You Bet Your Life starts with two startling but simple observations:
Someday, you will die.
And whatever comes after that–if anything–will be forever.
When Paul Ernst left the church in high school, he felt certain that he would never return. He married, built successful careers in chemistry and insurance, and prepared for a comfortable retirement. Then everything changed. An attorney gave him a brief arguing for the historical value of Christ’s resurrection. Impressed, Ernst took it seriously and began looking for answers. For once in his life, he realized that he had everything to lose.
In You Bet Your Life, Paul reworks Pascal’s Wager and uses it as a backdrop for the arguments that brought him to Christ. From morality to misunderstandings about hell, from design in nature to the Resurrection of Jesus, Ernst respectfully guides the reader through the issues at hand…and what’s at stake.
In today’s world, the afterlife can be a complicated issue. With religious traditions in disrepair, today’s seeker seems cut off from yesterday’s answers, so they often try to drown the questions in entertainment, activism, or achievement. This “postmodern” situation might seem to be unique, but in fact, it’s anything but. At the beginning of the Enlightenment, the French mathematician Blaise Pascal noticed similar tendencies in affluent Paris. His friends were using upper-crust living to avoid the hard questions–even when everything was on the line. Disturbed that they would be so reckless with so much, Pascal crafted his Wager to illustrate the seriousness of eternity.
Centuries after Pascal, Paul Ernst takes up the Wager and argues that the men and women who witnessed the life Christ 2000 years ago were not merely pre-scientific or gullible. On the contrary, they encountered an event that caused them to reject their own beliefs and give up everything for what they knew to be true.
You Bet Your Life’s builds a gradual and compassionate case for Christian faith. Chapters 1 and 2 lay out the stakes, while Chapter 3 discusses how to frame the discussion. Chapters 4 and 5 unpack a simple but robust strategy for thinking about today’s worldviews, whether Naturalism, Pantheism, or Theism. Chapter 6 makes accessible Dr. William Lane Craig’s Kalam Cosmological Argument, while Chapter 7 explores arguments from design, including Dr. William Dembski’s Design Inference. All-new in ebook format is Chapter 8, which forms compelling arguments for God on the basis of morality, reason, and mathematics. Chapter 9 turns to focus on the pages of Scripture, setting a proper backdrop for Jesus’s words and using scholarship from both sides to show that Christ’s resurrection is the best explanation for the facts at hand. Chapter 10 links the evidence for Christ and fulfilled prophecy into a third argument for God’s existence. Chapters 11, 12, and 13 defend Scripture as God’s revelation, using the text’s internal testimony rather than circular reasoning. Then, Chapters 14-16 address classic objections to Theistic belief, including the problem of evil and the hiddenness of God. The text strikes a more personal note with Chapter 17, which discusses the nature of Christian belief. Chapters 18 and 19 continue this honest look at faith and desire. Finally, Chapter 20 parallels Paul’s journey with that of the famous atheist Antony Flew, who likewise found the evidence compelling but never came to faith. Appendices include a discussion of misunderstandings about hell and the notion of endless torment. For those who want to continue their journey, the end of the book includes a list of print and internet resources.