To be fair to Pascal, the popular notion of the Wager isn’t what he meant by the Wager.
What he meant was that if a person had looked over everything and the evidence was, to that person, so finely balanced that they couldn’t make a decision one way or another on the evidence, then they should make a decision based on pragmatism: if it’s true or false which way would be less risky and/or more beneficial to me? To be as safe as possible I should bet that way.
He didn’t mean that we should make a conservatively safe bet no matter what we thought of the evidence.
The popular notion of the Wager has some practical application, too, but that wasn’t what Pascal was talking about. The last three Roman Catholic Popes, seem to have been convinced that Christian universalism was probably (or even certainly) true, BUT it was better to conservatively bet for safety in case it wasn’t.
This is distinct from what was called “the doctrine of reserve” back in the early Patristic days, when theologians and bishops who privately and among themselves thought Christian universalism was true (not all of them did), preached and wrote in language that would sound like hopeless punishment was coming to some sinners, because they thought uneducated people would misunderstand the meaning of Christian universalism and think they could just go around sinning however they wanted without consequence to themselves.
To which I’d say the solution is to make clear in preaching that impenitent sin is going to be punished into the eons of the eons for however long the person insists on holding to it, and that God cannot be fooled by insincere repentance.
Which is why I make sure to do that. I can’t outright prevent people from misunderstanding me, but no one ever got the idea from me that there was no wrath of God coming to sinners.
Anyone who wants to believe universalism in order to escape punishment, never got that from me, and (I would say) has the wrong attitude toward God’s salvation even if they converted to Christianity. I don’t recommend anyone come to believe universalism without intense study on the matter anyway (I could say the same about becoming a Christian at all), and no one could come to universalism from the direction I recommend without having first come to accept that what we primarily need saving from is our sins.
Now, if it’s a question of gnostic belief, which set of doctrines among all sets will save us, then we’re ultimately screwed anyway even if we get the right set, because a god (or even a God) who judged on that basis has no intrinsic interest in promoting fair-togetherness between people. At best we’d be talking about an intellectual tyrant.
If some kind of gnosticism isn’t true (even an ‘orthodox’ Christian gnosticism, which ought to be against gnosticism, insert irony as appropriate ), how am I risking people’s souls by preaching that God acts continually and competently toward saving all sinners from sin until He gets it done?
If I’m wrong about “all people”, then the people God never intended to save were hopelessly damned already, and were never going to be anything other than hopelessly damned; whereas the people God intended to save were never going to be threatened in the long run by anything I did anyway. So I’m certainly not putting anyone at risk of final perdition either way in that case.
If I’m wrong about “continually acting”, then even Christians are at risk of final perdition regardless of what I preach, and regardless of how ‘Christian’ they may be at any point before death. The only relatively safe path is for people to try to be as ethically good as possible, to convince God to not change His mind about them (or to convince Him to try saving them in the first place!?) And I preach that people ought to repent of their sins and commit to doing what is ethically good (following the basis of goodness which would be true if trinitarian theism is true). So they’re as safe as they’re going to be in any case.
If I’m wrong about God being competent to save a sinner from sin, then the problem isn’t with me at all, but with God and/or whichever sinner is stronger than God. But then in the long run we’re all probably screwed anyway.
Back when I debated TFan a couple of years ago, I ended it with an evangelical appeal instead of summarizing my arguments (since I’d already been doing those for 3 hours). So here’s what I say when I’m making a relatively quick evangelical appeal to non-Christians. (TFan did, too, much more briefly, and in an Arminianistic fashion, which I thought was really funny since he’s a Calvinist, but I appreciated his effort anyway. )