"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."
by:
Albert Einstein
(1879-1955) Physicist and Professor, Nobel Prize 1921
Source:
letter on January 3, 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind
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Not quite sure how to rate this or, comment on it with stars. It is an opinion I whole heartedly disagree with but, so? Robert, that comments here regularly, is an avowed atheist, I would not give his religious beliefs a thumbs down or rate them in any way. Einstein obviously had a lot of certain physical knowledge but, by this statement, he had no spiritual knowledge. He believed in an intelligent design, as he tried to prove mathematically, just not a Christian design (by this quote) I could / would rate this comment if his religious beliefs poured over to harm the life, liberty, property, or religion of another (and I have no knowledge of that).
 -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I will give it thumbs down. Not because of his opinion. But what does this have to do with freedom explained or expounded on? Unless, it is showing freedom to speak ones mind.
     -- charleydan, denver     
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    I've been an active member of a church for 20 years and, after listtning to Harry Browne's "Rule Your World", I am now learning how to think for myself. In my view, the scriptures (and religion) are full of contradictions. I think they have been useful to me as a "crutch" for guidance on good social behavior, but I am beginning to think that they are no longer necessary. It is quite liberating, actually. Now I can rely on reason instead of "faith". Faith is what you also need in order to believe in Santa Claus. Is there a Santa Claus? I don't know. Is there a God? I don't know. The real question is "what is the relevance?" What I do know is that I can rely on the laws of nature which have their own way of rewarding "good" behavior and punishing "bad" behavior. As a bonus I get to shed all of the fear and guilt. I've slowly come to realize that, for me, relying on prayer and faith can be downright dangerous. Especially when one ignores the laws of nature and only looks to faith and prayer to deal with their problems. Of course, this is just my experience - which is all I have to work with.
     -- Steve, Planet Earth     
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    The quote is thought provoking. Albert is right God or god if you will is nothing more than a concept, that is a spirit. Even the Bible says so. The use of the concept is more about how we relate to each other rather than to the concept itself. Conceptual things are probably necessary for human experience and growth. I have been in a church Steve where people have said that if the Bible did not reveal God to us we would invent Him ourselves. I also believe that the God concept is the basis for democracy, making us all equal and therefore Brothers and Sisters.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Not my opinion. To believe in God is to believe that the body is made of flesh & spirit. receive the spirit of God within you. The Holy Spirit when ask brings peace, joy & happiness. What being a physcial & mental maladie is only conquered when the spiritual malady is overcomeThis is a spiritual world first which can enhance the physcial & mental world.. HELL CAN & IS HERE ON EARTH IF TOU DENIE THE HOLY SOIRIT. YOUR GOD GIVEN CHOICE. CyT
     -- bobinparadise, KW     
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    Who can deny Einstein's brilliant mind. I'm sure he pondered in thought before reaching this conclusion.He dealt in facts and proven reality.There is NO PROOF of god, only the belief of man.
     -- Ronnie, Louisiana     
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     -- Anonymous      
    Steve, thank you for that comment. I have a similar experience and struggle with it.
     -- Steve, USA     
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    Of the few jews I have met, only one was not atheist. Einstein ism not exceptionn to any rule.
     -- cal, lewisville, tx     
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    A brilliant man with great insight... god is so great that humans had to invent him/her/it.
     -- Anonymous, Reston, VA, US     
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    Steve, Planet Earth, I appreciate your comments. Raised in a Bible church, we believed that events, such as the Flood were actual historical events. We weren't much into thinking but were big on believing. Later I realized that the Bible is a compilation of writings by largely unknown and primitive writers who thought the earth was flat, these writings later assembled into what is known as the Bible by a committee. Taking the Bible literaly means believing a whole lot of unbelievable stuff such as stoning children if they disobeyed. I doubt that even a fundamentalist would do that.
     -- jim k, Austin,Tx     
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    My early life was filled with religion. I even served as a missionary for awhile. But then I learned to think for myself. Slowly, organized religion became to make sense as a way to control people -- their thoughts and behaviors which were not approved by the more fearful among us. I gave religion a chance and found it wanting. No amount of "spiritual philosophy" and rote recitation of faith principles can hold a candle to a handful of facts and empirical data. Einstein knew this.
     -- Popeye, Wichita     
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    I think more people need to do some serious thinking about religion. My opinion is that religion is doing as much harm to our societies as good. The one fact about religion that bothers me is the single mindedness regarding other peoples opinions and belief's. When a great mind such as Mr. Einstein questions religion we should all start thinking about the seriousness of this allegory.
