Friday, May 23, 2008

Einstein On Atheism

Dinesh D'Souza:

Atheists seem very eager to claim Einstein for one of their own. Richard Dawkins devotes a whole section to Einstein in The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' Portable Atheist is peppered with Einstein quotations seemingly rejecting all belief in God. Recently an Einstein letter surfaced which showed the great scientist scorning the idea that the Jews were in any sense God's chosen people.

But all that these quotations prove is that Einstein was not an orthodox believer. He rejected the idea of a personal God "who would directly influence the actions of individuals or would sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation." Einstein also rejeted the immortality of the soul, noting that "one life is enough for me."

At the same time, Walter Isaacson in his celebrated new biography Einstein provides ample evidence that Einstein not only believed in a higher or transcendent power, but also that Einstein despised atheists. Here are some quotations, drawn from Isaacson's book with full documentation, that I offer as a needed counterbalance to the one-sided list provided by Dawkins, Hitchens and the others.

Here are a couple of the quotes:

On how he feels about atheist efforts to claim him as an ally: "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."

On how he regards atheists: "The fanatical atheists...are creatures who cannot her the music of the spheres. I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos."


Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
Congradulations- you have discovered Einstein is a pantheist. The differance between it and atheism? Well... there is not really any.

The universe is God... but the differance between it and not having God is... invisible. Pantheism tends more towards of reality than actual belief in a diety.

Or "practical atheism".

Matteo said...

Having previously been a devout pantheist, as well as an atheist, I hereby discount your thoughtful attempt at...well...I don't really know what, exactly.

A lot of people believe in a "diety". Unfortunately, they just tend to gain the weight right back.

Anonymous said...

You forgot to mention how he felt about believers.

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie
which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal
God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something
is in 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."

And yet, you chose to lie and misrepresent him as sympathetic to your convictions.

How can you tell is a believer is lying?

Is he still breathing?

Matteo said...

I was not claiming that he was sympathetic to my convictions. I was providing evidence that he was not sympathetic to yours. And for some reason this greatly offends you. I don't need Einstein on my side. Do you need him on yours?