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Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life Paperback – October 6, 1992


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Product Details

  • Series: Pascal and the Meaning of Life
  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. (October 6, 1992)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080280652X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0802806529
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 10.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #326,276 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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I'm a public philosopher who writes and speaks on business and life, focusing on ideas that have stood the test of time.

Customer Reviews

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For fans of C.S. Lewis, Morris lays out a Christian argument through the writings of Pascal's Pensees.
k.w.bray@worldnet.att.net
Dr. Morris captures the essence of Pascal's thought and deftly weaves it with the insights of other great thinkers and also into practical application for our lives.
Gannon Murphy
Making Sense Of It All is one the best books I have ever read on the topic of Christian philosophy and apologetics.
Kenneth Samples

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 30 people found the following review helpful By Daniel R. Martin on July 20, 2002
Format: Paperback
There comes a point in almost everyone's life when they ask themselves, "What does it all mean?" Blaise Pascal, the French scientist, mathematician, and philospoher reached this point at the age of thirty-one, when he converted to Christianity, and began writing down a number of his thoughts on the meaning of life and the defense of his new-found faith. Pascal died before he could organize and publish his Pensees ("thoughts"), but fortunately for us modern readers, many fine editions have been edited and published through the years.
Tom Morris, a former philosophy professor from Notre Dame, examines Pascal's thoughts on the meaning of life, utilizing his witty and entertaining sense of humor. Morris writes for the everyday man, not just philospohers and theologians, making this book especially useful for high school and college age persons who are examining their lives and seeking to make sense of it all.
So go ahead, take Pascal's wager and bet on Morris's little book to bring you both enlightenment and joy.
[Other excellent editions of Pascal's Pensees are offered by Os Guinness (The Mind on Fire) and Peter Kreeft (Christianity for Modern Pagans) - both are recommended if you want more perspectives on Pascal.]
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26 of 27 people found the following review helpful By D. Greene on February 25, 2001
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Morris explains and expounds upon Pascal's thought in an easy to read manner. A apologetic work in the line of G.K. Chesterton and C.S. Lewis.
Pascal is an example of a brilliant scientific mind who found it very reasonable to believe in God, or more specifically a Christian God. Morris, through Pascal, shows that faith and reason can take you farther than either can alone. A great thought provoking book for the person seeking understanding of those hard questions.
One addendum to the reviewer of May 9, 2000 who said "Pascal was a Jansenist, the Roman version of a Catholic":
Jansenism is named after Cornelius Jansen, who was the Roman Catholic Bishop of Ypres in the early 17th century. His main work, Augustinus, was published after his death. In this work, he claimed to have rediscovered the true teaching of St. Augustine concerning grace, which had been lost to the Church for centuries.
Jansenism was never approved of by the Roman Catholic Church, and while Pascal had several Jansenist friends, and wrote in support of their cause, it is questionable whether he himself was a Jansenist. Morris addresses this issue in pages 8 & 9 of this book.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By k.w.bray@worldnet.att.net on April 26, 1999
Format: Paperback
I would highly recommend this to those who's quest for the truth brings them to ask the tough questions about Christianity. For fans of C.S. Lewis, Morris lays out a Christian argument through the writings of Pascal's Pensees. Although only 200 pages, It will take time to reflect upon Morris's comments. Morris weaves his considerable knowledge of apologetics with the deceptively simple yet insightful positions of Pascal. As Morris states, "In this book I want to explore with Pascal those most important questions for getting our bearings". A must read.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Gannon Murphy on March 2, 2004
Format: Paperback
I love Pascal. I probably quote him in my own theological work more than anyone else. Thus, I figured I would either love this book or absolutely hate it. I feared Pascal would get butchered and misconstrued as he so often does. Well, I loved it. Dr. Morris captures the essence of Pascal's thought and deftly weaves it with the insights of other great thinkers and also into practical application for our lives. This book will enrich your mind and spirit, deepening your walk with God.
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9 of 11 people found the following review helpful By Kenneth Samples on September 19, 2005
Format: Paperback
Making Sense Of It All is one the best books I have ever read on the topic of Christian philosophy and apologetics. This book is unique both in its organization and content. Morris utilizes some of the scientific, philosophical, and apologetic statements of the great Christian thinker Blaise Pascal (from Pascal's book Pensees) and shows how faith in Jesus Christ is the unique answer to mankind's deepest yearnings for meaning, purpose, significance, and life eternal. This book skillfully and successfully answers many of the existential objections that people give for not believing. Morris weaves together many of Pascal's brilliant insights into a significant and powerful Christian apologetic work.

Though covering a lot philosophical and theological ground, this book is remarkably readable and at places quite humorous. It addresses philosophical, theological, and apologetic issues with tremendous clarity and in an engaging style. This volume provides deep insight into why people living in today's world avoid thinking about ultimate issues. I only wish the book contained a bibliography and/or notes for further reading.

Thomas V. Morris has been called one of Christianity's finest contemporary philosophers (former Notre Dame professor). This book is indeed evidence of his first rate philosophical ability.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Gerard Reed on March 17, 2009
Format: Paperback
While teaching philosophy at Notre Dame Thomas V. Morris published some books which reward careful study. I know little about him, though he was reared in the South, involved in Campus Crusade for Christ, graduated from the University of North Carolina, and took advanced degrees from Yale University. He brings to his works a refreshing enthusiasm and scholarly richness which rewards his readers and reminds us that solid Christian thinkers of the first rank still flourish.
Making Sense of It All: Pascal and the Meaning of Life (Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, c. 1992) is the most accessible of the publications I've read. "When you stop to think about it," he says, "life can be very confusing" (p. 1). Given that reality, we need good guides to show us how we should live. Blaise Pascal, Morris insists, is one of the greatest guides, attuned to our concerns though he lived 350 years ago. Pascal was, of course, one of the most brilliant thinkers in human history. Making original contributions in mathematics (on his own he replicated Euclid's geometry at the age of twelve and wrote a ground-breaking treatise on conic sections four years later) and science (inventing the first calculating machine, the forerunner of today's computers), he became a fixture of France's intelligentsia. Then, "on the night of November 23, 1654, at the age of thirty-one, Pascal had a profound and deeply moving mystical experience that dramatically turned him around, reorienting all his priorities" (p. 9). He met God. He met the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob . . . God the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ.
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