Hello Dr. Craig,
I am a college senior studying molecular biology at the University of Maine at Augusta. I am a Roman Catholic who enormously enjoys watching your video debates with atheists -- I admire your eloquence and argumentative abilities. That I know of, you have never invoked Pascal's Wager as an argument for believing in God, but I have heard it used by other Christians who apparently believe it is a knock-out blow to atheism. I personally hold a more skeptical view, and wonder if you could comment on the following points:
First, how do we know which God to believe in? Thousands of Gods have been claimed to exist and it seems that the probability of picking the right one is minute. Furthermore, if, as I've heard suggested, God -- which ever one is the right one -- understands our mistake and, though we picked the "wrong" God, judges us not on our mistaken belief but on our honest effort to discover the truth, why would God not understand an atheist who, after honest inquiry, concludes that God does not exist. It seems to me that no meaningful distinction exists between getting the God wrong but believing in something and getting the God wrong but not believing in anything.
Second, the argument is commonly stated as though the price of believing in God and turning out to be wrong (that no God, in fact, exists) is nothing: that the error has not cost you anything in life. But surely, the time spent in needless prayer, in going out of one's way to do good, in abstaining from pleasurable activities that are considered sinful, in financially contributing to religious organizations, etc. is a considerable price to pay. Thus, is there not a probabilistic calculation to be made in weighing the chances of not believing and getting it wrong (that God in fact exists) and the price one pays for aligning one's behavior with "God's Will" if he doesn't exist? And, if such a calculation is necessary, then arguments for God's existence must be considered to determine the probability of the former; and thus, Pascal's Wager could not function as a stand-alone argument but would require other theistic arguments.
Thank you very much for responding to my question and for the excellent work you do. God bless.
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