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Meditation 1155
Christian Film debunks Pascal's Wager

by: John Tyrrell

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I'm going to return once more, hopefully for the last time, to the recently released Left Behind, discussed previously in Meditation 1151.

I was reading Edwin Lyngar's discussion* of Christian films on Salon.com. In discussing Left Behind, he referred to the film's Muslim character -

The most offensive part of the show by far is the Muslim who is “left behind” despite his faith and love for god. The character is the kind of moderate Muslim that even American Christians could accept. He has all the right traits to join the rapture, but he must pay for the unforgivable crime of being born into the wrong culture.

I suppose the filmmakers meant this as a message to Muslims - "Turn away from your false religion and turn towards our version of Jesus Christ to be saved!"

But the message that comes across is that if you pick the wrong god (or the wrong god is chosen for you by accident of birth), you are going to be just as royally screwed come the apocalypse as non-believers.

But that's pretty much what the believers in other religions would point out too. Belief in their god - and only their god - is what is going to get you saved when our version of the apocalypse comes along.

There's no guarantee that if a religious-based apocalypse comes along that it will be the specific apocalypse promised by the Rapture-ready fringe of Christianity. It could be another form of Christian apocalypse, or it could be one of the several variations of an Islamic apocalypse, the Hindu apocalypse, the Buddhist apocalypse, the overdue Mayan apocalypse - the variations** are endless.

What we do know for certain is that if you pick any one of these gods, you will be expending a considerable part of your life in following the religion, and the odds are overwhelming that the time so devoted will be a total loss as the odds are the wrong god will be chosen. So, the person who picks a god because he buys into the logic of Pascal's Wager will suffer a double loss, both in this life and in the punitive afterlife (should it exist).

The non-believer, on the other hand, recognizes the the multitude of versions of god and the afterlife means that the rational course is to remain constant in disbelief, and maximize this life's enjoyment.

And again, the message of Left Behind is that religious belief should be decisively left behind.


* Christian right’s vile PR sham: Why their bizarre films are backfiring on them by Edwin Lyngar, Salon, 14 October 2014

** If you question whether there is a prophesied Islamic apocalypse, a Hindu apocalypse, a Buddhist apocalypse, a Mayan apocalypse - just google the term.

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