7.4.07

Einstein and Faith
excerpts from an article in Time Magazine
giving excerpts from a new biography by Walter Isaacson

Who says you can't believe in God if you are intelligent?

"Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious."

"I'm not an atheist. I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws."

"The most beautiful emotion we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of all true art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense, and in this sense only, I am a devoutly religious man."

"I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind."

"The fanatical atheists,are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who--in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses'-- cannot hear the music of the spheres."

"Science can be created only by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

"Human beings in their thinking, feeling and acting are not free but are as causally bound as the stars in their motions. Everybody acts not only under external compulsion but also in accordance with inner necessity. Schopenhauer's saying, 'A man can do as he wills, but not will as he wills,' has been a real inspiration to me since my youth; it has been a continual consolation in the face of life's hardships, my own and others', and an unfailing wellspring of tolerance."

"I am compelled to act as if free will existed,because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly. I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him."

1 Comments:

Blogger Brad V said...

Good stuff.

9/4/07 22:20  

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