God believers have always held up Albert Einstein — the World’s Smartest Man — as evidence that God exists because they believe Einstein said God was real.


The news this week that Einstein was not a believer — as evidenced in a new letter from his own hand now up for auction — makes clear his stance on the God Question:

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

“No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this,” he [Einstein] wrote in the letter written on January 3, 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, cited by The Guardian newspaper.

The German-language letter is being sold Thursday by Bloomsbury Auctions in Mayfair after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, said the auction house’s managing director Rupert Powell.

We find Einstein’s absolute rejection of the death of the old God oddly refreshing — and when we add his view to the previously expressed argument from the Vatican that “Intelligent Design”
is neither “intelligent” nor a “design” — we begin to feel there is a
rational basis for objective belief still left for the holding in the secular universe.

News this week that the Vatican also believes in alien life was another fiery log on the blaze of human existence stoking a darkling world:

The Vatican’s chief astronomer says there is no conflict between
believing in God and in the possibility of extraterrestrial “brothers”
perhaps more evolved than humans.

“In my opinion this possibility exists,” said the Reverend José
Gabriel Funes, head of the Vatican Observatory and a scientific adviser
to Pope Benedict XVI, referring to life on other planets.

“How can we exclude that life has developed elsewhere,” he said in
an interview with the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano, published
in its Tuesday-Wednesday edition. The large number of galaxies with
their own planets makes this possible, he noted.

As science and technology propel us forward into ourselves — what other totems of religious belonging are in danger of being exposed, exploited and abandoned by recantation and re-explanation?

25 Comments

  1. Laughing now! Einstein was their hole ace. Now he’s screwed them. Vatican also supports evolution and big bang. On the right track. Protects their backsides.

  2. Einstein was always trotted out as the believer’s ultimate proof that God exists and is real. That effort was so effective, I think, that’s why Stephen Hawking took a similar God-centric angle in his writing. We’ll see if Hawking makes a second major recantation in his life over this new information.

  3. Hawking confuses. He’s a jumble of ideas but I’m not sure he believes in any of them except to argue. Not even sure about God with that guy.

  4. No disrespect to Einstein or anyone else. But I could care less what Einstein has to say about God and the bible.
    There is no proof of God’s existence.
    That’s why they call it faith!!

  5. Moreover : on Donna’s line of reasoning:
    We don’t approach an architect for quality film reviews.
    We don’t get a master chef to compose a score for the film.
    We don’t even get the most talented painter in the world to direct the film.
    Not sure why I chose those career paths but there they are. Einstein knew science. He clearly had no interest in knowing the words of his own people. I certainly don’t hold it against him.
    I’m not, however, put off at all when he writes those words – any more than when I read that a certain late rabbi believed that there was no such thing as “kosher Chinese food” – oh, the argument I could put up against that one…

  6. People care what famous people think and believe, Gordon. That’s the power behind Barack and Tom Cruise and even Charles Manson.
    It appears lots of folks cared about what Einstein thought about God — especially when he brought up the topic himself in his own writing when he said, “God does not play dice with the universe.”
    Many believe that’s a powerful statement against randomness in grand design and evolution and Darwinism — and if you do a search — you can see there’s lots of scholarly backscatter on the matter and its memeing:
    http://www.google.com/search?q=einstein+god+dice

  7. David–
    If you can smile, I can certainly smile …
    Though I’m still a bit stunned from reading your dungeoun story!
    So forgive me for dissing Einstein!

  8. Gordon–
    Thanks for making that point. Einstein wasn’t a theologian and so I’m not at all impressed with what he has to say on the subject of religion and spirituality and God.
    Scientists are interested in the objective, not the subjective.
    Thank you anyway, David, for reporting and updating us on this. It is interesting information but has no bearing on my personal beliefs. Einstein was a brilliant man and it is natural for folks to be interested in what he has to say on the matter.

  9. Donna —
    What I think you and Gordon are missing is that Einstein dedicated his life to understanding the origins of — and the relationships between — matter and energy in the universe.
    If one believes in God, and the creation story and such — there is a natural curious connection between Einstein’s science and the religious record of events.
    When Einstein was thought to be with the Creationists on a certain level, they did not hesitate to exploit his advocacy of their position. We’ll see how fast they cut him loose now.

  10. David–
    If you say this is of major significance, then I have to pay attention.
    So it will be interesting to see the reaction and how much of an impact this actually has.
    Thanks for clarifying the importance of this new-found information and while it may not have personal significance for some, it has the potential to challenge world views.

  11. Hi Donna —
    Yes, Einstein has been thrown back in the face of the Evolutionists by the Creationists as being the “Ultimate Scientist” and to be against Einstein and his God was to be against the man who created the Quantum Theory and the Theory of Relativity. They were trying to say you couldn’t be for Einstein and be against the idea of a God.
    Those who cared to research Einstein’s published writing knew he wasn’t really a believer and that his “dice” argument was more about an evolutionary structure of things rather than the omniscient hand of a pre-planned divine intervention — but since most people gloss what they read, they take the Creationist argument to heart.

  12. P.S. —
    And the reason this is “news” this week is because — until now — there hasn’t been absolute proof of Einstein’s view about God and a divine plan. We can now read what he thought in his own hand, and without guessing, we can see precisely what he meant. That’s a historic moment in the ongoing battle between creation and evolution. It’s good not to have doubt no matter which way you swing on the belief pendulum.

  13. David!
    What a fascinating find! i’m beginning to wonder if einstein, when he said, “he doesn’t play dice with the universe” meant the word “god” only as literally as he meant “dice”?

  14. Christopher Michael Langan may not be as smart as Einstein was, but this Wikipedia excerpt may persuade some to believe that God’s existence is provable through mathematics:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christopher_Michael_Langan
    [excerpt]
    …On January 25, 2008, Langan was a contestant on NBC’s 1 vs. 100, where he won $250,000…
    He has been quoted as saying that “you cannot describe the universe completely with any accuracy unless you’re willing to admit that it’s both physical and mental in nature”[11] and that his CTMU “explains the connection between mind and reality, therefore the presence of cognition and universe in the same phrase”.[14] He calls his proposal “a true ‘Theory of Everything,’ a cross between John Archibald Wheeler’s ‘Participatory Universe’ and Stephen Hawking’s ‘Imaginary Time’ theory of cosmology.”[9] In conjunction with his ideas, Langan has claimed that “you can prove the existence of God, the soul and an afterlife, using mathematics.”[7]
    [end excerpt]

    Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

  15. I don’t vouch for Wiki as a reliable scholarly source, but it’s a place where research can start in many instances. The footnotes at the end of the linked article give citations that may provide such a start in the strange case of Mr. Langan. As for his creds, maybe he did win that NBC contest referred to in my post — maybe he’s as smart as some claim. I make no claims at all, living as I do as the imagined star of a real Truman Show. (Are you going to display my posting at the Dungeon Man thread?)

    Aloha ~~~ Ozzie Maland ~~~ San Diego

  16. Thanks for the pointer to Mr. Langan’s work, Ozzie.
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