Tag Archives: Blaise Pascal

Sunday Devotional: The God-shaped hole in our hearts

Psalm 63:2-4

O God, you are my God—
it is you I seek!
For you my body yearns;
for you my soul thirsts,
In a land parched, lifeless,
and without water.
I look to you in the sanctuary
to see your power and glory.
For your love is better than life;
my lips shall ever praise you!

Have you ever wondered what it is about the The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Superman which make those books and movies so wildly popular?

Ever wonder why the savior (John Connor) in the original Terminator movie has the initials J. C.?

The answer is that the main characters and overriding themes in all those stories are, respectively, Christlike figures and Christian. The unmistakable draw of these stories suggests that, despite the efforts of those hostile to Western civilization, many in our contemporary society remain attached to its core values of good vs. evil, family, country, and private ownership, as well as personal virtues of charity, courage, loyalty, self-discipline, chivalry, honor, fidelity, and chastity. The stories’ enormous success signifies strong popular dissent from the Progressive worldview and agenda of moral relativism. More than that, their commercial success points to our hunger for these narratives.

In his book, Why Can’t We Be Good? (p. 244), philosopher Jacob Needleman observed that “Twist and turn as we may, explain it or deconstruct it as we may,” we know “down deep” that we are meant to be moral beings. Unhappily, however, “in every place, in every occasion of our lives and culture we see that we are failing what we are meant to be—and we suffer from that.” And so we run from one illusory answer to another, whether it be mind-altering and –numbing drugs, mass movements, charismatic leaders, or “fundamentalisms of all kinds from the religious to the atheistic to the scientistic.”

But, as the lyrics of the Rolling Stones’ song bewail, we still “can’t get no satisfaction”….

In The Gospel According to the World’s Greatest Superhero (pp. 32-33), Stephen Skelton explains why we respond to stories like Lord of the Rings. Those sanctified stories speak to us because God made man in his own image. Thus, “we have an essential longing to be with him, to be comforted by what is familiar to our deepest heart.” This is why we hearken on a subconscious level to the Christian themes in those stories because Jesus Christ is the human face of the invisible God. As Skelton explains,

It is his figure—and by extension, his story—we will respond to most strongly. To ensure our response, when God created us in his image, he also created us with his image in us. But it is a God-shaped blank, as [Blaise] Pascal puts it, a vacant hole in our hearts, until he fills it with himself . . . . So from birth we have eternity in our empty hearts—an empty eternity. No wonder we feel restless . . . . In our desperate search for something to fill Forever, nothing in the temporary world will do. In fact, it will take the one thing that is the exact size and shape of eternity: God, whom we come to through Christ.

“What else does this craving, and this helplessness, proclaim but that there was once in man a true happiness, of which all that now remains is the empty print and trace? This he tries in vain to fill with everything around him, seeking in things that are not there the help he cannot find in those that are, though none can help, since this infinite abyss can be filled only with an infinite and immutable object; in other words by God himself.”- French philosopher-mathematician-physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662), Pensées VII(425)

Psalm 63:5-9

I will bless you as long as I live;
I will lift up my hands, calling on your name.
My soul shall be sated as with choice food,
with joyous lips my mouth shall praise you!
I think of you upon my bed,
I remember you through the watches of the night
You indeed are my savior,
and in the shadow of your wings I shout for joy.
My soul clings fast to you;
your right hand upholds me.

May the love and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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Sunday Devotional: Hell is real

Matthew 13:34-43

All these things Jesus spoke to the crowds in parables.
He spoke to them only in parables,
to fulfill what had been said through the prophet:
I will open my mouth in parables,
I will announce what has lain hidden from the foundation
of the world.

Then, dismissing the crowds, he went into the house.
His disciples approached him and said,
“Explain to us the parable of the weeds in the field.”
He said in reply, “He who sows good seed is the Son of Man,
the field is the world, the good seed the children of the kingdom.
The weeds are the children of the evil one,
and the enemy who sows them is the devil.
The harvest is the end of the age, and the harvesters are angels.
Just as weeds are collected and burned up with fire,
so will it be at the end of the age.
The Son of Man will send his angels,
and they will collect out of his kingdom
all who cause others to sin and all evildoers.
They will throw them into the fiery furnace,
where there will be wailing and grinding of teeth.
Then the righteous will shine like the sun
in the kingdom of their Father.
Whoever has ears ought to hear.”

Did you know that Jesus preached three times more about Hell than Heaven?

And yet a 2009 survey by the Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life found that only 59% of Americans believed in hell, compared with 74% who believed in heaven. That same year, a Barna poll found that 6 out of 10 American Christians did not believe that Satan is real.

Among Christians who appear to not believe in Hell is none other than Pope Francis.

According to his longtime atheist friend, Eugenio Scalfari, Pope Francis in an interview that was published March 28, 2018 in La Repubblica, said that Hell does not exist and that condemned souls just “disappear.” This, of course, is a denial of the 2,000-year-old teaching of the Catholic Church about the reality of Hell and the eternal existence of the soul.

After Scalfari’s report garnered worldwide attention, the next day the Vatican issued this equivocating statement, which is not an outright denial (source: CNS News):

“The Holy Father Francis recently received the founder of the newspaper La Repubblica in a private meeting on the occasion of Easter, without however giving him any interviews. What is reported by the author in today’s article [in La Repubblica] is the result of his reconstruction, in which the textual words pronounced by the Pope are not quoted. No quotation of the aforementioned article must therefore be considered as a faithful transcription of the words of the Holy Father.”

Those who don’t believe in Hell not only ignore Jesus’ own words, the French philosopher-mathematician-physicist Blaise Pascal (1623-1662) would say unbelievers are making a dangerous bet or wager.

In his post-humously published Pensées (Thoughts), Pascal set forth what became known as Pascal’s Wager — a cost-benefit argument for believing in God. Pascal argued that a rational person should live as though God exists and seek to believe in God. If God does not actually exist, such a person will have only a finite loss (giving up some pleasures in life), whereas if God does exist, he stands to receive infinite gains (eternity in Heaven) and avoid infinite losses (eternity in Hell).

There is another cost-benefit reason for the belief in Hell. A study in 2012 found that societies with a strong belief in Hell have lower crime-rates.

Then there are fools who believe Hell is real, but actually choose Hell.

These fools have convinced themselves that, like Lucifer in John Milton’s Paradise Lost, it is “Better to reign in Hell, than to serve in Heaven”, only to discover that “Which way I fly is hell; myself am hell.” See:

See also:

May the peace and love of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you,

~Eowyn

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