What Pascal overlooked was the hair-raising possibility that God might out-Luther Luther. A special area in hell might be reserved for those who go to mass. Or God might punish those whose faith is prompted by prudence. Perhaps God prefers the abstinent to those who whore around with some denomination he despises. Perhaps he reserves special rewards for those who deny themselves the comfort of belief. Perhaps the intellectual ascetic will win all while those who compromised their intellectual integrity lose everything. There are many other possibilities. There might be many gods, including one who favors people like Pascal; but the other gods might overpower or outvote him, à la Homer. Nietzsche might well have applied to Pascal his cutting remark about Kant: when he wagered on God, the great mathematician 'became an idiot.
I suspect you're thinking of Pascal,' Finkler said, finally.'Only he said the opposite. He said you might as well wager on God because that way, even if He doesn't exist, you've nothing to lose. Whereas if you wager against God and He does exist...' 'You're in the shit.
The most surprising and original part of [Lucien Goldmann's] work is, however, the attempt to compare—without assimilating one to another—religious faith and Marxist faith: both have in common the refusal of pure individualism (rationalist or empiricist) and the belief in trans-individual values—God for religion, the human community for socialism. In both cases the faith is based on a wager—the Pascalian wager on the existence of God and the Marxist wager on the liberation of humanity—that presupposes risk, the danger of failure and the hope of success.