Was Einstein an atheist?

December 2, 2011 by  
Filed under newsletter-world

EinsteinBrazil, November 18, 2011: Albert Einstein (1879-1955), the most famous scientist of the 20th century was born in a non-practicing Jewish family. During childhood he had a phase of religious fervor, but at the age of 12 reading books of science convinced him that many stories of the Bible could not be true. Einstein definitely turned away from religious practice.

Some militant atheists, like Richard Dawkins, include Einstein among atheist scientists. In his book The God Delusion, Dawkins writes: “Einstein sometimes invoked the name of God (and he is not the only atheistic scientist to do so), inviting misunderstanding” (p. 36 of the Brazilian edition: Deus, un delírio). And he denounces “religious apologists” who “try to claim Einstein as one of their own” (p. 39).

I feel personally implicated in Dawkins’ denounce. Indeed, years ago, I quoted Einstein’s famous phrase: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.” And I added: “In his maturity, Einstein defended a ‘cosmic religiousness’ based in the presence of a superior rational power, revealed in the incomprehensible universe” (Experiência de Deus: presença e saudade. 2ª ed. revista. São Paulo: Loyola, 2002, p. 14).

To clear any doubts, the reader can look into the latest and most complete biography of Albert Einstein: Walter Isaacson’s Einstein: His life and universe (2007), translated into Portuguese by Companhia das Letras (Einstein: sua vida, seu universo. São Paulo, 2007). Isaacson dedicates a full chapter to the issue “Einstein’s God”. In this chapter, the author reproduces declarations made by the father of the theory of relativity that allow to consider him a religious man (in a wide sense) and other declarations that turn him away from the Judaic-Christian belief in a personal God.

Further ahead, the author quotes a paradoxal phrase of Einstein’s: “I’m a deeply religious non-believer.”

– miradaglobal

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