Albert Einstein was no atheist; 27 letters up for auction show ‘he believed in God’

einstein22222222 Over two dozen of Albert Einstein’s personal letters, some which reveal that he was not an atheist, will be auctioned this week. California-based auction house Profiles in History is putting the letters up for auction in Los Angeles. “We all know about what he accomplished, how he changed the world with the theory of relativity. But these letters show the other side of the story — how he advised his children, how he believed in God,” said Joseph Maddalena, founder of Profiles in History, The Associated Press reported.

On the issue of God, Einstein dismissed the belief that he was an atheist.

. “You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the spirit of the professional atheist. … I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.”

Mr. Maddalena said the letters are on sale from $5,000 to $40,000 each. He said the total take could range from $500,000 to $1 million, AP reported. “These are certainly among the most important things I’ve ever handled,” Mr. Maddalena said, AP reported. “This is not like a Babe Ruth autograph or a signed photo of Marilyn Monroe. These are historically significant.”

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53 thoughts on “Albert Einstein was no atheist; 27 letters up for auction show ‘he believed in God’

  1. Please find further information about The Australian Lecture tour of international philosophy Dr Peter Boghossian. His lecture is entitled How Do You Know sponsored by the Australian Rationalist Society at The State Library of Victoria on June 19 with The City Bible forum.

    Peter Boghossian recent book A Manual for Creating Atheists, is aimed at developing a rational interpretation of the complex issues in our present society about race, religion and extremism. He feels that it’s important that in the 21st century we base public policy on reason and evidence.

    Dr Peter Boghossian is a full-time faculty member in Portland State University’s philosophy department. His primary research areas are critical thinking, philosophy of education, and moral reasoning. Boghossian is a speaker for the Centre for Inquiry, the Richard Dawkins Foundation for Reason and Science, and the Secular Student Alliance. He has been nominated as a member of the Global Secular Council.

    He has recently been developing insights into how jihadists belief systems can be changed and has extensive work within the prison system.

    TICKETS: trybooking.com/HJYJ

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  2. Knowledge is one thing, faith is another. We know day and night are facts, that the sun rises in the morning and sets at night, but those are relative truths, only evident to us here on Earth. To an astronaut, they are misconceptions, the Sun is not rising and setting. It would be stupid to argue whether the astronaut or the Earth dweller has the truth – both are right in the view from their perspective.

    We still don’t know everything, still have individual perspectives. Why argue?

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    • Why argue?

      Because as humans we are under laws governing physical, mental and spiritual laws. Physical and mental laws often change due to frames of reference. Hence they are relativistic.

      Spiritual laws (which exhibit themselves in morality and ethics) are governed by only 1 frame of reference. God’s. Hence they are absolute. Any deviation from God’s frame of reference is the reason sin entered into the world, and we have become a bunch of confused poor buggers.

      Strewth’s example confuses physical laws and physical facts with moral laws and moral facts.

      Therefore we argue because one side believes in absolute standards of morality whilst the other side argues for relativistic standards of morality.

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      • God’s frame of reference? Your perception, your point of view, as to who or what God is might not be the same as another person’s. Just last night a friend told me of his perception of God – closer than breathing, nearer than hands and feet, omnipresent, omnipotent, omniscient. Not made in man’s image, but we are made in His. Perhaps quite unlike our imagination tells us.

        Our physical being is made of atoms with a great deal of space between them, just as stars have a great deal of space between them yet comprise a unity, a cosmos, a universe. Now surprise, the universe is breathing out at the moment, from the time it came into physical incarnation, but physics tell us it will contract at some very far point in the future. Breathing back in.

        So from God’s point of view, the universe could be the Word of God, existing from the beginning, God expressed in physical terms? Intelligent, guiding the spirits of the Heavenly Host in creating, in evolutionary processes?

        No, you cannot imagine that, it is outside your frame of reference. Don’t worry about it. God loves you just as you are.

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      • “God loves you just as you are” ?

        I dunno Strewth. Beautiful words but……….He certainly would like us to become the persons He created us to be, and that very often requires change for the better. Oh, He loves us all right, no doubt about it, and He bids us to come “just as we are”, but Christianity and change is inevitable. Supposed to be anyway.

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      • I do agree, Monica. Just as we love our little children to bits, but they can still frustrate us, and we delight in them growing out of certain phases!

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      • Strewth

        So God’s frame of reference is dependent on what human perception imagines it to be eh? Let us think what you have just said for a minute.

        For centuries, human sacrifices were made in the name of different types of gods, ie, sun, chemosh, etc. But according to your philosophy they were legitimate because “your perception of god is not the same as someone else’s”.

        Jesus said:
        “They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service.” John 16:2.

