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Strings Attached

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by SigurdReginson, Apr 18, 2021.

  1. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Well-Known Member
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    If it's one thing everyone on here is familiar with, I assume, it's Pascal's Wager. It seems to be a favorite thing for folks to harp on when proselytizing, and it's been covered and picked over to death...

    Often times, the concept goes that if it takes no effort, why not accept the gift of eternal life to avoid an eternity of torment? It's free, after all!

    Here's the thing, though...

    No one said anything about "eternal torment" until it was brought up by the person offering "eternal life." It's like someone giving away nightlights and saying, "Why not have these free night lights in your house? It makes it easy to see if you need to get up to go to the bathroom and don't want to stub your toe, and plus it's the only thing that keeps away the blood starved boogie men from stripping the flesh from your bones in the most horrific ways imaginable." No one would have ever thought about boogie men eating them until the person giving away these night lights told them about it.

    It's not really a "free gift" then, is it? There's strings attached. If anything, altering everything about the way you are, the way you live, and (especially) the way you think is a pretty steep price to pay...

    In what way is any religion truly "free" without strings attached? Are there any religions out there that don't introduce concepts of spiritual danger (such as hell)? Is respecting Pascal's Wager just acquiescing to intimidation and manipulation, or is it actually a valid way to understand the nature of reality? If not, what would make it valid?
     
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  2. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    I'm having a hard time thinking of the strings that are attached in non-Abrahamic faiths. Not saying they couldn't be there. Just saying I can't think of any...
     
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  3. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Well-Known Member
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    Hmmm... What's the motivation for living a good or positive life in your faith? If I lived a bad or negative life, would there be any kind of bad fate for me? If I didn't know about your religion, would I fear or even know about that terrible fate?

    Are there negative spiritual consequences in your faith?
     
  4. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    Cause/effect, the way I see it. Stick your hand on a hot stove, your hand will get burnt. Treat others poorly, they won't want to be around you. Karma comes into play, but its not really some mystical being or system doling out punishment or reward. Its just the neutral consequences of our actions.

    I suppose one could look at the hope of a more positive rebirth as a possible string, but I don't see that belief as being required. Hinduism's pretty broad. You'll find all kinds of beliefs.

    Hinduism also doesn't bother with if others know about it or not... actually, its somewhat difficult for a newcomer to get into. Not because its exclusionary, but it just isn't set up like that.

    The negative spiritual consequences aren't really any different than any other consequences. For example, I did not do my 'spiritual routine' this morning. I don't believe any deity out there is angry, or that I will face a penalty. However, on days this happens, I feel more scattered and less grounded.
     
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  5. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Well-Known Member
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    Hinduism really is a different beast when compared to Abrahamic beliefs, and I don't feel knowledgeable enough about it to say anything one way or the other. I did have boss in the past who did say that "there are going to be a lot of Americans who are going to hell..." because we eat beef. That said, there are a lot of different kinds of Hindu beliefs out there, so that might not be a universal thing. He also said that those who lived good lives would reincarnate as something better, while those who didn't would reincarnate as something lesser.

    Something to keep in mind, too, is that folks who practice Hinduism don't generally try to convert anyone to their belief system that I'm aware of. One exception might be those who practice Hare Krishna, though the founder of Hare Krishna had said that it wasn't a Hindu belief system.
     
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  6. JustGeorge

    JustGeorge Well-Known Member
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    I've never met a Hindu that felt that way(or at least verbalized it) about eating beef! I believe only 33% of Hindus are vegetarians, though it is true most don't eat beef.

    I think the idea of a good life bringing a better next life or a bad life bring a worse next life is not uncommon, but as far as things being universal, there isn't much that is across the board in Hinduism. Personally, I think of it as consequence again. Its not a reward or punishment, but rather we attract what we put out. And truth be told, lives and personalities are not 'good' or 'bad', but a complex combination of myriads of factors... who can say a person is all good or all bad? Who can say a life was totally a good life or a bad one? Its all perspective.
     
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  7. sun rise

    sun rise "This is the Hour of God"
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    Buddhism is all about the reality of suffering in this life and a way to relieve that suffering.
     
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  8. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    non-believers use it negative (the Wager)

    but I do believe in consequence
    for the postings I done here

    and the angelic will scroll through all of this.....and ask
    THIS!.....is what you believe?

    and because I posted FOR belief......
    conseuence is pending

    and the same for non-believers
     
  9. crossfire

    crossfire Antinomian feminist heretic freak ☿
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    The Four Solaces of Buddhism makes more sense to me than Pascal's Wager.
    See verse 17 of the Kalama Sutta.
     
