27 October 2013

Why Benedict Spinoza Was Excommunicated

"What Spinoza is particularly concerned with are the superstitious beliefs and behaviors that the notion of an anthropomorphic and providential God nourishes. If we think that God is like us, an agent who acts for the sake of ends and who, by issuing commands, makes known his expectations and punishes those who do not obey, we will be dominated by the passions of hope and fear: hope for eternal reward and fear of eternal punishment. This will, in turn, lead us toward submission to ecclesiastic authorities who claim to know what God wants. The resulting life is one of “bondage”—psychological, moral, religious, social, and political enslavement—as opposed to the liberating life of reason."

by Steven Nadler: Professor of Philosophy at the University of Wisconsin–Madison