Pascal And The Meaning Of Life Book Review Religion Essay
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Published: Mon, 5 Dec 2016
This is a religious text book based on the facts existing on Christianity, it was written by Thomas Morris who was the most gifted writer and philosopher of the time. The book is titled, “Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life.” was published in 1992 by, (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. The book has addressed several issues such as; need for a guide, folly which arise due to indifferences, dangers which are caused by diversion, understand the meaning of life, how one can live a good life, how God is hidden to human beings, mysteries of human beings, how truth assist in human beings coexistence, how faith is related to heart and how one can be able to love God and life.
Thomas Morris amplifies Pascal in the ways that someone may not have a clue about before; this clearly has an intriguing effect on the critical mind that is about the possibility of the Truth hidden behind Christianity. The leap associated with the link between the mind and the faith does not seem to be strange especially after reading this book.
The title, “Making Sense of It All.” is one of the best volumes that expound the topic of Christianity and its philosophy and the apologetics. There is uniqueness in this book based on its organization and the content. Morris has utilized the scientific, some of the philosophical, and at some point, the apologetic sentiments of the great creative Christian thinker called Blaise Pascal from his titles, “the Pascal’s book Pensees.” and he shows how having faith in Jesus Christ is the only unique answer given to mankind’s longtime and deepest yearnings for the meaning, the purpose, his significance, and the eternal life. This book has skillfully and in the most successive manner answered most of the existential objections of which people have given as the reasons for not believing. Morris has achieved this by weaving together many of the Pascal’s brilliant insights specifically into a significant and most powerful Christian apologetic writings.
Though the content has been covered a lot in terms of the philosophical and the theological grounds, the book has remarks that are readable and at some places quite humorous. The philosophical, theological, and the apologetic concerns have been extensively addressed in a tremendously clear and the engaging style. Therefore, in this volume Thomas Morris has provided a very deep insight as to why people who live in today’s world tend to avoid the urge to think about the ultimate issues. Thomas V. Morris due to his enticing works has been recognized as one of the Christianity’s finest contemporary philosophers.
This book is intended to address the Christian believes who in most cases have been having thoughts on their faith, it explains to them the facts as they are linked to the religion and the general human philosophy. This book suits with the needs of its audience who in this case, the Christian. As Morris tries to captures the essence of the Pascal’s thought. He deftly weaves it with some of the insights of the other thinkers and he shows this in a practical application for the believers’ lives. This book enriches the believers’ mind and the spirit, thereby deepening their walk with God.
Pascal is just an example of a very brilliant and scientific mind who found it to be very reasonable to have very strong beliefs in God, or to be more specific, “A Christian God”. Therefore, Morris, through Pascal, has showed that faith and reasoning can take a believer farther than anything can alone. This is a great thought provoking book which is meant for the person who is always seeking to understand some of those hard questions.
The author articulated on how most of the time we shall be in need of urgently providing guidance which is needed by most people, it is informative on how its readers would understand how the indifferences would be solved. The author emphasized on how diversions provide a risky environment and how it would be taken care of and how one can live a better life by being skeptical and the role which research does in improving someone life. Morris makes the reader to understand the nature of God being hidden from human beings who would not even know the intentions of God and how truth is importance in promotion of self development and relation with others.
As Morris wrote about need to guide which he argues that, “When you stop to think about it, life can be very confusing” (p. 1). Having been given this reality, there is the need for a good guide that shows us how we are supposed to live. Morris insists, that Blaise Pascal is partly one of the best guides, who attunes to our concerns although he existed 350 years ago. Pascal was one of the great thinkers in the human history. He made the original contributions in the mathematics; he became the fixture of the French intelligentsia, “on the night of November 23, 1654, at the age of thirty-one, Pascal had a profound and deeply moving mystical experience that dramatically turned him around, reorienting all his priorities” (p. 9). He was able meet God. He emphasized that he met the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . . God , who is the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
As he Immersed himself in the spiritual concerns, Pascal, during the following eight years, wrote down notes meant for a theological treatise that he tirelessly planned to write, this was an explanation and the defense based on the Christian faith that he highly hoped would make an appeal to non-believers. Unfortunately at the age of 39, he died, leaving us only with the loosely organized collection of the thoughts, which were his Pensees, According to Morris thinks, these thoughts, may possibly guide us towards our own discovery of what life means.
