The Rejection of Pascal's Wager
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An Intolerant Religion

Christianity is a fundamentally intolerant religion, both in its principles and its practices. Jesus, at least in this respect, can truly be said to be its originator. We have seen elsewhere that Jesus was a typical first century Galilean fanatic who could not accept those who doubted his message. Christian tradition, preserved in the gospels, had Jesus uttering the sentences below:

Matthew 12:30 (Luke 11:23)
He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad.

John 3:36
He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life: and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

When the choice is between truth which saves a person and everything else which condemns him or her to the eternal fires of hell, the source of this intolerance can be understood. Jesus knew he had found the truth and could not bring himself to believe that he could be wrong. Marcello Craveri's summary of Jesus' fundamental intolerance is apt:

The harsh reproaches that Jesus directed at the Pharisees because they persisted in their error, his fateful predictions for all those who did not accept his gospel, his specific demands on the apostles for unconditional obedience - all these clearly reveal a man who was so convinced he was the fount of sole truth that he would admit no other. All his generous insistence on charity, on harmony, on brotherhood, then, applied only within this narrow limits of those who believed in him; the rest of the world was barred. Like all the Jews of his time, his overwhelming belief in the unique nature of the national religion prevented him from even imagining a religion tolerant of other faiths. [1]

Paul, although preaching a fundamentally different message from Jesus, shared with the Galilean this basic intolerance of differing ideas. Paul insisted that those he converted follow only what he preached and nobody else. In his letter to the Galatians, Paul sounded a warning which was to be repeated throughout the history of Christianity: [2]

Galatians 1:8
But though we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed.

Thus the seed of intolerance was planted, a seed that was destined to grow into monstrous proportions.

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1.Craveri, Life of Jesus: p247
2.Armstrong, The First Christian: p143

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