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  10. SigurdReginson

    SigurdReginson Well-Known Member
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    I seem to notice believers using the negative as well. I've had people stop me in the street and tell me that I needed to avoid hell and repent for my sins... Which was weird, since all I was doing was just walking on the sidewalk. Maybe they saw me jay walking earlier? Maybe I just look like a trouble maker? That one is probably more likely. :D

    In any case, does it not seem coercive to you? The prospect of accept my help, or else?
     
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  11. Conscious thoughts

    Conscious thoughts Veteran Member

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    Religious/spiritual practice is all about change, changing in to a better human being (at least it is supposed to be)
    So the strings you speak of Hell is not actually meant to scare non believers or people from other religions. But to give a hint to the followers of a certain religion about the possability that if the person does not get saved/saving them self by righerous practice , it can lead to more and more suffering, Suffering according to many religions is to be so attached to this physical world and its pleasures that the human being lose the ability to see and understand spiritual aspect of human life, and why we have them.

    So a believer should not force their own belief on to others, but they speak about their belief because they believe its good for everyone to feel what they them self experiences in their religious path.

    But to tell someone: You are going to hell. that is not good, How can the believer know it is not them self who end up in hell if they do bad deeds?
     
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  12. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    I know that only too well, but I am a Baha'i so there are a lot of requirements that other religions don't have....
    It is a way of life, a whole way of thinking, not just a belief in God I hold.
    Christianity.... All you have to do is believe in Jesus to get eternal life, no laws, no nothing, now how hard is that? ;)
     
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  13. Secret Chief

    Secret Chief Meghalayan Ape

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    Buddhism speaks of hell/s. These realms are considered real (ie a place of torment) or metaphorical (hell in the here and now of our life), depending on the school.

    - What are the six realms?
     
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  14. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    Salvation from what? Interesting question. It really does not matter in and for Pascal's wager, what the salvation is from, annihilation, eternal torment, existence away from God (which is spiritual death), salvation from Nirvana or whatever else one might be saved from, including just normal death that lasts forever. Even if there is no suffering the wager works. Even if there is only reward for those who accept the gift of salvation. The wager works in all cases.
    Believe this for nothing and end up in a paradise, don't believe it and miss out.
    The thing about the wager that is the problem imo is that even if salvation is a gift and the ultimate reward is great, it does require you to lose everything for the sake of Jesus in this life. So the gift comes with strings and that is repentance and handing your life over to the Lord. That should be explained to those who accept the gift.
    That is probably a major factor that stops people from becoming a disciple of Jesus.
     
  15. Twilight Hue

    Twilight Hue The gentle embrace of twilight has become my guide

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    It's definitely a different take and quite on the spot.

    The psychological impact certainly has merit in compulsively pushing folks into thinking something is one thing while it's another.

    It's probably why these types of beliefs have a long shelf life.
     
  16. Thief

    Thief Rogue Theologian

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    yea....on the street chatter tends to be more recital than perspective
     
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  17. 1213

    1213 Well-Known Member

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    It depends on what is meant with the free gift. In Biblical point of view, forgiveness of sins is a free gift, you can’t do anything to earn it. But, different thing is, who gets eternal life. Bible promises eternal life for righteous. Even that is also free gift, but it is only for certain people.

    These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life.
    Mat. 25:46

    For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
    Romans 6:23
     
  18. Trailblazer

    Trailblazer Veteran Member

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    What does that mean to you, repentance and handing your life over to the Lord?
    What does that mean to you, lose everything in this life for the sake of Jesus?
    How many Christians do you think even know what the following verses mean or take them seriously?

    Matthew 16:24-26 Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me. For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: and whosoever will lose his life for my sake shall find it. For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

    Jesus was saying to deny our selfish desires, things we want that are not of God, and to follow in His Way. For whoever will live for self shall lose his eternal life, but whoever will sacrifice his life for the sake of Jesus shall gain eternal life. So if we live for self and the worldly things we gain the world but we lose our soul because we lose eternal life. Eternal life refers to a “quality” of life, nearness to God, which according to Jesus comes from believing in Him and following in His way.

    John 12:24-26 Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit. He that loveth his life shall lose it; and he that hateth his life in this world shall keep it unto life eternal. If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will my Father honour.

    How many people do you think are going to hate their life in this world in order to gain eternal life, or don't you believe Jesus meant that literally? I think it means that people who are attached to their life and all the worldly things it has to offer will lose eternal life. It is kind of like not being able to have your cake and eat it too. But people want both and come up with all kinds of rationalizations so they can have both. Baha'is do it too even though Baha'u'llah said essentially the same things as Jesus said about self and the world. I don't know what to say but this has kind of been a thorn in my side because I really believe what Jesus and Baha'u'llah said and I take it seriously.
     
  19. Brian2

    Brian2 Well-Known Member

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    I think Pascal's wager is only about the existence of a life after this one. What sort of life and if it is good for some and bad for others is not included except by people who extrapolate the wager to a more restricted belief and not a general
    life after death" belief.
     
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