In the next Chapter 2 The foolish indifference, due to our bored indifference towards ultimate realities, the timeless truths, makes our greatest flaw. According to his views, “This negligence in a matter where they themselves, their eternity, their all are at stake, fills me more with irritation than pity; it astounds and appalls me; it seems quite monstrous to me” (p. 23).
This is like hoarding the pennies while using thousands of dollar bills for then cooking fuel! Those who are charged with teaching philosophy together with theology, of course, almost on a daily basis face almost the same apparent indifference that Pascal condemned. Thomas was mystified by the interests that his students showed in some trivial campus events as compared to their frequently and bored response to questions that are concerned with the heaven and hell, or death and immortality. Therefore if we as human beings don’t just ignore the ultimate issues, then, we find the ways to keep our minds on other things. These Diversions always fill our waking hours and tend to dull our minds away from the possibilities of most important things.
Analyzing chapter 3: Risk of diversion there is no writer, in my experience, who can better dissects this malaise. “‘Being unable to cure death, wretchedness and ignorance,” he wrote, “men have decided, in order to be happy, not to think about such things'” (p. 31). This is contrary to our media-dominated culture, where as there is constant amusement by ourselves to death. Therefore, one can easily and only imagine, However, it is very clear that many of us tend to seek the shelter from the reality by making sure that we are always immersed in a state of noise and activity.
In his efforts in trying to makes us think in a more seriously manner, Pascal tried to set forth some ways to do so. He struggled very hard in order to discern what makes life to be meaningful? And what makes life to be good? Such like questions could not be reduced to a scientific inquiry with the empirical data and the logical proofs. The Thinkers who tend to make metaphysics or theology to be purely rational, with the endeavor to “prove the existence of God,” will always fail because they tend to take the wrong approach, by failing to remember Aristotle’s wise advice to using the right methodology while approaching a given realm of the reality.
Morris wrote about skepticism, research and a better life, the Christians use reason. Pascal was able to do it with the best, However they know that there is more to the reality than the reason, that some of the realms of reality just need to be encountered through some other means. Pascal said that, “‘We know the truth not only through our reason but also through our heart. It is through the latter that we know first principles, and reason, which has nothing to do with it, tries in vain to refute them'” (p. 82).
In the write-ups of the hidden God, he shows the emphasis that we all know God, who has constantly hidden from us, more so through the heart than it is to the head.: “‘What can be seen on earth indicates neither the total absence, nor the manifest presence of divinity, but the presence of a hidden God. Everything bears this stamp'” (p. 94).Therefore God, and the life’s meaning, tend to reveal themselves to those who truly and honestly seek Him (God). Therefore God does not necessarily reveal himself to those who are intellectually able and those who demand that He conforms to their established standards. Indeed, he re-marked that, “‘Pius scholars rare'” (p. 37).
While in Tokens of truth he wrote that “Truly religious people must humble themselves in the worship and obedience of a creator they do not see” (p. 146). God comes only to those who are very much willing to bet their lives on the truth of His Being. In his comparison to Pascal’s philosophy he challenges human beings to risk to believe in God, and to dare commit ourselves to the living truth that God unveils reality and assures the humans of immortality.
For one to able to find meaning in our lives, we must be in a position to understand not only the truth about God but also the truth about ourselves.
Morris’s focus of the, “Making Sense of It All.” is much more than the scissors-and-paste technique of collage that is normally done the quotations with the transitional comments and the explanations of the famous French genius (Pascal). In showing how contemporary some the issues Pascal raised are, Morris injects the illustrations that range from the Tolstoy’s novels to Woodie Allen’s movies. Therefore this book is an illustration of a gifted religious teacher at work: The audience is introduced to one of the most famous and greatest philosophers, This makes the authors ideas to be very clear and most relevant without the compromise of the essence of his views on the title, I like the book very much because it has greatly motivated me as a believer in Christian faith.
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