Who put anti-religious fighting words in Einstein's mouth?

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posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:12 AM
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Few personal opinions about the question of God are as tirelessly analyzed as Albert Einstein’s. Some people think that a personal letter of his, written in 1954 to Eric Gutkind, the author of a book about Judaism, casts new light on Einstein’s religious views. The letter, already a sensation in the auction world for having fetched $ 404,000 (including the auction fees paid by the buyer) in 2008, will be offered again at auction in early October, this time online and with a minimum bid of $ 3 million.

Atheist activist Richard Dawkins believes the letter finally settles that Einstein was an atheist. Does it? Does it shed any new light on Einstein’s thoughts about God?


uncertaintist.wordpress.com...

The most controversial part of the story is whether Einstein, writing in German, actually wrote that religion or the Jewish Bible is "childish," as in the most widely circulated English translation,

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.

It has been known since shortly after the 2008 auction, but underreported, that there is a serious question whether the bolded remark appears in Einstein's German original. Similarly, at another place where he supposedly calls the Jewish religion, like religion in general, "an incarnation of the most childish superstitons," the actual German word Eintein used is, apparently, the same word that was translated as "primitive" in the passage quoted earlier.

The difference in word choice is important because the letter adds little to understanding the content of Einstein's religious views, which were stable for decades: he was a deist, and culturally Jewish, but not observant. He believed in an intelligent supernatural creator-being, but not the Abrahamic God, nor in any revealed, prayer-answering, history-shaping "personal" God.

So, there would be no surprise that Einstein would be critical of revealed religion, maybe to the point of calling it primitive superstition, or that he would call a book written betrween the Bronze Age and the Second Century BCE "primitive legends." But childish as well? That crosses a line when discussing adult behavior, and suggests a visceral quality to Einstein's views which is otherwise absent from his writing.




posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:24 AM
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i think the practicing religious folk would be the only ones who might be truly upset by these comments,whichever ones are true.
Einstein was a scientist that ultimately was looking for the 'theory of everything'!
this was the god he was looking for. trying to explain everything.
so his statement doesn't surprise me at all,nor does it bother me in the least!
what the bible calls miracles,science can now explain,thanks to people like Einstein!
still the same truth,but one is logical,the other mystical,spiritual,personal!
look at it this way.
what we have learned about quantum physics and matter,has been taught by the mystics
for thousands of years. same knowledge,different views!

peace



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:26 AM
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Einstein was a deist, he was not religious in any way.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:29 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


Count me as another who is incredibly tired of neo-atheists co-opting Einstein as one of their own. It seems they're so insecure in the their worldview that they will stoop to such lows as to put words into the mouths of the deceased. They love to pick the brainiest ones so as to prove atheism is the choice of highly intellectual individuals and those who don't believe as they do (which happens to be at a minimum of 95% of the world's population) are ignorant, stupid and unworthy of consideration.

I wouldn't mind seeing man-made religions (especially the big 3) become a relic of our past consciousness. But, there is no way, for me at least, to accept atheism. Thank you, but, I rather love believing in a supernatural creative force.

I, like many others, do not see the universe as a 14 billion year long series of happy accidents which has given rise to all kinds of organisms and intelligence. From God's consciousness comes the ten thousand things.

Of course there is no way to prove it one way or the other. That's why it's the greatest mystery of all. Just as we will never know how life originated or how the universe originated, "God" is the eternal mystery. We'll return to where we came from before we were born when we pass on from this earthly, temporal existence. Then we might catch a glimpse of all of that mystery.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:38 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
Einstein was a deist, he was not religious in any way.


It's important to take into account, every angle. Back then, jews were targeted out of misunderstanding, prejudice etc,. Now we have millions of lost souls and a deep chasm within almost every religion.
It's bizarre and I feel it's only going to intensify.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 07:42 AM
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I wouldn't say who put these words in his mouth more like what put these words in his mouth. And that would be his enormous intellect.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:34 AM
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Originally posted by NOTurTypical
Einstein was a deist, he was not religious in any way.


false he was a pantheist a la Spinoza [who was considered a cabalist heretic by jewish rabbis]
he believed in an impersonal god
he simply did not believe god gave an f about xtians, jews or muslims prayers, doings,needs and desires
the same way a human is not concerned with the needs and desires of germs



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 08:39 AM
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Originally posted by DerepentLEstranger

Originally posted by NOTurTypical
Einstein was a deist, he was not religious in any way.


false he was a pantheist a la Spinoza [who was considered a cabalist heretic by jewish rabbis]
he believed in an impersonal god
he simply did not believe god gave an f about xtians, jews or muslims prayers, doings,needs and desires
the same way a human is not concerned with the needs and desires of germs





And out of a huge cannon goes the worms of derepent. Lol nice



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 09:09 AM
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A Einstein was a follower (somewhat strictly speaking) of the pantheist philosopher Baruch Spinoza. Einstein's thoughts on God coincide in a general way with those of Spinoza. Pantheism denotes the idea that every single thing is a part of one Being ("God") and that all forms of reality are either modes of that Being or identical with it. In other words a pantheist would say "all things are in God" whereas a Catholic (Christian) would say "God is in all things" - or as St. Ignatius puts it in part of his "Spiritual Exercises" #3 "Finding God in All Things" - quite a difference.

