Recycled Post: Actuaries and God

22 05 2008

See original here.

When I was on holiday in Kenya, I read a great book that I don’t recommend to you at all. Unless of course you happen to be an actuary or an actuarial student – in which case its a top read!

The book is called Against the Gods: The Remarkable Story of Risk. It’s all about the history of risk and the philosphies of risk management and peoples understanding of probability. (*Snore*)

Why am I telling you this? Well it turns out that a lot of the key historical figures in the book are actually Christians. In fact, a guy by the name of Richard Price, considered by many to be the father of the actuarial science because of his work on expecations of life, is actually an (Anglican?) minister. (He also did heaps of other philosophising that I didn’t look into)

I found this interesting because just before I left on my holiday, a work mate said, “How can you be a Christian? Actuaries are supposed to be scientific and demand proof?”

Well I think its no surprise that an actuary would be a Christian. There are actually a fair few actuaries at work and at uni who I have known to be Christians. Here is why I think the combination fits so well (bear in mind – I am biased):

1. Actuaries know the probability of dying – For everyone its 1… 100%… No getting away from it. The naturally inquisitive actuary will ask – what then?
2. Actuaries know the probabilities of there being no God – I’ve heard it argued that this world came about by chance. A good actuary knows to look beyond mere statistical variation and ask “What’s driving these results?”
3. Actuaries know a good bet when they see one – Ever heard of Pascal’s Wager? Blaise Pascal essentially proved that the best bet was a bet for God (I’ll try to put up my simplified version of this later) .

So I reckon that there are a whole heap of Actuaries out there just waiting to be converted! Trained to be Christians!

What do you think?
Do you think your profession has a natural inclination towards faith? Please explain… MTS workers need not apply.



One response

23 05 2008

I don’t have as much brain power to think of great points like yours Guthers (I think I used to, but I think it’s gone with lack of sleep!) so here are my simple thoughts. Both physiotherapy and motherhood cause you to look in amazement at the human body and realise that surely we have been created by a God. Motherhood certainly makes you hope that there is a God in control because you certainly don’t feel in control yourself!

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