Brief Biography of Blaise Pascal

BIOGRAPHY BLAISE PASCAL

 

Blaise Pascal only lived 39 years, but he left a lasting legacy of influence in theology, philosophy, literature, mathematics, economics, and social science.  He also invented the syringe.

Blaise Pascal was born in France into an upper-class family in 1623.  His father was a judge and tax collector; his mother died when Blaise was but three years old.  Blaise was homeschooled by his father. 

When the precocious Pascal was only thirteen, he discovered a mathematical error in the work of Rene Descartes.  Three years later, Descartes saw some of Pascal's amazing mathematical work and declared that it had to have been written by someone else because "no boy could know more about mathematics than did all the ancients."  When Pascal was 24, he proved that vacuums exist, something Descartes did not believe in.

BLAISE PASCAL
BLAISE PASCAL

PASCALINE

When Blaise Pascal was but eighteen, he invented the first mechanical calculating machine—the Pascaline—to help his father's staff of tax accountants. The principles that lie behind this machine are still used today. Pascal was very disappointed that the machine did not sell well. Many people were against it because it could do the calculations of six men and it was feared it would end the employment of thousands of accountants.

Pascal was also a prolific gambler, and gambling is thought to have contributed to his amazing discoveries in mathematics, which include Pascal's Triangle.

Pascal originated the theory of probability, and in physics he discovered the foundation of modern hydraulics: Pascal's Law. Pascal also explained how air pressure works, in particular that the higher one goes above sea level the less air pressure there is.

 

PASCALINE
PASCALINE

BLAISE PASCAL

 

Blaise Pascal was a mystic mathematician.  He was a staunch defender of the Christian faith, and a follower of Jansen.  Pascal set forth a philosophy of man and society that throws a critical light on what has happened in western culture since his day. 

Renowned for his wit and manners, Blaise Pascal was a bright star in his society.  He lived in nearly constant pain from an unknown malady, and had extremely poor circulation. He had bouts of being bedridden.  Pascal didn't smile much, but he was a savage wit. 

Blaise Pascal believed that  great minds must have busy lives full of continuous action to keep their minds stimulated.  Boredom makes a man unhappy. 

STATUE OF PASCAL IN THE LOUVRE
STATUE OF PASCAL IN THE LOUVRE

PASCAL

Pascal explored the impulse to love, especially to love that which is beautiful.

Within each person is the image of God whom one seeks in order to complete oneself.

Pascal sees the majesty and designs of God as so far above human comprehension that we can only connect with Him through Christ, who was both God and man.

Christ was the sole link to meaning for mankind.

The message of Christ is forgiveness and love.

The miracle and mystery of Christ mediates the mystery of infinite space and the silence of creation.

 

INSTRUMENTS FROM THE WORKSHOP OF BLAISE PASCAL
INSTRUMENTS FROM THE WORKSHOP OF BLAISE PASCAL

PASCAL OPPOSES SCIENTISM

 

Pascal warned against trying to explain everything through scientific formulae.  Love, beauty, poetry, and even good government are indefinable by science.  Science cannot explain spontaneous conduct, sympathy, friendship, or the love that fills this world.  Man is both miserable and great.  On the scale of the universe, man is puny.  Pascal said: "A drop of water can kill him; he is a feeble reed.  But he is a thinking reed." 

The details of human existence are too numerous and fugitive to sort out through reason alone.  Great minds reach different conclusions.  Pascal certainly did not believe that science was the only arbiter of truth, or the only explainer of human existence.  In our day, science is a religion for some, who have been persuaded that the only truth is that proved by scientific experiments.  Technology and useful inventions benefit everyone, but they also convince the shallow of mind that science has a monopoly on truth, which Pascal thought would be a grave error for the human race.

