As someone who is not a Christian, when I try to think of the best reason for the belief in Christian God, I do not arrive at cosmological arguments, ontological arguments, teleological arguments, etc. (all of which do not provide direct reasons for a belief in a Christian God) - or things such as historical evidence for the resurrection of Jesus (this would provide a direct reason for a Christian God, but in my view, evidence is pretty weak) but rather I arrive at ‘modified Pascal’s wager’.
Let’s take the analogy of betting: Let’s say that we have a tournament containing 4 teams and the specifics of these teams are following:
[Team Name - Likelihood of victory - coefficient]
Team A - 99% - 1.05
Team B - 0.8% - 1,000,000,000
Team C - 0.1% - 1,000,000,000
Team D - 0.1% - 1,000,000,000
Let’s assume that you have $1 to make a bet + you can only bet on 1 team. If a person tries to earn money the most amount of money from betting and we can run this simulation 10000 times, it seems pretty straightforward that a rational person will always bet on team B and that if anyone is betting on teams A,C,D, - they are irrational.
Even though Team A has 99% to win the tournament, it would be irrational to bet on Team A due to the profit/loss ratio.
Now, we can apply the same logic to religions. Let’s say that Atheist A believes the following probabilities:
Atheism - 99.99%
Christianity - 0.004%
Deism - 0.003%
Islam - 0.001%
Other religions/views - 0.002%
- Let’s make an assumption that Christianity claims that anyone who believes (or tries to believe) & follows the doctrines will get the maximum amount of happiness in heaven for all of eternity, and anyone who does not believe & follow the doctrines will get the maximum amount of punishment in hell (for eternity).
If these are the probabilities + rules of the game, if atheist A is a rational person they would become Christian even though, in their mind, atheism is very likely to be correct. However, if they care about their well-being, one would have to be very irrational not to become a Christian under this scenario, because heaven & hell are places for maximum amount of happiness/sadness for all of eternity.
Now, there are a few fairly obvious ways you can avoid this kind of argument, + of course, you can use this argument for other worldviews. But without going into 100 possible answers to this (because it would take some period of time to answer all potential objectives I can think of, + there are objectives I haven’t thought of yet), I want to hear what are your thoughts about this kind of argument? Let me hear your objections and then I can follow-up on these.
P.S. Let me just mention that one can assign a probability of 0.007% that there is a God who will send all Christians to hell and therefore, this kind of argument would work against Christianity. However, that person would have to argue that this kind of God is more likely than a Christian God.