Dinesh D Souza, The Greatness of Christianity: Table of Contents

Cf. Dinesh D’souza, What’s So Great About Christianity, at Amazon

“God is, or is not. There is an infinite chaos separating us. At the far end of this infinite distance a game is being played and the coin will come down heads or tails. How will you wager?” —Blaise Pascal, Pensees

HAVING SHOWN THE POSSIBILITY of miracles, we can now proceed to examine whether faith is reasonable. At first glance this may seem like a paradoxical quest. How can reason be invoked to justify unreason? I intend to show here that faith is in no way opposed to reason. Rather, faith is the only way to discover truths that are beyond the domain of reason and experience. Drawing on philosopher and mathematician Blaise Pascal, I intend to argue that the atheist’s wager against God’s existence is manifestly unreasonable. Given what we know and don’t know about what is to come after death, there is no alternative but to weigh the odds. When we do this, we discover that from the perspective of reason itself, faith is the smart bet. It makes sense to have faith.

To many these conclusions will seem surprising, because for them faith remains a troubling and even offensive concept. Stephen Jay Gould examines the famous scene in the Gospel of John in which the apostle Thomas refuses to believe that Christ has risen from the dead. Thomas says, “Except I shall see in his hands the print of the nails, and thrust my hand into his side, I will not believe.” So Jesus appears to Thomas and allows him to see and touch, and Thomas says, “My Lord and my God.” Jesus responds, “Thomas, because you have seen, you have believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed.” Gould comments, “I cannot think of a statement more foreign to the norms of science … than Jesus’s celebrated chastisement of Thomas. A skeptical attitude toward appeals based only on authority, combined with a demand for direct evidence (especially to support unusual claims), represents the first commandment of proper scientific procedure.”