Blaise Pascal warned against scientism: the fallacious belief that science must, and will someday, explain all forms of human experience and settle every issue.  A notable example of this fallacious thinking is that of Karl Marx, who believed that science could explain history and predict the future.  The tragic experiments with his ideas in the Soviet Union, Communist China, Cambodia, North Korea, and Eastern Europe have proved that there is much more to humanity than the mechanics of social science.  As Pascal said: "The heart has its reasons that the reason does not know." 

BLAISE PASCAL
BLAISE PASCAL

PASCAL RECEIVES A VISION

At age 31, Blaise Pascal received a vision from God that changed his life.

He quit scientific research to devote the rest of his days to the Lord.

Not long after, he personally witnessed a miracle when God healed his ten-year-old niece of a fistula.

Seven prominent doctors signed a sworn statement to attest that this was indeed a miraculous healing.

The rest of his life was invested to "contemplate the greatness and the misery of man."

PASCAL'S WAGER
PASCAL'S WAGER

PENSEES

 

Blaise Pascal was working on a new book when he died.  It was released posthumously with the title Pensees,  which means "thoughts."  The title Pascal had given this book was: A Defense of the Christian Religion.  It is one of the most eloquent masterpieces ever written. 

Pensees is a study of the human soul, for the express purpose of understanding man's need for God.  It is a collection of his personal thoughts about human suffering and of faith in God. 

Then there is Pascal's Wager: "If you disbelieve in God, you have no eternal life—you yourselves say there is none.  But if you believe, you have at least one chance out of two; for if there is no God, you are where you were before; and if there is, you have won salvation." 

In Pensees Pascal studies paradoxes: infinity and nothing, faith and reason, soul and matter, death and life, meaning and vanity.  His conclusion is that man should admit his ignorance about ultimate matters, and face life with humility while accepting the Grace of God.  Pensees reminds some of Ecclesiastes and Proverbs. 

Christ is the Redeemer of mankind. Man is wretched without God. Pascal believed that it is natural and necessary for a man to suffer. 

For after all what is man in nature? A nothing in relation to infinity, all in relation to nothing, a central point between nothing and all and infinitely far from understanding either. The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret. He is equally incapable of seeing the nothingness out of which he was drawn and the infinite in which he is engulfed.

Blaise Pascal, Pensées #72

DEATH MASK OF PASCAL
DEATH MASK OF PASCAL

CONCLUSION

BLAISE PASCAL

Blaise Pascal died of a brain hemorrhage after being first incapacitated by severe pain caused by stomach cancer.

Pascal seemed embarrassed by his abundance of talents. He approached his study of the Christian faith from the perspective and with the rigor of a scientist. He had a slight build but a loud voice. He suffered from migraine headaches since his youth. He was a stubborn perfectionist, yet meek and humble.


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Comments 104 comments

samsons1 profile image

samsons1 5 years ago from Tennessee

voted up & beautiful! A very interesting and informing description of Pascal. My pastor at church had mentioned briefly this man's contributions to the Christian faith...


Tom Whitworth profile image

Tom Whitworth 5 years ago from Moundsville, WV

James,

Great Hub.

Blaise Pascal illustrates there is no contradiction between math, science and love of God and Jesus. Thank you brother!!


partisan patriot 5 years ago

James

Another fascinating and informative hub! You would think the French would have believed vacuums exist before Pascal proved it to them; after all if they were against his mechanical calculating machine—the Pascaline—because it could do the calculations of six men and it was feared it would end the employment of thousands of accountants, that proved that even back then they were Socialist Democrats and as such should have recognized the Vacuums that existed in their own heads where brains should have been before Pascal demonstrated the fact to them!


FLYSCO profile image

FLYSCO 5 years ago from Kings Cross, London

Another great subject. Thank you for writing it.


cameciob profile image

cameciob 5 years ago

James, i realy enjoyed reading your great article. Not anly it revived my memories about this interesting man but also I learnd something new, as I never knew about his christian work. Voted up and rated.


kimh039 profile image

kimh039 5 years ago

Very interesting. Thanks James. I love this quote: "The heart has its reasons that the reason does not know." Pascal suffered a great deal and was also blessed.


Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 5 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

I disagree with Pascal, disbelieving in God does not mean that you lose everything and have no eternal life. Pascal may have started that fallacy. I always wondered where it came from. All of us have eternal life no matter which God or non-god we believe in or don't believe in.

The universe is, was and always will be. Man's invention of God cannot change that.

(The ends of things and their beginnings are impregnably concealed from him in an impenetrable secret.) There is no beginning and there is no end. It's no secret. It's quite obvious just from looking at the stars.

Pascal, like Divinci was a great thinker and inventor. Our world is a more enlightened place because of him. Thank you for this historical biography.


GusTheRedneck profile image

GusTheRedneck 5 years ago from USA

James - Your informative article here has once more enlivened my morning wakeup read! I am as dumb as a rock about most everything that Pascal was good at, but I adhere to Pascal's Wager as a very useful practice, not only about religion, but about most everything else, too. Reading about that in your article brought a smile.

Gus :-)))


BDazzler profile image

BDazzler 5 years ago from Gulf Coast, USA

James, I became fascinated with Pascal when I learned Niklaus Wirth's programming language that was named after him. "Many people were against it because it could do the calculations of six men and it was feared it would end the employment of thousands of accountants. " Although I am a software engineer, as I look at how people use computers, how they expect them to do their thinking, perhaps they were right. I look at the internet, and how people and businesses use computers and the consequences and I ask ... Lord, what have we done?

Your last two hubs are among my favorite. I love both Galileo and Pascal.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

samsons1— Thank you for being my first visitor!! I truly appreciate you voting this Hub up and beautiful.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Tom Whitworth— Thank you and you are welcome. As you said so well:

"Blaise Pascal illustrates there is no contradiction between math, science and love of God and Jesus."


De Greek profile image

De Greek 5 years ago from UK

Another wonderful, educational hub, James. Thanks :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Partisan Patriot— Thank you very much. I love your witty observations. Stop making sense! The opposition to the Pascaline reminds me of the opposition of the United Auto Workers to the automatizing of the Detroit car manufacturing plants, which led directly to the millions of Japanese cars we see on the road today in America.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

FLYSCO— You are welcome. Thank you for reading it.


Karen Varpa 5 years ago

For one not to read or to read, I read and enjoyed feeding the brain. I really agree with,

"Blaise Pascal illustrates there is no contradiction between math, science and love of God and Jesus."


CheyenneAutumn profile image

CheyenneAutumn 5 years ago

Another great piece - thank you...


creativeone59 profile image

creativeone59 5 years ago from Gold Canyon, Arizona

Thank you James, I give you a thumbs up on this one,what an exilirating and facinating read. Thank you much for sharing it. Ghodspeed. creativeone59


lone77star profile image

lone77star 5 years ago from Cebu, Philippines

Beautifully written! Your article and the man remain an inspiration. Thanks, James.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

cameciob— Why, thank you! It is a pleasure to hear from you again. We used to carry on quite a correspondence through our comments on Hub Pages. I took the summer off to work on my first book. I am glad you enjoyed this piece. Thank you for reading and the good votes! :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

kimh039— You are welcome. I love that quote too. I enjoyed reading your comments. Thank you for visiting me and leaving your warm words.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Austinstar— You are welcome. No Big Bang? hmmm . . .

As you probably know I do not buy into the idea that "man created God." Nonetheless, I thank you for adding a wholely different perspective.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

GusTheRedneck— I am surely happy that I managed to enliven your morning and bring a smile to your face, Gus. In lieu of a deeper faith, the Wager works. Thank you for your kind words. I appreciate you reading my work. :D

James


EnLydia Listener 5 years ago

James, I really enjoyed reading this one...I am always fascinated by brillian men who also love God. Pascal was certainly one of them. I wondered as you described some of his earlier symtpoms if he didn't have cancer. Maybe he could have had his healing miracle too, but maybe "sudden death,sudden glory" was his preferred route.


