Spinoza was born in 1632 in the town of Amsterdam to a Jewish family who had recently emigrated from Portugal. Spinoza was an apt student seemingly destined to become a rabbi. However, his exposure to scholastic and early scientific ideas caused him to form and express opinions counter to the orthodox views of Amsterdam’s Jewish community. Spinoza was subsequently ex-communicated from the Jewish church. Baruch Spinoza is considered one of the greatest philosophers on rationalism; belonging to the Jewish faith, Baruch wrote most of his rationalist works on the theory of god and the human mind. Spinoza justifies his deductions on the existence of god in his work A Theologico-Political Treatise, saying “Men would never be superstitious, if they could govern all their circumstances by set rules or, if they were always favored by fortune” (A Theologico-Political Treatise). Spinoza deduces that if man controlled everything; they would have no need for faith. Man has faith, so therefore, they do not control everything and god does. Although Spinoza believes in the fact god is real, he questions institutionalized religion as a path to finding god. Stating in his work “I have often wondered, that persons who make a boast of professing the Christian religion, namely, love, joy, peace, temperance, and charity to all men, should quarrel with such rancorous animosity, and display daily towards one another such bitter hatred, that this, rather than the virtues they claim, is the readiest criterion of their faith” (A Theologico-Political Treatise). Spinoza was in strong opposition to the orthodox doctrines concerning eternal reward or punishment in the afterlife. In his work, A Theologico-Political Treatise, Spinoza questions the whole idea of religion, asking what gives one religion the right to shove their version of god onto other people, what makes their story of god and his wisdom better than another’s. He was using Christianity as an example of this, but the statement...
Citations: -Nadler, Steven. Baruch Spinoza. Stanford University. Stanford University, 29 June 2001. Web. 25 Feb. 2014.
Dutton, Blake D. Benedict De Spinoza (1632-1677). Publication. Loyola: Loyola University Chicago, n.d. Internet Encyclopedia of Pilosophy. Web. 27 Feb. 2014. .
Elwes, R. H. M. "A Theologico-Political Treatise Part 1 – Chapters I to V." A Theologico-Political Treatise. N.p.: n.p., n.d. 1-76. Print.
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