The absurdity of life without God – Pascal


Listen to Pascal-

“I know not who sent me into the world, nor what the world is, nor what I myself am. I am terribly ignorant of everything. I know not what my body is, nor my senses, nor my soul and that part of me which thinks what I say, which reflects upon itself as well as upon all external things, and has no more knowledge of itself than of them.
I see the terrifying immensity of the universe which surrounds me, and find myself limited to one corner of this vast expanse, without knowing why I am set down here rather than elsewhere, nor why the brief period appointed for my life is assigned to me at this moment rather than another in all the eternity that has gone before and will come after me. On all sides I behold nothing but infinity, in which I am a mere atom, a mere passing shadow that returns no more. All I know is that I must soon die, but what I understand least of all is this very death which I cannot escape.
As I know not whence I come, so I know not whither I go. I only know that on leaving this world I fall for ever into nothingness or into the hands of a wrathful God, without knowing to which of these two states I shall be everlastingly consigned. Such is my condition, full of weakness and uncertainty. From all this I conclude that I ought to spend every day of my life without seeking to know my fate. I might perhaps be able to find a solution to my doubts; but I cannot be bothered to do so, I will not take one step towards discovery”
-Blaise Pascal, “Pensees 29” mid-17th century

I am reading William Lane Craig’s book “Reasonable Faith” and came across the above quote.  Pascal is writing satirically as though he were someone who does not care to believe in God. Pondering existential questions seems to be something that we all (modern humans) miss out on as we fill our lives with events, experiences, products, food, entertainment etc… None of these things are in themselves bad. However, if they crowd our instinctive urge to seek ultimate and objective meaning and purpose, then they are impediments to growth.

To my mind, there are several reasons why someone might ignore the questions of God  1. they are too busy, 2. they can live a fulfilled life without inquiring, 3. there is difficulty surrounding the question as there are so many competing viewpoints, and 4. they have been hurt by organized religion/people.  These are all reasons for most of us to give up on the pursuit of God. However, if God is real, then they seem inadequate.


2 thoughts on “The absurdity of life without God – Pascal

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