James Mark profile image

James Mark 5 years ago from York, England

Thanks for flagging up this great thinker on HubPages. The sentence "the heart has reasons …" is often quoted by Tim Keller of Redeemer Presbyterian, New York, author of "The Reason for God."


aware profile image

aware 5 years ago from West Palm Beach Florida.

i never knew of this Pascal. nor would i have. until you my friend so kindly introduced him and his work to me. And in such a way that not only did i enjoy the lesson, but found absorbing it extremely easy .i did many things this week.so many things. but only tru your informative hubs. did i learn something this week. respect from me to you teacher. thanks james

ray


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

BDazzler— I have heard about that programming language. I am gratified to read that you are especially fond of these last two Hubs. I suppose computers, as with most technology, can be used for good or for bad. Perhaps, in and of itself it is neutral.

Thank you for very much for reading my work. I appreciate your comments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

De Greek— You are welcome. Thank you for visiting and complimenting my Hub. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Karen Varpa— Karen!! My friend, it is a pleasure to see you here. Thank you for coming. Thank you for letting me know your brain was fed. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

CheyenneAutumn— You are welcome. Thank you. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

creativeone59— It is always good to hear from you. I appreciate the "Thumbs Up" and your gracious compliments. And you are welcome.

James


Rod Marsden profile image

Rod Marsden 5 years ago from Wollongong, NSW, Australia

Good Hub.

I am left wondering whether to envy Pascal his genius or mourn the fact he died so young. It is a real pity he left the field of science for the study of his religion.


Wealthmadehealthy profile image

Wealthmadehealthy 5 years ago from Somewhere in the Lone Star State

What an interesting read. I should like to understand how the Pascaline worked. The picture of it does not give me any idea as to how the calculations would be made, nor why people of that time thought it would put people out of work. Someone or persons would have to enter the calculations....

As to his study of the Lord. Yes, humility is a major key..and those who do not believe will be thrown into the lake of fire..This is Written...Alas, another great mind removed from the world in a short period of time.

But what he contributed in this short period was phenomenal


SilentReed profile image

SilentReed 5 years ago from Philippines

Science and religion appear in opposition. One deals with "facts" the other with "faith". But science and religion complement each other. In ancient times the priests were also men of science. It is only in recent human history that the schism occurred.Many scientist today are acknowledging the limitation of science in explaining the unknown.


Allan McGregor profile image

Allan McGregor 5 years ago from South Lanarkshire

Tremendous hub. Eloquently and concisely written.

Pascal was an outstanding man and a superb mind.

I disagree, however, with Austinstar, and no, Pascal did not originate the ideas she so dislikes, he merely offered his own take on long established wisdom.

Here's Jesus' take on them, in John 3:17-19,

'For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. He that believes on him is not condemned: but he that believes not is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil.'

If God is man's invention and man is a logical consequence of the evolution of the Universe, then the concept of a God is a logical consequence of the development of the Universe via the mind of man, but the Universe itself remains ultimately unexplained. - Rather, God is 'revealed' in Jesus Christ.

If, however, there is a God, then both man and the Universe are explained as his Creation, although God himself remains ultimately unexplained. - But still revealed in Jesus Christ.

Both ideologies distill down to a single ineffable core, but non-belief in God fails to explain the cause of the reason we are able to deploy in search of either answer. Whereas the Bible reveals God himself as that Reason -

'In the beginning was the Logos (Reason), and the Logos (Reason) was with God, and the Logos (Reason) was God' (John 1:1).

I prefer Pascal's reasoning and Jesus Christ's teaching.


singlmomat52 profile image

singlmomat52 5 years ago

Great Hub!!! Thanks again!!


