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Einstein on religion

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posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 08:37 PM
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Who isn't familiar with this oft used quote from Einstein?


Einstein
...science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.


(a fragment of a larger sentence)

But what did he mean? The fragment is part of a conference paper he wrote in 1941 for "The Conference on Science, Philosophy and Religion
in Their Relation to the Democratic Way of Life, Inc., New York, 1941." Which can be found in its entirety here.

For some reason, this quote is floating around the internet out of context, used to support the common conception of religion, involving god, afterlifes, etc., and I have even seen it used in attempts to prove Einstein was religious in the sense most people think of religion (rather than the sense Einstein thought of religion).

But this is not what he meant at all. Here's the quote in context:


Einstein
But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.


He is actually referring to the belief that the world is comprehensible via reason.




posted on Nov, 10 2005 @ 10:37 PM
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Thank you, spamandham...I always get a wonderful feeling inside when I read the words of Einstein--warm and fuzzy, I guess, for lack of any better term.

His words are somehow alive, to me.



During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution human fantasy created gods in man's own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer. The idea of God in the religions taught at present is a sublimation of that old concept of the gods. Its anthropomorphic character is shown, for instance, by the fact that men appeal to the Divine Being in prayers and plead for the fulfillment of their wishes.


A word to the wise!

This is one (of his essays) that I particularly like: www.aip.org..." target="_blank" class="postlink">The World As I See It



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 12:11 AM
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I read somewhere cant remember where, that Einstiein dabbled in the occult and this is where his great idea of E-mc^2 in 1905. Thats why his hair looked like it did.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 09:26 AM
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Originally posted by LoneGunMan
I read somewhere cant remember where, that Einstiein dabbled in the occult and this is where his great idea of E-mc^2 in 1905. Thats why his hair looked like it did.


I seriously doubt that's true, unless he was just participating to woo a girl maybe. There's a lot of BS floating around about Einstein as people try to use his aura to support their own causes.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 12:03 PM
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Good thread topic, Spamandham. I was (ashamed to say) not aware of the context that specifc quote originated form, nor the context in which it was meant. However, I do think Einstein believed in some part that there was/is a God, but not necessarily believed any organized religion, or religious group owned the rights to define God. I like to think he realized it is strictly a personal relationship between two individuals first and formost, and no other man or woman has the authority to define God for you.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 01:08 PM
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Originally posted by Esoteric Teacher
However, I do think Einstein believed in some part that there was/is a God, but not necessarily believed any organized religion, or religious group owned the rights to define God.


We don't have to guess what he believed, as he was explicit.

Here are a few blurbs Einstain had to say about god:

"The idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I am unable to take seriously." - Letter of 1946, Hoffman and Dukas

"An individual who should survive his physical death is also beyond my comprehension, nor do I wish it otherwise; such notions are for the fears or absurd egoism of feeble souls." - The World as I See It

"Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a
wish addressed to a supernatural Being." - Einstein - The Human Side

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings." - Telegram of 1929, in Hoffman and Dukas


To Einstain, god is that which is responsible for order in the universe. It is impersonal, does not care about humans, does not listen to prayers, and does not provide us an afterlife.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 01:39 PM
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Good Quotes, and reliable research.

However, just because an individual believes a certain thing to be true in 1929 or 1946, does not necessarily mean that new information was not introduced to his thought processes that resulted in the changing of his opinion in the early 1950s.

My point is that he still made such statements like: (I may be paraphrasing)
"I want to know what GOD thinks, everything else is just details".

It may not be a realistically acertainable goal to know what exactly Einstein's final thoughts were on GOD, as he was compiling new information until the end of his life. We can agree the likeliness that he believed in GOD, but not what his final opinion of his definition of GOD may have been. However, I can understand on numerous levels (perhaps not all levels) what Einstien meant by some of his recorded thoughts, as some of them were intended to be addressed to individuals, or groups of people with accepted organized belief systems. And, those belief systems being the basis of the motivation for the exact wording he chose, words chosen to mean a certain thing to one group of idealists, but not necessarily to others. I'm sure there is a better way to present this idea, but hopefully you can understand that what I'm trying to say is he chose certain words and rhetoric for a specific target group. What we can draw upon to form our interpretations of Einstien's thought processes are our personal experiences and perspectives and apply what we accept as true to analyze what Albert's intentions and motivations were and compare those to his actions and behaviors.

So when we say we know what someone was thinking we are saying:

My personnal experiences as I interpret them in my current state of mind tell me that I would act and behave like that for the following reasons:
(list here reasons)
and what motivated and formed his intentions are still being judged by me by what I know has motivated me and what has formed my intentions.

So, to truly know what he thought is either possible or impossible, depending on the state of mind of the one choosing to know whether they can or can not know his thoughts, by comparing them to the only thing they truly know: what they know of themselves.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 02:37 PM
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I find this discussion interesting, spam, considering you wouldn't care what Einstein says if he is in disagreement with you on religion...

Very interesting...



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 02:55 PM
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"it was, of course, a lie what you read about my religiouis convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not beleive in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is it me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it"


From The Devils Chaplin, originally from "The Human Side"

Dawkins notes:

The lie is still being systematically spread about, carried through the meme pool by the desperate desire so many people have to beleive it -such is Einstein's prestige"



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 03:12 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
I find this discussion interesting, spam, considering you wouldn't care what Einstein says if he is in disagreement with you on religion...

Very interesting...


