Alexander appears to think that my attempt to provide one plausible way to construe Christian salvation in response to Maitzen’s argument is vulnerable to a reductio ad absurdum. And so he writes:
“What if there was an atheist Gandhi? Would he be able to reach heaven in the same manner as does this Gandhi? Finally, if everyone like him had the same opportunity for salvation, what is the point in believing in Christ anyway, or the old wager proposed by Pascal? One could believe in something as ridiculous as the Flying Spaghetti Monster, do something as revelatory as Gandhi and still attain salvation. This is a self-defeater as it eliminates any compelling reason for believing in your God.”
I must confess that I find this response a bit bizarre. Picture Alexander lined up to receive the H1N1 vaccine. “How does the vaccine work?” Alexander asks the nurse.
“Well, the vaccine contains antigens which cause the body to think it is being attacked by the H1N1 virus. This causes the body to produce antibodies which provide your immunity to infection.”
Alexander thinks for a minute and then replies: “What if I believe that the vaccine works by casting a magical spell? Will it still work?”
The nurse looks at Alexander curiously. “Sure. The vaccine functions the same regardless of your beliefs in how it works.”
Alexander looks delighted. “That’s good to know.”
“However,” the nurse adds, “if the vaccine functions the way I described, why would you want to believe otherwise? Why wouldn’t you want to know the truth?”