Thursday, April 28, 2005

Einstein & Religion

So it seems that it's been 100 years since Einstein's "miracle year" of 1905 (see's coverage), and among the issues being spoken about is that of Einstein's religion and his religious beliefs. It should be no surprise to anyone that Albert Einstein was Jewish, though it seems he was a non-observant Jew. One cannot escape, however, the cultural and ideological makeup that comes with being Jewish, let alone Jewish in Europe during the time of WWI and WWII. published an article called "The Culture of Einstein" (all further quotes are from this article) in which one of the themes tackled is that of religion. Biographers claim, based on Einstein's own words, that there is a great misconception that Einstein believed in G-d due to some actual quotes of his, probably the most famous being, "I cannot believe that God would choose to play dice with the universe," wherein he decries the "randomness inherent in quantum mechanics." apparently, it is claimed by both biographers and the man himself, to deduce from the above that Einstein believed in G-d was a stretch; Einstein, it seems, did not believe in G-d, writing in 1954 that such a misconception was "a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly." The article then states, again based on Einstein's own writings,

For Einstein, references to God were a convenient metaphor, easy-to-grasp shorthand, he wrote, for "the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal."

Nu? Okay, and? This is part of G-d anyway you slice it! People get too caught up in the general perception of G-d as the bearded guy of the Sistine Chapel (which is Zeus, by the way) and don't stop to think that G-d is far, far more than that (and not that at all, as well). G-d is everything, including us, including "the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it," as well as that which science has yet to reveal.

It is the greatest joke that scientists, who often are the biggest self-proclaimed atheists, and who sometimes work with the intention of disproving the existence of G-d, are actually at the forefront of revealing the wonders and miracles of G-d to humanity. Scientists have given us a day-by-day account of the miracle of the creation of life in the womb; they have given us an understanding of energy and its transformations due to fissions and fusions (and what about the fact that energy cannot be created or destroyed, meaning that we are dealing with the same energy there was in the beginning, an all-encompassing energy that has always been... need I spell it out here?); they have shown us the wonders of stars, planets and formations existing in space farther than our imaginations could ever conjure. These are just some meager examples.

I don't know if Einstein truly did not believe in G-d, and more importantly, what did that mean exactly, but as I said at the beginning, you cannot take away a cultural imprint handed down from generations of Jews, stretching all the way back to Mt. Sinai. Judaism understands G-d in many ways, one of them as "the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." This doesn't mean G-d is limited, but rather that we are limited in our understanding, and need science to help us keep discovering the wondrous works of the Creator. When Einstein said he wanted to know the Mind of G-d, he was voicing a Jewish ideal, regardless of what the level of observance he kept was, regardless of what he believed or did not believe.

We need to stop seeing G-d as a limited entity, and recognize Him as everything, realize not a day goes by we don't witness miracles all around us (you woke up this morning, didn't you?). To all those atheist scientists I have only one thing to say: Thank You, from the bottom of my heart, for working so hard to reveal to me the wonders of G-d.

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