        By your logic, those “Christians” who persecuted other Christians were legitimate because they were acting on their frame of reference. Come to think of it. by your logic, every murder that has been committed in the name of religion is legitimate. After all, people’s perception and frame of reference is different, who are we to judge someone else?

        Meanwhile Jim Jones and David Koresh who had a different perspective on God’s frame of reference were also justified by your argument, notwithstanding their massacres. As are the Lord’s Resistance Army in Africa. As were the thousands of German Soldiers who joined the German Army in WW2, notwithstanding the fact that many of them claimed to be Christian.

        Yes God loves me. He loves me enough to make it clear that there is an absolute frame of reference guiding our spiritual life so that “we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive;” Eph. 4:14.

        Toss out the idea that there is no absolute frame of reference governing morality and spirituality and you will end up fleeing your country like Einstein (assuming that those whose frame of reference opposing yours don’t kill you first, or you don’t kill them first).

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      • He loves us in spite of who we are. Yes, I find that truly comforting……knowing that God has the power to change us for the better if we allow Him to. It’s the ‘allowing’ part that I find hard though, because it involves complete trust and can be such a painful process. It’s worth it though, I think, for more of Him, less of me.

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      • If we remember that God is love, we can quickly realise if we are worshipping something else.

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  3. Davinci:

     “So God’s frame of reference is dependent on what human perception imagines it to be eh? Let us think what you have just said for a minute.”

     You are the one that needs to take a minute to think. Strewth never said that “God’s frame of reference is dependent on what human perception imagines it to be”.

     What Strewth wrote was “Your perception, your point of view, as to who or what God is might not be the same as another person’s”.

    Maybe, in line with you usual proselytising, you’d like to point us to the biblical passages which say it’s ok to misquote and misrepresent people to make your point.  

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      • “Is not the “your” referencing the humam? Your ciew of God.”

        I have no idea what you are trying to say here.

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      • Whether referencing ‘the human’ or a particular human, it still seems to me that it is a non sequitur to bring God’s frame of reference in to the discussion. Who knows the mind of God? That is an area we must surely approach with faith, belief, trust and love. To examine the mind of God we would need to be superior to it.

        If you want to use the bible as a guide-line, the Law of the Old Testament. the teachings of Jesus and Paul, are about society, relationships with fellow humans and with God. And this is where Love comes into it.

        I have known someone to say “At last I know who God is. He’s A-Better-Relationship-With-Others!

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      • The books of the bible were written when Earth was the centre of God’s world, which had an attractive canopy of a starry sky, plus the sun and moon. In those days God was only the God of our world, or at most our solar system, who incidentally decorated that canopy for us. Perhaps this is the best way to continue to envisage Him.

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    • Stu,

      You wrote:
      “Strewth never said that “God’s frame of reference is dependent on what human perception imagines it to be.”

      “…you’d like to point us to the biblical passages which say it’s ok to misquote and misrepresent people to make your point.”

      Show me the Bible verses where:
      – God says He created the universe by guiding evolutionary processes? – God says that the universe is the Word of God.
      – God says the universe is contracting and expanding.
      – God says that the universe is a living thing contracting and expanding is breathing in and out.

      If you can’t it is because we are dealing with two different frames of reference. So I am not misquoting or misrepresenting anybody.

      And maybe you should go back and learn English, with particular emphasis on words like paraphrasing. What I did was paraphrase what she said about God’s frame of reference, for brevity sake.

      But you go ahead and learn what it means to “paraphrase something”. And while you’re at it look up expressions like “in other words”, “in a nutshell” as well.

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      • “What I did was paraphrase what she said about God’s frame of reference, for brevity sake.”

        No you didn’t. The bit you quoted from Strewth said nothing about God’s frame of reference and referred only to individual perceptions of God. You either failed to comprehend this, or deliberately created a straw man to knock down.

        Before you lecture anyone on their English language skills, maybe you should consider whether quote people directly, rather than misrepresent them for the sake of four or five words.

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      • Stu,

        You are bull dusting again. If I was quoting someone, I would use inverted commas to do so, not putting things in my own words. Have a look at whether I did so, when I first paraphrased Strewth’s words.

        This is typical of you atheists, or is it agnostics in your case?

        Secondly, the reason people have a different perception of God is because they have departed or deviated from the frame of reference that God has provided.

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      • Stu

        When you use a source, you must choose between either quoting the exact words of the source or composing a paraphrase. If you want to use the exact words of the source, you must enclose them in quotation marks and they must accurately reproduce the original. If you want to express an idea or information found in a source without quoting, you must paraphrase. “Paraphrase” means rewrite entirely in your own words and style, using none of the words, sequence of thoughts, sentence or paragraph arrangement, or other features of the original. A paraphrase must be entirely different from the original.

