When Einstein gave lectures at American universities, the question students most often asked him was: Do you believe in God? And he always answered: I believe in Spinoza’s God.
Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of twentieth-century philosophy, along with Descartes.
Spinoza demonstrates the existence of God: “God necessarily exists. By denying this phrase, we deny the existence of God, because the nature of substance cannot be thought of without existing because substance is the cause itself.”
He exists by himself, is his cause and is the effective cause of any thing or activity. He concludes: any activity of ours is fixed by the necessity of the divine nature. Human activity is subject to necessary laws. Our deeds cannot be free in relation to our will, nor can they be carried out for a purpose. God did not create things for people to use for their own happiness. On the contrary, all phenomena occur as a logical consequence of natural laws. God, as Spinoza points out, can only be conceived under the attributes of stretching or thinking, although his attributes are infinite.
At the same time, God, according to Spinoza, God would say to people:
“Stop praying. I want you to go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve done for you.
“Don’t go into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and say they are my home. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That’s where I live and that’s where I express my love for you.
“Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you that something was wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift that I gave you and with which you can express your love, ecstasy, joy. So don’t blame me for everything others have made you believe.”
“Stop reading supposedly sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can’t read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the eyes of friends, in the eyes of your son, you won’t find me in any book!”
“Stop asking, ‘Can you tell me how to do my job?’ Don’t be so scared of me. I do not judge or criticize you, nor do I get angry or bothered. I am pure love.”
“Do not ask for forgiveness, there is nothing to forgive. If I made you, I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies, and, above all, free will. Why would I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How could I punish you for being the way you are, if I am the one who made you? Do you think that I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of God would do that?”
“Respect your colleagues and don’t give what you don’t want for yourself. All I want is you to be careful in your life – alert is your guide.”
“My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the road, not a rehearsal, not a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now – and that’s all you need.”
“I have set you absolutely free, without rewards or punishments, without sins or virtues, no one bears a marker, no one keeps track.”
“You are absolutely free to create in your life. You are the one who creates heaven or hell.”
“Live as if there were nothing beyond this life, as if this were your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist. Then you will enjoy the opportunity I offered you. And if there is an afterlife, rest assured that I will not ask you if you have behaved well or badly, I will ask: “Did you like it?” You had fun? What did you like most? What you learned?”
“Stop believing in me; to believe means to suppose, to guess, to imagine. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in yourself. I want you to feel me when you kiss your girlfriend, when you wrap your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.”
“Don’t praise me anymore. What kind of egomaniac do you think I am? I’m bored of being praised. I’m tired of being thanked. Do you feel grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! This is the way to brag.”
“Stop complicating things and stop repeating like a parrot what you have learned about me. Why do you need more miracles? So many explanations?”
“The only sure thing is that you’re here, that you’re alive, that this world is full of wonders.”