Saturday, 24 January 2015

Einstein On God: Does God Exist?

Not a philosopher but a very interesting man who did not conform to ideas, and of course was an extremely open minded person - this being the basis of his discoveries and detachment from scientific conventions at the time. Einstein's scientific ideas are perhaps a testament to his creativity and ground-breaking principles, and this blog post will be used to analyse Einstein's quotes about God and his ideas surrounding the unified field theory which I feel may be helpful when talking about this topic. Differing from previous posts about Kant's ideas on morality and Aristotle's motifs surrounding the Unmoved Mover, this post will be centred around Einstein's quotes.

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists," said Einstein when addressing the question of whether or not he believed in God. He goes onto say that he does not believe in a personal God, far from it and, similar to Kant, I think it would be fair to say that the word 'God' represents something that does not have a name, a type of force rather than something tangible or ominous. This is not to say Einstein was an atheist, he indeed came out and said he was "annoyed" at the use of his words in defending the argument that God did not exist - it would perhaps be more apt to consider Einstein as agnostic.

So why did Einstein not believe in a personal God? The thoughts of Einstein on God were numerous, and there are many reasons why Einstein did not believe in a personal God, however I like the idea that scientific research is based on the premise that everything lives and functions within the laws of nature, this meaning that the idea of prayers influencing events or outcomes doesn't really work. Einstein was primarily a man of science but was influenced as a child by the Bible and Jewish teaching, he even went as far to believe that Jesus irrefutably existed. He said that "no one can read the Gospels without feeling the presence of Jesus," and that myth could not contain such life.

With this in mind, Einstein respected the historic presence of theology and religious figures, but he believed that the future of human thinking must fundamentally change if the race was to survive. He believed that the rigours of science could not be handled by any of the current religions, and the only one that could perhaps take on the pragmatic research into scientific principles was Buddhism, although to say Einstein was a Buddhist would be very incorrect - Einstein did, however, believe in the harmony and connection of all living entities and universal matter.

Einstein spent the last 30 years of his life searching for a unified field theory, one that would combine general relativity and quantum mechanics. Unfortunately Einstein's attempts were largely fruitless but taking into account the cosmic religious feelings Einstein would get from contemplating the universe, his hunt for a unified theory, in my opinion, was Einstein delving into his own personal beliefs, searching for something that would justify his feelings towards thinking there were some underlying force within the universe - a creator that would dispel ideas of there being a God-inclined beginning.

In conclusion, Einstein did not believe in God, in particular a personal God, but he did feel strongly that we were but schoolboys in trying to increase our knowledge of the universe. He believed that we would never know why the universe came into being, but the concept of a God, an influence would perhaps be a better word, was not one he would dispel. Einstein's search for a unified field made more sense than anything else in his belief that there was an underlying and fundamental principle or force connecting us all, and this would have obviously had a role to play in the forming of the universe as we know it - something that similarly parallels Aristotle's ideas.

I hope you have enjoyed reading this post and I hope you will also have reason for further reading on Einstein's incredible wisdom. Please share this post where you can as it is the only way I can get more coverage, and I also welcome your comments on this topic, so please, leave a comment below. :)

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