Hello, hello, profile image

Hello, hello, 5 years ago from London, UK

This was a great lesson about a great man. Well written.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

lone77star— You are welcome. Thank you for the accolades. I surely agree that Pascal is an inspiring figure.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

EnLydia Listener— There doesn't apear to be any evidence that Pascal sought a miracle for himself. I too am fascinated by brilliant men who love God. It provides ammo agaist the lie promugated by the Deceiver these days that one must be dumb to believe in God. I am glad you enjoyed this piece. Thank you for reading and commenting.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

James Mark— Hello Pastor Mark. I have the book you mentioned! I have met Pastor Keller many times. He is part of a men's group I belong to called the New Canaan Society. Thank you and you are welcome.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

aware— You are welcome, Ray. I enjoyed your insightful comments. They are gratifying for me to read. I am well pleased you enjoyed this learning experience. Thank you for saying so.

James


pcoach 5 years ago

You really make learning history fun.

You wrote, "Pascal believed that it is natural and necessary for a man to suffer." With suffering, we learn to appreciate that which God has given us. UP and awesome!


nifty@50 profile image

nifty@50 5 years ago

A handful of men like Pascal & Newton are responsible for propelling mankind's knowledge of the universe thousands of years forward! Great hub!


drbj profile image

drbj 5 years ago from south Florida

Another excellent and well-researched hub, James. Pascal was an amazing mathematician and you captured his essence in a minimum of verbiage.

Good to have you back on HP on a regular basis.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Rod Marsden— I think we can safely both celebrates his genius and mourn his early demise. And his contributions to theology, and even simple faith, are profound as well. Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate the visit to my Hub.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Wealthmadehealthy— According to Wikipedia:

"The calculator had spoked metal wheel dials, with the digit 0 through 9 displayed around the circumference of each wheel. To input a digit, the user placed a stylus in the corresponding space between the spokes, and turned the dial until a metal stop at the bottom was reached, similar to the way a rotary telephone dial is used. This would display the number in the boxes at the top of the calculator. Then, one would simply redial the second number to be added, causing the sum of both numbers to appear in boxes at the top."

Yes, someone had to operate the machine but it was six times faster than calculating on paper.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

SilentReed— Your comments are excellent and astute. The only opposition I see between science and faith is from those who portray it that way from the science side. I do not know of any religious people who are opposed to science.


iantoPF profile image

iantoPF 5 years ago from Sunny California

Another terrific Hub james; You have a way of portraying the great thinkers of history in a way that is satisfying, but for me, you give me the desire to learn more. Thank you.

I am of the opinion that Pascal would agree that truth and reality are not scientific terms, They are theological terms. Those who seek God, it seems to me, are also seeking the reality behind the universe while science is only interested in what works. When something else works better, science will change. The God of faith will never change.

Best Wishes my friend.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Allan McGregor— Thank you for the superlative accolades. I surely agree with your assessment of Blaise Pascal. I, like you, prefer Pascal's reasoning and the teachings of Jesus Christ. Your analysis is nothing short of brilliant. But then, I've come to expect such from you, brother. Thank you for sharing your illuminated mind with us here today.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

singlmomat52— You are welcome! Thank you very much for reading my Hub and leaving your compliments.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Hello, hello,— Thank you! Thank you very much. :D


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

pcoach— Thank you for saying I make history fun—that is my intention. I appreciate the high ratings!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

nifty@50— I am working on a Hub about Sir Isaac Newton as we speak. I agree with your sentiments entirely. Thank you for the compliment. I appreciate your readership.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

drbj— It is good to be back on HubPages. I'll probably take another break soon to finish my book. But I think I'll continue to publish Hubs for a month first. Thank you for your kind words.


BrianS profile image

BrianS 5 years ago from Castelnaudary, France

Can't believe Pascal only lived to the age of 39 years. Shame really, just think what he might have done with a few more years and the wisdom that comes with age. A very interesting read.


