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God or No God
2012
unknownj
As I sit here on the train, I can't help but feel slightly amused.. The Bishop of St Davids has compared the act of faith in God to the overly pretentious TV game show Deal or No Deal. A game in which the actual truth is irrelevant..

If you make a deal, that's like admitting that you don't believe the contents of your box is worth as much as the deal. You abandon your lot, in favour of an easy way out. This, to me, does not parallel religion.

Of course, if you don't make a deal, then at the end you're left with an arbitrary choice - whether to stick with your box, or swap. Both choices have equal expected earnings associated with them, and success is based on random chance. Either answer is equally good. Which again, isn't exactly the sort of message that I'd expect people to take away from religion..

So this is a game where you either quit early on, taking your reward now rather than holding out in the hope of something better later, or you make an arbitrary choice at the end where success is based on a totally random chance. I don't know which faith this mirrors, but I'm glad I don't subscribe to it.. :o)

In any case, off to work I go..

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I kinda see where he's coming from- only he gives himself some pretty good odds. If you have two boxes at the end, the 1p and the £250,000, you have two choices.
The first is to take the offer, which is quite high. This'd be living life as if there were no deity, taking all the pleasure you can without thought of an afterlife.
The second option would be to take a box. This act would represent belief- you're taking the plunge and saying that you trust that the box you hold (or the other person holds, that's irrelevent) contains the big prize. There is always the possibility, as the Bishop says, that the box contains 1p. In this case, when the game ends (death) your happiness is unchanged.

What the Bishop is saying is that religion = gambling, and that God is in the TV. He probably didn't mean to say that. He probably meant to simply cash in on a current fad and reinstigate support for his waning practice.
In any case, he neglects to take into account option 3- kill Noel Edmunds and take *all* the boxes, with a combined value of about £500,000. This would be, say, an anarchic, ego-centric (in the purest sense of the word) approach to personal religion, with a stress on the body as a temple and a person's consciousness as his own Holy Grail.
And of course, a Bishop would never mention the Buddhist approach, option 4. Play the game lots of times.

I suppose then that the Banker is, in actual fact, Satan, tempting you with his worldly pleasures at the cost of eternal life later. And Noel Edmonds is in collusion with him. This makes sense..

However, I don't think your choice of box at the end is irrelevant. Granted, because the expected winnings are the same either way, the choice is entirely trivial. However, it's important to note that there still exists that choice. You've rejected Satan, and now you face a simple choice - which of two equally valid beliefs do you go for. The Independent Adjudicator (i.e. God) knows which is the right one, but nobody else does, and there is nothing you can do that will allow you to infer the correct choice from the available information.

At this point, faith does truly become blind - you're picking between two identical options, with identical odds, and you'll randomly come away with everything or nothing. Which means that God is whimsical - 50% of the time he'll reward you in heaven, 50% of the time he'll boot you down to hell, there's nothing you can do to influence which 50% you'll be in, and it's chosen at random.

The analogy is flawed in that respect, but again, he's a Bishop. He's probably never seen the show, and unless you can contract education anally, probably only has an O-level or so to his name.
He's also preaching to a generation who print "24/7 AND YOUR THERE" on the side of taxis. To be honest, if I had to come up with a few sermons a week for these people, I'd probably get lazy too. :)

..but we're all agreed that Noel Edmunds is the anti-christ, right?

Yeah. Remember how he fell from grace by using his demon telekenesis on a bungee rope, causing an innocent man to die horribly?

I guess so - after all, he's used to talking about things he hasn't seen for himself. I'm sure he imagines that he's qualified to talk about Deal Or Not Deal because he read about it in The Times - just as he's qualified to discuss the crucifixion, because he read an article about it in The Bible.

It makes you wonder how many other false analogies the clergy use - I mean, The Bible is full of the things.. How many other fundamental truths have been misinterpreted over the years? I mean, if they can get the simple things like Deal Or No Deal wrong, then who knows what else might be amiss?!

You should go around at night with a permanent marker, and correct the taxis to "24/7 AND YOUR THEIR" - it's still wrong, but at least both incorrect words are in the possessive form, which is consistent if nothing else.

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