In “Does universalism have a chance in hell of being true?” I argued that there is indeed a case to be made for universalism just like there is a case to be made for Calvinism and Arminianism. It may not be as strong a case, but there is a case to be made. This means that even if a Christian is not a universalist (as I am not), they nonetheless ought to be a hopeful universalist (as I most surely am).
In order to explain what I mean, I’d ask you to consider a lottery in which there are one million tickets sold. And you have bought one of those tickets. The grand prize? An all expenses paid trip to the new Harry Potter theme park chaperoned by Daniel Radcliffe. Now who wouldn’t want to win that? One million tickets sold. You’ve got one of them. Should you believe you’ll win? Of course not. After all, the odds are a million to one against it too. But should you hope that you’ll win? Of course. That is the best possible outcome (for you anyway).
While that is enough for the illustration to work I’ll embellish it a bit to tighten up the parallel with universalism. So in addition let’s say that one of the tickets is an “everybody wins” ticket. If that number is selected in the draw then everybody wins. (Never mind the logistics of Radcliffe chaperoning a million people.) Should you believe that the “everybody wins” ticket will be drawn? No, the odds are against it. Should you hope that the “everybody wins” ticket is drawn? Surely you should.
And that, minimally, should be the Christian’s attitude toward universalism. We begin by recognizing that there is a biblical, theological and philosophical case to be made for the view. You may think it is strong enough to warrant your belief. Or like me you may think not. But even if there is a million to one odds against the view being true, you surely ought to hope that it is.
After all, what Christian worthy of the name could possibly hope that some people will be damned?