Rebecca E. profile image

Rebecca E. 5 years ago from Canada

a great read once gain, and i was amazed at what one person can do in a lifetime so short, he was amazing.


saket71 profile image

saket71 5 years ago from Delhi, India

Excellent hub, it is hard to believe that one could have done so much in such a short life, am almost embarrassed to think that I turned thirty nine last month.


stars439 profile image

stars439 5 years ago from Louisiana, The Magnolia and Pelican State.

Thank you for this educational work on a very young talented man of the ages. He seemed ahead of those times, but then again you have shown us all how extraordinarily talented and educated , many Christian souls were of the ages. God Bless You.


Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 5 years ago from England

Hi, that was fascinating, I had heard of him of course but I didn't realise all of his acomplishments, very interesting thanks, cheers nell


ROMANCER OF LIFE profile image

ROMANCER OF LIFE 5 years ago from Honolulu, Hawaii

Thank you James... You have produced a wonderful hub on the facts of Blaise Pascual. I have not known him until after reading your hub and I will find time to read more about him. He was a great man according to what was written of him and you have captured my attention and my need to want to know more about this wonderful man. Thanks for sharing.

Romancer


cristina327 profile image

cristina327 5 years ago from Manila

This is indeed another excellent hub from you James Watkins. This is indeed a great well-written account on a man with a great mind. I consider Pascal a great man because he believe in God which is not common to men gifted with brilliant mind such as he. Thank you for sharing this great article here at Hubpages. Blessings to you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

iantoPF— I am pleased to see you here, friend. I enjoyed reading your thoughtful and insightful comments. Thank you for your kind compliments. And you are most welcome. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Brain S— Blaise Pascal indeed had a short life. But it was a memorable one. I thank you for taking the time to read my article about this great man. I appreciate your thoughtful remarks as well.


bayoulady profile image

bayoulady 5 years ago from Northern Louisiana,USA

Always something to learn when we are hubbing. Didn't know about the syringe, and also how devout he was.Very interesting bio on this brilliant man!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Rebecca E.— Yes, Blaise Pascal was an amazing man. It is good to see you here. Thank you for coming!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

saket71— You think you are embarrassed!? I am 55! Thank you for your compliments. I appreciate the visit from you.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

stars439— You are most welcome, my brother. Blaise Pascal is indeed a "man of the ages." It is always good to hear your voice. Thank you for coming by to visit me.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Nell Rose— I am well pleased to receive this visitation my one of my favorite writers on HubPages. You are quite welcome, my dear. :)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

ROMANCER OF LIFE— You are welcome, my lady. Blaise Pascal was indeed a wonderful man. He is one of my favorite people of all time. Thank you for taking the time to read my article.


CASE1WORKER profile image

CASE1WORKER 5 years ago from UNITED KINGDOM

Great- thanks for this. I am always amazed by the technical competency of the 16th and 17th centuries especially in the mechanical area. We think that everything "modern" is a 20th century invention, which shows just how small our minds are.


itakins profile image

itakins 5 years ago from Irl

James

He was an extraordinary man whose defining characteristic was humility.Well done again.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

cristina327— You are most welcome, my dear. I enjoyed reading your comments. Thank you for coming by to visit and for the compliments. I agree with you that Blaise Pascal was indeed a great man.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

bayoulady— I am glad you found it interesting. Thank you for saying so. I appreciate your remarks. :)


lctodd1947 profile image

lctodd1947 5 years ago from USA

This mans short life and illness did not keep him from seeing the truth about the world and Jesus. He was a true disciple by leaving his other talents behind and following the Lord. I like, Allen McGregor; disagree with Austin Star. It makes us feel sorry for those who have no idea what the truth really is. I hope that I never become blinded.

The article was fantastic...


