RR4 (Group A): “Einstein Continued”
Einstein and Newton had very different views on the concept of God. Newton believed in an active and governing God. Newton says, “This most beautiful system of the sun, planets, and comets could only proceed from the counsel and dominion of an intelligent and powerful Being” (CP 60). Einstein was a determinist and was somewhat of a deist. Where Newton believed in God the ruler and who governed his creations, Einstein believed in a creator that was more like a clockmaker that set things in action and left them to be. But Newton says a God requires dominion over creation. He says, “This Being governs all things not as the soul of the world, but as Lord over all; and on account of his dominion he is wont to be called ‘Lord God’…or ‘Universal Ruler.’” And, “It is the dominion of a spiritual being which constitutes a God” (CP 60). Einstein has very different views.
According to Walter Isaacson, Einstein’s beliefs started to deepen later in his life. Isaacson states, “…Around the time he turned 50, he began to articulate more clearly…his deepening appreciation of his Jewish heritage and, somewhat separately, his belief in God, albeit a rather personal, deistic concept of God” (CP 126). It was science and nature that was awe-inspiring to Einstein. He says:
Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious. (CP 126)
He did not have the same belief in a personal relationship with a fatherly or governing God. God to Einstein was in the little details of the cosmos and the mysterious. He says, “I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals or would sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation” (CP 127). Einstein did not believe that a God that had a personal relationship with his creations could reconcile with science.
Einstein’s historical analysis of religion: Einstein believed that religion was founded out of fear and strong emotion. He says, “…The most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience,” and, “With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions—fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death” (CP 132). Einstein refers to this as a “religion of fear.” Einstein notes a shift in religion with the Jewish scriptures. He states, “The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament” (CP 132). Einstein believed the latter was the better type. Even though he was a determinist, he believed that people should try to use their free will to do go, and therefore it would create a better and more moral world (CP 130). Einstein did...