     -- thinker, Valemount, BC     
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    Note the 1954 date. It is my understanding Einstein,before he died over a year later, acknowldeged there was a supreme being God ordering things in the universe far beyond the human mind's comprehension and understanding. Also, note another quote regarding those labeling him. He denied being an athetist. Einstein in his own words expressing humility and an "I don't know it all" attitude - great human qualities based upon clear Biblical wisdom, "You may call me an agnostic... I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being." Einstein could not prove or disprove God, hence the quote. We'll never know for certain if he made the leap of faith on his death bed.
     -- Spartan1, WV     
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    I share the sentiments of Steve et al. My grandfather was a protestant minister, my father's side was catholic, I went to catholic school, other relatives included a Baptist minister (fire and brimstone type), reformed Jews, Christian Scientists, Buddists. Every child seems to know the teachings of Jesus, but the adults sure did not get along. I have studied the Bible the majority of my life, read it cover-to-cover and then some, but the study of the origin of the Bible and the priestly classes is most fascinating. Most of these stories were originally considered allegorical, not to be taken literally. So many of these tales, parables, and moral codes can be traced back to ancient Egypt. Very old stuff indeed. I will say it is very freeing to be able to let go of the dogma and fear-mongering that the religionists have used to condition the masses, to make the people more obedient and submissive to monarchs and popes -- religion is a very lucrative business -- the richest and most powerful in the world are those at the top of the church hierarchies. I have heard many Christians say that Einstein believed in 'God' at the end of his life, but I have yet to read his words to that effect. But to say, "I don't know," is probably the most truthful thing one could say, and the truth shall set you free. ;-)
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Mike, first I would like to thank you for your thought remarks, they were much appreciated and speak volumes for your integrity. Though we both have very different opinions on a number of subjects it's good we can remain civilized and speak freely about our differences without converting to negative dialogue. Steve (Planet Earth) Yes, I was of a similar background being brought up in the (High) Church of England traditions which reflects more the Catholic liturgy. It wasn't until my late twenties did I gradually become disheartened with my religious beliefs and eventually leaving them altogether - there were and are many reasons for this but this is not the venue to explore such a discourse. There were a number of important influences, in my early life namely, Bertrand Russell "Why I am Not a Christian", Benjamin Franklin, Freidrich Nietzsche, George Bernard Shaw, and of course Albert. This is not to say that there weren't famous Christians which of course there are many. Sparta1 I am sorry but this was disproved I can provide the info if you wish; better still here its: "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." Read more: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/Did_Einstein_believe_in_God#ixzz1CLb1t4vx There is a very good play written by Peter Schaffer called "The Battle of Shrivings" (1970) staring John Gielgud, Patrick Magee, and Wendy Hiler. This play is worth seeing or reading as it provide a discourse that treats the subject "Christianity vs Atheism" with dignity. I personally believe that we can all live side by side as long as we understand that everyone is entitled to their beliefs - which gets me onto another point which is that atheism is not a belief its just a non-belief in religion, period. Atheism is not philosophy, has no doctrines, no ascribed process, no set of rules, no sin, no nothing. If there is a belief system that I would ascribe too it would be Buddhism. If you wish to discuss this subject further I suggest you send me an email robken16@gmail.com Spartan, just as an aside, the last thing I would ever call myself is a crusading professional atheist that would be a complete anathema - now as atheists we have opinions, beliefs, philosophies, likes and dislikes, but they have nothing to do with being an atheist. I hope that clears up the subject of what an atheist is (for which the question is a complete dichotomy)
     -- RBESRQ     
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    P.s. Sorry Archer, it was remiss of me not to congratulate you too on such an excellent comment - well done!
     -- RBESRQ     
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    wow, the comments today have been more honest and sincere than usual, that's fantastic. The comments today though have also hurt my heart. It is very disheartening to read so many are going to church because of life style or family traditions and only measuring what's there by man's measurements. It is so sad to think that others don't have the same tangible joy that I have in the simplest knowledge of the Creator. I've spoken of the miracles that have happen to me (a sister that was in a coma for months on life support, only to wake up under the blessing hands of men from God. Her hair that was shaved and skull that was cracked, oozing liquid from her head, were completely restored before the doctor walked in. A car of mine that got over 300 mpg until I got a pay check and then it went immediately back to its normal 20 mpg. Canned and other food showed up in my truck and tent when nobody knew me there or my plight. etc., etc., etc.) and they seemed so, well, just a normal way of things, because my knowledge of the Lord. I fully comprehend how religious belief has primarily been a control method of politics and people's private lives. In these last years it has been my experience that most self proclaimed Christians don't really believe in the Christ's divinity or His teachings, which is also sad to me. I believe the control and other dis-associated dogmas associated to religion are in large part why we are laboring under the despotism that exists. Thank you, everybody for today's candor. There is great hope in honest discussion.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    I think that this is proof that even the most intelligent of men are not worthy of our God's love. Seeing all of the gold stars here (in this forum) is even further proof of why our once great country is now ranked so low in wealth and education, amoungst many other sad statistics. "And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His (God's) notice, is it probable that an empire can rise without His (God's) aid?" (Benjamin Franklin) The answer is no. So it's time to fall on your knees America (aetheist included), and beg forgiveness from our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. What can wash away our sin? NOTHING, but the blood of Jesus!
