I recently wrote an article on Albert Einstein’s religious views, and I submitted it as an historical article. My article was rejected because the editor was of the opinion that creativity in writing should not be a part of an historical article. Views are not factual, or relevant to historical recording of facts about somebody’s life, or so the editor claimed.
Can history and factual information coincide in some way, and still be written in a creative way? How can religious views not be a part of history? Religion to be real has to always be written about creatively.
While it is true that history must be based on fact. The way it is written never is factual, because it is being written in words by another living person. This person, by living must create his article from himself, always interpreting the facts of history in his own unique way. This is why different histories have been written of the same events, and why something like the bible is open to interpretation.
All I did here was to open Einstein’s views of religion to interpretation, rather than from the recorded facts of his own conversations. But I based them on his recorded conversations, and just interpreted them more deeply for my readers, as to what I thought he was meaning at the time he made these comments.
Here is my article, as I reflected on Albert Einstein, the man, and his religious view, and how I felt that he really held them deep within himself.
Albert Einstein was a man of great deepness, and held views on many, and varied subjects, as we all do. At times he indicated that he never believed in a personal God, but he certainly held a deepness of reverence for creation, and held creation in awe. This can be viewed, I think as a similar feeling to a religious feeling, but was any part of his religious understanding, also part of his underlying beliefs?
What were Albert Einstein’s religious views? Did he believe in God, or soul, or in any form of afterlife, at all? Did he have any beliefs, such as, and including religious beliefs, not based on fact, or scientific theory?
Let’s ask Albert himself, and imagine what his answer would have been to us. He would have liked this thought experiment, as he had a most vivid, and creative imagination.
ALBERT EINSTEIN’S VIEW ON RELIGION, AND RELIGIOUS EXPERIENCES.
Albert would have answered me something like this, I think:
“I believed in life, and to me life, and reverence to life, always held deep religious connotations for me. The beauty in the simple construction of mathematics, explaining all life, and all possibilities, allows life to be seen as a mathematical equation. God then, never played dice with the world. When I said this, I meant that he, God, if he existed, was perfect, and his world was perfectly explainable by rules, and from fundamental, and understandable laws. Nothing happened by chance, or by accident, or by coincidence.
The world was ordered, structured and knowable, mathematically it could all be explained. The beauty of the world can be hinted at, by the beauty of the mathematics used to explain it, by such wonderfully simple equations showing the truth. Truth, the only real truth for me, is in my mathematics. Nothing can alter a mathematical truth. Mathematics made possible creation. Mathematics gives life it’s variable beauty, and complex simplicity, all mixed together.
My god, with a small letter “g”, is only the great mathematician, that created or allowed for the existence of mathematical certainty, and laws of formulation, and construction of all else, only explainable from understanding the mathematics behind them, explaining them all perfectly, to the nth perfect degree. But that said, the laws of gravity of course, cannot be held responsible for people falling in love, perhaps only God is responsible for love.
My simple equation E=mc2, is very simple indeed, and shows that God is energy, and moves into mass, only by his creation of light. God is light and energy, and the two combined created mass. Humans then are only mass to God, but humans can feel his energy, and light moving through them. This I describe, as his love. Energy movement is a phenomenon that is religious to me, as well as music.
My violin playing, in which I played for most of my 76 years, was a source of comfort, and comfort is only needed by doubters. I doubted God, because scientifically there is no explanation for him. I smoked my pipe to show that I was a human, and with human foibles, and weaknesses, and enjoyment of smoking, brought me a sort of religious experience, as well.
Then there was my alliance with other great minds of our World, and not all of them were scientific minds, such as the World Champion chess player, Emmanuel Lasker. Minds such as his, show the variety possible, within creation. It developed in me, a religious like created fondness, that I then had for God, giving gifts or bestowing certain abilities on certain people, such as Lasker’s chess playing ability to him, and my creative dreaminess to me.
I dreamed of God, or light, and created my theory of relativity.”
Albert Einstein talked about God often, mentioning him often in his many speeches and talks. Here are several of his quotes, touching on religion, and on God:
ALBERT EINSTEIN’S QUOTES ON GOD AND RELIGION
“One cannot help but be in awe, when one contemplates the mysteries of eternity, of life, and of the marvellous structures of reality.”
“What really interests me is whether God had any choice in the creation of the world.”
“If you are out to describe the truth, leave the elegance to the tailor.”
“There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”
“A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty. It is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man”
“The most beautiful and most profound experience is the sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead. To know that what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their primitive forms – this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.”
