Does Hope Justify Faith?

How Hope Morally Vindicates Christian Faith

  • Philosophy of Religion

Principal Investigators

Anne Jeffrey
Postdoctoral Fellow
University of Notre Dame


The central claim I want to defend is that belief in the Christian God is morally and practically permissible, and that what makes it so is its being accompanied by Christian hope. Five of the most persuasive types of practical arguments against belief in the Christian God constitute the starting point for the project. These arguments work by supposing that genuine belief in the Christian God constitutes or inevitably leads to attitudes and/or behaviors that are morally and practically rationally problematic. Since we have practical reasons against holding such attitudes or manifesting such behavior, the arguments go, belief in the Christian God is practically impermissible.

I will argue that Christian belief appropriately accompanies Christian hope, and the moral value of Christian hope vindicates Christian belief. The first paper will focus on the relationship between hope and belief and showing that hoping in general does not violate norms of practical rationality or morality, but in fact produces and realizes certain moral values. The second paper will draw on the earlier work but look at the practical arguments against belief in the Christian God do not succeed when belief in God is understood as flanked by Christian hope because of the moral values generated and constituted by that hope.