It Just Takes One

Here’s an obvious but important asymmetry that occurred to me when I was reading Mary C. Neal’s 7 Lessons from Heaven about her near-death experience.  In the book, she discusses not only her own visit to Heaven, where she met Jesus, and the effect it had on her life, but also the similar experiences of many other people.  I’ve done a fair amount of reading in this area, and there are indeed many such credible accounts from many different people.  See, for example, The Science of Near-Death Experiences (John C. Hagan III, M.D., editor).

Now, here’s my point:  It may be the case that some of these accounts turn out to be mistaken, exaggerated, or even fabricated.  But if even one of them is true, then you can’t be atheist, can you?  To be an atheist, you have to disbelieve not just one of them, or some of them, or most of them, but all of them.

And this is so not only for near-death experiences, but for similar supernatural occurrences, is it not?

And it is true, as well, for Pascal’s Wager:  As noted in my short essay elsewhere on this site, “Why I Am a Christian (and You Should Be, Too) in 600 Words,” there are “various cosmological (Kalam, Thomas, Leibnizian, etc.), scientific evidentiary, design, moral, and other arguments” in favor of God’s existence.  They do not all have to be plausible to make the case for betting the way Pascal urges us to; if any one of them is plausible, that’s enough.  I might add that, in addition to these arguments for God’s existence, there is also the argument from accounts of supernatural events, whether the Bible generally or individual experiences like Dr. Neal’s.

One last elaboration, on the preceding paragraph:  Given the fact that there is so much more to be lost by being wrong in rejecting God versus being wrong in accepting Him, Pascal would say that the proofs and other evidence of God need to be not only less than 50 percent likely but much less likely than that.  Are you willing to bet your soul that all these proofs, all this evidence, all these accounts of near-death and other supernatural events are flatly wrong?