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Neither Angel nor Beast by Francis X.J. Coleman

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15

HOW TO SWAY THE DOUBTFUL

As reconstructed, Pascal’s Apology begins with a sweeping statement: ‘People have contempt for religion; they bear hatred towards it, and also fear that it is true’ (1). Pascal announces that he intends to ‘heal’ that contempt, first by showing that religion is not contrary to reason, then by demonstrating that religion is ‘venerable’ because it understands the true state of man. Pascal will go on to show that religion is ‘loveable’ because it promises ‘the true good,’ and finally that the Christian religion is ‘true.’ These four theses are to be guided by one supreme principle: ‘Two excesses: exclude reason, allow nothing but reason’ (3). Thus Pascal clearly states his opposition both to fundamentalism or what one ...

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