Einstein: smarter than he let on

Albert Einstein:

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.

and…

For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.

I relate to and consider Einstein’s “cosmic religious feeling” (see article) sensible. It’s a tremendous fact that we’re connected to all that is, ever was, and ever will be (how can it be otherwise?). This fact alone is more than enough impetus to give serious consideration toward the question of living morally. It’s sane and sensible to deny the outrageous idea that any particular group of people are “chosen” by a personal “god” to play a privileged role in human history. Such nonsense, like other childish religious beliefs, can only stir trouble.

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4 Responses to “Einstein: smarter than he let on”

  1. Yura Says:

    Well, I’m a Christian.. but after reading this blog.. it really makes me think that the Bible is primitive. Yet, doesn’t primitive things relate to many aspects in the modern world?

  2. Peter Says:

    What is primitive and childish is believing (for example) that a book represents the word of a god who sent his son to earth to die for humanity’s sins, was killed, and then a resurrection took place.

    Can this book “relate” to contemporary living? I don’t see why one couldn’t reasonably extract parts of it to do just that. Some biblical stories may act as quality parables just as stories from other religions may as well. But deriving value from a quality parable (of which no book has a monopoly over) is entirely different than clinging to beliefs to quell one’s fear.

    If you don’t mind me asking, Yura, why did you become a Christian?

  3. Jon Says:

    Let me pose a few thoughts:
    1) The title “Einstein: smarter than he let on” suggests that the author automatically disapproves of religion and that, since Einstein considers it childish, he must somehow be smarter than if he hadn’t. So the author is assuming a “holier-than-thou” position right from the start. What the author SHOULD do is say exactly what he means instead of alluding to it.

    2) How is Christianity “weak” if it means they are to be obligated to responsibilities (accountability, truthfulness, sacrifice) that not only take strength, but also take suppression of the ego?

    3) How is Christianity “weak” if those who choose to follow it are put into “uncomfortable” positions of self-correction, self-sacrifice, and admitting their own wrongs for the good of others?

    See, it is clear that the author assumes a self-appointed “higher” moral standing and yet does not come right out with the truth or give proper credit where it is due. The author simply jumps onto the bandwagon of “free thinking” (which usually includes being closed-minded and intolerant to Christianity) and says what he/she believes everyone would be comfortable hearing. This not only reflects the way society has become as a whole, but once again sheds light on just exactly how much people are willing to put down something they do not grasp fully for a more “accepted” viewpoint.

  4. Peter Says:

    Jon,

    #1 – There is nothing wrong with religion. The problems arise when we organize religion. One living their life without the belief of a boogeyman in the closet (or other nonsense), is living fundamentally different from one who does. This is the difference between thinking freely or thinking like a “child”. It is not a matter of “holier-than-thou”. “Holier-than-thou” is a matter for those who also believe that a boogeyman is in the closest but think their descriptor of the boogeyman is the right one and that yours is the one that’s off.

    #2 & #3 – You are either claiming that organized religion (in this case, Christianity) is a prerequisite to living a good and moral life or stating that it is a helpful crutch upon which to depend upon. Either way, the former is a common but absurd claim and the latter is illusory. Use a crutch when you hurt your leg, not when you are afraid of the unknown.

    I’m not clear as to what you mean by not “com[ing] out with the truth or giv[ing] proper credit where it is due”. Also, I’m very skeptical of your claim that most of society is “free thinking” and “comfortable hearing” that religious beliefs are childish.

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