Does it pay to believe in God? Math point of view on salvation.

Admit it, you did not expect math in the religion. You will think that the title of this article is a clickbait, but it is not. Have you ever heard of Pascal's wager?

Blaise Pascal - was a French mathematician, inventor and Catholic theologian (sic!). Pascal was born 19th June 1623 and died 19th August 1662.

Live as if you were playing poker

I like to play poker, which is why decision theory is very familiar to me. It is a mathematical approach to making decisions in life / game to make optimal choices. You can use it in every day problems, not only games with uncertainty.

Thanks to this knowledge I am not afraid to spend more money when others consider it to be stupid:

  • bitcoin - early adaptation,
  • good shoes - longer durability,
  • more expensive safier car - I increase the chance of an accident survival

All such decisions are so-called EV + which means they have a positive expected value. If you fail you lose small versus if you were right with your choice.

This means that in the long run I spent less to achieve the same or in other words - I gain a lot although investing paradoxically - less (time matters here, and people are very often too impatient to see the result).

Pascal's wager on the existence of God

Blaise Pascal's wager was described posthumously in the "Thoughts" book.

Pascal argues that it is rational (sic!) To believe in God because eternal life has infinite value.

As clear as a day.

Let us assume that there is a very small P (probability) that God exists. Then even if being religious has a very small P then those P multiplied by the infinity (value of eternal life) gives an infinite value. So an infinite EV gain.

Let's quote Pascal: [my translation from polish]

Consider profit and loss, assuming that God is there. Let us consider these two cases: if you win, you gain everything; if you lose, you do not lose anything. Assume then that He is without hesitation.

From a mathematical point of view, it pays to believe in God!

I mainly publish in polish language, sorry for mistakes in english :)
Thank you for reading! Resteems, follows and upvotes highly appreciated!


- title picture from Pixabay, free for comercial use
- Blaise Pascal picture, not edited, source: by user "Janmad"

Inspired by sources:

- "The Improbability Principle: Why coincidences, Miracles, and Rare Events Happen Every Day" by David J. Hand