Often when asked if he were religious, Albert Einstein gave this answer, “I’m not an atheist. I don’t think I can call myself a pantheist [one who believes the existing universe is God; or one who believes in the worship of all gods]”. What he did believe, it seems, is that nature followed laws that amazed him and
which he found awesome.
Einstein attributed nature and its laws to being created by a higher being, God. However, his pronouncements on his God did not sit well with theologians and others. And so both during his lifetime and posthumously, one of the greatest
minds of the twentieth century has been perceived as being an atheist.
A contradiction in terms
As an aside—and for a moment’s digression from Mr. Einstein’s belief in God—let’s consider if an atheist is truly one. Can counter-psychology “prove”
this point? Can the mere fact that an atheist denounces belief in God attest
to the credibility of the belief in the existence of God? What, then, is there
to be denied IF conventional wisdom accepts the reality of an all-knowing,
benevolent being commonly referred to as God.
Metaphysics [the belief system that there are unseen spiritual laws and forces that interact with our third dimension and all the universes according to cosmic or God’s laws] claims that what one believes is, therefore, one’s reality. So, possibly there’s no argument at all for or against belief or believing, which is the acceptance or rejection of principles, dogmas, faith, or whatever.
Each his own God
No two people believe exactly the same; they can’t. It’s similar to one’s fingerprints. Each of us has our inner fears, doubts, desires, hopes and needs that color our beliefs. We “march” to that deep down voice of consciousness prodding us on towards spiritual growth.
However, organized religions corral beliefs into a systematic posture of thinking and acting, with the end result of most likely encouraging dissention, dissatisfaction, disbelief or rejection of spiritual realities not held in communion with each other.
Now back to the spiritual beliefs of the mind that gave the world its most famous mathematical equation. As a child growing up in late 1800s Germany, Albert—whose parents were non-practicing Jews— went to the local catholic school where he matriculated in traditional catholic religion studies. However, he soon “came to his senses” and decided to follow certain Jewish traditions such as not eating pork, keeping Kosher and observing the Jewish Sabbath.
Young Albert even composed hymns that he would sing on his way to and
Intellectually Albert couldn’t resist reading and studying religious and secular classics. As a result, he is infamous for having said, “Through the reading of popular scientifi c books, I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true.” However, he did not hesitate to add this caveat, “Veneration for this force [God] beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious”.
Excuse me! “Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion.” Einstein apparently is trying to convey a true,
deep, passionate, abiding reverence for the force he regarded as God. Wow!
One of the greatest minds possibly of all time admitting that he reveres an
unseen God. How awesome and in some ways, humbling.
Belief in Christ?
But Einstein didn’t stop there with his shocking pronouncements. When asked about how much he was influenced by his catholic schooling, he said, “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.” Did Einstein believe in the existence of Jesus Christ?
Here’s his astounding answer: “Unquestionably. No one can read the gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is fi lled with such life.” Surprising? Blow off your socks? Well, he continued to amaze his adversaries when questioned about his religious
“There are people who say there is no God. But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views.” Einstein criticized “The fanatical atheists 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 traditional religion as the ‘opium of the masses’—cannot hear the music of the spheres.”
The music of the spheres is that wonderful background sound of the universes pulsating in rhythm together with the Godhead. It’s the most magnifi cent sound one can ever ALBERT [E = MC2] EINSTEIN’S GOD by Caritas Puella hear. Once you hear it, you never can forget it. Apparently, Albert Einstein had had that spellbinding experience that made him a believer in God. Nothing could change his mind no matter how much he was badgered on the subject.
His apparent conclusion that “The main source of the presentday conflicts between the spheres of religion and of science lies in this concept of a personal God,” led him to say, “I am compelled to act as if free will existed because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly”.
What can we walk away from Albert Einstein’s belief in God and religion with? Are there any pearls of wisdom that we can apply to our interactions with God and our fellow humans, animals, and the planet? Maybe E=mc2 can be applied to our own spirituality to help us grow beyond the limits into which we
confine ourselves by certain beliefs.
Quotations from the new book Einstein and God: A Spiritual Journey
by Walter Isaacson and as reviewed in “Einstein & Faith”, Time, April 16,
2007, pp. 44-48