Einstein versus Idolatry

Things you need to know about Albert Einstein
By Walter IsaacsonThursday, April 05, 2007


Did Einstein believe in God?

Yes. He defined God in an impersonal, deistic fashion, but he deeply believed that God’s handiwork was reflected in the harmony of nature’s laws and the beauty of all that exists. He often invoked God, such as by saying He wouldn’t play dice, when rejecting quantum mechanics.
Einstein’s belief in something larger than himself produced in him a wondrous mixture of confidence and humility. As he famously declared:
“A spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe — a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort.”
When asked directly if he believed in God, he always insisted he did, and explained it once this way:
“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

What were Einstein’s politics?

He was a pacifist until Hitler came to power and caused him to revise his geopolitical equations. He urged the building of the atom bomb, but then became a leader in the movement to find ways to control it.
Just as he sought a unified theory in science, he sought a world federalism that would impose order on competing nations.
His belief in the value of free thought and speech, and his merry willingness to defy authority, caused him to be an adamant opponent of McCarthyism.

With his resistance to McCarthyism and quantum uncertainty, was Einstein disillusioned at the end?

Einstein was not destined to die a bitter man. He came to understand America’s freedoms, and he was pleased that democracy tended to balance itself after such excesses as the McCarthy investigations.
On his deathbed in 1955, he worked on a speech he was scheduled to give for Israeli independence day. “I speak to you today not as an American citizen and not as a Jew, but as a human being,” it began.
He put it aside on that final night to pick up a notebook that was filled with scribbled calculations. To the very end, he struggled to find his elusive unified field theory.

Einstein weighed-in on numerous issues of his time. He opposed the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki–particularly because of his role in developing nuclear technology.
While he favored the creation of a Jewish state, he did not advocate for a theocratic, official nation, saying:
“I should much rather see reasonable agreement with the Arabs on the basis of living together in peace than the creation of a Jewish state.
Apart from practical consideration, my awareness of the essential nature of Judaism resists the idea of a Jewish state with borders, an army, and a measure of temporal power no matter how modest.”
He once proclaimed: “My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized.”
Such views often put him at odds with the political elite of his adopted country of the U.S. and the FBI had an “agitator” file on Einstein.

 

Over Wim Duzijn
Astroloog, Anarcho-Liberaal, Schrijver. Voor meer info daarover. Zie mijn website: www.wimduzijn.nl

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