I posted about Pascal's intentions, because I thought that they are relevant to what he intended his 'wager' to accomplish, and to why he originally proposed it. Pascal had some kind of midlife psychological crisis, and he came away from it with a strong and passionate faith in Christianity. But even he recognized that his faith wasn't conventionally based on evidence. Nevertheless, he wanted to convince his friends (and himself) that his newly-energized piety wasn't merely irrational. Hence the 'wager'. Pascal's assertion in effect was that it's entirely rational to have faith in Christianity even in the absence of evidence, if there's an infinite payoff for the faith if Christianity is true, but nothing to lose if it isn't. The Christian POV angle is relevant because Pascal seems to have only imagined two choices: Christianity -- take it or leave it. That's implicit in his belief that there's nothing to lose by choosing Christianity if Christianity is false. But suppose that the path to some highly desirable religious goal isn't faith in (or practice of) Christianity, but rather is to be found in some other religious tradition. In that case, mistakenly choosing Christianity would have a tremendous cost, because that error would carry with it the likelihood of missing the path that does lead to the payoff. The fact that Pascal's 'wager' seems to break down when more than one religion is considered is a classic objection to it. The difficulties of religious choice can't be avoided as easily as Pascal imagined. Introducing Indian religions such as Hinduism into the mix would seem to highlight that difficulty, unless we simultaneously withdrew the original Christianity from consideration and consider each Indian religion purely in isolation. The beliefs versus deeds angle is relevant because in Christianity, at least as Pascal imagined it, the crucial variable is faith. Pascal was trying to argue that even without an evidential basis, faith can be rational in terms of a wager. But the Indian karmic-rebirth theories aren't really addressing the same variable. The crucial matter for them isn't faith at all, it's merit. So the situation that was so problematic for Pascal, faith in the absence of evidence, doesn't really arise to nearly the same degree in India, because the quality of postmortem existence isn't nearly as dependent on what an individual believes, trusts or affirms. That creates a very different situation. We all know that it's possible, and in fact it's quite common, for people to behave in a very ethical manner without any religious faith at all. The fact that Pascal was thinking in terms of fixed eternal destinies, while the Hindus, Buddhists and Jains are thinking of an eternal wheel of rebirth, has implications for the question of how much force Pascal's line of argument retains in the Indian situation. With Pascal and his Christianity, it's all-or-nothing choice in this one Earthly life, and the payoff for choosing correctly is potentially infinite if the Christian promises are true. In the Indian case, this is just one in an infinite succession of lives. Given the number of iterations, far more numerous than grains of sand at the beach, it's likely that all possible states of rebirth are going to be occupied at some point, from the appalling life of a hell-being all the way to the luxurious life of a god in some heaven. If we see an insect walking along, we need to think: 'been there, done that'. So there isn't anything like the same kind of urgency in the reincarnationist case that Pascal so evidently felt in his own situation. Finally, the idea of moksha, the Indian equivalent of salvation, release from the endless cycle of rebirth (even from rebirths in heaven). I think that this religious summum-bonum is typically conceived in terms of realization. That isn't just a necessarily superficial and baseless assent to the truth of some religious doctrine on the hope that there might be some pay-off if it turns out to be true. Realization is the actual first-hand experience of the truth of the doctrine. That isn't speculative, it isn't a guess and it isn't a gamble.