Silverman’s Wager in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”

There are many different arguments for the existence of God and against it, most of which have been criticized heavily and logically deconstructed since their inception. Blaise Pascale, a famous scientist, and philosopher proposed a model for faith that is based on rationality. He claimed that belief has a higher potential to benefit one over disbelief while coming at the same cost. However, his argument has since been acknowledged as fallacious and invalid. Herb Silverman, a contemporary American atheist, proposes an alternate offer, claiming that believers delude themselves and do not deserve Heaven if it exists. This essay will consider the representation of the argument using Indiana Jones’s hunt for the Holy Grail in the movie, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade.

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Silverman’s argument is based on the idea that people are rational and intelligent beings who have the facility to perceive and derive facts. As such, if God exists, He will prefer people who exercise these facilities and act honestly, deriving their beliefs from evidence and thus denying His existence (“Chapter 6,” n.d.). On the other hand, those who would invent fallacious arguments to confirm something they do not know do not deserve to be near God. As such, there are no disadvantages to not believing in God, as in doing so, one shows their capacity for reason. On the other hand, those who choose to believe He exists may be setting themselves up for a position far from him.

Indiana Jones is a well-known atheist, perhaps due to his history of seeing the legends of various cultures and religions confirmed at the same time. In the movie directed by Spielberg (1989), he has to complete various Christianity-themed tests to get to the Holy Grail and succeeds. He has the necessary knowledge to respond to various questions about religious practices because he is a pragmatic individual who learns whatever he requires to achieve his goal.

However, despite the creators’ intent that only a true believer who practices Christian virtues be capable of reaching the Grail, Jones succeeds without being truly religious. Effectively, he wins because he does not believe, a claim that will be explained below.

There are numerous permutations of Christianity, all with somewhat different rituals. Moreover, most people in the world do not practice Christianity, and there are several other large religions and numerous smaller ones. There is a high probability that a person who relied on their beliefs would fail the test, even if they had been Christian. By committing to a single religion and a specific branch of that religion, they would have robbed themselves of the chance to obtain the relic and died instead. When one views obtaining the Grail as attaining Heaven and death as failing to do so, it becomes apparent that Jones made Silverman’s wager and won.

Silverman’s wager is a convincing argument against the belief in God, though it is not perfect. It assumes that God values specific values over others, an assertion that may not be more valid than the opposing claim that He only requires worship. Nevertheless, it offers the person significant freedom and a potential path to success. Indiana Jones’s journey to the Holy Grail, which is sometimes used as a demonstration of Pascal’s wager in action, supports its counterpart just as well, if not better. One can achieve the benefits of faith and organized religion without committing to the belief in God’s existence. Moreover, atheism and agnosticism may even lead to better results for the person who practices them.


Chapter 6: The problem of evil and the existence of God. (n.d.). Web.

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Spielberg, S. (Director). (1989). Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Web.

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"Silverman’s Wager in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”." StudyCorgi, 28 June 2021,

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StudyCorgi. (2021) 'Silverman’s Wager in “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade”'. 28 June.

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