When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was: “Do you believe in God?”
And he answered, “I believe in the God of Spinoza.”
Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy, along with Descartes.
Here are thoughts by Spinoza-- as reinterpreted for a modern audience … and totally edited to be read and consumed in small sentences in a poorly formatted email. It has been cleaned up to remove all the Microsoft Word suggested grammatical errors. As I read this excerpt of Spinoza's ideas, I couldn't help but to reflect on some of the points made in HappyGuide.
Keep in mind, this email was forwarded to me and has probably been cut&pasted a million times.
So, sorta like the children “whisper game” … here is what Spinoza thought
God would say …
Stop praying. What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I've made for you.
Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That's where I live and where I express my love for you.
Stop blaming me for your miserable life. I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. So, don't blame me for everything they made you believe.
Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can't read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your son's eyes ... you will find me in no book!
Stop asking me "will you tell me how to live?" Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.
Stop asking for forgiveness. There's nothing to forgive. If I made you... I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies... free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something that I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are if I'm the one who made you? Do you think 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?
Stop disrespecting your peers and yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life. Allow alertness to be your guide.
My beloved, this life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now and it is all you need. I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.
You are absolutely free to create in your life. Heaven or hell. I can't tell you if there's anything after this life, but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.
So, if there's nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won't ask if you behaved right or wrong. I'll ask, Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?
Stop believing in me. Believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don't want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your little girl, when you caress your dog, when you bathe in the sea.
Stop praising me. What kind of egomaniac God do you think I am? I'm bored with being praised. I'm tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, and the world. Express your joy! That's the way to praise me.
Stop complicating things and repeating as a parakeet what you've been taught about me. What do you need more miracles for? So many explanations?
The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.
So, before all my Francis Asbury United Methodist Church friends and family take me off the membership roster, here’s my 2 cents (points I agree with Spinoza in Happy Guide):
1. Humans will never fully understand the Universe and God. #Faith
2. Life is supposed to be happy … and fun.
3. God’s beauty can best be seen, felt, and enjoyed in nature.
4. Respect and take care of your friends and family.
5. The world is full of wonders.
Here’s today’s video clip:
Tony McLean Brown
A Western NC hillbilly through and through, Tony McLean Brown was born in the small town of Enka-Candler outside of Asheville. His parents re-named him when he was 3 years old to Tony (a nickname provided by his grandfather) McLean (middle name of his Uncle Michael) while retaining his legal surname Brown.
Throughout his career, Tony McLean Brown worked as a farmer, computer programmer, and management consultant – in his adventurous years – author, song-writer, bass player, poet, pilot, mountaineer, certified scuba diver, and competitor in professional bull riding, NASCAR late model racing, Toughman boxing, Crossfit Open, Ironman, pole vaulting, marathon and ultra-marathon running, as well as parenting.
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