An intriguing topic for sure; and interesting to ponder, I guarantee.
I am not sure, how many among us may have heard or read about Baruch Spinoza and his philosophy.
Baruch De Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher, of Portuguese Jewish origin, born in Amsterdam in the 17th century of a businessman father who was successful but not wealthy.
His philosophy encompasses nearly every area of philosophical discourse, including metaphysics, epistemology, political philosophy, ethics, philosophy of mind, and philosophy of science, earning him an enduring reputation as one of the most important and original thinkers of the seventeenth century.
Spinoza’s philosophy of religion is based on his view that we should interpret scripture solely on its own terms by carefully studying it, not with any concepts or doctrines that cannot themselves be derived from the text. If we do this, he thought, it would turn out that many things we believe or are told by religious authorities about God and the universe could be shown to be false (e.g., miracles).
In Spinoza’s Ethics, he has written a section titled “Treating of God and What Pertains to Him,” in which he discusses God’s existence and what God is. He states, “Whether there is a God, this, we say, can be proved”. His proof for God follows a similar structure as Descartes’ ontological argument, wherein he attempts to prove God’s existence by arguing that there “must be some one thing that is supremely good, through which all good things have their goodness”.
After stating his proof for God’s existence, Spinoza addresses who “God” is. He believes that God is “the sum of the natural and physical laws of the universe and certainly not an individual entity or creator”. He further attempts to prove that God is just the substance of the universe by first stating that substances do not share attributes or essences, and then demonstrating that God is a “substance” with an infinite number of attributes, thus the attributes possessed by any other substances must also be possessed by God.
My substance of God:
This, according to me, is the nature of the God of Spinoza:
God would have said:
Stop praying and giving yourselves blows on your chests, what I want you to do, is to go out into the world to enjoy your life.
I want you to enjoy, you sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve done for you.
Stop going to those gloomy, dark and cold temples that you built yourself and that you call my home.
My house is in the mountains, in the forests, the rivers, the lakes, the beaches. That’s where I live and express all my love for you.
Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you that you were a sinner.
Stop being so scared. I do not judge you, nor criticize you, nor ever is angry with you, nothing bothers me, nor do I devise punishment. I am pure love.
Stop asking me forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive.
If I made you, I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies of free will, how can I blame you if you do or say something out of that what I put in you?
How can I punish you for being as you are, if I’m the one who made you?
Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who misbehave, for the rest of eternity?
What kind of God can do that?
Forget about any kind of commandments, of any kind of laws; those are wiles to manipulate you, to control you and only to create guilt in you.
Respect your peers and don’t do to others what you don’t want for you. The only thing I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that your alert status is your guide. This life is the only thing there is, here and now and the only thing you need.
I have made you absolutely free, there are no prizes or punishments, there aren’t any sins or virtues either, no one carries a marker, and no one carries a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life a heaven or hell.
I couldn’t tell you if there’s anything after this life, but I can give you a tip. Live as if there wasn’t.
As if this was your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.
So, if there is nothing, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you.
And if there is, be sure that I will not ask you if you behaved well or not, I will ask you. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?
Stop believing in me; believe is to assume, guess, imagine. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to feel me when you kiss your beloved, when you play with your little girl, when you love your dog, when you bathe in the sea.
Stop praising me. What kind of egotistical God do you think I am? I’m bored of your praise; I’m fed up with thanks.
Do you feel grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, and the world around you.
Do you feel overwhelmed? Express your joy! That’s the way to praise me.
The only thing sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.
What do you need more miracles for?
Why so many explanations?
Don’t look for me outside, you won’t find me. Find me inside… there I’m beating in you.”
That’s my substance, dear Humans. That’s the substance of God!