The following quote comes from The God Delusion, by Richard Dawkins, the book I try to read while I’m nicely elbowed in the metro (ummm… they hit me more with this book than with others):
The great French mathematician Blaise Pascal reckoned that, however long the odds against God’s existence might be, there is an even larger asymmetry in the penalty for guessing wrong. You’d better believe in God, because if you are right you stand to gain eternal bliss and if you are wrong it won’t make any difference anyway.
But why, in any case, do we so readily accept the idea that the one thing you must do if you want to please God is believe in him? What’s so special about believing? […] What if God is a scientist who regards honest seeking after truth as the supreme virtue? Indeed, wouldn’t the designer of the universe have to be a scientist? Bertrand Russell was asked what he would say if he died and found himself confronted by God, demanding to know why Russell had not believed in him. ‘Not enough evidence, God, not enough evidence,‘ was Russell’s (I almost said immortal) reply.
“If this book works as I intend, religious readers who open it will be atheists when they put it down“. Dawkins is provocative from the very beginning, and far from being pretentious, I think he’s probably right for saying it. Because if you read it, it’ll irreversibly damage every single religious belief you may have, but hey, in the most respectful –meaning carefully reasoned– way. Well, more when it’s finished.
(Many thanks Estebán!)
Update: Many thanks to the avid commentator for the image!