The famous philosopher, Baruch Spinoza believed that there was no such thing as God. To him, it was not a man who lived in the sky, or an all encompassing spiritual force that watched over the Earth in any way. God to Spinoza, if speaking of God at all, was nature.
Spinoza said, “whatever is, is in God.” Not in the sense that religion speaks of it, but rather in the sense that everything that exists is a part of a system. That system is nature and is governed by the laws of nature. We, as human beings, are a species. We are Homo Sapiens. We are organisms like everything else on Earth. We are animals that have evolved for hundreds of thousands of years. We have evolved so much in fact, that our mind has conscious, high-functioning, intellectual thought. This can be seen as a positive or negative. Positive in the way that we have advanced in technology, arts, movies, writing, sports, and many other aspects of our human lives all around the world. However, due to this advancement of our minds, we are able to consciously attribute value and meaning to different things. We have attributed the most value and meaning towards money in this United States’ capitalistic society and have now destroyed the very nature we are apart of.Instead of taking care and acknowledging the connection between the Earth and ourselves as the indigenous people of the world did, we trash it, scratch it, cut it, burn it, drown it, and use it all up. Soon there will be nothing left for us to love and nowhere for us to live. Spinoza says, “In nature, there is nothing contingent, but all things have been determined from the necessity of the divine nature to exist and produce an effect in a certain way.” This is the reason why we are alive on Earth not because of some elder white male who I am supposed to accept as my Father.
Many religions that believe in God or Jesus accept anthropomorphism. Anthropomorphism is the belief that God mirrors a human being, in looks and deeds. According to Spinoza, anthropomorphism leads to a belief in teleology, the idea that things exist for the sake of something else. Because of this capacity to think, in my opinion, people would like to feel as if their lives are a lot more valuable than they appear to be. No one would like to simply feel like an extension of Earth and the result of evolution and time. This belief in teleology leads to eschatology, the thought that there is an end to which things are headed. If something was made for the purpose of something else, it is then plausible to believe that after the purpose is served, there would be no use for it anymore. Thus, when people believe we are made in God’s image, they also believe that God will come and end life as we know it.
Spinoza says if you believe in eschatology you will invest in hope and fear. You will hope that you will be spared at this moment in time when God chooses to punish those who do not live in his image, and you will fear God himself. It will then lead you to live a love in the light of God’s purposes to make sure you are not in “sin”. All hope and fear creates is superstition. All the thoughts, actions, and choices you are willing to make will be to follow a guided force which will make you superstitious about acting a certain way or doing certain things. Superstition, says Spinoza, leads to organized religion. Spinoza things that religion is bondage. It is simply the irrational thought that you have to live your life the way an all-powerful being wants you to live your life. You are scared to act in a certain way and become a “slave to the passions.” A servant to a superstition; servant to a non-existent God.
Loving God is just loving nature. If people are nature, love people, act morally, be kind and you will be living you life in God’s image. Littering, cruelty, and a lack of kindness are the greatest sins on Earth and simply asking for forgiveness to the clouds does not work.
Embody the all-moral being you think is watching you.