Tag: Blaise Pascal

Blaise Pascal on the Human Condition

Poets, playwrights, philosophers, and psychologists all take their turns offering insights on the “human condition.” They seek to explain the basic nature, identity, struggle, and aspirations of human beings. In fact, all philosophies and religions try to define and explain humanity’s underlying condition. But do any of them succeed? One Christian author who I think has written candidly and insightfully about the state of…

Quote of the Week: Blaise Pascal

Man’s greatness and wretchedness are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us that there is in man some great principle of greatness and some great principle of wretchedness. — Blaise Pascal, Pensées, trans. A.J. Krailsheimer, rev. ed. (New York: Penguin, 1995), no. 149/430.

Three Delightful Books on Pascal

Twice this week I saw my college-aged daughter Jacqueline reading Blaise Pascal’s classic work Pensées (French for “thoughts” or “reflections”). She’s not enrolled in a philosophy or religion course; rather she said she’s reading it for inspiration and wisdom. I immediately thought to myself, “That’s my girl!” An intuitive mathematician and a gifted physicist, Blaise Pascal (1623–1662) was one of…

Blaise’s Best Bet, Part 6: Pascal’s Wager Continued

Blaise Pascal’s famous wager argues that believing in God’s existence is a safer bet than not believing. Before examining the strengths and weaknesses of Pascal’s proposed gamble, we must understand the context in which it arose and how Pascal1 intended it to be used as an apologetics tool. Four points of clarification2 are helpful in this regard.

Blaise’s Best Bet, Part 5: Pascal’s Wager

Blaise Pascal1 is probably best known for his presentation of the “wager argument.”2 Pascal’s friends who remained simultaneously unconvinced by the claims of atheism and Christianity were the intended audience for this voluntaristic argument (an appeal more to the human will than to reason itself).

Blaise’s Best Bet, Part 4: Pascal for Today

For the last several weeks, I’ve been reflecting on French thinker Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). I’ve discussed his life, his achievements in science and mathematics, and his conversion to Christianity and work as an apologist. Though Pascal lived centuries ago, I believe his writings on theology and apologetics remain important for Christians of the twenty-first century.

Blaise’s Best Bet, Part 3: a Bold Apologist

Last week, I highlighted the remarkable mathematical and scientific accomplishments that distinguished the short life of French thinker Blaise Pascal (1623–1662). His ideas and inventions rightly earned him the title of “the first modern man.” But science and math weren’t the only fields Pascal impacted—his writings on theology and apologetics remain a treasure of historic Christian literature. In this post,…

Blaise’s Best Bet, Part 2: Pioneering Physicist

Despite dying in 1662 at age 39, French philosopher Blaise Pascal left a mark on mathematics and science still present to this day. Part 2 of this series on Pascal’s intellectual legacy focuses not only on his practical contributions to math and science, but also on his influence on the philosophy of science. (See part 1 for an introduction to…

Three Christian Classics

When I get a little money, I buy books. And if there is any left over, I buy food. —Desiderius Erasmus, Dutch Renaissance scholar and theologian Reading books has been an obsession of mine since my conversion to Christianity as a college sophomore. I sensed my mind really mattered in serving the Lord; so I began a serious pursuit of…