Albert Einstein and God: A Scientist and His Worldview

The Worldviews of scientists are in the news with the publication by the John Templeton Foundation of Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete? (A post on that to follow later.) And now with a personal letter of Albert Einstein’s selling at auction for significant dollars, in which he reveals some of his less ‘guarded’ views on God, Everything Einstein is in the news as well. This NY times link to Albert Einstein News is a good resource on the same.

Einstein, as he says in his autobiographical notes, lost his religion at the age of 12, concluding that it was all a lie, and he never looked back. But he never lost his religious feeling about the apparent order of the universe or his intuitive connection with its mystery, which he savored. “The most incomprehensible thing about the universe is its comprehensibility,” he once said.

“If something is in me that can be called religious,” he wrote in another letter, in 1954, “then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as science can reveal it.”

This too from the same NY Times article by Dennis Overbye, Einstin Letter on God Sells for $404,000:

From the grave, Albert Einstein poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion this week.

A letter the physicist wrote in 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, in which he described the Bible as “pretty childish” and scoffed at the notion that the Jews could be a “chosen people,” sold for $404,000 at an auction in London.

There are a number of quotes from Einstein that I use in various programs. They each reveal something of his worldview, are well known and are yet worth another reflection.

A human being is part of a whole, called by us
“universe,” a part limited in time and space. We
experience ourselves, our thoughts and feelings as
something separated from the rest — a kind of optical
delusion of consciousness. This delusion is a kind of
prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and
to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must
be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our
circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and
the whole of nature in its beauty.
— Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions

Look deep into nature
and then you will understand everything better.
— Albert Einstein

The world we have made
as a result of the level of thinking we have done thus far
creates problems that we cannot solve
at the same level
at which we have created them…
We shall require
a substantially new manner of thinking
if humankind is to survive.
— Albert Einstein

The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mystical. It is the source of all true art and science.” — Albert Einstein

Thank you, Mr. Einstein, for your capacity, courage, and willingness to be so wildly resilient!

Note: Subsequent post here: Does Science Make Belief in God Obsolete?

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