Publishers INC.,1974)
Lawrence Sutin, (St Martin’s Press Fifth avenue, NY, 2000) “Do What thou Wilt: A life of Aleister Crowley”
St Anslem, Basic Writings, translated by S.W. Deane (Open Court Publishing Company,1903)” Apologetic”
Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica. Translated by Laurence Shapcote (London: O.P. Benziger Brothers, 1911).
He is worth it all...