Pollyannalana profile image

Pollyannalana 5 years ago from US

Very good hub... and I see his meaning as our way to God through Christ, with Christ understanding what it is to be human and goes to God for us, or brings that understanding to God, besides being our only way, Christ being sent for us. I too believe in everlasting life for all whether they have God or not, although I am sure many might wish it were not so.


no body profile image

no body 5 years ago from Rochester, New York

You know what Jim? I was on a bridge over the train track in Lyons, New York and the train was coming. I was about to jump and I was a shade over 18 years old. I was to the end of my rope and what went through my head was that Wager you mentioned. I heard this "voice" in my thoughts. It said, "If you jump and the churches are right and there is a hell you jump right into it. But if you don't jump and try to check it out you might just save your life." It was not long after that, that I began a search and was led to people that could start explaining to me about Chritianity and saved 5 years later. Thank you for blessing me with this precious history. Love you Brother.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

CASE1WORKER— You are quite welcome. There used to be a TV show called "Connections" that was just fabulous. The host would show the connectedness of inventions that were amazing to realize. Blaise Pascal was plenty sharp. Thank you for visiting and commenting. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

itakins— Thank you! I agree with you. He was humble. Good eye there!


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Ictodd1947— Thank you for the applause! I agree wholeheartedly with your words. Your comments are insightful. I appreciate you. :-)


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Molly! :D

Blaise Pascal had some real insights. He pierced the veil a bit for us. Thank you for your enjoyable remarks. I appreciate the visitation, too.


Ingenira profile image

Ingenira 5 years ago

Pascal was really a genius. Loved his story. And I enjoyed your style of writing; nice to read.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

no body— That is an amazing story!! Pascal's Wager applied to life and death decisions. Thank you for sharing that with me. You are welcome and I love you too.


Oduguwa A. Olufemi 5 years ago

Pascal also contributed to human psychology,when he invented the machine that could do the computations six men would do, he prompted men that could loose their jobs to react and they did react. The resolution of the conflict between inventions, innovations and infact technology and man would always come as it did, when the fact is laid bare that the solution to man's problem may not be without its own discomfort asking man for a compelling adjustment. Pascal lived for his age and for the age he never new.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Ingenira— I agree with you about the genius of Pascal. Thank you for your kind compliments. Welcome to the Hub Pages Community (belatedly).


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Oduguwa A. Olufemi— Welcome! Yes, I agree with you that Blaise Pascal did indeed contribute much to the field of psychology. Thank you for making that excellent observation.

Your comments are extraordinary, my friend. I truly appreciate you making them here. Thank you for taking the time to read my humble article.


Laura in Denver profile image

Laura in Denver 5 years ago from Aurora

Interesting how genius manefests itself. I do like his point that scientific techniques are unable to explain many phenomena.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Laura in Denver— Yes, I like his point as well. Thank you, Laura, for coming by and reading my Hub. I appreciate your comments. :-)


Granny's House profile image

Granny's House 5 years ago from Older and Hopefully Wiser Time

James, I have not heard of Pascal. Thank you so much. As always when I read one of your hubs, I have learnt


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Granny's House— You are welcome. Thank you so much for your kind regards. I appreciate it! :-)


PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 5 years ago from Dallas, Texas

James,

This is a fascinating story. You have a gift with taking ordinary history and turning it into enjoyable reading. I learned quite a lot from your article and from the comments too! Thanks so much.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

PegCole17— You are quite welcome. I am well pleased that you appreciate my gift. Thank you very much for your kind compliments. I am gratified to read them.


Chasuk 5 years ago

Thank you, James A Watkins, for an informative hub about one of my favorite philosophers.

However... Pascal's Wager is eloquent, and beautiful, but also naïve. Belief isn't a switch on the side of your head that you toggle to "Off" or to "On."


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Chasuk— You are welcome. Pascal's Wager is not directed at True Believers on either side but to those who may be sitting on the proverbial fence. I think he hoped to kick a few off. Maybe he did. :)


Chasuk 5 years ago

I largely agree with you regarding your assessment of Pascal's Wager.