     -- Andrew, Long Beach     
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    The carnal mind is emnity against God and is not subject to the law of God. A man who thinketh himself to be something when he is nothing decieveth himself. Those that compare themselves among themselves are not wise. It is a fool that says in his heart there is no God.KJB. The face of the deep is frozen and is hid as with a stone. Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ being the head of the corner. These are sad days for our country now, but for those that were there when the foundation was laid, be strong in the Lord and the power of his might.
     -- Ron, Salem     
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    What is really sad is that this country is moving more and more towards right-wing fundamentalism. It is sad that people need a myth to keep them moral without the responsibility of being moral PERIOD. There have been many Gods all of which feed of each other as proven by their contradictions and similarities in their history. Using God as a crutch for your own insecurity and fear of death should not be your life - your life is now, not yesterday or tomorrow. The Lord and the power of is might as you say is beyond comprehension as it has NEVER been shown. We have nothing but horror going on around the world and he/she/it just does what? please tell me how this almighty Omnipotent being actually changes anything.........
     -- RBESRQ     
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    Robert, I gave you 3 examples above, how things have actually changed. It has been my personal experience to have many more Almighty changing circumstances. A couple more examples would be my grandfather, while living with me, was given a blessing to live while in the hospital and there he was pronounced dead 7 times within a couple of days until finally, the doctors found the problem. I was in a kitchen with a friends younger daughter. Everyone else left because of a lack of food. With only 2 one dozen packages of tortillas and 1 lb of hamburger, I then proceeded to make well over 200 tacos. There is something to say for true faith. Your perspective of a god is nothing more than an extension of carnal man philosophy (you set up the scenario and then decide what god should be forced to do, if he was a good / temporary socialist god). From God's eternal perspective, you are either here or there. Freedom of choice is all important and inherent in the being. The whole subject of proving or disproving a god can not be addressed adequately here or to an individual unwilling to take an honest full look.
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    There certainly is a distinction between the word 'god' and Jesus, the Bible and the historical record, and miraculous healings and Christian faith. Just because Franklin used the word God does not mean he subscribed to the belief in the divinity of Jesus -- in fact he did not and was an avowed Deist. The metaphysical is also subject to many fields of study. I think the above statements of Andrew and Ron demonstrate a shallow study of nature and the absolute imprisonment of reason and any potential to truth. The Calvinist doctrine is as hypocritical as it is tyrannical and has enslaved the minds of millions and are responsible for as many tortures and murders as the Catholic Church from which they consider themselves reformed. They are those that are quick to parrot the programming they received as children and held in place by the fear of eternal damnation from a compassionate God who would squash an honest inquirer for questioning his existence. They exclaim 'Amen!' while not even daring to search for the source of the word which is in reference to the ancient Egyptian god of that name, the practice of which to put at the end of a prayer remains to this day. The concept of the trinity also predates Christianity by thousands of years as does the 'Christ', 'messiah,' 'the annointed' -- all words sourced in ancient Egypt for the preparation of the dead for resurrection. The virgin birth, the crucifixion, the resurrection, all are taken from the ancient Egyptian and were the basis of many religions that followed and yet predated the Christian church by thousands of years. But to examine these facts, and the innumerable studies made throughout history, would be sacrilege for them, for "The carnal mind is emnity against God" -- while in fact the reasoning 'carnal mind' is the enmity of the religionists and THEIR 'law' that has justified the murders and torture of millions for daring to think for themselves. A greater bondage of the soul I cannot imagine. You don't have to be an Einstein to come to this realization, but you'd have to be a fool to ignore it.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, I agree with your facts but not some of the conclusions. For example, A society's language is developed around those things that are most urgent, used most frequently, etc. The supreme being of the Hebrew society dominated how, when, and where they planted, related one to another, worked, played, etc. and no word for 'god' ever developed. The relationship to the supreme being was an intimate one and was related to by his name or position (Father, etc.) The term 'el' being a political position of power (used for the Father, devil, demons, mayors, governors, people of power, etc.) was adopted by conquering nations, to be translated into 'god' because they had gods and didn't understand the familial relationship (different from a god / nothing relationship. The term 'god' simply became the norm as Israel stayed in bondage. So, you are absolutely right, there is an absolute distinction between the word 'god' and Jesus. I found the zietgeist information mostly accurate and fun but his conclusions were not in harmony with 'the rest of the story. He left out more than he put in. Also, that whole trinity thing is extra biblical. I agree with your religionists enmity assessment and; where did Jesus ever justify murder or torture of anyone?
