Can we find the happiness we seek in this life?
Man’s sin-damaged nature has something to do with religious indifference.
One person who understood this profoundly was the physicist and mathematician Blaise Pascal, who has often been referred to as the father of probability theory. He could also be justly called the father of modern Christian apologetics.
Few Christian thinkers have thought more deeply and written more astutely about the problem of religious indifference than he. He begins his reflections in the Pensées by beginning with human nature and the fact of our wretchedness without God. We are, to put it bluntly, never satisfied—even to extent of being miserable.
We are broken; and that is why we are always chasing happiness.
And yet we never quite find it in this life, do we?
We can never rest with anything. Although we are never satisfied completely, the closer we become to God the more satisfied we become.
The only antidote to our misery, Pascal concludes, is religion; that is, a relationship—an intimate friendship—with God. We accomplish that most readily by seeking to know and love Jesus Christ since “there is salvation in no one else.”
Only by knowing Jesus can we make sense of life and death, God and humanity. The problem is however that our individualistic modern era wants to resist the antidote. “Men despise religion,” writes Pascal, “[T]hey hate it, and fear it is true.”
And it is because of this fear and loathing of religion that men turn to two distinct strategies of avoidance: diversion and indifference.
Our current concern is with indifference—the end result of diversion and a distinct problem in and of itself.
Whereas diversion involves an effort to distract oneself, indifference involves a lack of effort to sincerely seek a relationship with God.
Pascal is rattled by man’s indifference toward the search for God because, as he rightly sees, how we should best live hinges above all on whether or not eternal happiness is truly possible. “All our actions and thoughts,” he writes, “must follow such different paths, according to whether there is hope of eternal blessings or not….” And yet, man is indifferent. Sin has taken hold, and he could not care less to remedy the effects.
Sin is both the cause and the effect of religious indifference.”
Love & truth,