Sunday, April 18, 2010

Pascal's Wager: circa 400 BC

Now when we prepare pure wine and millet and offer them with reverence and circumspection, if ghosts and spirits really exist, then we are thereby providing food and drink for our fathers [ghosts of], mothers [ghosts of]...

Of course if ghosts and spirits do not really exist, then it would seem that we are wasting the materials we use, the wine and millet. But though we expend them, it is not as though we were simply pouring the wine in a sewage ditch and throwing the millet away. For the members of the family and the people of the community can all gather to drink and eat them...
--From The Mozi--

It always bothers me when someone brings up Pascal's Wager to prove the existence of God ("it's easy to prove the existence of God!"). I now know to ask the people who use this reasoning if they are sacrificing wine and millet to their ancestors, because according to the quote above, they should be.

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