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God Owes Us Nothing

A Brief Remark on Pascal’s Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism

God Owes Us Nothing

A Brief Remark on Pascal’s Religion and on the Spirit of Jansenism

God Owes Us Nothing reflects on the centuries-long debate in Christianity: how do we reconcile the existence of evil in the world with the goodness of an omnipotent God, and how does God’s omnipotence relate to people’s responsibility for their own salvation or damnation. Leszek Kolakowski approaches this paradox as both an exercise in theology and in revisionist Christian history based on philosophical analysis. Kolakowski’s unorthodox interpretation of the history of modern Christianity provokes renewed discussion about the historical, intellectual, and cultural omnipotence of neo-Augustinianism.

"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

"Kolakowski’s fascinating book and its debatable thesis raise intriguing historical and theological questions well worth pursuing."—Stephen J. Duffy, Theological Studies

"Kolakowski’s elegant meditation is a masterpiece of cultural and religious criticism."—Henry Carrigan, Cleveland Plain Dealer

248 pages | 6 x 9 | © 1996

Philosophy: Philosophy of Religion

Religion: Christianity

Table of Contents

Pt. 1: Why Did the Catholic Church Condemn the Teaching of Saint Augustine?
Does God Command Impossible Things?
Does God Compel Us to Be Good?
Although Unfree, We Are Free
Can We Reject God?
For Whom Did Jesus Die?
What Was Wrong with Augustine?
A Remark on the Antecedents of the Quarrel
A Note on the Provinciales
How to Avail Oneself of the Heavenly Bread
How to Repent: Saint-Cyran’s Answer
A Note on Philosophy
Infants in Hell
The Gnostic Temptation
Winners and Losers
Pt. 2: Pascal’s Sad Religion
Pascal’s Heresy
The Strategy of Conversion
Our Death, Our Body, Our Self-Deception
Spotting God in the Lifeless Universe
Good Reason, Bad Reason, Heart
Gambling for Faith: The Discontinuity of the Universe
Pascal’s Modernity
A Note on Politics
Pascal after the Pelagian Conquest
Was Pascal an "Existential" Thinker?
A Note on Skepticism and Pascal’s Last Word

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