Taking A Chance
When first-time sky-divers take to the air, they are scared. Their hearts are beating fast and someone in the plane may push out of the plane. Why do they do it? Have you ever gone sky-diving? Or do you have any high-risk hobbies or sports that you pursue? Do you enjoy an “adrenaline rush?”
Are you a risk-taker in some area? For example, perhaps you take risks in sharing your feelings, or investing your money, or becoming friends with strangers, or letting your children have a lot of independence? Were you more or less of a risk-taker as a child?
Perhaps you would not take a risk for thrills or adventure. But are there good causes that you will take a risk for? Will you risk living in a foreign country to make a better career? Or to help flood victims? Would you risk your personal safety, comfort, money, happiness, friendships, or marriage for a good cause? Have you ever put your life at risk for a cause?
What do you think of gambling? Do you have any personal experience of gambling? Do you like it or dislike it? Describe a personal experience of gambling. Some people find gambling very addictive. Have you ever known someone whose life was badly hurt by gambling? Should gambling be illegal?
Blaise Pascal was a scientist and Christian philosopher in France during the 17th century. In a book about Christian philosophy called “Pascal’s Pensees,” Pascal suggests that faith in God is a wager, a gamble. Here are some of his thoughts on “the great wager”:
“ God is, or He is not. Which side do we prefer? Reason can decide nothing here. There is an infinite chaos which separates us. A game is being played at the outer limits of this infinite distance where heads or tails will turn up. What will you wager? According to reason, you can do neither the one thing nor the other; according to reason, you can defend neither of the propositions. Which will you choose? You have two things to win – the true and the good. You have two things to stake, your reason and your will, your knowledge and your happiness; and your nature has two things to shun, error and misery. Your reason is no more shocked in choosing one rather than the other, since you must of necessity choose.” Etc. . . .
Pascal also says:
“According to the doctrine of chance, you ought to put yourself to the trouble of searching for the truth; for if you die without worshipping the True Cause, you are lost. “But”, you say, “if He had wished me to worship Him, He would have left me signs of His will.” - He has done so; but you neglect them. Seek them, therefore; it is well worth it.”
What do you think of Pascal’s wager?