Yet, The way Spam chooses to incorporate the ideas behind the quotes to support his arguement is a legitament way of looking at it and does possibly support Einstein's uncertainty of the truth of God. Whether we agree or disagree with Spam's motivation for this thread, he has supplied us with both knowledge and experience with a perspective view of what could be. Point is we get something out of this thread, and he is right on this point:

People who believe in God have said Einstein did. Now, if religious and spiritual people can and have invoke Einstein's name to support their arguements, but how can they be sure what was really going on inside his head with his most intimate thoughts?

After Einstein recognized what his equasion gave humantiy (The bomb), and his well documented distain and dissapointment for having provided humanity with the means to destroy itself. Hell of a burden on one soul. So how can anyone truly be convinced that Einstein would have chosen to provide his most profound thoughts to mankind, when even the leader of the free world and major liberating force of WWII with popular opinion being equated to the moral high ground would be the first and second to drop the bomb?

Einstein's guilt for providing E=MC2 may very well have prevented him from giving us what he was truly capable of supplying us. His fear and reverence for life may have created a condition where the automatic unconscious thoughts that are controlled subliminally withheld from his conscious mind what potential thoughts that were still within, and remained dormant.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 03:49 PM
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Originally posted by Esoteric Teacher
However, just because an individual believes a certain thing to be true in 1929 or 1946, does not necessarily mean that new information was not introduced to his thought processes that resulted in the changing of his opinion in the early 1950s.


Thats's a good point. I don't know if he continued to write about religious concepts in the time right before his death or not. It is possible he changed his mind, though I'm not aware of any reason we should suspect that he did. I do know he requested and received a nonreligious funeral.


Originally posted by junglejake
I find this discussion interesting, spam, considering you wouldn't care what Einstein says if he is in disagreement with you on religion...


In fact, I don't care what he believed about it, other than to satisfy curiosity, even though his position was fairly close to my own.

What I do care about is people spreading lies/half truths about the man to further their religious agendas.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 04:35 PM
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From Did Einstein believe in a personal God

"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."



Spam is right, the answer is no. Doesn't of course mean he was right or wrong but those are his beliefs. His position (read link) was based on the old If there's a God why do we have so much suffering? He wasn't any sort of an authority on such things and didn't seem to understand the basic concepts of (most) faith. Can't blame him really though, i don't like religion much myself and i'm a believer.




posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 05:15 PM
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Originally posted by spamandham
In fact, I don't care what he believed about it, other than to satisfy curiosity, even though his position was fairly close to my own.

What I do care about is people spreading lies/half truths about the man to further their religious agendas.



hehe ahh, now that is very ironic. I don't care what he believed in, I just don't want people spreading lies/half truths that he didn't agree with me.

From what I have gathered, Einstein changed his views a few times through his life, and seems to have ended his life believing in, essentially, Buddhism. That is, however, just what I gathered. I haven't read biographies, differing accounts of his beliefs, etc. to draw an educated opinion, just did a bit of research for one of my debates. So I don't know where he stood for sure, but I do know that he is a respected historical figure and has made some great quotes that, even if they are being used by those of a different belief system than Einstein's, encapsulate what the quoter is trying to express.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 05:57 PM
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Originally posted by junglejake
hehe ahh, now that is very ironic. I don't care what he believed in, I just don't want people spreading lies/half truths that he didn't agree with me.


That's a pretty obnoxious and unwarranted implication jj, and this isn't your first offense. You've earned a permanent ignore.

[edit on 11-11-2005 by spamandham]



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 06:05 PM
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Originally posted by spamandham
That's a pretty obnoxious and unwarranted implication jj
[edit on 11-11-2005 by spamandham]


Uh...Let's look at what I said:


hehe ahh, now that is very ironic. I don't care what he believed in, I just don't want people spreading lies/half truths that he didn't agree with me.


Now let's look at what you said, with some emphesis explaining exactly how I came to the conclusion that that is exactly what you were implying:


In fact, I don't care what he believed about it, other than to satisfy curiosity, even though his position was fairly close to my own.

What I do care about is people spreading lies/half truths about the man to further their religious agendas.


There it is. While you won't be seeing this, I'll let others decide if my summary of what you had said was all that off base and obnoxious.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 08:50 PM
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Spamandham,

It is clear you no longer believe that Einstein was clearly "letting his emotions get the better of him on this" when referring to God.

Has your definition of faith in a religious context finally changed? Or do you still believe, "there is no faith whatsoever in the formation or testing of a hypothesis"?



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 11:54 PM
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Albert Einstein:
If there is any religion that would cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.


I do not think Einstein became a buddhist in his later years. Reading his essays and writings all the way from his youth up until the end, I really can't say that there is much evidence for any drastic change in his outlook or introspection.



posted on Nov, 11 2005 @ 11:58 PM
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Originally posted by Raphael_UO
Has your definition of faith in a religious context finally changed? Or do you still believe, "there is no faith whatsoever in the formation or testing of a hypothesis"?


I don't see how my understanding of Einstein's thoughts on religion have anything whatsoever to do with my definition of faith.

This thread is about what Einstein believed, not what spam believes.



posted on Nov, 12 2005 @ 11:50 AM
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Originally posted by spamandham
I don't see how my understanding of Einstein's thoughts on religion have anything whatsoever to do with my definition of faith.


Sometimes one own views change when one understands another's. Just wondering if understanding Einstein's views changed your own views.



posted on Nov, 13 2005 @ 08:36 AM
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Originally posted by Raphael_UO
Sometimes one own views change when one understands another's. Just wondering if understanding Einstein's views changed your own views.


No. My current views were formed before I knew what Einstein's views were, and my views differ from his.



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