I love it when old guys get worked up, check out this following passage from Pascal in his Pensees. I imagine him writing each line and stopping in exclamation ‘gah!’ as he shakes his head and he proceeds to write the next, each with increasing rapidity:
“I can only feel compassion for those who are distressed sincerely by their doubts, and who regard it as their greatest misfortune. These spare no effort to escape from the situation, but instead make their search their main and most serious business. But I feel very differently towards those who live their lives without giving a thought to the final end of life, and who are unconvinced by the light that they have, but instead neglect to look elsewhere. These don’t decide an opinion from mature reflection, but merely accept opinions out of credulous simplicity or those, which, though obscure, do posses a solid and unshakable foundation. Their neglect in an issue that should vitally concern them, for it deals with their eternal destiny and everything they have, fills me with more irritation than pity. I am not saying this out of pious sentiment. On the contrary, I mean that people ought to feel like this from the basic principles of human interest and self-esteem. It calls for nothing more than what is apparent to the least enlightened among us.
We do not need to be high-minded to realize that there is no true and solid satisfaction be had in this world. For all out pleasures are mere vanity, while our misfortunes are infinite. Death dogs us every moment. In a space of only a few years we will inevitably be bought face-to-face with the reality of eternity, which for those who have neglected it will be eternal damnation with no prospect of happiness.
There is nothing more real than this, nor more terrible. We may seek to put on as brave a face as we can, but what lies in store at the end of the most successful career in the world is only this. Let people think what they like, but the only good in this life lies in the hope of another life. We are only happy in the measure to which we anticipate it, for there will be no misfortunes to those who are completely assured of of eternal life. But there will be no happiness for those who have no knowledge of it. Clearly it is a great misfortune to be in such a state of doubt. But it is at least an indispensable duty to seek and inquire when we are in such a state. It is the man who both doubts and yet does not seek who is most miserable and most wrong. If, in addition, he feels smug about what he openly professes, and even sees it as a source of complacency and smugness, which he blatantly professes, then I can find no terms to describe such a creature.
Whatever can give rise to such feelings? What reason is there for rejoicing when we cannot look forward to anything but unmitigated misery? What reason is there for vanity in being plunged into such an impenetrable darkness? How can arguments like this even occur to any reasonable person?
“I do no know who placed me in this world, nor what the world is, nor what I am myself. I am deeply ignorant about everything. I do not know what my body is, what my senses are, what my soul is, or the very organ which thinks what I am saying, which reflects upon everything as well as upon itself, and does not know itself any better than it knows anything else. I only see the terrifying spaces of the universe that imprison me, and I find myself planted in a tiny corner of this vast expanse without knowing why I have been placed here rather than there, Nor do I know why this brief span of life has been allotted to me at this point rather than another in all the eternity of time that has proceeded me and all that which will come after me. I see only infinities on all sides, enclosing me like an atom or like the shadow of a fleeting moment. All I know is that soon I shall die, but what I am most ignorant about is this very death from which there is no escape.”
“Just as I do not know where I came from, so I do not know where I am going. All I know is that when I leave this world I shall fall forever into oblivion, or into the hands of an angry God, without knowing which of the two will be my lot for eternity. Such is my state of mind, full of weakness and uncertainty. The only conclusion I can draw from all this is that I must pass my days without a thought of trying to find out what is going to happen to me. Perhaps I may find some insight in my own doubts, but I do not want to be troubled. I do not even want to put out a hand to seek for it. Instead I shall go without fear of foresight and allow myself to be carried off helplessly to my death, uncertain of my future state for all eternity”
But it is a glorious thing for true faith to have such unreasonable man as their enemies. For instead of being dangerous to it, their opposition only helps to establish it. For the Christian faith consists almost entirely in establishing these two truths: the corruption of human nature, and its redemption through Jesus Christ. I maintain if they do not server to demonstrate truth of redemption b the sanctity of their lives, at least they show admirably the corruption of human nature by having such unnatural attitudes…
He goes on.. but I won’t, although I have just realised instead of typing it all out, which I admit was fun, I should of just google’d it. And pow! here they are: http://oregonstate.edu/instruct/phl302/texts/pascal/pensees-contents.html.
Been listening to this recently that mike linked me to: http://www.disciplemakingintl.org/media/series/series_list/?id=2
Also my fingernails have been growing really fast this last month. I’m sure way faster than normal. Anyone else notice this?