This is the weekly Q & A blog post by our Research Professor in Philosophy, Dr. William Lane Craig.
Would God consider me a Seeker or someone who is just “hedging his bets”? This is a very personal question. This time last year I was as much an atheist as any. To be honest, I suppose I had a sense of arrogance in the belief that in exactly one respect, I was more “enlightened” than those who suffered from the “god delusion.” I felt pride that I was among those who were right about this fundamental question. Recently, however, I have come to call myself, and even consider myself to be a “doubter.” What I don’t know, is whether I can be considered a “seeker.” I used to think it was somehow rational to say to myself that if there is a jealous god, I hope that I will have come to believe in him/her/it by the time I die. Or at least, that if there is a God, He will understand/forgive me lack of belief. I’ll be OK as long as I behave properly. After all, could I really be blamed/damned for simply not believing? I have since realized that even if one cannot be held responsible for not believing, one could be held responsible for not trying to believe. Perhaps Pascal’s Wager is not so easily dismissed. It’s taken me awhile to get here, but I think I am ready to say that even though I do not believe in God, I want to do so. Does this make me a “seeker” of just someone hedging his bet after acknowledging the validity of Pascal’s argument ?
Dr. William Lane Craig’s Response
I think that anyone who would take the time and effort to write me so sincerely about this subject certainly qualifies as a seeker, Tim! Those who are not seeking God are either hostile or indifferent to God. By contrast, the humble and disarming tone of your letter reveals a heart that is open to God. He has already begun a good work in your life!
I would just caution you concerning the culpability of non-belief. What condemns the non-believer is not that his inventory of beliefs lacks a certain member. God is not taking inventory of your beliefs to see if it includes belief B or not. Rather what condemns the non-believer is his refusal to place his trust in Christ as his Savior. We find ourselves morally guilty and, hence, justly condemned before a holy God. Christ died to pay the penalty for your sin, so that you might be forgiven and declared righteous before God. God is at work through His Holy Spirit, convicting you of sin and drawing you to Himself. If we quit resisting the Holy Spirit and allow Him to do His work, He will bring us into a saving relationship with Christ as our Savior. But if we refuse the Holy Spirit’s work, we push God away and so separate ourselves from God’s grace and forgiveness. It’s not so much that we lack a certain belief, but that we resist God and refuse to trust in Him for forgiveness and cleansing.
Similarly, just trying to crank up belief in God is not the point. That would be a sort of work that you would perform to make yourself acceptable to God, rather than an acquiescence to God’s work in your life. To foster that work I’d encourage you to read the Gospels and pray and ask God to give you faith in Him. Pascal would have agreed with this recommendation. While he advised the gambling libertines of his day to wager on God, he recognized that true faith might not come unless one immersed oneself in Christian practices that fostered trust in God.