God Owes Us Nothing: A Brief Remark on Pascal's Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism

Overview

Leszek Kolakowski reflects on the centuries-long debate in Christianity: how to reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the goodness of an omnipotent God, and how God's omnipotence is compatible with people's responsibility for their own salvation or damnation. He approaches this paradox as both an exercise in theology and in revisionist Christian history based on philosophical analysis. This unorthodox interpretation of the history of modern Christianity will provoke renewed discussion about the ...
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Overview

Leszek Kolakowski reflects on the centuries-long debate in Christianity: how to reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the goodness of an omnipotent God, and how God's omnipotence is compatible with people's responsibility for their own salvation or damnation. He approaches this paradox as both an exercise in theology and in revisionist Christian history based on philosophical analysis. This unorthodox interpretation of the history of modern Christianity will provoke renewed discussion about the historical, intellectual, and cultural importance of neo-Augustinianism. Written with Kolakowski's characteristic wit and irony, God Owes Us Nothing will be required reading for philosophers, religious scholars, theologians, and historians alike.
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
Kolakowski U. of Chicago reflects on the long-standing Christian debate, how to reconcile the existence of evil with the goodness of an omnipotent God, and how God's omnipotence is compatible with people's responsibility for their own salvation or damnation. He approaches the discussion as an exercise in theology and in revisionist Christian history based on philosophical analysis, touching on the Augustinian Jansenius' repudiation of free will and Pascal's moral philosophy. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR booknews.com
Carlin Romano
How can a good, omnipotent God permit evil? If She permits it, is She God? Several books a year wrestle with that hoary conundrum, but few so dazzlingly as the Polish philosopher's latest. -- Carlin Romano, Washington Post Book World
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780226450537
  • Publisher: University of Chicago Press
  • Publication date: 5/28/1998
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 248
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Table of Contents

Preface
Pt. 1 Why Did the Catholic Church Condemn the Teaching of Saint Augustine? 3
Does God Command Impossible Things? 9
Does God Compel Us to Be Good? 14
Although Unfree, We Are Free 17
Can We Reject God? 21
For Whom Did Jesus Die? 24
What Was Wrong with Augustine? 30
A Remark on the Antecedents of the Quarrel 44
A Note on the Provinciales 61
How to Avail Oneself of the Heavenly Bread 67
How to Repent: Saint-Cyran's Answer 73
A Note on Philosophy 81
Infants in Hell 82
The Gnostic Temptation 86
Winners and Losers 102
Pt. 2 Pascal's Sad Religion 113
Pascal's Heresy 113
The Strategy of Conversion 118
Our Death, Our Body, Our Self-Deception 126
Spotting God in the Lifeless Universe 135
Good Reason, Bad Reason, Heart 145
Gambling for Faith: The Discontinuity of the Universe 160
Pascal's Modernity 170
A Note on Politics 175
Pascal after the Pelagian Conquest 182
Was Pascal an "Existential" Thinker? 187
A Note on Skepticism and Pascal's Last Word 191
Notes 199
Index 233
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