Let the following statements be assumed:
- $(1): \quad$ God exists or God doesn't exist.
- $(2): \quad$ If God does exist, it would be beneficial to believe this.
- $(3): \quad$ If there is no God then there can be no Free Will.
- $(4): \quad$ Either $\textrm a)$ we have Free Will or $\textrm b)$ we do not have Free Will, and our perception of what we believe to be our Free Will is in fact an illusion.
- $(5): \quad$ It is impossible to test whether or not we have Free Will.
$(1)$ and $(4)$ are dependent upon the Law of Excluded Middle.
$(3)$ is an adaptation of Strawson's work, which can be found at http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b00z5y9z
- Situation $\textrm A$ pertains: There is free will
- Situation $\textrm B$ pertains: There is no free will.
We cannot know in which situation we are living.
In situation $\textrm A$, free will can only be a result of the existence of God.
We benefit from believing in God.
Therefore the most beneficial action is to believe in God.
In situation $\textrm B$, since free will does not exist, we have no choice in what we believe.
Therefore if we end up believing in God, it was going to happen anyway.
We have no say in our choice.
In this situation it doesn't matter what our choice is.
Let us now make our choice.
If I have chosen to believe, then if situation $\textrm A$ pertains I have chosen well.
If situation $\textrm B$ pertains, nothing is lost, as I was destined to believe anyway.
If I have chosen not to believe, then if situation $\textrm A$ pertains, I have chosen badly.
If situation $\textrm B$ pertains, nothing is lost, as I was destined not to believe anyway.
Even if I think there's the slimmest possibility of genuine free will, there is still nothing to be lost in ending up believing.
The reason that this argument is called a "Leap" is that even if we accept the argument, for some of us it still may take a "leap of faith" to act as though we accept it.
Law of the Excluded Middle
This theorem depends on the Law of the Excluded Middle.
This is one of the axioms of logic that was determined by Aristotle, and forms part of the backbone of classical (Aristotelian) logic.
However, the intuitionist school rejects the Law of the Excluded Middle as a valid logical axiom.
This in turn invalidates this theorem from an intuitionistic perspective.
Source of Name
This entry was named for Galen John Strawson.