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Tag: Pascal

Our Problem: Illusion or Reality?

Our Problem: Illusion or Reality?

From the series, Ten Turning Points That Make All the Difference What’s our problem? No, seriously. What’s wrong with us? Maybe nothing’s wrong with us. Sure, it seems like something’s not right with humanity, but maybe it’s just an illusion. There are modern naturalists/materialists who say consciousness and free will are human illusions. They’re not the only ones who place common-sense human experience in doubt. “Christian Science” (which is neither) teaches that evil is unreal, and that our only real…

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Nothing New Under the Sun

Nothing New Under the Sun

Self-oriented, lightly founded moral philosophy is not so new after all. Going back some 350 years: Doubtless there are natural laws; but good reason once corrupted has corrupted all…. The result of this confusion is that one affirms the essence of justice to be the authority of the legislator; another, the interest of the sovereign; another, present custom, and this is the most sure. Nothing, according to reason alone, is just in itself; all changes with time. Custom creates the…

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More Food For Thought

More Food For Thought

We do not require great education of the mind to understand that here is no real and lasting satisfaction; that our pleasures are only vanity; that our evils are infinite; and, lastly, that death, which threatens us every moment, must infallibly place us within a few years under the dreadful necessity of being for ever either annihilated or unhappy. There is nothing more real than this, nothing more terrible. Be we as heroic as we like, that is the end…

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Food for Thought

Food for Thought

Custom is our nature. He who is accustomed to the faith believes in it, can no longer fear hell, and believes in nothing else. He who is accustomed to believe that the king is terrible … etc. Who doubts then that our soul, being accustomed to see number, space, motion, believes that and nothing else? Blaise Pascal, Pensées, 89

Though It Is Not Impossible to See God…

Though It Is Not Impossible to See God…

There’s a potential false conclusion to steer clear of as you read Edward Tingley’s article, “The Skeptical Inquirer,” on which I blogged yesterday. He refers to Blaise Pascal’s statement that God cannot be known through the senses. One might suppose that he is saying that it is impossible to perceive God in any way. Whatever Tingley and Pascal might say to that, I would put it this way: While it is not impossible to see God, it is possible not…

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“The Skeptical Inquirer”

“The Skeptical Inquirer”

One of the podcasts I enjoy listening to is the Skeptics’ Guide to the Universe, a science-oriented, religiously skeptical discussion conducted out of the New England Skeptical Society. The shows run long, so I can’t listen to all of them, but I’ve heard a couple of them, featuring Michael Shermer and John Rennie. You can learn a lot of science and unlearn a lot of myth from these discussions. When they wander onto religious territory, however, their skepticism tends to…

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