The ‘Wager Theory’ in Contemporary Thought

Reflections on Safeguards and Sentinels in Skepticism and Theodicy


  • Raphael .C Eruka, PhD Madonna University, Nigeria


Wager, skepticism, theodicy, theism, atheism


The Wager Theory was developed by Blaise Pascal in 17th century French society, in response to the dire religious challenges of the time. The existential significance of the Wager Theory stands out if we consider that whatever is of value in it is meant to be part of lived experience in relation to Pascal’s immediate audience. The religious problematic to which the Wager relates concerns matters of belief and unbelief or as it were belief and the state of indecision in this regard. In this light, the Wager needed to be contextualized not only within the twin themes of skepticism and theodicy but also in relation to theism, atheism and agnosticism as intricate and relevant religious conceptual schemes therein. A presupposition of the Wager is the affirmation question of God’s existence; which appreciation ought not to be solely a speculative issue but rather an intuitive involvement that expresses its reality in lived experience of its presence in Christian love or charity. The paper attempted a critique of the Wager Theory especially within the perspective of the atheistic position. Does philosophy possess the tools to adequately handle, in the final account, all the presuppositions of the Wager? Reasons and insights could be proffered even as the question needs no hasty answer. Again, the Wager Theory was further examined with regard to its place and significance in the contemporary society. The position of the paper is that the Theory has existential value and needs to be contextualized in the face of the challenges of the contemporary society.

Author Biography

Raphael .C Eruka, PhD, Madonna University, Nigeria

Department of Philosophy
Madonna University, Nigeria


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How to Cite

Eruka, R. .C. (2022). The ‘Wager Theory’ in Contemporary Thought: Reflections on Safeguards and Sentinels in Skepticism and Theodicy. Madonna University Thought and Action Journal of Philosophy, 1(2), 59–69. Retrieved from