Even in my mom’s loving voice I understood her tactic when she asked me,
“Would you rather believe in God and find out you were right, or not believe in Him and find out you were wrong?”
“Wouldn’t you rather believe in God just in case he is real?”
Even at seventeen years old I remembered the insincerity of such a belief. If by definition, God was all-knowing, wouldn’t God know one’s intentions?
Nearly fifty years later I discovered this is actually a four-hundred year-old philosophical argument that was presented by the French theologian Blaise Pascal. (1623–1662). It is now known as Pascal’s wager. It says that human beings make a wager with their lives that God either exists or does not exist.
Beginning at seventeen years old I accepted this challenge from my mother. Although she is no longer here, I still thank her for letting me make that choice. It was easy to understand at an early age that one’s belief in the Christian god was partly based on the fear of a miserable eternity. It was a belief not based on honesty but rather to avoid a negative outcome.
The converse of the belief was equally disturbing. It was also based on an eternity of paradise. Was there really something more wonderful that awaited me after I died?
It seems much more courageous to believe this morsel of time we call life is both heaven and hell, depending on our choosing. The combination of both a loving creator God and a tortuous hell seems simply irreconcilable.
Since 1975 I have witnessed what many have called miracles. But did they happen at the hand of a creator who personally cared about me? Or did they manifest from perseverance, good intentions, and having a friend like you?
Since I do not have evidence I would rather die with a clear conscience. During my last moments, I will not be concerned with what awaits me. But if I have breath to spare, I will thank you for being my friend and adding so much richness to my life.
We don’t have to wait or die to find paradise. It is here and now. If you want to find God, seek God within yourself and you will find God in everything else.