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Albert Einstein’s Beliefs Toward God

February 12, 2011

Albert Einstein is one of the most misrepresented individuals to ever live.  Take this video for instance.

There’s a lot I could say about this video, and the message that it’s trying to get across, but I’ll hold myself back and simply say that this never happened.  Einstein was an agnostic.  His conception of God was similar to Spinoza’s.

“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.”

– Albert Einstein

If you’ve never studied Benedict Spinoza’s philosophy, or his conception of God, you’ll have to read Part I of his Ethics.  Wikipedia summarizes it as follows,

In Spinozism, the concept of a personal relationship with God comes from the position that one is a part of an infinite interdependent “organism”. Spinoza taught that everything is but a wave in an endless ocean, and that what happens to one wave will affect other waves. Thus Spinozism teaches a form of determinism and ecology and supports this as a basis for morality.

Additionally, a core doctrine of Spinozism is that the universe is essentially deterministic. All that happens or will happen could not have unfolded in any other way. Spinozism is closely related to the Hindu doctrines of Samkhya and Yoga.  Spinoza claimed that the third kind of knowledge, intuition, is the highest kind attainable.

Spinoza’s metaphysics consists of one thing, substance, and its modifications (modes). Early in The Ethics Spinoza argues that there is only one substance, which is absolutely infinite, self-caused, and eternal. He calls this substance “God“, or “Nature“. In fact, he takes these two terms to be synonymous (in the Latin the phrase he uses is “Deus sive Natura”). For Spinoza the whole of the natural universe is made of one substance, God, or, what’s the same, Nature, and its modifications (modes).

Source:  Wikipedia

Einstein wasn’t an atheist either.  He made this perfectly clear.

“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.”

– Albert Einstein

In the quotation below, Einstein elaborates on his conception of God.

“I’m not an atheist and I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many 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 arrangements 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.”

– Albert Einstein

I hate seeing people misrepresented.  If you’re religious and believe in God and your holy book, that’s fine with me.  You can believe whatever you want to believe.  But don’t make up lies about great thinkers, and then claim they held a worldview similar to your own.   Christians can claim Einstein believed in God, but the real Einstein thought this about the Bible,

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”

-Albert Einstein

Topics: Philosophy, Physics | 4 Comments »

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