The quotes below give an adequate idea as to what Spinoza's thoughts on God consisted of.

Quotes of Spinoza

Nothing exists but God

God is one, that is, only one substance can be granted in the universe. [I.14]

Whatsoever is, is in God, and without God nothing can be, or be conceived. {I.15]

God is the indwelling and not the transient cause of all things. All things which are, are in God. Besides God there can be no substance, that is, nothing in itself external to God. [I.17]

God is the force preserving things in existence

Although each particular thing be conditioned by another particular thing to exist in a given way, yet the force whereby each particular thing perseveres in existing follows from the eternal necessity of God's nature. [ii.45]

Individual things are expressions of the attributes of God

Individual things are nothing but modifications of the attributes of God, or modes by which the attributes of God are expressed in a fixed and definite manner. [i.25.]

There is no evil

The perfection of things is to be reckoned only from their own nature and power; things are not more or less perfect, according as they delight or offend human senses, or according as they are serviceable or repugnant to mankind. [i. Appendix]

Knowledge of God is the highest good

The intellectual love of the mind towards God is part of the infinite love wherewith God loves himself … The love of God towards men, and the intellectual love of the mind towards God, are identical. [v.36]

The mind's highest good is the knowledge of God, and the mind's highest virtue is to know God. [iv.28]

The human mind has ideas from which it perceives itself and its own body and external bodies as actually existing; therefore it has an adequate knowledge of the eternal and infinite essence of God. [ii.47]

Our highest happiness is in … the knowledge of god … We may thus clearly understand how far astray from a true estimate of virtue are those who expect to be decorated by God with high rewards for their virtue … ; as if virtue and the service of God were not in itself happiness and perfect freedom. [ii.49]

Learning to see God in all things

The mind can bring it about, that all bodily modifications or images of things may be referred to the idea of God. [v.14]

The more we understand particular things, the more we understand God. [v.24]

He who clearly and distinctly understands himself and his emotions loves God, and so much the more in proportion as he more understands himself and his emotions. [v.15]

Our mind, in so far as it knows itself and the body under the form of eternity, has to that extent necessarily a knowledge of God, and knows that it is in God, and is conceived through God. [v.30]

Acceptance of destiny

In so far as we understand the causes of pain, to that extent it ceases to be a passion, that is, it ceases to be pain; therefore, in so far as we understand God to be the cause of pain, we to that extent feel pleasure. [v.18]

The wise man … is scarcely at all disturbed in spirit, but, being conscious of himself, and of God, and of things, by a certain eternal necessity, never ceases to be, but always possesses true acquiescence of his spirit. [v.52]

The mind has greater power over the emotions and is less subject thereto, in so far as it understands all things as necessary. Proof: The mind understands all things to be necessary and to be determined to existence and operation by an infinite chain of causes, therefore … it thus far brings it about, that it is less subject to the emotions arising therefrom, and feels less emotion towards the things themselves. [v.6]

Nature does not work with an end in view

Nature does not work with an end in view.For the eternal and infinite Being, which we call God or Nature, acts by the same necessity as that whereby it exists… . Therefore, as he does not exist for the sake of an end, so neither does he act for the sake of an end; of his existence and of his action there is neither origin nor end. [iv. Preface]

God is indifferent to individuals

God is without passions, neither is he affected by any emotion of pleasure or pain . . . Strictly speaking, God does not love anyone. [V.17]

He who loves God cannot endeavour that God should love him in return. [V.19]
edit on 3-9-2012 by de_Genova because: (no reason given)



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 09:10 AM
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Einstein quoted several religious books throughout his work. I doubt an atheist would use religious books as reference.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 09:34 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Einstein quoted several religious books throughout his work. I doubt an atheist would use religious books as reference.


Quoting from religious texts isn't necessarily evidence of a revelation as to one's religious thoughts or beliefs. Inasmuch as Einstein was a pantheist he was an atheist as well. Pantheism is confused atheism - it is the belief that nature and the universe and the totality of everything is god. Within pantheism we can make a further distinction, between those who attribute nothing to the universe besides facts derived empirically, whom we might call 'rational pantheists,' and those who attribute certain additional, mystical, properties to it, whom I shall call irrational pantheists.

