Monday, May 2, 2011

Einstein on Religion

I am a very religious man. I've been a member of the local Lutheran Church for quite some time, and I promise a post on my views of God and religion sometime in the near future. But for the time being, I'll settle for the thoughts of someone much smarter than I: Mr. Albert Einstein. I do not agree with all of Einstein's thoughts on religion, but I agree with most of the quotes below. I think Einstein appreciated God at it's essence, and found his thoughts on the matter to be interesting. Here are some quotes to ponder:
  • “I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His thoughts; the rest are details.”
  • “Science without religion is lame. Religion without science is blind.”
  • “My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive with our frail and feeble mind.”
  • “Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that 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.”
  • “The scientists’ religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”
  • “We should take care not to make the intellect our god; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.”
  • “When the solution is simple, God is answering.”
  • “Only a life lived for others is a life worth while.”
  • “The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe. We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—-a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.”
  • “One cannot help but be in awe when he contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, of the marvelous structure of reality. It is enough if one tries merely to comprehend a little of this mystery every day. Never lose a holy curiosity.”
  • “What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.”
  • “True religion is real living; living with all one’s soul, with all one’s goodness and righteousness.” 
  • “Intelligence makes clear to us the interrelationship of means and ends. But mere thinking cannot give us a sense of the ultimate and fundamental ends. To make clear these fundamental ends and valuations and to set them fast in the emotional life of the individual, seems to me precisely the most important function which religion has to form in the social life of man.” 
  • “The finest emotion of which we are capable is the mystic emotion. Herein lies the germ of all art and all true science. Anyone to whom this feeling is alien, who is no longer capable of wonderment and lives in a state of fear is a dead man. To know that what is impenetrable for us really exists and manifests itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, whose gross forms alone are intelligible to our poor faculties - this knowledge, this feeling ... that is the core of the true religious sentiment. In this sense, and in this sense alone, I rank myself among profoundly religious men.”

2 comments:

  1. I read all of these and was amazed at how well he summed up some of the feelings I've had, but have never been capable of expressing. I guess that's one of the perks of being the smartest man in history...

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