Infinite Expected Value in Belief

1) If the expected value of belief in God is infinitely good but the expected value of disbelief in God is finitely good or infinitely bad, it is rational to believe in God.
2) The expected value of belief in God is infinitely good but the expected value of disbelief in God is finitely good or infinitely bad.
3) So, it is rational to believe in God.

Greater Expected Value in Belief

1) If the expected value of belief in God is greater than the expected value of disbelief in God, it is rational to believe in God.
2) The expected value of belief in God is greater than the expected value of disbelief in God.
3) So, it is rational to believe in God.

Pragmatic Apologetic Arguments of Jackson and Rogers

1) You should maximize expected value.
2) Wagering on (i.e., believing or practicing) the most probable religion that posits an infinite afterlife maximizes expected value. (Pascal’s wager)
3) So, you should wager on the most probable religion that posits an infinite afterlife
4) Christianity is the most probable religion that posits an infinite afterlife.
5) So, you should wager on Christianity.

● Liz Jackson and Andrew Rogers, “Salvaging Pascal’s Wager,” Philosophia Christi 21/1 (2019), pp. 59-84.

The Rationality of Christianity

1) If it is rational to think Christianity has at least a 50% of being true, it is rational to commit to Christianity and irrational not to.
2) It is rational to think Christianity has at least a 50% of being true.
3) So, it is rational to commit to Christianity and irrational not to.

● Michael Rota, Taking Pascal’s Wager (IVP, 2016).

The Jamesian Wager

1) If belief in God is a genuine option and has more benefits than costs, belief in God is rationally permissible even if there is insufficient evidence for God’s existence.
2) Belief in God is a genuine option and has more benefits than costs.
3) So, belief in God is rationally permissible even if there is insufficient evidence for God’s existence.

● Gathered from Jeff Jordan, Pascal’s Wager (Oxford, 2006).

The Rationality of Devotion to God

P1. The greater the good, the more rational it is to hope for it, so long as it is believed possible.
P2: The more rational it is to hope for something, the more rational it is to devote your life to it.
P3. If S believes x is possible and x is the greatest good, it is maximally rational for S to hope for x, and so maximally rational for S to devote S’s life to x, regardless of how probable x is.
1) If God possibly exists, God is the greatest good.
2) I believe God possibly exists.
3) So, it is maximally rational for me to hope God exists, and so maximally rational for me to devote my life to God, regardless of how improbable God’s existence is.

● Richard Creel, “Agatheism*: A Justification of the Rationality of Devotion to God,” Faith and philosophy 10/1 (1993), pp. 33-48.

From Personal to Global Benefits (Pragmatic Apologetic Arguments)

1) If a religion’s central teachings dramatically transform people and the world for the better, it it rational to commit to that religion.
2) Christianity’s central teachings have, and continue to, dramatically transform people and the world for the better.
3) So, it is rational to commit to Christianity.

  • * The doctrine that all things tend toward ultimate good.

● Paul Copan and Thom Wolf, “Another Dimension of the Moral Argument: The Voice of Jesus and the Historical Fruits of the
Christian Faith,” in Rasmussen and Vallier (ed.), A New Theist Response to the New Atheists (Routledge, 2020), ch. 10.
● Rodney Stark, The Victory of Reason: How Christianity Led to Freedom, Capitalism, and Western Success (Random House, 2006).
● Nick Spencer, The Evolution of the West: How Christianity has Shaped our Values (SPCK, 2016).

See also: Biblical Objections to Apologetics and Key Terminology in Apologetics