There isn't much of a chance that irrational pantheism will collapse into overt atheism. However, irrational pantheism is not a very good position to hold to; by accepting certain facts on faith alone it isn’t on any firmer ground than traditional religious belief. Rational pantheism has greater draw, within certain circles, since it tries to free itself from a foundation of blind faith while at the same time retaining some elements of traditional religious belief.

However, the claim can be made that rational pantheism is the same as atheism, meaning that the beliefs of atheists and rational pantheists have the same content, and that they differ only in terminology.
edit on 3-9-2012 by de_Genova because: text



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 09:51 AM
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reply to post by eight bits
 


Einstein was a physicist. His religious views are irrelevant. They are of no more importance than those of Newton or Shakespeare or Mozart. Or Groucho Marx, for that matter.

Arguing over whether Einstein believed in God, or said this or that about God, is futile. Whatever Einstein said about God, that has nothing to do with what his contributions to the world were. His contributions were in physics, not theology.

To put it slightly more simply:

If Einstein said he believed in God, it doesn't mean God exists, or that somehow people who believe in God are correct.

If Einstein said he didn't believe in God, it doesn't mean that God doesn't exist, or that somehow Atheists are correct.

No matter what Einstein said about his beliefs about God, it means absolutely nothing.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 10:16 AM
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Originally posted by Skyfloating
Einstein quoted several religious books throughout his work. I doubt an atheist would use religious books as reference.

I question whether Einstein ever quoted any religious books or used them as any kind of reference, in his work. His work was physics. He used mathematics and referred to the works of previous scientists, not religious texts. If you know something I don't know about this, kindly cite to an example of Einstein quoting a religious book in his work.

But of course an atheist would quote religious books. Many people read religious texts for their literary value, without believing in the texts. Many people recognize the psychological, social, historical, and other value of religious texts. Do I suddenly become a believer in Dagon, just because I read Gilgamesh? If I read the Greek mythology, am I a follower of Zeus? Not necessarily. Maybe it's just interesting or inspiring reading, without my needing to commit any further.

It is entirely possible to find truth in religious texts, without having to accept everything they say. Many profound psychological truths are found in scriptures. Much beautiful poetry, exquisite sentiments, comforting themes are in there. You can get all of this, without having to believe in any sort of god.

Oh, and you can also find God without reading any of the books, too. But don't tell the Fundamentalists I said that. They might get upset.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 10:20 AM
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reply to post by de_Genova
 




you will soon be accused of having a bigger worm cannon than i

whatever the F that means



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 10:28 AM
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Originally posted by DerepentLEstranger

Originally posted by NOTurTypical
Einstein was a deist, he was not religious in any way.


false he was a pantheist a la Spinoza [who was considered a cabalist heretic by jewish rabbis]
he believed in an impersonal god
he simply did not believe god gave an f about xtians, jews or muslims prayers, doings,needs and desires
the same way a human is not concerned with the needs and desires of germs





So you're agreeing with me then? A deist doesn't believe in a personal god who concerns himself with the day to day affairs of men.



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 10:29 AM
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Originally posted by DerepentLEstranger
reply to post by de_Genova
 




you will soon be accused of having a bigger worm cannon than i

whatever the F that means






posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 11:14 AM
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Einstein was a lot like me when it comes to his faith. He was not religious. Nope. Not at all. But he definitely believed in God and in doing good. This does NOT mean he was "perfect"! Hell, I believe in doing good and there's a whole mess of bad things I've done, sins I've committed, drugs I've done, women I've been with... But we are not meant to be perfect. But I think there is a clear difference between one who believes in doing and tries to do good, and one who does not...



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 11:18 AM
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Originally posted by 3n19m470
Einstein was a lot like me when it comes to his faith. He was not religious. Nope. Not at all. But he definitely believed in God and in doing good. This does NOT mean he was "perfect"! Hell, I believe in doing good and there's a whole mess of bad things I've done, sins I've committed, drugs I've done, women I've been with... But we are not meant to be perfect. But I think there is a clear difference between one who believes in doing and tries to do good, and one who does not...



hE WAS ON THE FRONT LINES OF EXAMINING THE THREADS WOVEN TOGETHER BY THE CREATOR.
I believe he was religious as many top scientists were at that time.
I still chuckle when people talk about newton as a scietist, yet the context is lost



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 12:00 PM
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reply to post by NOTurTypical
 


no, i am not agreeing, being something of a pantheist myself.

just pointing out that your definition
of what constitutes religion is a narrow one

one might even say its the religiosi who've put the
"anti-religious fighting words in Einstein's mouth"



posted on Sep, 3 2012 @ 01:21 PM
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Originally posted by DerepentLEstranger
reply to post by NOTurTypical
 


no, i am not agreeing, being something of a pantheist myself.

just pointing out that your definition
of what constitutes religion is a narrow one

one might even say its the religiosi who've put the
"anti-religious fighting words in Einstein's mouth"


I didn't define religion.





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