“My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance – but for us, not for God.”
“I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modelled after our own – a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms.”
“The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seems to me to be empty, and devoid of meaning.”
“The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of our development.”
“The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend a personal God, and avoid all dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense, arising from the experience of all things natural, and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs, it would be Buddhism.”
“In my view, it is the most important function of art and science, to awaken this religious feeling, and to keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.”
“I want to know how God created this world. I want to know his thoughts.”
Here is Einstein talking about the formulation of his famous theory of relativity.
“If I pursue a beam of light, with the velocity of c (c, being the velocity of light in a vacuum), I should observe such a beam of light as an electromagnetic field at rest, though still spatially oscillating. There seems to be no such thing, however, neither on the basis of experience, nor according to Maxwell’s equations. From the very beginning, it appeared to me intuitively clear that, judged from the standpoint of such an observer, everything would have to happen according to the same laws as for an observer who, relative to the earth, was at rest.”
“For how should the first observer know, or be able to determine, that he is in a state of fast uniform motion?”
“One sees that in this paradox, the germ of the special relativity theory is already contained. Today everyone knows, of course, that all attempts to clarify this paradox satisfactorily were condemned to failure, as long as the axiom of the absolute character of time, or of simultaneity, was rooted unrecognized in the unconscious. To recognize clearly this axiom, and its arbitrary character, already implies the essentials of the solution of the problem.”
If we chase after God, we see him only frozen away from us, moving forever further away, and seemingly more distant from us. This is similar to Einstein’s conception of riding a light wave. He imagined that he would catch up with the wave, and then be moving along with it, not unlike a surfer, riding on top of an ocean wave. He would only see a frozen light wave, from this position.
How could he also know, that it was actually really still moving, and with him only travelling on it, he asked himself? It was not really frozen, only appearing so to the observer.
But is this correct, nobody had ever experienced, or ever seen frozen light waves ever before, and so Einstein introduced the concept of time being relative, to his equations and ideas. This is perhaps the same as the eastern religious tenet that time is an illusion, and everything only happens now, in the now.
And so we see, that Albert Einstein thought deeply about creation, and about the possible explanations for it all. He was such a wide thinker, that he even considered religious views, and it seems to this writer, that he was at heart deeply religious, and loved God, for presenting him with this unique world, in order for him to try to solve its riddles. But although God might be a funny man with a sense of humour, he doesn’t play games of chance.
He too, set up the world with pieces that move by certain rules, and all connected together, not unlike the great game of chess. We just have to sit ourselves down, learn the rules, then play the game of our life. The almost infinite moves possible, bring us a variety of experiences. And so a mystical aura, or religious feeling, can be also gotten from playing a beautiful game of chess, as it can be obtained also from life, and virtually from every part of life, and every experience of life.
This is all that enlightenment is, recognising God in every part of his creation, and feeling the love that went into his creation, and is still there for us to feel, and to appreciate, and to live from, at all times.
Einstein would have agreed with me, when I say that the concept of beauty is the clothes that God wears. And if we can see his clothes, well perhaps, we can know the wearer, as well.
Religion to Einstein, was like food to a dying man, he thought he only needed it to sustain him, when he was dying, and in need of an explanation. Einstein loved life, and loved his mathematical constructions of reality, nutted down in a nutshell to simplicity. The simple is no more than God, or the religious concept of all being one. In truth, Einstein was looking for God in his theories, until the day he died, and maybe found him then, in one way, or another.
CONCLUSION: EINSTEIN WAS RELATIVELY RELIGIOUS, MOST OF THE TIME
Albert Einstein knew he had found truth in his famous equation E=mc2, and he knew that it would be proven at some stage, in the future. This is almost a degree of faith, but to me it was based on a contact with truth, that gives you this experience of real knowing, without any real scientific proof. Einstein really acted from hunches, and all hunches are only intuition, and intuition only ever comes from our soul. Einstein listened to his hunches, without dismissing them, and thereby followed his own soul’s path.
He was indeed a very deeply religious man, as perhaps, in truth, we all are.
To reflect on anything, or anyone like this, shows the character too of the writer. You can not write about something from your heart, if you don’t have strong feelings about it.
All great souls link into the matrix of humanity, and tend to bring out the spokes of truth from this matrix to allow the wheel of time to move creatively forward, and not in a fixed way. All time is relative, and Einstein was exactly correct in knowing, and showing this to a world that perhaps already knew this also, intuitively. Einstein just verified his intuition scientifically in his famous equation, that linked time, to matter, and to energy, for all time.