Wednesday, 29 September 2010

My recollection/ understanding of Pascal's Pensees

After one reading and about a month of cogitation my recollection/ understanding of Pascal's Pensees is as follows:

That Christ was, indeed, the Son of God was confirmed (for his contemporaries) mainly by the fact that he fulfilled the prophecies of the Jews regarding the Messiah, and by the miracles and wonders he performed.

Prophecy and miracle confirming that Christ was who he said he was, his statements are therefore true. (Revelation.)

Also, that we should want Christianity to be true, and to become Christians, is compelling; because the Christian promise or hope answers to our profoundest needs and greatest desires; whereas the promise of all other religions does not answer to our profoundest needs and greatest desires (nor, in most instances, do other religions even attempt to do this - nor to answer questions about creation, purpose, meaning etc.).

Other religions therefore do not answer the deepest questions (even if they were true), but Christianity does.

Therefore, since it has no rival, we should be Christian because even if we regard the evidence for Christianity being true as being inconclusive, or open to doubt, or indeed very probably false; so long as we are not 100 percent convinced that the evidence cannot possibly be true (and this belief would be irrational), then we ought to believe Christianity from sheer common sense...

(and also from an understanding of probability theory - a small chance of infinite benefit always being a better bet than a greater likelihood of finite loss - Pascal being a mathematical pioneer in this field).

(This last being my understanding of Pascal's 'wager').