Yes, I gathered that ~ and I suppose that when I said that I didn't have much to add, I meant philosophically.
It just so happens that I have been working through Spinoza's Ethics with a few others - and frankly, I've really struggled, especially with book 1 which contains all of his axioms about God-Nature.
I looked into a summary of Spinoza at this Stanford University Link:http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/#GodNat
I have never read Spinoza and so I don't know how accurate it is, but I will assume it is, and based on that assumption, these are my observations:
1. Like all theists, Spinoza begins with the abstract and uncertain concept of something bearing the title "God" and then "defines" the meaning of that label with a lovely description of infinity.
But that type of reasoning, from a buddhist perspective, is backwards. It's "witch-hunt" logic. It's like saying,
"There are hard to explain things going on in the village, so there is probably a witch living nearby, and so now we have the word "witch" so let's define that word as meaning that strange woman who lives near the edge of the woods".
We start with everything we know and everything we wonder about, and because it's bigger than anything we can imagine, we call it "God" and maybe give it a face and a beard and maybe not, and then we start filling in the blanks: "god is this" God is that" and so on.
This is akin to the problem many new buddhists have when it comes to understanding sunyata,
or emptiness. They begin with an apparently solid thing, like a table, and then, thinking that Buddhism tells them the table doesn't exist, struggle with deconstructing it. Buddhism doesn't say the table doesn't exist. Buddhism says that nothing is existent (meaning essential, or independently arising, or unconditional, or not composed of other things) that can be called a table. In other words, there is no essential "tableness' in a table. There's just wood and glue and screws and a shape. It only becomes a table in the human mind. If a crocodile sees it, it is not a table to the crocodile.
Likewise, if we start with "God" as something other than the abstract label that it is, then we start to invent all sorts of meanings. So the problem is that Spinoza never let's go of that first presumption. He starts with "God" and then comes up with all sorts of philosophy to attribute to this label.
2. he makes references to 'substances' as in:Proposition 13: A substance which is absolutely infinite is indivisible.
Which from a Buddhist point of view is contradictory in nature. For something to be infinite, it would have to transcend both absolute and non-absolute, indivisibility and non-indivisibility.
I won't go into all the other points about substances because these were already discussed and refuted 1300 years earlier by Nagarjuna.
This is exactly the problem, from my point of view - that you think it is sufficient to refute Spinoza on the basis that he uses the signifier God.
If you look a little more deeply at Spinoza, you'll notice a few interesting things - firstly, that he was excommunicated from the Dutch Jewish community, because his metaphysical views were so scandalously far from the orthodoxy.
Secondly, that he is very often interpreted as an atheist. Sometimes as a pantheist; in any case, it is not at all clear that he's giving an a-priori argument for God from the perspective of theism......but you impute this, without ever bothering to read him.
Thirdly, that he was deeply influenced by the physics of Newton and Gallileo: so much of his radicalism is in his conception of the natural world as not ontologically distinct from the world of thought.
Fourthly, that he was dangerously brazen in his attacks on organised monotheistic religion, and the assumptions contained therein.
All of this, you completely fail to see; instead feeling comfortable enough to make unfounded inferences after reading a webpage (albeit a good one).....and so, happily and without any foundation or engagement, refute one of the great thinkers the west has produced.....
On what grounds exactly? That you have read and understood Nagarjuna. Well, I'm sorry, but that's really the kind of conceit I'm pointing to.
Now, the points about substance, being and causality, as I have already mentioned earlier on this thread, do indeed present a serious challenge to anyone who wants to argue that there is a commensurability between Spinoza's metaphysics and emptiness.
I certainly am not making the claim that they are commensurable; nor am I in the position to undertake that kind of work.
I too, know Nagarjuna far better than I do Spinoza.
The point here is, and please don't lose sight of it: whether one is arguing for commensurability or difference, one needs to know both very well
, and actually engage in the metaphysical issues which are at stake.
I don't see that you've done that all, and yet, you have already reached your conclusion.
That's ideology, not philosophy.