Letter to the Editor: Pascal showed how faith, reason co-exist


Thanks to George Bowers Sr. for his recent discussion in the Northern Virginia Daily about faith in relation to the “wager” of Pascal. According to Pascal, it is reasonable for us to go all in on the assumption that God exists, for if we are wrong, we lose nothing more than we would have lost in any case: we must return all our chips in the end anyway. If we are correct in assuming the existence of God, we have gained everything.

For Pascal, reason is an avenue to faith, not an end in itself. It was only natural that a child of the Age of Reason like Pascal should speak to his contemporaries in rational terms. And Pascal, one of the founders of the science of probability, understandably spoke in terms of a bet.

His construction of one of the earliest calculating machines when he was only a teenager links him to the Age of information. The example of his life demonstrates how faith and reason may co-exist.

To those critics of Pascal who have missed his inspirational quality and his devotion to Christian service, we can only recall the story of a family, all of its members stricken with a deadly infectious disease, who came knocking on his door after having been turned away everywhere else. Pascal, often gravely ill himself during his short life, took them in his home.

John Clem, Edinburg