Cross-Post re Pascal’s Wager

I recently posted this on National Review Online‘s “The Corner”:

I very much enjoyed Kayla Bartsch’s Corner post on Friday (“Sociology Comes for Sundays”) and would like to add a bit to it. It is certainly true that “religious practice” can have a variety of secular benefits, even if one lacks solid faith, and that noting those benefits “is a good way to get a skeptic’s ‘foot in the door,’ so to speak.”

My addition: I am a great fan of Pascal’s wager, as I often note on my Mere Pensees blog (see “Posts Related to Pascal’s Wager” here). And, as I have noted on NRO, my take on the wager includes arguments that — even if turns out that there is no God — one loses little, if anything, in this world by cultivating one’s faith. Of course, if it turns out that there is a God, then one is (literally) infinitely better off having had faith than not. QED, cultivate your faith.

In other words, the recognition of the secular benefits of religious practice that Kayla’s post discusses should lead one not only to continue those practices despite a lack of solid faith but to conclude that one ought to develop solid faith by cultivating it. One stands to gain eternity and likely loses little to boot.

P.S.: I hasten to add that the evidence and arguments for God generally and the divinity of Jesus of Nazareth in particular are strong so that faith is not, as the old gibe had it, the act of believing in something one knows is not true.