Saturday, March 31, 2012

Einstein on Religion

Einstein has some pretty set views against religion. Here's a strong quote for the next time someone brings up how Einstein makes references to God, or if you just want to relate to a pretty legendary person in history:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. ... For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong ... 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.


  1. Interesting. I think religion and dogmatism is very destructive. However I think that Spirituality is an important part of the whole of the human. Einstein's view seems to come from the left brain logic view. Logic views emotion as irrational and myths as superstition. This is largely the views of Western society, logic centered.

    But we as humans have our emotional, irrational, spiritual, illogical, subjective side too. This side goes largely un-nourished in western society. I believe that this is a real problem. We must balance the logical and the illogical, the objective and the subjective, the male and female, left brain and right brain.

  2. After reading your comment on my BoA post (will reply soon!) and other parts of your blog, I just want to say that you have a really refreshing approach to this.

    You cast aside religion and dogmatism, but settle for a religiously-linked spirituality. You're unafraid to go down a path decided by a certain logic (your post about Prophecy and Paradigm was great--I just noticed the passage in 1 Cor(inthians) 14 about spiritual gifts when I was reading that book for a debate over baptism of the dead I'm a part of at Mormanity. I think you should visit that debate, I wonder how you would address an apparent lack of consistency between using 1 Cor to defend baptism of the dead while ignoring Paul's commandment for women to cover their head while in prayer at 1 Cor 12. You yourself use 1 Cor to substantiate the ability for all members to have certain prophetic powers). Could you tell me more about your take on Mormonism in terms of religion vs. spirituality, or maybe point me to a blog post of yours if you've already discussed it?

    And I agree that the spiritual and subjective side goes untouched. Especially in the secular world, however much they may disagree with that statement. When I was a Christian during my teenage years, I would feel a powerful spiritual feeling during worship (the good 'ol Evvie worship/rock band) and also when I completely made a guy's day by buying him lunch at taco bell. He said he needed to know God still had his back, and that I showed him how He does.

    In fact, I used that line from then-on about all my issues: God still has my back. It was an instant cure for worry. I can still fake a belief in this line and feel better about a situation.

    I lost a few things when I became an agnostic atheist. I've gained a lot as well, but it's not nearly as feeling-oriented spiritual as it was back in the day

  3. Well I think it is refreshing to find new approaches to things. What appeals to me about Mormonism is the three grand Fundamental principles: Truth, Friendship, and Relief. What it seems Joseph Smith was trying to do is create a "truth sink" kind of like a heat sink absorbs heat. A "truth sink" absorbs all truth. Objective truth is just one part of that. Subjective truth is also another. The L-DS Church today has decided that it is the possessor of all truth. This has eliminated the need for member to look beyond what the brethren say. Rather the church should be an accumulator of truth.

    Another think that appeals to me is that Joseph Smith taught that Mormonism rejects creeds that require a person to believe a certain way. But they are free to accept those truths that speak to them. But this idea was corrupted very early on especially by people like Brigham Young. And today the L-DS church is just another among many creedful dogmatic churches.

    I think for a much better perspective on this you should read the blog

    About the Corinthians thing I personally support the practice of women wearing head coverings. I read somewhere that this practice was very important in early Christianity. But I have not extensively researched the topic so I don't know for sure.

    Another thing the Church overlooks is the warning in Doctrine and Covenants that the church only had a certain amount of time to practice Baptisms for the dead everywhere. After that time baptisms for the dead are only acceptable in the City of Zion, in the twelve Stakes of Zion, in Jerusalem, and in places appointed for refuge. That time was, "after you have had sufficient time to build a house unto me". That was a talking about the Nauvoo Temple and that time has passed. So basically all baptisms for the dead except for maybe those in Salt lake Temple are invalid. But of course the Church will never acknowledge this.

    I like your example of showing the guy that God still has his back. The way I look at things is that in the simplest, most basic form God is everything external to oneself. God doesn't have to be a bearded guy sitting on a throne. God can simply be the universe. This also plays into this duality of left brain/right brain, male/female, objective/subjective, self/everything else. The anthropomorphic God then becomes a symbol that we can interact with and understand. God is considered male because God(either a literal dude or a symbol for everything external to oneself)takes on a male role while we take on a female role. It is like Christ. He takes on a female role when interacting with God but a male role when interacting with us. There is a post over at that explains this male/female concept much better, but I don't remember it at the moment.

    It is very easy to become atheist, especially in our left brain dominated society. I have never approached an atheist with the God=everything external to oneself concept before so I have no idea what people would think.

  4. That's a very interesting take on Mormonism. Pure Mormonism (taking Mormonism back to what Smith originally made of it, for a quick summary of what impression I got from it) sounds more appealing than what the Church is today. That you maintain this position by citing from the Standard Works (illegitimate baptism of the dead based on the D&C is an incredibly bold statement) is really interesting.

    I miss the creativity of imagining what God is like. In line with left-brain thinking, I can't think about it too much without stopping myself for guessing at what we honestly don't know about. But looking at God as being everything external to oneself, I can't help but see where you're coming from. You might be interested in the interesting read, The Last Question by Isaac Asimov.

    I'll try thinking about the world like that for the day and see what happens. I'll check it against my usual issue with spirituality and religion in general: that we as humans observe something in particular and attach an emotion to it. The emotion shapes an entire interpretation. I think this is completely necessary, but leaves interpretation up to something that's inconsistent. (I was going to illustrate my point, but I decided it was too long. It's a blog post now)