I know of no religious writer more pertinent to our time. -- T. S. Eliot, Introduction to Pensées
Men despise religion. They hate it and are afraid it may be true, declared Pascal in his Pensées. The cure for this, he explained, is first to show that religion is not contrary to reason, but worthy of reverence and respect. Next make it attractive, make good men wish it were true, and then show that it is.
Motivated by the 17th-century view of the supremacy of human reason, Pascal (1623-62) had intended to write an ambitious apologia for Christianity, in which he argued the inability of reason to address metaphysical problems. His untimely death prevented his completion of the work, but the fragments published posthumously in 1670 form a vital part of religious and philosophical literature. Essential reading for students of history, philosophy, and theology, the Pensées remain among the liveliest and most eloquent defenses of Christianity ever written.
Introduction By T. S. Eliotvii
I. Thoughts On Mind And On Style1
II. The Misery Of Man Without God14
III. Of The Necessity Of The Wager52
IV. Of The Means Of Belief71
V. Justice And The Reason Of Effects83
VI. The Philosophers96
VII. Morality And Doctrine113
VIII. The Fundamentals Of The Christian Religion152
XI. The Prophecies198
XII. Proofs Of Jesus Christ222
XIII. The Miracles238
XIV. Appendix: Polemical Fragments257