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Game Theory and the HumanitiesBridging Two Worlds$
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Steven J. Brams

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780262015226

Published to MIT Press Scholarship Online: August 2013

DOI: 10.7551/mitpress/9780262015226.001.0001

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Theology: Is It Rational to Believe in God?

Theology: Is It Rational to Believe in God?

(p.69) 3 Theology: Is It Rational to Believe in God?
Game Theory and the Humanities

Steven J. Brams

The MIT Press

This chapter raises a theological question on the relationship between a person (P) and a Superior Being (SB): Is it rational for P to believe in SB’s existence? While SB may be thought of as God, SB may also be some other religious figure (e.g., Jesus Christ) or a secular force with supernatural powers. The chapter introduces the Concern Decision, wherein P chooses whether or not to be concerned with SB, which depends on whether or not SB is aware and cares about P. It then develops a genuine two-person Revelation Game, in which P and SB make choices that lead to four possible outcomes. In this game, it is assumed that SB is not indifferent but instead makes strategy choices—whether to reveal itself or not. Revelation provides evidence for P to believe, but it is something that SB would prefer not to provide, because it does not test P’s faith (i.e., his or her belief in SB without evidence). The concluding section compares the ability of decision theory and the ability of game theory to answer the question of God’s existence.

Keywords:   faith, existence of God, Concern Decision, Revelation Game, decision theory, game theory

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