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Sklansky Christian SAT challenge draws ire
An old bet is creating new buzz on the 2+2 forums, as posters weigh in on pro player and eminent poker author David Sklansky's $50,000 call-out to exclusionist Christians.
The wager was made more than five years ago by Sklansky, who specifically challenged any person who believes Jesus is the son of God but thinks that anyone who doesn't believe this will go to hell.
Sklansky invites those Christians who are willing to wager $50,000 that they could pass a polygraph attesting to their beliefs and then beat him on a math SAT taken in half the standard time.
Though the bet is an old one, it popped up again recently when a 2+2er accused Sklansky of welsching on the proposition. The poster quoted the blog of trivia hound Ken Jennings, who criticized the pro player's wager.
The record-breaking Jeopardy champ writes that after someone in the forum suggested that he might be the man for the challenge, Sklansky said, "Bring him on," but later added the exclusionary clause that would eliminate all Mormons - including Jennings - from testing his theory.
"The competitive angle is what gets me: it's not enough to insult people of faith," Jennings wrote in December 2006. "He wants you to know he can best them, one at a time, all comers. Maybe this kind of bluster is expected in the poker world, but here in the real world, it makes you sound like an arrogant jackass."
The subsequent discussion in the thread and accusations of bilking on his offer over past day caused Sklanksy to post this at the forum:
"Challenge still stands," he wrote. "You have to believe that you have NO chance of going to heaven unless you are sure that Jesus is the son of God but are almost certain to go to heaven if you do believe that. (This eliminates all Catholics and most Christians and Ken Jennings as well.)"
To those who charge Sklansky with being egotistical, he refutes the claim by saying the bet was not to prove his own intelligence but to question the intellect of people who could believe that Jews or Muslims would automatically go to hell, regardless of how they led their lives.
"The idea behind all of this of course is that any God who would send to hell pious, good people simply because they honestly believe that the Jesus story is a myth contradicts the idea of a just God," he writes in a later post. "Doubly so if he will reward believing scoundrels. Thus very smart people are extremely unlikely to believe such drivel."