Abortion and Pascal’s Wager


I became pro-life as an adult in mid-life – when I was finally intellectually honest with myself and acknowledge that the overwhelming evidence was on the pro-life side.  Why did it take so long to see the light?  I did not acknowledge that the other side had a good argument.  I ignored the facts so I could feed my beliefs at the time.  Once I was able to look at the facts and challenge myself, I had to conclude that pro-life is the most logical and correct view.

Another reason that forced me to consider the pro-life argument was my inner voice asking me how I would explain my position to God at the final judgment.  The more I thought about it the more my arguments were neither credible nor could they be supported by any evidence, whether scientific or theological.  Additionally, my church was strongly pro-life, how would I reconcile this?  If I disregard the church on this issue, then it would follow that I could also disregard the Bible or any other theological argument that I disagreed with.  In other words, I am the final judge, not the Bible and not God.  Not a good argument.

Now, what does “Pascal’s Wager” have to do with this? Some history first.  Early philosophers, and Church fathers St. Anselm and St. Thomas Aquinas have argued powerfully for the existence of God.  Anselm lived in the eleventh century and Aquinas in the thirteenth.  Thomas Aquinas offered five proofs for the existence of God in his renowned masterpiece Summa Theologiae, such as the argument from motion, the nature of efficient cause, etc.  These arguments are used to this day to argue for the existence of God. Both of these two men are intellectual giants in philosophy and theology.

Blaise Pascal was a French mathematician and philosopher who lived in the 17th century.   Pascal developed his “wager” as a response to the atheist who says that there is no God and that once we die that is the end; like a flower that dies.   Pascal’s complete text on this is difficult and beyond my task here.  To make it simple, here is what the wager states:

If you erroneously believe in God, you lose nothing (assuming that death is the absolute end), whereas if you correctly believe in God, you gain everything (eternal bliss). But if you correctly disbelieve in God, you gain nothing (death ends all), whereas if you erroneously disbelieve in God, you lose everything (eternal damnation).

Pascal argued that betting against God was a losing proposition. Regardless of any evidence for or against the existence of God, Pascal argued that failure to accept God’s existence risks losing everything with no payoff on any count. The best bet, then, is to accept the existence of God.  Most philosophers have accepted Pascal’s Wager argument.

As I related earlier here, I realized that my pro-choice position was tenuous at best – even before I had ever heard of Pascal.  The reason is very simple.  If you wrongly hold to your pro-choice view that abortion is acceptable and it is “a woman’s right to choose” whether to deliver a baby or to abort it (kill it) then, even if you don’t believe in God, you’ve gained nothing.  But, if you wrongly hold that the pro-choice position is correct, and there is a God, you risk facing the judgment of God at the final judgment.  Additionally, upon our death, this cannot be reversed.  Can you afford to take this gamble?

A person who is pro-choice, in my opinion, is like a person facing a mountain such as Mount Everest – staring at it from the bottom of it and saying:  “I see this mountain, but it’s not really there.”  Are you comfortable with this position?  Let’s look as some of the evidence for the pro-life position:

  • Science has confirmed that life begins at conception,
  • The Catholic Church has taught, from the beginning, that life begins at conception and is precious in God’s eyes and no one has the right to take it,
  • The Bible teaches that human life is made in God’s image and commands us not to kill,
  • The Christian Church, Judaism, and Islam all are nearly unanimously pro-life.

The pro-choice side makes a fatal logical error when they claim that abortion is a private matter and a “woman’s right to choose.”  The error is mistaking an objective claim for a subjective claim. [i]  The pro-life position deals with an objective moral claim – it claims that a human life is at stake.  It cannot be a subjective claim such as “a woman’s right to choose;” this is like saying I choose chocolate ice cream rather than vanilla. Moral claims are not subject to choice.  This is the fundamental mistake that everybody accepts without question.   A woman (nor anyone else) cannot choose to kill a human life, not even her own.  Would you accept the proposition that a woman can choose to kill a month old baby? What’s the difference?  The unborn is a human being in one location and the one-month-old baby is a human being in another location.  How can location make a difference?

I’m amazed every time someone makes the statement “a woman’s right to choose” such as we hear from pro-choice politicians.  Mayor Rudy Giuliani just made such a statement recently when asked about his pro-choice position.  No one ever thinks to challenge this absurd assertion.  Again, look at Pascal’s Wager – it also applies to being pro-life.  It is the right bet.  You cannot afford to be on the wrong side of this issue. Eternity is at stake.


[i] See Pro-Life 101 by Scott Klusendorf, p. 16, 2002, Stand to Reason Press, http://www.str.org

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