Sunday, May 7, 2017

A side-bet for “Pascal’s Wager”


For the most part, Pascal’s Wager gets little respect these days, whether among believers or agnostics.  But it turns out you can take Pascal’s logic quite seriously, and wind up … backing a horse of another color entirely.

Such are the Yazidis:  devil-worshippers by repute;  but not, it appears, Satanists.  Let us explain.

Historically, Satanists do not form any single actual church, apart from occasional aberrations:
http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/nationworld/ct-satanic-temple-monument-minnesota-20170506-story.html
Rather, they are individuals of a particular bent, who, like Faust or Aleister Crowley, out of diabolical Superbia, dabble in the dark arts.  They generally (like Faust or Crowley) formed part of some ambient mainstream faith, before defecting in service of the Prince of Lies.

As for what is really going on with the Yazidis, it is difficult to know, since they themselves -- a hermetically closed sect -- are mum on the subject, and their neighbors, being all of them detractors, cannot well be relied upon.  But roughly (and since we are dealing here with theological logic, and not with Mideast anthropology, that rough cut will do): 
(Not history, but rational reconstruction):
At some point around the dawn of the sect, its elders reasoned thus:

(1)  God the Father, maker of heaven and earth, is notoriously forgiving.  -- Here they reason with Heinrich Heine, whose reported last-words, trifling with God on his death-bed, were:
Bien sûr, il me pardonnera; c'est son métier.
(2)  Satan, on the other hand, has an evil reputation:  vicious and vindictive.  You don’t want to get on his Enemies List.
(3)  Ergo:  Placate Satan (in words, at least) in this life;  and hope for forgiveness in the next.

Such a prudentially propitiatory policy  may be compared with paying protection-money to Al Capone.  Doesn’t mean you like the guy;  it’s just an expense of doing business.

Se non è vero, è ben trovato;  think of it as a Gedankenexperiment.

The pros and cons of Pascal’s Wager  are reviewed here:

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