Once again, the blaring sirens and flashing lights of the Drool-o-tron™ summoned us to the control room, where the blinking letters of its wall display said RenewAmerica. As you know, RenewAmerica is the latest winner of the Curmudgeon’s coveted Buffoon Award, thus the jolly logo which adorns this post.
Our computer was locked into this item: On Pascal’s God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, written by Ellis Washington. Our regular readers are familiar with Ellis’ work. The best example of his thinking can be found here, Scripture Trumps Darwin, when he informed us of “the syllogism that was a foundation of Western civilization”:
In all his recent articles at RenewAmerica, Ellis has been rehashing what he finds in the Encyclopedia Britannica Great Books of the Western World. Most of his essay today is taken from that source. He devotes half of it to reciting some biographical information about Blaise Pascal.
Then he spends several more paragraphs telling us about Pascal’s Wager, which is well described in Wikipedia. Almost everyone knows about criticisms of the Wager, many summarized in that same Wikipedia article, which show it to be generally worthless (see Criticism). Although famous and often cited by the unsophisticated as convincing, the Wager is about as persuasive as a child’s jingle. (If you need a digression, your Curmudgeon once wrote about his own fanciful experience with the Wager — see The Devil’s Jockstrap.)
The last few paragraphs are where Ellis becomes entertaining. That’s when he adds his own thoughts. So we’ll skip his high school report on Pascal and focus only on the original material. Here are some excerpts from that, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
Pascal famous “wager” argument is not meant to be an irrefutable proof of God’s existence, but a “pragmatic argument” – a challenge to demonstrate it is rational and logical to be a Christian – that theism and rationalism are not mutually exclusive (as viewed in modern times especially since Darwin’s atheist evolution revolution of the 1860s-1900s).
Ah yes, Darwin’s “atheist evolution revolution.” Ellis explains:
Pascal’s wager account [sic] for the fact that if there may be a God, the believer can anticipate an “infinity of happy life,” whereas if God doesn’t exist, the unbeliever has essentially lost nothing, yet lived a meaningful and fulfilling life.
Right. What does Ellis lose if he chooses to believe, but that belief wrong? Well, he loses the use of his brain for a lifetime. If a life based on nonsense doesn’t represent a loss to Ellis, that’s okay with us. Then he changes the subject and says:
Can happiness in this life be found where there is no real choice? Ask the 11 million citizens living under the communist dictatorship of Cuba President Obama is hellbent on propping up. If Pascal lived in these times I’m certain he would ask: Where can happiness be found in a philosophical, political, economic and legal system like progressivism, evolution atheism, communism and socialism established on the cynical lie by Karl Marx?
You didn’t know that Darwin was responsible for Fidel Castro, did you? Now you know, thanks to Ellis. Let’s read on:
Pascal offers another choice, a real choice writing, “Happiness is neither without us nor within us. It is in God, both without us and within us.”
Okay. He concludes with this final bit of wisdom, and the bracketed material is in his essay:
However, the road to truth and thus to happiness is paved with many obstacles that the wise person skillfully avoids. “Truth is so obscure in these times, and falsehoods so established,” Pascal writes [in the 1600s!], “that, unless we love the truth, we cannot know it.”
So there you are. It seems that Ellis has chosen to accept Pascal’s advice. Perhaps you will follow his example and do likewise.
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