Taking Pascal's Wager: Faith, Evidence and the Abundant Life

Taking Pascal's Wager: Faith, Evidence and the Abundant Life

by Michael Rota


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WORLD Magazine’s Best Books of 2016 Short ListChristianity Today's 2017 Book of the Year Award of Merit - Apologetics/Evangelism
Since we can't know with absolute certainty that God exists, each of us in a sense makes a bet. If we believe in God and are right, the benefits include eternal life. If we are wrong, the downside is limited.
On the other hand, we might not believe in God. If we are right, then we will have lived in line with reality. If we are wrong, however, the consequences could be eternally disastrous.
This was the challenge posed by the French philosopher Blaise Pascal over three hundred years ago. But Michael Rota contends that Pascal's argument is still compelling today. Since there is much to gain (for ourselves as well as for others) and relatively little to lose, the wise decision is to seek a relationship with God and live a Christian life.
Rota considers Pascal's wager and the roles of uncertainty, evidence, and faith in making a commitment to God. By engaging with themes such as decision theory, the fine-tuning of the universe, divine hiddenness, the problem of evil, the historicity of the resurrection and the nature of miracles, he probes the many dynamics at work in embracing the Christian faith.
In addition, Rota takes a turn not found in many books of philosophy. He looks at the actual effects of such a commitment in three recent, vivid, gripping examples—Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Jean Vanier and Immaculée Ilibagiza.
Like Pascal, Rota leaves us with a question: What wager will we make?

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780830851362
Publisher: InterVarsity Press
Publication date: 06/06/2016
Pages: 255
Sales rank: 752,660
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.70(d)

About the Author

Michael Rota (PhD, Saint Louis University) is associate professor of philosophy at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was a post-doctoral fellow at Harvard from 2006-2007, and he is the author of several academic articles in philosophy and philosophical theology.

Table of Contents

IntroductionPart I: Uncertainty and Commitment
1. A Curious Offer
2. Pascal?s Wager: The Basic Argument
3. Objections to the Wager: Moral Reservations and the Cost of Commitment
4. Objections to the Wager: Other Religions and ChristianityPart II: Evidence
5. Where Did Physical Things Come From?
6. Why Is the Universe Just Right for Life?
7. A Primer on Probability
8. God and the Multiverse
9. The Beauty and Existential Resonance of Christianity
10. Counterevidence: Divine Hiddenness and Evil
11. Historical Evidence for Christianity: The Resurrection
12. Miracle or Myth?Part III: Saying Yes to God
13. Dietrich Bonhoeffer
14. Jean Vanier
15. Immaculée Ilibagiza
Conclusion: Taking the Wager
Author Index
Subject Index
Scripture Index

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