The Secular Student Alliance has a silly stunt backed up by a silly argument:
Graveyard of the Gods is a farewell to humanity’s forgotten deities. It is an opportunity to demonstrate that there are thousands upon thousands of gods that have been worshipped throughout history, and most of them are no longer worshipped. The Graveyard of the Gods activity is not an attack on religion, but is primarily a very visible way to demonstrate why Blaise Pascal’s infamous Wager doesn’t work because it assumes only one possible god to place bets on.
From my use of the Wager, this stunt/argument goes nowhere. The Wager is a wager, not some deductive argument. Thus, the only relevant issue is whether the Wager is a smart or wise one. And the answer to that question will depend on a) the actual wager being made and b) the person who makes the wager.
Now, I accept and embrace Christianity because I think it is true because of my use of reason and evidence. Therefore, the Wager comes into play after the evidence is considered. In this case, we have evidence about the thousands and thousands of gods that have been worshipped throughout history – most of them are no longer worshipped. It would seem to me that if a God did exist, the deity would be able to sustain the existence of some significant community of believers across time and space. The Christian God qualifies. Christianity has a significant presence on every continent on the Earth. The thousands and thousands of gods that have been worshipped throughout history don’t. As the SSA notes, “Most of them are no longer worshipped.”
Now, what rational person would wager on the existence of a god that nobody else worshipped? That’s not exactly the smartest bet in the room.
The Graveyard of Gods stunt is just another way to express a popular New Atheist meme:
It’s ironic who this meme leads us to Pascal’s Wager. Yes, we both agree that all non-Christian deities do not exist, leaving us with Christianity vs. Atheism. I think when it is an issue of choosing between atheism and Christianity, the Wager is wise. As I have mentioned before, if I am wrong, and the atheist is right, I’m left with the unanswerable question – So what? When I die, I simply cease to exist. No problem. I have incurred no cost.
But at this point, the New Atheist might challenge as follows: “Ah! But what if Allah exists? The wager will have failed you.” Okay, at that point, the Gnu would have abandoned the “One less god” position for a “Two less gods” position. Meme defeated.
But yeah, I would agree. I would have wagered and lost. So it doesn’t look like the Wager is going to help in this instance. But here is what I would say to the Gnu:
If Allah exists, we would both be wrong and we both lose.
If the God of the Bible exists, you would be wrong and you would lose.
If Atheism is true, you would be right, but no one loses. And you don’t even get the satisfaction of knowing you were right.