Dec. 21, 2012 Countdown - Day 37: Einstein on GOD and Science

Einstein on GOD and Science (compiled by Tihomir Dimitrov)


1. “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts, the rest are details.” (Einstein, as cited in Ronald Clark, Einstein: The Life and Times, London, Hodder and Stoughton Ltd., 1973, 33).

2. “We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many different languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books, but doesn’t know what it is.

That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see a Universe marvellously arranged and obeying certain laws, but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that moves the constellations.” (Einstein, as cited in Denis Brian, Einstein: A Life, New York, John Wiley and Sons, 1996, 186).

3. “If one purges the Judaism of the Prophets and Christianity as Jesus Christ taught it of all subsequent additions, especially those of the priests, one is left with a teaching which is capable of curing all the social ills of humanity. It is the duty of every man of good will to strive steadfastly in his own little world to make this teaching of pure humanity a living force, so far as he can.” (Albert Einstein, Ideas and Opinions, New York, Bonanza Books, 1954, 184-185).

4. “After all, haven’t the differences between Jew and Christian been overexaggerated by fanatics on both sides? We both are living under God’s approval, and nurture almost identical spiritual capacities. Jew or Gentile, bond or free, all are God’s own.” (Einstein, as cited in H.G. Garbedian, Albert Einstein: Maker of Universes, New York, Funk and Wagnalls Co., 1939, 267).

5. “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a Spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe – a Spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.” (Einstein 1936, as cited in Dukas and Hoffmann, Albert Einstein: The Human Side, Princeton University Press, 1979, 33).

6. “The deeper one penetrates into nature’s secrets, the greater becomes one’s respect for God.” (Einstein, as cited in Brian 1996, 119).

7. “The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior Reasoning Power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.” (Einstein, as cited in Libby Anfinsen 1995).

8. “My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior Spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality.” (Einstein 1936, as cited in Dukas and Hoffmann 1979, 66).

9. “The more I study science the more I believe in God.” (Einstein, as cited in Holt 1997).

10. Max Jammer (Professor Emeritus of Physics and author of the biographical book Einstein and Religion, 2002) claims that Einstein’s well-known dictum, “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” can serve as an epitome and quintessence of Einstein’s religious philosophy. (Jammer 2002; Einstein 1967, 30).

11. “The highest principles for our aspirations and judgments are given to us in the Jewish-Christian religious tradition. It is a very high goal which, with our weak powers, we can reach only very inadequately, but which gives a sure foundation to our aspirations and valuations.” (Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, New Jersey, Littlefield, Adams and Co., 1967, 27).

12. “In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views.” (Einstein, as cited in Clark 1973, 400; and Jammer 2002, 97).

13. Concerning the fanatical atheists Einstein pointed out:

“Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is of the same kind as the intolerance of the religious fanatics and comes from the same source. They are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against the traditional ‘opium for the people’ – cannot bear the music of the spheres. The Wonder of nature does not become smaller because one cannot measure it by the standards of human moral and human aims.” (Einstein, as cited in Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion: Physics and Theology, Princeton University Press, 2002, 97).

14. “True religion is real living – living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness” (Einstein, as cited in Garbedian 1939, 267).

15. “Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality or intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order.

… This firm belief, a belief bound up with deep feeling, in a superior Mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God.” (Einstein 1973, 255).

16. “Strenuous intellectual work and the study of God’s Nature are the angels that will lead me through all the troubles of this life with consolation, strength, and uncompromising rigor.” (Einstein, as cited in Calaprice 2000, ch. 1).

17. Einstein’s attitude towards Jesus Christ was expressed in an interview, which the great scientist gave to the American magazine The Saturday Evening Post (26 October 1929):

“- To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?

- As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.

- Have you read Emil Ludwig’s book on Jesus?

- Emil Ludwig’s Jesus is shallow. Jesus is too colossal for the pen of phrasemongers, however artful. No man can dispose of Christianity with a bon mot.

- You accept the historical Jesus?

- Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.” (Einstein, as cited in Viereck 1929; see also Einstein, as cited in the German magazine Geisteskampf der Gegenwart, Guetersloh, 1930, S. 235).