So, thinking about the Ancient Aliens stuff, Jan Irvin's "Magic Mushrooms are a basis of the Christian Faith" routine, and UFO / paranormal things in general, I wonder why any of these things are accepted as normal or reasonable compared to the historic Christian faith? The world goes to astounding extremes to plug the putative "God-shaped hole" with anything but Biblical teaching. Pascal's wager makes eminent sense to me, pointing out that of the possible choices, living the Christian life is best for you and everyone around you. When I shuffle off this mortal coil, as the curtain falls, and the lights go down, if all I see is blackness, then...nothing...what have I lost? Ravaging my body with damaging chemicals (cocaine, meth, aspartame...), ravishing other bodies with psyche-draining serial one-night stands, not to mention diseases, contracted or shared, or just living as a lump, satisfying my own whims at the expense of others. I listened to an XM show "The Skeptic's Guide to the Universe", hosted by skeptics (though not of the militant atheist type), and BOY it was unpleasant to listen to. Smug, self-satisfied attitudes. Nothing terrible or faith-shaking, but the sort of conversation that if I was seated at the next table at the cafe, I would move.
A summary of the wager is:
- One does not know whether God exists.
- Not believing in God is bad for one's eternal soul if God does exist.
- Believing in God is of no consequence if God does not exist.
- Therefore it is in one's interest to believe in God.
Being an uncomprehending and unsophisticated oaf, I ignore them. It makes sense to me. I would rather live a life which blesses and helps those around me, so that at least I may depart leaving fond memories of myself. The stats have been in...believers are more giving, more charitable than non-believers. At least partially the pudding's proof.
The differences in charity between secular and religious people are dramatic. Religious people are 25 percentage points more likely than secularists to donate money (91 percent to 66 percent) and 23 points more likely to volunteer time (67 percent to 44 percent). And, consistent with the findings of other writers, these data show that practicing a religion is more important than the actual religion itself in predicting charitable behavior. For example, among those who attend worship services regularly, 92 percent of Protestants give charitably, compared with 91 percent of Catholics, 91 percent of Jews, and 89 percent from other religions. -
"Believers give more to secular charities than non-believers do"
Nuthin' more...just some thoughts.