Sunday 31 December 2023

Love? Examination of Spinoza.

This post was sent to me this morning and I was compelled to address it, it was a Facebook post on Love.

When Einstein gave lectures at U.S. universities, the recurring question that students asked him most was:

- Do you believe in God?

And he always 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.

I am not one who has read Descartes, though that isn't relevant to what I am saying here.

(Spinoza) : 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.

This automatically is a red flag, as the Bible encourages and commands prayer. God doesn't stop you having fun in the sense of an ordinary thing that isn't moral in and of itself. You could visit a city, a field, the seaside and take the sights in. You could even try a new meal you never had, so long as the Lord's commands are obeyed and the mindset of "Lord willing we shall go into such and such a town and do business." is present (James 4:13-15).

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 there I express my love for you.

Whether it is at home or in a church, the worship of God is encompassed in the whole of life. (Deuteronomy 6:4-7) I don't even know what this post is going on about.

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. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don't blame me for everything they made you believe.

God isn't blame for a miserable life, if anything we bring it on ourselves. He does bring trials to draw us closer to himself and make us holy, weaning us off the things of the world. While we can debate what hobbies we can have or what things we can do that aren't evil in and of themselves, the ultimate goal is the glorification of God. (1 John 2:15-18, James 4:1-12, Romans 14, Colossians 3:1-11)

To suggest that God doesn't tell us we are sinners is a lie, The scriptures, inspired by him tell us we are sinners in need of atonement and grace. (Romans 3:23)

Sex itself was designed as a holy gift, it's only because of the fall of man that it has been perverted into something that God didn't intend. There are specific practices that will earn the wrath of God, whether it be adultery, fornication, homosexuality and other sins that could be listed. Sex is a holy thing given to the human race in the confines of marriage, not something to be bandied about and altered (Romans 1:19-32, 1 Corinthians 6:9-10, Galatians 5:16-26, Revelation 21:8, 22:15.)

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!

If you were talking about other "holy scriptures" I could understand but how do you know God is there? He is found in a book and that same book, the Bible, tells us that man knows God exists but their consciences convict them and as such, mankind rebels and rejects this truth. (Romans 1:19-32)

Stop asking me "will you tell me how to do my job?" Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.

Love involves rebuking, correcting, condemning and judging (The irony is people who say it doesn't still engage in a moral judgement of some kind.) As long hypocrisy isn't present, that is what that matters. It also does have grace to allow the person be reconciled to God (and an offended person or party if any. (Matthew 7:1-5, 2 Timothy 3:16-17)

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 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?

You have to ask for forgiveness, otherwise, hell is your abode, that is how it works (1 John 5-10 talks about believers confessing their sins.) The only to be saved is to call on the name of the Lord and do as he bids (Acts 17:30-31) (Though this is out of gratitude and love rather than saving yourself.) 

What things are put into us? While an ordinary pleasure isn't sinful necessarily, does it really fulfill you in the long run? If you live for it rather than treat it as an ordinary thing you can live without or the very least, recognise it could fail and treat it as a neutral thing and never let it be an idol, the thing will fail you in the end. (Matthew 6:19-24, Luke 16:13.) 

Where does it say God made you the way you are? That is incredibly nebulous and doesn't say anything.

Respect your peers and don't do what you don't want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is 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.

If your life leads you in the wrong direction to hell, all your efforts are meaningless. You must have boundaries. This kind of subjectivity is very dangerous.

Christians will ending up sinning and falling short but they will grieve over it. (1 John 1:5-10.)

➤ 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?...

God will judge us based on how we have lived. If we refuse to trust in Jesus and go our own way, we are lost. God is not mocked, he will hold us to account for every thought, word and deed. (Ecclesiastes 12:14, Matthew 12:36, Acts 17:31, Romans 2:16, Hebrews 9:27, Revelation 20:11-15)

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?

We all called to self-denial, not belief in ourselves. (Matthew 16:24-26, Mark 8:34-35, Luke 9:23-24, John 12:25-26.) 

God isn't an egomaniac, he is our creator deserving of love, attention, worship and obedience. It is a foolish thought to refer God in this way.

I'm bored being praised. I'm tired of being thanked. Feeling grateful? Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! That's the way to praise me.

God will never cease being tired of praise or being thanked. He only doesn't want either if you are in rebellion and refuse to repent. There are plenty of examples of this in the Old Testament; (Isaiah 1:1-20, 59:1-2, Micah 6:6-16, Jeremiah 3:6-14) You should take care of yourself, others and your relationships but all have to be attended to in order to bring honour and glory to God. For one who repents, his wickedness is forgotten. (Jeremiah 31:31-34 and Ezekiel 18:21-24, the latter warns that the opposite is also true.)

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.

- Spinoza 

Everything we learn from childhood by that criteria is repeated like a parakeet. In fact, the Bible in Proverbs tells us (though this isn't always true) that something seems right at first until later examined (Proverbs 18:17). Granted, this verse refers to court cases but nevertheless, the principle in life is the same. Something you have been taught may have been right though you might have to correct yourself if you come across someone else who would examine that belief you hold. If you are correct, obviously there is no need for correction but if you are wrong, it is worth correcting that belief and behaviour.

Miracles also are not proof of something to be true. You can perform x number of miracles and still have no person believe in Jesus. In fact, Jesus actually didn't do miracles in one town because of their unbelief (Matthew 13:58.) His parable of the rich man and Lazarus is also further confirmation that even if someone is raised from the dead, a person will not believe (Luke 16:19-31.) 

Answering Judaism.

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