https://icaroinvicto.tumblr.com/post/145202394437/audio_player_iframe/icaroinvicto/tumblr_o7dstvsICs1u9zj41?audio_file=http%3A%2F%2Fpd.npr.org%2Fanon.npr-mp3%2Fnpr%2Fatc%2F2016%2F05%2F20160515_atc_with_interfaith_sunday_schools_parents_dont_have_to_choose_one_religion.mp3

With Interfaith Sunday Schools, Parents Don’t Have To Choose One Religion (Podcast)

The podcast episode above explains one option for interfaith families. Another is to choose a third option, if neither of the parents’ religions are held that strongly. Here are some posts that share the possibilities I’m familiar with:

The Fatal Flaw in Pascal’s Wager

Practically everyone who leaves supernatural beliefs and the churches that espouse them behind will hear Pascal’s Wager at some point. What’s Pascal’s Wager? Here’s what Wikipedia tells us:

Pascal’s Wager is an argument in apologetic philosophy devised by the seventeenth-century French philosopher, mathematician andphysicist Blaise Pascal (1623–62).[1] It posits that humans all bet with their lives either that God exists or that he does not. Based on the assumption that the stakes are infinite if God exists and that there is at least a small probability that God in fact exists, Pascal argues that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (some pleasures, luxury, etc.), whereas they stand to receive infinite gains (as represented by eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).[2]

Pascal’s Wager was thrown in my face when I ‘came out’ as an atheist. I was asked, by a certain a capplla Church of Christ believer, ‘What if you’re wrong?’ She then followed up by arguing that it was safer to believe than not to believe. The fatal flaw in this argument? The many, many belief systems around various gods.

The a cappella Churches of Christ have historically argued that one can only be saved by believing in Jesus as the only savior (some insist a complete understanding of his godhood is part of that), repenting of one’s sins, and being baptized by immersion (most use the trinitarian formula, while others prefer the ‘in the name of Jesus’ way). This, of course, immediately puts all pedobaptists (people who christen infants) in a bad spot, as their baptism was never valid. It also throws into question the salvation of everyone who was baptized by immersion who didn’t believe that baptism was necessary for salvation. That is, Baptists and others normally see baptism as an outward sign of something that has already happened. Months or years can pass between believing and being baptized, during which time people believe they are saved, but according to the Churches of Christ really aren’t.

Just within the larger Stone-Campbell Restoration Movement and even just among a cappella Churches of Christ there are factions, some tiny, that insist that their outlook is the best. Although many accept the other Churches of Christ as ‘brethren in error,’ some are so extreme as to doubt the salvation of any outside their little fellowship. 

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With so many varieties of Christianity claiming that their way is the only true way, Pascal’s Wager becomes meaningless. It’s no longer a ‘simple’ question of believing God exists (and I imagine Pascal, a Catholic, assumed that belief would be within the Roman Catholic framework), but rather a matter of believing the right way about that God and doing the right things to get into his good graces. Even conservative evangelicals who don’t believe in the necessity of baptism exclude the vast majority of the human species from salvation, as the latter have not yet believed in Jesus and asked him to be their personal lord and savior.

Pascal’s Wager is a useless farce of an argument in favor of belief in God. If you need any further convincing, the video below goes through its many flaws fairly thoroughly

See Also: