Blaise Pascal and His Apologetic that Never Was

Dr. Justin Bass

“Pascal . . . is the most instructive of all the sacrifices to Christianity.”[1]
—Friedrich Nietzsche

The Historical Will Hunting

Pascal's Wager: The Man Who Played Dice With God by James A. Connor $2.99Good Will Hunting is arguably one of the greatest films ever made. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) is a prodigy who can read books in minutes and solve the most complex math problems at MIT. Everyone, including the Pentagon, wants Will to work for them. However, because of the many psychological issues Will carries from his abusive father, he is self-destructive and unable to use his unique mind for the good of humanity. But when he has a psychological breakthrough with Sean (Robin Williams), he is free to love his girlfriend and use his intellect for the common good.

Now imagine a different kind of ending to Good Will Hunting. Imagine that Will’s mentor, Sean, was a priest or theologian. Instead of the climactic scene in which Will has a psychologically freeing experience, he gives his life to Jesus Christ in Sean’s office. Will then dedicates the rest of his life to applying his genius to studying and defending Christ and him crucified to a skeptical world.

Pascal's Pensees: Thoughts on God and Religion by Blaise Pascal $2.99The wonderful thing is, this did actually happen. Will is a fictional character invented by Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, whereas Blaise Pascal is a historical person, uniquely created by “the only wise God” (Romans 16:27). Like Will, Blaise Pascal was a child prodigy, scientist, mathematician, inventor, philosopher, and literary genius. He invented the first calculator, which became a forerunner for computer engineering, at age 16. He was a major contributor to probability theory which set the stage for Leibniz to invent calculus. In his 20s, Pascal wrote mathematical and scientific papers that boggled the minds of the intellectual elite of his day, including the great philosopher Descartes.

When he turned his mind to write his first literary work, The Provincial Letters, it became known as one of the greatest works of French prose ever written. Like GK Chesterton after him, whatever subject he touched he excelled and dominated that field. Eight years before he died, Pascal had a “Damascus Road” conversion. He spent the rest of his short life applying his mind toward a book that never was.

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Blaise Pascal and His Apologetic that Never Was