Voltaire Responds to Atheists, Pt. 2

“All [atheists’] supposition seems to me prodigiously fantastic, for two reasons; first, that in this universe there are intelligent beings, and that you would not know how to prove it possible for movement alone to produce understanding; second, that, from your own avowal, there is infinity against one to bet, that an intelligent creative cause animates the universe. When one is alone face to face with the infinite, one feels very small.

“Again, Spinoza himself admits this intelligence; it is the basis of his system.  You have not read it, and it must be read. Why do you want to go further than him, and in foolish arrogance plunge your feeble reason in an abyss into which Spinoza dared not descend?  Do you realize thoroughly the extreme folly of saying that it is a blind cause that arranges that the square of a planet’s revolution is always to the square of the revolutions of other planets, as the cube of its distance is to the cube of the distances of the others to the common centre?  Either the heavenly bodies are great geometers, or the Eternal Geometer has arranged the heavenly bodies.

“But where is the Eternal Geometer?  Is He in one place or in all places, without occupying space?  I have no idea.  Is it of His own substance that He has arranged all things?  I have no idea.  Is He immense without quantity and without quality?  I have no idea.  All that I know is that one must worship Him and be just.”

Dictionnaire philosophique, 1764


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