Monday Meslier: 20 – To Say That God is a Spirit Is to Speak Without Saying Anything At All

Jean Meslier Portrait

Jean Meslier

By metaphysics, God is made a pure spirit, but has modern theology advanced one step further than the theology of the barbarians?

They recognized a grand spirit as master of the world. The barbarians, like all ignorant men, attribute to spirits all the effects of which their inexperience prevents them from discovering the true causes. Ask a barbarian what causes your watch to move, he will answer, “a spirit!” Ask our philosophers what moves the universe, they will tell you “it is a spirit.”


Meslier neatly points out (as many atheists have before, and since) how an explanation that explains everything is pretty useless.  And, yet, that’s all that theologists have managed to come up with in the thousands of years they’ve controlled the dialogue. Meslier is unfair to barbarians by saying that religion is like barbarism – it is easier to reject god than it is to achieve high civilization, though that achievement certainly requires the rejection of barbaric beliefs. The barbarian may wish to attain civilization, while the theologist wishes to retain and protect their ignorance.


I also have to say: Meslier’s subtitles are so in-your-face, they sometimes make me laugh out loud with pleasure. One could probably debate theologists simply using Meslier’s subtitles.