- Mar 8, 2008
Are you familiar with a philosophical argument known as Pascal's Wager. Pascal suggested that one should adopt the christian faith (and the christian god) based on a simple cost/benefit analysis.No because if they are not fake, then surely you are the one who loses out?
I would go on to say that he mistakenly comes to the conclusion that belief in God is more appropriate then disbelief because you stand more to loose in disbelief IF you happen to be wrong.
So I assume that our mini-debate is contingent on the probability of whether said guru is fake. And how much doubt we can hold within us without changing our faith.
For example, if you had 100 percent doubt in your Guru, surely you would not follow him. And if you had no doubt, then of course you will follow him. But as human beings, im sure all of us question, doubt and wonder from time to time so either extreme is unsuitable. Moreover, I know it is problematic associating number values to subjective experiences like doubt; however, I suspect that your threshold for "tolerating" doubt is much higher then mine for we both agree that any Guru could be a fake, but you choose to follow said Guru(s) and I remain doubtful despite similar understandings and expectations we have arrived at different positions. This "toleration of doubt" (also known as "faith") is something I find very interesting. (Sidenote: Part of me wonders if this "faith" is purely psychological or a biological product. I theorize that some people are biologically incapable of believing in god because they are born without this "faith organ" so to say. And some people are biologically incapable of accepting Atheism because perhaps the notion of God is, itself, an evolutionary by-product.)
Secondly, I admit if your point of view is right—I may stand to lose. For arguments sake though, let us say my point of view is right. Is there any loss for you in following a false Guru? More importantly, if this person was still compassionate, kind, humble etc but not a Guru—is there any loss in following him?
If not, then perhaps I don't lose anything in my disbelief either for I can choose to follow people who are not Guru's by any means but who are indeed compassionate, humble, kind etc.
So to summarize. The two outstanding questions that remain are:
"Is there a certain amount of faith below which religious belief is impossible? And is this faith dependant on the person. If so, are some people just suckers for God (ie. blind faith)?"
"If there is nothing to loose in following a compassionate, kind, but false Guru—does the humanist really loose anything at all? If there is something to lose in following a false Guru (who is compassionate, kind, etc) what is it?" *See Amazon Tribe Argument Below
With regards to the second outstanding question. I will put fourth this thought experiment.
Amazon Tribes Thought Experiment:
Suppose I visit an amazonian tribe that has never been visited by modern man (like the one above, which is actually an image of an uncontacted tribe). And I go there under the guise of Guru Nanak and I teach these people his philosophy word for word as if it was my own and I answer there questions in the same manner as Guru Nanak would. Is there any harm for them to follow me? Surely I am a false Guru. But if there is harm, where does it arise? Certainly not from my teachings for they are not mine but Guru Nanak's. So how do these people "Lose" in that case?
Moreover, in accordance with the title of this thread. Is there anyway for them to spot me as a fake? I doubt it. Although, those of them that are more inclined to doubt would be right in their disbelief of my status as Guru.