The eye has not seen, nor has the ear heard, nor has it entered into the heart of man, the things which God has in store for those who love Him.


"There is a prinicple which is a bar against all information, which is proof against all argument, and which cannot fail to keep a man in everlasting ignorance. This principle is contempt prior to examination."
William H. Poole, based on William Paley

An Economic Principle

When I was in college, a friend tried to persuade me to become born-again Christian. At first I rejected the idea out of hand, but two things got me thinking...

First, I was studying micro-economics at the time. We studied the principle of opportunity cost which says that given the choice between two options, the value of the opportunity not taken is its opportunity cost.

If a text book and a keg of beer cost $40 and I choose the keg of beer, I am foregoing the text book. That is my opportunity cost.

I reasoned that if there is a tiny chance that heaven exists, is even slightly good, and lasts eternity, then heaven is infinitely valuable. Likewise, if there is a small chance that hell is real, slightly bad, and lasts eternity, then it is infinitely bad. So, no matter how small the probability that heaven and hell truly existed, the value of what was at stake was huge. In other words, the opportunity cost of getting it wrong was infinite. This was clearly worth resolving.

Secondly, since my days of taking a high-school philosphy class called Freud, Darwin, and Marx from Warren Allen Smith, where we spend many a class debating morals, ethics, and religion, I somewhat arrogantly thought of myself as a gnostic and a philosopher. I was a collector of ideas. For the sake of intellectual honesty, I could not dismiss the claims of Christianity without testing them.

I figured that a test should take about two weeks, just to be on the safe side. After all, eternity is a long time, mathematically speaking.

So I devised an experiment...