### Pascal's Wager and the Odds of Guessing Right

#### New Durham, New Hampshire, USA

Pascal's Wager: Bet between two choices: 1. Belief in the existence gods and 2. Nonbelief in the existence of gods.

Between 1. Belief in the existence of gods and 2. Nonbelief in the existence of gods, belief is the safer bet, for if (A) you guess in favor of belief and (B) you guess right, then you stand to gain happiness for eternity after death; but if (C) you guess in favor of nonbelief and (D) you are wrong, then you stand to gain torment for all eternity after death.

Have you ever wondered what is the possibility that if, as observed, many people 'believe' because of Pascal's Wager that belief is the safer bet, that many could simply believe the wrong religion and therefore believe in the wrong gods and therefore lose the bet through ignorance?

So, with the original wager you have a 50-50 chance of being right, and beyond that, you have one chance for as many major religions, and perhaps as many sects within the majors religions, of guessing which is the one-and-only true religion! It seems, therefore, that the odds against guessing correctly which is the one-and-only true religion are extremely high.

How many are the major religions? 1. Judaism; 2. Christianity; 3. Islam; 4. Hinduism; 5. Buddhism; 6. Confucianism; 7. Taoism. [Huston Smith, The Religions of Man, lists these seven as major religions; David Bradley, in A Guide To The World's Religions, lists eleven major religions.]

So now you have only a one in seven chance in guessing right after you guess that belief is the safer bet in Pascal's Wager.

Let's see how the mathematics work.

Pascal's Wager: 1. Belief [50% Chance] vs. 2. Nonbelief [50% chance].

You choose 1. Belief @ 50% Chance of guessing/being right.

Pascal's Wager Extended: Major Religions [After Huston Smith]: 1. Judaism; 2. Christianity; 3. Islam; 4. Hinduism; 5. Buddhism; 6. Confucianism; 7. Taoism.

If we were not dealing with the 50-50 chance of guessing in belief vs. unbelief, then these seven would show a chance/odds of 100%/7 = 15% [approx.]

Each possibility has a probability or chance of 50% divided by seven or .5/7 = .71 [approx.] or 7% chance of guessing the right major religion.

Imagine, only a 7% chance of guessing the right religion!!!

Now, you can claim that Christianity is based upon facts/corroboration/etc., but so is Judaism and Islam. thus, you would have only a one in three chance of guessing right, or 50%/3 or 16.3% chance of guessing right.

And Buddhism is also based upon claims of fact--the existence of the Buddha as a man and not a god, and who developed The Four Noble Truths, etc. If we want to include Buddhism in the historically based religions, then we have four claims-of-fact religions and the odds of guessing the right religion drop to 50%/4 = 12.5%.

And we have not exhausted all the possibilities for sects within the major religions, which ought to lower the odds of guessing right even further.

All of these confusions can be alleviated by the appearance of the gods and their revelations to us of their existence and what they want from us.

So, we are now back to the famous: Show us the gods!!!