Making the Case for Faith and History of Ideas
Douglas Groothuis (Wadsworth: June 2002), 96 pages.
Anyone with any mathematical background will have undoubtedly heard of Pascal. His contributions to mathematics are well noted. Groothuis, who is exceptionally familiar with the philosophical work of Pascal, has done an admirable job in a short space of introducing the reader to Pascal the man, mathematician, inventor, and philosopher. The first four chapters lay out the historical background needed to understand Pascal and his work. Chapter 5 introduces the Pensees, the fragments of a grand work that was unfortunately left unfinished by Pascal's early death. Chapter 6 describes the rejection, in the Pensees, of arguing for God's existence from natural theology, the accepted apologetic of the day. Groothuis begins the next chapter by explaining Pascal's apologetic in that he "aimed to spark a philosophical and existential crisis in his readers that would be resolvable only by Christian revelation" (50). Groothuis explores two of Pascal's ideas, "deposed royalty" and his controversial "Wager". Groothuis helps those not familiar with or only passingly familiar with these two topics, as well as the Pensees, to better understand Pascal's thinking and intent. Groothuis' extensive work and expertise on Pascal shines through in this work. Anyone interested in being introduced to the genius of Pascal will find the time they spend reading this book to be well rewarded. ~ John M. Switzer at Amazon.com