Thursday, March 30, 2017
Baruch Spinoza, born in Amsterdam and raised Jewish, is said to be the first philosopher who was really atheist, even though he would beg to disagree. He said he practiced more Pantheism which is the belief that God is everywhere and everything. Part of the reason people say he was atheist because he was excommunicated from the Jewish community and cursed by the rabbis when he was 24 years old. He was most likely excommunicated because he questioned the tenants and he vocalized his his doubts about the religion. He then moved from Amsterdam to The Hague and made his small income as a lens grinder for scientific instruments like microscopes and telescopes. Spinoza used geometrical reasoning to come to logical conclusions about God, freedom, nature, and emotion. As quoted in Little History, “he wrote philosophy as if it were geometry. The ‘proofs’ in his book Ethics look like geometrical proofs and include axioms and definitions.” It was only after his early death at the age of 44, caused by constantly inhaling glass fragments, that his most popular book, Ethics, was published. As previously stated, Spinoza reasoned that God is infinite which means that there cannot be anything that is not God. So all people are a part of God as well as fish and non living things like all door knobs and cardboard boxes. When he thought of God, he didn’t think of the kind man who loves humanity and answers personal prayers, he thought of God as an “it” who did not care for anyone or anything and was very impersonal. Another quote from Little History is “the God he describes is so completely indifferent to human beings and what they do that many thought Spinoza didn’t believe in God at all and that his pantheism was a cover. They took him to be an atheist and against religion altogether.” It was hard for me to wrap my mind around why people would think that Spinoza was an atheist if he thought that everything was composed of God. He said he had a love for God based on deep understanding achieved by reason, so how can you have love for something that you do not believe in?