By Ekenedirichukwu Anselm Alita
Our world for so long has felt the ferocious pummels of atheism. For many years arguments have towered, all seeking to deny the existence of God. For on the one hand the mere fact that God exist already stands as a standard, a standard from which every other thing is measured, and on the other hand the many ugly throes that sets our existence on the sea of storms equally beg the questions, where is God?, is there any world apart from the present world, is there eternal life? Many philosophers have argued breathlessly on this, that even the arguments offered by some medieval philosophers like St. Anselm, st. Thomas Aquinas and the likes on the existence of God have not been enough to saturate the atheistic thirsts of the likes of Friedrich Nietzsche, Jean Paul Satre and some others, who through their own arguments posit the death of God. Worthy of note is the militant atheism of Nietszche who did not only proclaim the death of God in his work “the gay Science” but equally who willed to kill God were he to be mortal that could be killed. Our world today has followed the path of Nietszche as it tries to stamp God out in virtually everything, it enjoys the illusion of telling itself that God is dead and as such everything is allowed as man now becomes the measure of all things, creating his own values, obliterating the obvious line that separates black and white.
Many arguments have raged on, a preponderance of them bent on proving that there is no God and there is no heaven on earth, people want a prove of this before they could believe, but since there are no evident prove, since they are just beliefs, the virulent strides to stamp it out increases. The question of the existence of God or heaven or hell, truth be told are beliefs, which when left to the often cruel talons of reason may lose its relevance, but does this actually disprove that these things exist. No it does not. For the mere question of atheism already presupposes theism, just like the mere talk of misconception already presupposes conception. So from this angle we see that atheism still stands on quicksand. However the best approach that should be adopted as regards the question of heaven or hell and the existence of God is to be found in that proposed by the philosopher Blaise Pascal
Blaise Pascal approach the question of heaven, hell and the existence of God
for Pascal, we simply don’t know the answer to the question, does God exist. While other philosophers set out to prove the existence of God by rational arguments, Pascal opines that in such situation we should take the position of a gambler. For a every gambler takes a certain risk for an uncertain gain. If the chances on the one side equal that on the other side then you are playing for the same odds. The issue, then, is a matter of wager for which there are four possible outcomes, which of cause have radically different consequences:
1) If God exists, and we believe in him, then our reward will be infinitely great,
2) If God exists, and we do not believe in him, then we will lose out on this reward
3) If God does not exist, and we believe in him then we’ve gained or lost nothing
4) If God does not exist, and we do not believe in him, then we’ve gained or lost nothing
For Pascal, by weighing on these outcomes, we should be psychologically compelled to believe in God, since that promises the greater possibility of reward.
ADOPTING BLAISE PASCAL APPROACH
An overview of the modern world, standing on the wings of advanced science and technology, rotting away in the cesspool of moral bankruptcy and held bound in the shackles of atheism, one would easily see the many reasons why the modern world wants to stamp God out of their lives. For the mere acceptance that God exists serves as a reproach to them, a limitation of freedom. So it is easier to say that God does not exist so that the modern man can captain his own ship. So in a bid to remove God from the picture, or for man to play God, man deletes or try to remove anything that reminds it of God. This is seen in the labeling of religion a cauldron of superstitions, in science trying so much to discredit faith, to the extent of denying that there is an animating principle or a vivifying or life giving principle in man, thereby reducing man to mere matter or a composite of atoms.
However if we are to adopt Blaise Pascal’s approach and begin to see life from the window of being a wager perhaps this game of playing the ostrich would end. If we are to go by the possibility, that is the believe that just maybe at the end there is a God, which presupposes eternal life then the world will take a different outlook. But with the way the world is going, we act as though we have become very sure that there is no God that the question of heaven or hell and God are but mere flamboyant fern and fad, which are still held by the ignorant.
Presently the world is on its knees, broken by just a virus. Our sophisticated technologies haven’t saved us; our science that prided itself as having reached its acme has equally failed us; our wealth even in their billions remains paralyzed. Does not this inform us of the urgent need to adopt Pascal’s stand, since that promises a greater possibility of reward? This is a time indeed to weigh the options before us and take the side whence at the end it be false we lose nothing but if it turns out to be true we gain everything. If there has ever been a time to believe in God more, it is in this period, where the chariots and horses of advanced technologies, sciences and wealth has failed us. We still have another door opened to us, to announce there is a force greater than anything else that could be imagined, and this force is God. So, in life what we are wagering is eternal life and happiness as compared with your finite life and unhappiness. And to say there is another life outside of this one, Pascal says affirms the existence of God. So, when the arsenals of science and technology fail us and the comfort of our wealth flee, we can only turn to the ultimate help of the helpless, whom we call God.