Essay:Game theory Christianity

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Game theory Christianity, or Why I'm better at your religion than you are.

There are certain brand of evangelical Christians, and yes I'm looking at you Ray Comfort, that know only three things about their faith. These are:

  1. Salvation is through faith, not works.
  2. God has written this faith upon men's hearts, therefore they are without excuse. People who claim they have excuse, like we who are so made as to be unable to believe, are only doing it for the wine, women and song.
  3. Click here to donate! [1]

These people I've come to call game theory Christians, because to them faith is an "instant on", a mental switch that can be flipped at any time. This moment you are in the "not saved" state, but at any moment you can transition to the "saved" state merely by thinking. No actions are required of you.

However, the "saved" state comes with heavy burdens. Once you are saved you are either compelled by an outside agency or required in order to maintain the "saved" state[2] to give up the pleasures of the atheistic life, viz. the aforementioned wine, women and song. Especially the women, and god help you if it's men.

However, that's where game theory comes in. Every moment of your life becomes an exciting game of the prisoner's dilemma. You can either choose to transition to the saved state and give up your debauchery, ensuring your afterlife but ruining the remainder of your real, actual life with delusion and subservient grovelling or alternatively you can risk another day in the not saved camp, enjoying the sybaritic pleasures the world can offer and hope that today isn't the day you pop your clogs. Doesn't that sound thrilling? The ultimate high risk sport!

The problem is, the people espousing this view are universally rubbish at the game. They all gave it up, typically early in their life before the best of the debauchery could really kick in. The real game theorist would construct a mathematical model of life to choose the optimum moment to convert. Since it takes but a moment, one merely has to avoid dying instantaneous deaths that leave no time for death bed conversions for as long as possible. On a curve of pleasure vs. time available to transition to the saved state, the optimum probably comes some time in the mid to late 50s for the average person in a first world country. Ideally, one should die of a protracted illness like cancer leaving plenty of time to get your mental house in order.

Alternatively you could, as I have done, come to loathe the glittering teethed charlatans who push game theory Christianity. These pimps who strip out anything that might be good or noble from their professed religion, and turn it in to nothing more than a whorehouse where the faithful turn tricks for god in return for the cheap crack of eternal life. Christians, these people are your public face. Isn't it time you applied a jackboot to them?


  1. People who hold these beliefs almost invariably want your money. This may be significant.
  2. They're never entirely clear on this, I suspect because they haven't really decided in their own head