I'm not a religious person whatsoever-I'd say I have a pretty high epistemic status on god not existing. However, I do think that it's important to have some sort of bayesian method for looking at odds of given religions (to make it 0% seems intuitively silly to me, but please let me know if you disagree and why). 

Given that, it seems pretty intuitive to me that Pascal's wager actually works a lot better in an EA context. Perhaps there should be more research focused on figuring out which religion has the worst hell and best heaven (especially if we're dealing with infinite pleasure or infinite suffering/ any amount that can't/ won't be on earth) in order to make a proper evaluation based on our epistemic certainty of how much we should practice/ believe in these religions as a result. If you know of any related research, supporting evidence, or counterarguments against this position, lmk in the comments. 

Edit: Instead of downvoting because you may not like the answer, please tell me why I'm wrong in the comments and perhaps we can all be better off. 




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This seems relevant to this question: https://www.lesswrong.com/posts/a5JAiTdytou3Jg749/pascal-s-mugging-tiny-probabilities-of-vast-utilities. Disclaimer: I haven't read it.

I do think this is an interesting question: how to deal with tiny probabilities of great utilities?  

A couple of thoughts:
(1) On the object level: most religions are mutually exclusive. Also, I don't know that much about comparative religion, but I do know that Christianity has both a Hell, and doesn't allow you to worship other gods. So like, you probably have to pick one religion, rather than hedge your bets.

And maybe you are saying, 'we should figure out which religion has the best heaven/worst hell, therefore would be worst to be wrong about, and try to practice that one'. But I think this is going to be quite hard to do, for religions that do have heavens and hells:  like, there's no "evidence" about these things beyond what religious texts say. And religious texts probably frame heaven as infinite bliss and hell as infinite suffering. 

Another argument atheists might make is: 'yes, there is an infinitesimal probability that Christianity and Judaism and Hinduism and Sikhism and other religions are true. I think there is an equal(ly infinitesimal) chance that it's the case that atheists go to heaven, and religious people go to hell, and the Atheist Heaven is better than the religious heavens, and the hell is better than the religious hells. So  might as well keep doing what I'm doing, ie, being an atheist'.

Like sure, Atheist Heaven is just made up and there's no social tradition of it; but the atheists usually don't think the fact that religions exist in society and are traditional is good evidence of their being true - otherwise they would be religious or agnostic.  

(2) on the meta/community level, aka 'why are you getting downvoted': I'm actually not sure what proportion of EAs really think that you should guide your life by doing things that have a tiny probability of producing vast utility. Like, I think this idea is very much in the EA/longtermism intellectual DNA, but also, most actual EAs either work on or donate to (i) nearterm stuff with a decently high chance of being effective (animal advocacy, global health) , or (ii) preventing existential risks that they believe are not vanishingly unlikely. Most EA longtermism work, as far as I can tell, is in category (ii), and doesn't actually require you to believe or seriously plan your life around the longtermist argument of 'you should take Pascal's wager seriously'.

I appreciate the comment! I think people generally make a mistake with this one by saying that the probabilities for atheist heaven and religious heaven are equal. Not saying that I have a particular opinion on what those probabilities may look like but more so that it would be weird to me if none of the religious arguments for particular religions bring you up even a tiny, little bit (say the mass revelation argument for Judaism, ect). Let me know what you think!

I think one reason why you're getting downvoted is that: many people in this community are non-religious (80% per the most recent EA survey). Many non-religious people don't appreciate being told "you should believe in god"; it's basically a microaggression to them. The body of your post is innocuous to me but the title comes off as preachy IMO.

That's pretty fair. I'm pretty certain that that's the case to some extent, but I also think @Amber Dawn is correct that people just thought it was pascal's mugging, when I think it is a tad more nuanced than that (see: my reply to Amber's comment). 

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