Did Albert Einstein Believe in God?

August 7, 2012 — Leave a comment
Albert Einstein, 1921

Albert Einstein, 1921

The answer is “no”.

Perhaps Albert Einstein‘s clearest statement of belief was a telegram that he sent to New York Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the International Synagogue  in 1929. Goldstein was a prominent American Rabbi and Jewish leader.

The influential  Rabbi instructed Einstein to  respond via a  50-word-paid-for-telegram to his question, “Do you believe in God?”

Einstein answered in 32 words: “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 new book on “Einstein’s Jewish Science” by Steven Gimbel,  posits the notion that Jewish culture had a great deal to do with Einstein’s questioning of the universe.

What gives Einstein’s work a Jewish flavor, Gettysburg college Professor,  Gimbel believes, is an approach to the universe that reminds him of the way a “Talmudic scholar seeks to understand God’s truth.”  It comes only in glimpses. “Thou shalt not steal” may seem clear enough. But is it stealing to keep a $100 bill you find on the ground? It depends. Did you see the person who might have dropped it? Was it found on a busy street or in a friend’s backyard? In a hotel lobby with a lost and found? Without the luxury of a God’s-eye view, we must reckon from different vantage points.

“The heart of the Talmudic view is that there is an absolute truth, but this truth is not directly and completely available to us,” Gimbel writes. “It turns out that exactly the same style of thinking occurs in the relativity theory and in some of Einstein’s other research.”

Einstein often spoke about God and religion. Interestingly, he spent his early years attending Catholic school, although he was raised in a Jewish  home. Einstein’s  view of “God” related to the universal only.

Even to this day, the  internet is rife with pictures and quotes of Albert Einstein’s claim to  believe in God.

This from Albert Einstein’s letter in March of 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.”

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