Einstein on God
The following was a message from the ex-tian mailing list.


I think part of the problem of theists wanting to believe that famous scientists such as Einstein and Hawking believe in their god comes from the common quote: "God does not play dice with the Universe." To those who already wish that Einstein believed in god, Einstein's mere mention of "god" here is all the "assurance" they need. But to truly understand what he meant when he said that, one has to dig further into Einstein's views toward god and religion. Scientists often informally use "god" to mean the laws of nature.

In a (non-religious) discussion w/ another xian, I brought up this quote: "Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper." Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.

The person's immediate reaction was to say, "yeah, but WHO is the piper???" (Sigh) I don't think these kinds of people are really interested in the true meaning of these quotes, only what parts of them they can use to bolster their cause.

Here are some quotes I found relating to Einstein's views on god & religion:

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings." Upon being asked if he believed in God by Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue, New York, April 24, 1921, Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 502.

"an attempt to find an out where there is no door." Einstein's description of religious thought, Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 516.

"Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntary and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefore. In our daily lives we only feel that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own." ... "The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is." Einstein's speech 'My Credo' to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin, autumn 1932, Einstein: A Life in Science, Michael White and John Gribbin, Page 262.

And here's one that seems to speak from the grave:

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." - Albert Einstein in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas (Einstein's secretary) and Banesh Hoffman, and published by Princeton University Press.

Sorry for the rant; Einstein's sort of one of my historical heroes. :)

P.S. - ok, one more - sort of humorous (from the religious standpoint, at least):

"Coughlin [of the Los Angeles tabloid Illustrated Daily News, in hot pursuit of asking Einstein a provocative, headline-inducing question] found the right moment while tailing the car that was speeding the couple [the Einsteins] north on the coast road to Pasadena. It had stopped to let Einstein stroll over to a small headland known as Sunset Cliffs, where he stood gazing at the sea and sky. Seizing the moment, Coughlin leaped from his car, the question on his lips, followed by Spang, his camera at the ready. "Doctor", Coughlin said, "is there a God?" Einstein stared at the water's edge some twenty feet below, then turned to his questioner. Coughlin later wrote: "There were tears in his eyes, and he was sniffing. Spang shot the picture as Einstein was hustled away before he could answer me. "Well," I said, "the way he reacted, he believes in God. Did you ever see such an emotional face?" Spang was standing on the edge of the headland, where the great scientist had stood. He looked down, then called me: "Come over here." I looked down and there, caught against the base of the little cliff, was a shark that must have been dead in the hot sun for several days. "Make anybody cry", Spang said." Einstein: A Life, Denis Brian, Page 206.


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