Wednesday, September 10, 2014

A new take on Pascal's Wager

George MacDonald with son Ronald (right) and daughter Mary (left) in 1864. Photograph by Lewis Carroll.

"Whatever energies I may or may not have,
I know one thing for certain,
that I could not devote them to anything else
I should think entirely worth doing.

Indeed nothing else seems interesting enough
--nothing to repay the labour,
but the telling of my fellow-men
about the one man who is the truth,
and to know whom is the life.
Even if there be no hereafter,

I would live my time believing
in a grand thing
that ought to be true
if it is not.
No facts can take the place of truths,

and if these be not truths,
then is the loftiest part of our nature
a waste.

Let me hold by the better than the actual,
and fall into nothingness
off the same precipice with Jesus
and John
and Paul
and a thousand more,
who were lovely in their lives,
and with their death
make even the nothingness
into which they have passed
like the garden of the Lord.
I will go further, Polwarth, and say,

 I would rather die  for evermore
believing as Jesus believed,
than live for evermore
believing as those that deny him.

If there be no God,
I feel assured that existence is
and could be
but a chaos of contradictions,
whence can emerge nothing worthy
to be called a truth,
nothing worth living for.—

No, I will not give up my curacy. I will teach that which IS good, even if there should be no God to make a fact of it, and I will spend my life on it, in the growing hope, which MAY become assurance, that there is indeed a perfect God, worthy of being the Father of Jesus Christ, and that it was BECAUSE they are true, that these things were lovely to me and to so many men and women, of whom some have died for them, and some would be yet ready to die."

(George Macdonald, Thomas Wingfold, Curate, chapter 75)