Thanks for sharing your thoughts with me. A few comments, to continue the discussion:
But on the same note, the Catholic church was also patron to many other philosophers and artists, as well as scientists and theoreticians. The church giveth and the church taketh away. ... Do those conditions exist today? Not really. We tend to think the world is coming down on us in recent memory and complete remove the more serious instances in history. The church is not as powerful as it once was, and its hold over intellectual progress is severely less strangling.
I guess one should consider the donations by the Church similar to lobby money and research grants spent by corporations. Money spent in order to achieve certain results. I still think it is very prevalent today among all types of religions, the influence of which I think is still quite strong though somewhat tempered by influences from other non-religious institutions.
With all that being said, as well as the points outlined on Spinozas god, your points are very interesting. In the Taoist tradition, if I'm not mistaken, it seems similar to Leibniz more than Spinoza. Taoists like Wang Dao tend to believe less in a singular substance then in a preservation of substance in general which do not go out of existence but change.
I hesitate to speak for all Daoists, for I am sure there there many, many beliefs among all sects. So, instead let me just recite a couple of verses from the Dao De Jing:
The dao that can be said is not the everlasting Dao.
If a name can be named, it is not the everlasting Name.
That which has no name is the origin of heaven and earth;
That which has a name is the Mother of all things.
Tao gives birth to unity,
Unity gives birth to duality [Yin and Yang]
Duality gives birth to trinity [Yin, Yang and Qi]
and trinity gives birth to dall things.
One way of describing Qi would be to be basic energy. The closest analog in modern physics would be the motion of an electron.
Thus all things are unified, and the polarity of opposites together with motion forms all things. The Taiji symbol is used to symbolize this idea:
Notice the unity of opposites, the spiraling motion, and the how spirals can create new things. Similar to quantum waves.
In Hereclitian tradition, Heraclitus believes in a primary substance of fire (in the classic bow-and-string sense), saying, "All things are an exchange of fire and fire for all things, as gold is for goods and goods are for gold." (fragment B90) So you definitely have a point when you posit some method of connection and problematic occurrences if there is some disconnection.
I believe that the Hereclitian notion of fire, which figures prominantly in Daoist literature, is an analog for Qi, energy, or motion. Heraclitus thought as the Daoist do that all is in flux and changing.
However, I do not follow you when you say that Spinoza would reject Descartes dualism for these reasons though. It seems like this would be somewhat in tune with Descartes on a fundamental level.
There does not seem to be any duality in Spinoza's, Heraclitus, or Daoist thinking. All is unity and from the opposites in unity and the motion created, things are born.
Now, for a bit of my own thoughts here. I see the motion begining with a Willful desire to bend in and create spirals (the Universe looking at itself). I believe that this same Will is contained in every part of the Universe (Dao or Logos). Spinoza, however, seems to be a determined Determinists.
Hope this is helpful in understanding my perspective.