I don't believe that there are many True Believers or fence-sitters; most fence-sitters have clambered down and live as masqueraders in a True Believer camp. Periodically, one will decamp to the other side, and even back again.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Chasuk— Yes, I suppose you are right. But many people are searchers. I have met quite a few. They are seeking and exploring. Some may read Pascal, or C. S. Lewis, and be persuaded. They will persuaded by somebody toward something I think we can agree. Everybody has a worldview.


Chasuk 5 years ago

I'm a searcher. I spend a significant portion of every day searching, and I mean that quite literally. I've camped and decamped more than once.

Interestingly, it was a side-effect of reading C.S. Lewis which led to my eventual skepticism.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 5 years ago from Chicago Author

Chasuk— That is good. I like searchers, and seekers. That is interesting what you wrote of Clive Staples. He usually has the opposite effect on people.


stessily 4 years ago

James, Blaise Pascal is one of my favorite thinkers; plus, since I suffered from debilitating migraines for decades, I related to his similarly traumatic experiences with those hideosities! You've wonderfully profiled him, his life, and his talents.

You mentioned one of my favorite quotes from him: "The heart has its reasons that reason does not know" (Le cœur a ses raisons, que la raison ne connaît point).

My other favorite quote states:

"All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone" (Tout le malheur des hommes vient d'une seule chose, qui est de ne pas savoir demeurer en repos dans une chambre). I find that to be such a true observation, and it has greatly influenced my thinking and my lifestyle.

Blaise Pascal had a phenomenal understanding of life. His wager is brilliant. His writings revealed the inquisitive precision of science and the poetic elegance of philosophy.

Thank you for telling Monsieur Pascal's story so well. He'd approve, I'm sure of it.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

stessily— You are most welcome! If Blaise Pascal would approve of my brief biography of him and his thought I would be well pleased. :D

I surely agree with you that: "Blaise Pascal had a phenomenal understanding of life."

I too love the same quotes from him that you love.

Thank you so much for your affirmation and encouragement. I love that we share our admiration of this remarkable man. God Bless You!

James :-)


Lone Ranger 4 years ago

Excellent post, my friend!!!

Truth be known, I have used Pascal's "Wager Argument" quite a bit in my life...because I find it to be so effective in every-day living and I find it to be useful when combating open-minded atheists.

Peace out - L.R.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

Lone Ranger— Thank you very much!! I also like Pascal's Wager. I am glad you find it a useful tool in spiritual combat.

I am really glad that you liked this one. I appreciate you letting me know you did. I am grateful for your readership.

Now write some Hubs!

James


CJ Alexander 4 years ago

I am always amazed (though I shouldn't be) that those who seem to have the finest minds are those who discover the life-changing truths of Christ, believe in Him, and live for Him.


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 4 years ago from Chicago Author

CJ Alexander— Your insights are truly brilliant. You said as much in one sentence as I did in the whole Hub. For that I must say: Thank you! :D

James


virgie bacalso 3 years ago

THANKS TO BLAISE PASCAL FOR HIS INVENTORIES WHO CONTRIBUTES A LOT TO ALL PEOPLE,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, AND HE BELIEVE IN GOD THE CREATOR OF ALL THINGS HER ON EARTH,,,,,,,,,,,, THANK YOU SO MUCH TO U BLAISE PASCAL,,,,,,,,,,,,,YOU ARE AMAZING AND SO BRILLIANT....... FOR NOW I KNOW THAT THERE IS ONLY ONE GOD TO BELIEVE..... THANKS A LOT....... AMEN...


James A Watkins profile image

James A Watkins 3 years ago from Chicago Author

virgie bacalso--- Yes, indeed, we should thank Blaise Pascal for his contributions to the human race. And I appreciate you saying so.

He surely did, as you say, believe in God the Creator of all things.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read my article. I am grateful to you for your awesome accolades. And you are most welcome, too!

God Bless You!

James :D

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