Tuesday, May 13, 2008

"My god" is in my head

Recently a letter of Albert Einstein's emerged for auctioning in London, dated from 1954. Included in the body of the letter were a couple of statements that caught my attention: belief in God is a childish superstitition and the Bible is nothing more than a collection of childish primitive tales. I suppose that many people might excuse that coming from Einstein, after all, he was a pioneer in the world of modern physics and lived through the world wars of the 20th century, so, the argument often goes, he was just too sophisticated to believe in a god who could both create a world so intricate and complex as well as full of such random evil.

It is difficult to imagine that someone who had the opportunity to examine the book of nature with such care and precision, and who mareveled at the majesty of its design, could so easily miss (or dismiss, whatever the case may be) the fingerprints of the same majestic power, who created the natural world, so indeliby imprinted upon the pages of scripture. According to the sentiments expressed in this letter it seems fair to say that Einstein found that the Bible lacked credibility, after all, it was a holy book filled with odd stories and improbable miracles. But, I would challenge that. I realize that the the notion of miracle is supposedly very difficult for people to believe in who live in the age of toasters and microwaves, but I don't believe that miracle is that difficult for someone to believe in who has the capacity to marvel at the complex nature of the universe and codify the laws of quantum mechanics. Surely, the intricacy of the phenomenal world should have left room for openness to the concept of divine miracles as they are recorded in scripture, no matter how crude the language used to report them. After all, the improbability of naturalism as an adequate means of accounting for the majestic intricacy of the phenomenal world ought to have left him searching or at least open to considering counter explanations for the origins of the complex natural world.

Some years ago Charles Misner, a scientist specializing in the general theory of relativity suggested that Einstein was not really an atheist, he simply couldn't subscribe to any formal religion he had been exposed because they did not adequately capture the majesty of the God who fashioned the world. I think its just the opposite though. It seems to me that he idolized himself instead and worshiped his own majestic mind. Of course God is hard to see and believe in for the one looks into the mirror of nature and finds the reflection of his own marvelous face staring back at him instead of beholding with awe and wonder Him who designed it all.

http://belief/ in God 'childish,' Jews not chosen people: Einstein letter

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