     -- Mike, Norwalk     
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    Good stuff Archer! But we still need concepts and spirit to exist as human beings in my view. Without them we are just materialistic automatons.
     -- Waffler, Smith     
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    Mike, my sources on this do not include the movie Zeitgeist, which I watched only once. Reams and reams have been written on the history of the Bible and the churches that rose to power with it. The Hebrews were a lunar cult, the Egyptians primarily a solar cult. Lunar, solar, and stellar cults predominated the secret priestly casts that ruled for thousands of years before the common era. I would also like to say that I honor and respect your own personal experiences -- I always enjoy those the most rather than the tired old explanation that 'it is true because it is in the Bible.' Cosmology is a study of mine, and there is much more evidence that the religions of the Hebrews and Christians are based on very old stories meant to explain stellar, solar, planetary and lunar phenomena. Also the study of etymology reveals a great deal of the history and migration of these religious systems. The Council of Nicea was a political event, not a spiritual revelation, and thus the deifying of Jesus is not something I accept from that council. I am not an atheist, I am a seeker of truth -- my beliefs are constantly up for re-evaluation.
     -- E Archer, NYC     
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    Archer, excellent, thank you. It sounds like you've read far more than me on the subject. It appears to me that many ancient societies were given a reality from God (I use that term loosely, as its etymology now forms a different familiarity to our society) and then shortly there after politicized it for control and other purposes. As you mentioned, the Nicea Council radically changed a religion to be almost unrecognizable to its preprocessor. Abraham was known to be an expert in astronomy (a gift of God - by the non-believer, a cult religion of extra-terrestrial orbs, assuredly being perverted almost immediately after he taught). It appears he taught the Persians the science and later they knew of the Christ's birth by the alignment of the stars and planets. Egypt had the same information of the Eternal God and politically warped it into what was expedient for its rulers. There is a Biblical account of the Israelites leaving Egypt and traveling until the clashed with the Philistines. The Philistines had their own Eloiheim political perversion from a similar origin from that of Abraham. The changes were sufficiently different that the 2 religions didn't recognize each other. The earliest areas that were attributed to Hebrew lunar cults were occurring at the same time places like Qumran (about 170 B.C to about 68 A.D.) had records of a more Biblical understanding that they were copying from. So there are a lot of facts, more being discovered all the time with a lot of interpretations. I also am a seeker of truth - my beliefs are constantly up for re-evaluation. Again, thank you Archer for your contributions to this blog.
     -- MIke, Norwalk     
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     -- dick, fort worth      
    I am sure Einstein made mistakes (mathematically, and otherwise). He wasn't god either. I'm sure his knowledge was finite. He didn't know everything about everything. Was he an intelligent and gifted man? For certain, he was indeed! But gifted men make wrong conclusions, and Albert Einstein didn't know everything, and about this topic I believe he had no real knowledge.
    To assume that Einstein was right about God because he knew a lot about a lot of things, is akin to saying that you can trust a rocket scientist to do brain surgery, simply because he/she is brilliantly gifted at sending a spacecraft to the stars! Anyone willing to do that, should well, get their brain examined (and by a real neurosurgeon)!

    Einstein didn't know God. The Bible says that spiritual things are spiritually discerned. Perhaps that is why Einstein didn't discern God, because he didn't have any kind of spiritual discernment.
    Regarding his thought that the Bible is merely a collection of fables, I might Quote from the NKJV Bible.
    1Corinthians 1:18 "For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God."
    So, we can see, that thousands of years before Einstein was even a glimmer in his daddy's eye, the Bible already talked about his attitude toward it.

    As for those confusing the organized religions with true worship of God, well, they are not one in the same. Yes, many evils have been done in the name of god, and in the name of religion, but that doesn't mean that God approves them. Those actions are rather a mere distortion of God by His adversary, who is a murderer and liar, and has been so from the beginning.
     -- Jz1267, Independence     
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