Albert Einstein the Agnostic
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24-01-2016, 02:16 PM
Albert Einstein the Agnostic
Albert Einstein the Agnostic

I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God
is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share
the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is
mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of
religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of
humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual
understanding of nature and our own being.

Sincerely Yours,

Albert Einstein

So was Albert Einstein agnostic?
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24-01-2016, 02:26 PM
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
Who cares?

We'll love you just the way you are
If you're perfect -- Alanis Morissette
(06-02-2014 03:47 PM)Momsurroundedbyboys Wrote:  And I'm giving myself a conclusion again from all the facepalming.
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24-01-2016, 02:29 PM
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
(24-01-2016 02:16 PM)MattB Wrote:  Albert Einstein the Agnostic

I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God
is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share
the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is
mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of
religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of
humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual
understanding of nature and our own being.

Sincerely Yours,

Albert Einstein

So was Albert Einstein agnostic?

Probably more like a pantheist, he did say he believed in Spinoza's God.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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24-01-2016, 02:29 PM
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
(24-01-2016 02:16 PM)MattB Wrote:  Albert Einstein the Agnostic

I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God
is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share
the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is
mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of
religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of
humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual
understanding of nature and our own being.

Sincerely Yours,

Albert Einstein

So was Albert Einstein agnostic?

For anyone who asks, Wikiquote pegs this reference as:

Letter to Guy H. Raner Jr. (28 September 1949), from article by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2 (1997)

We have to ask the definition question. Languages evolve over time and words do not necessarily mean the same thing today that they mean two-thirds of a century ago. That far back, the definition of an atheist as someone who outright asserted the non-existence of any god was dominant, whereas today the meaning is anyone who does not believe that a god exists (including people unconvinced that there ISN'T a god as well). Similarly, that far back, "agnostic" meant someone who claimed not to know, or who lacked certainty on the particular issue, or who kept an open mind. And it... means somewhat the same thing today, but is not contrary to the modern definition of atheism, which is why we have a lot of people identifying as agnostic atheists.

So Einstein's characterization or mischaracterization of the motives of the atheists of his day in the first half of the quote isn't relevant to this question. Here's the relevant part:

Quote:I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and our own being.

Sounds pretty agnostic to me.
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24-01-2016, 02:32 PM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2016 03:10 PM by GirlyMan.)
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
(24-01-2016 02:29 PM)Tomasia Wrote:  Probably more like a pantheist, he did say he believed in Spinoza's God.

Panentheist. Much like you. And popsthebuilder. And Alla. You are at least genuine, Tommyboy. "Some versions suggest that the universe is nothing more than the manifest part of God.." aka Bob. SLACK OFF BITCHES! So saith The Bob.

[Image: bob2_1.jpg]

#sigh
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24-01-2016, 03:08 PM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2016 03:46 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
He wrote a letter to the Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2008. In it he said "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions 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 also 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.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual 'props' and 'rationalization' in Freud's language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,
Yours, A. Einstein"

... however, quoting Einstein about religion and the gods, is the Argumentum ad vericundiam fallacy. His field of expertise was not History, Comparative Religion, Biblical Studies, Comparative Mythology..... and he is well known to have made many errors in his life of extraordinary work.

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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24-01-2016, 03:21 PM
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
(24-01-2016 03:08 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  He wrote a letter to the Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, sold at Bloomsbury Auctions in 2008. In it he said "The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other religions 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 also 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.

In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew the privilege of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision, probably as the first one. And the animistic interpretations of the religions of nature are in principle not annulled by monopolization. With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary.

Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e; in our evaluations of human behavior. What separates us are only intellectual 'props' and 'rationalization' in Freud's language. Therefore I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

With friendly thanks and best wishes,
Yours, A. Einstein"

... however, quoting Einstein about religion and the gods, is the Argumentum ad vericundiam fallacy. His field of expertise was not history, comparative religion, Biblical Studies, comparative mythology..... and he is well known to have made many errors in his life of extraordinary work.


Thank's an interesting post.
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24-01-2016, 03:27 PM
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
What are the odds that Einstein's ideas about God evolved over time, and that individual writings only reflect what his ideas were at the moment a particular piece was written?
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24-01-2016, 04:03 PM (This post was last modified: 24-01-2016 04:35 PM by Bucky Ball.)
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
(24-01-2016 03:27 PM)jabeady Wrote:  What are the odds that Einstein's ideas about God evolved over time, and that individual writings only reflect what his ideas were at the moment a particular piece was written?

There is another, more specific, late letter that says anyone who think he believed in a personal god is mistaken.
Einstein (1954) :
… "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, 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.
If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."

Insufferable know-it-all.Einstein God has a plan for us. Please stop screwing it up with your prayers.
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24-01-2016, 05:30 PM
RE: Albert Einstein the Agnostic
(24-01-2016 04:03 PM)Bucky Ball Wrote:  
(24-01-2016 03:27 PM)jabeady Wrote:  What are the odds that Einstein's ideas about God evolved over time, and that individual writings only reflect what his ideas were at the moment a particular piece was written?

There is another, more specific, late letter that says anyone who think he believed in a personal god is mistaken.
Einstein (1954) :
… "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, 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.
If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."



Wonder what he meant by personal god?
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