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      • Not exactly davinci. A paraphrase is rewording of something written or spoken.It must convey the sense and meaning of the original. It is not “entirely different” from the original.

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      • stu

        I am not creating a straw man. Strewth confused the fact that:

        – The frame of reference for seeing the setting of the sun is neither moral or amoral. So it does not impact on our spirituality or lack of it.
        – The universe expanding and contracting (assuming it will eventually contract) again has nothing to do with spirituality or the lack thereof.
        – The universe “breathing” cannot be proven, unless one is God and knows that it is “breathing”, or if God has revealed it to us. But He hasn’t. So how does she know unless she makes the claim that she is god? And even assuming the universe was breathing in and out, what has that got to do with morality?

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      • “Have a look at whether I did so, when I first paraphrased Strewth’s words.”

        I understand perfectly well the distinction between quoting someone and paraphrasing their words.

        “A paraphrase must be entirely different from the original.”

        No. Paraphrasing must convey the meaning and intent of the original source. If it doesn’t, you are being misleading.

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      • “I am not creating a straw man.”

        When you attributed a position to Strewth that wasn’t Strewth’s, you created a strawman.

        “Strewth confused the fact that:”

        Strewth made a reference to individual perspective on God, which you then attempted to conflate with “morality” and “Gods frame of reference”. This despite Strewth saying to you: “… that it is a non sequitur to bring God’s frame of reference in to the discussion.”

        So you will find that it is you who is confused. About a great many things.

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      • Bryan I copied that definition of paraphrasing from the internet.

        “A paraphrase must be entirely different from the original.”

        But not the conveyance of the original author’s thoughts and sentiments.

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      • “Bryan I copied that definition of paraphrasing from the Internet”.

        Why is this relevant? You can copy almost anything from the Internet.

         “A paraphrase must be entirely different from the original.” “But not the conveyance of the original author’s thoughts and sentiments.”

         Clearly the original author’s (Strewth) thoughts and sentiments were not conveyed with your words: “God’s frame of reference is dependent on what human perception imagines it to be.”

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      • It is a sad thing to idolize people .
        The man had one distinguishing attribute that being able to look at things from a tangent
        But that did not elevate him from making bad choices
        As for the photo just keep on mind the guy developed his ideas before reaching 25 years of age.
        The image you have used is a clear indication some are putting yet another person up for some sort of sainthood or equivalent.
        So many lack perspective .
        And you appear to be on a treadmill

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      • You are the one returning again and again to him.
        Just go back and look at the ground hog day

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    • Go back and look how many times you refer to Albert Einstein.
      There is a distinct pattern !
      Expected because people are predictable .
      People even lack the ability to chose random numbers .
      Nothing has changed in the way peoples minds work for more than fifty thousand years.

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      • Go back and look how many times you refer to Albert Einstein.

        What’s your point? I like scientists.

        Expected because people are predictable .

        Look in the mirror mate. It’s groundhog day every day for you I think.

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      • “Nothing has changed in the way peoples minds work for more than fifty thousand years.”
        I will not ask how you know this but is patterning a bad thing? Marhematics is pattern. Languages, computer language and nature too. Even being creative, artistic and left of centre is patterning. Any information you can think of such as DNA and the sentences you used show predictability.

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    • So now I am the person making you place comments and references about him and images several times a year ?
      As for the post !
      What ever his thought were in regards to his desire to be not ended that has zero relevance as to his position in science .
      Just because a person is within a group does not mean that person represents that group fully and every person holds the same ethics and moral position.
      Just think of every RC being like G PELL :-MMMMM

      Putting the spot light on Einstein again is pointless

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      • So now I am the person making you place comments and references about him and images several times a year ?

        Nope. Never said that.

        Putting the spot light on Einstein again is pointless

        No-one’s making you read it atheistthinking/cynical/crushing bones whatever etc… Haven’t you decided on an anonymous name yet?

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  4. After tens of thousands of years ,billions of stories tens of thousand religions.billions of books,million locations declared important and places in time being classified as terribly important for the purpose of what ??
    All to raise mans feeling of importance .
    All by means of combining that fantasy what ever event made this universe made it for man to exist
    I am not what you could classify a Atheist.
    I just view man as not being important when this universe runs it,s course of “”ENTROPY””
    Funny how religions created a hell with fire and heat.
    When entropy has run it,s course this universe will be at “”ZERO KELVIN ”
    What do you believe happens at ZERO KELVIN

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      • The “predictable”response I expected !
        And a example of what man really is even after fifty thousand years.

        I see no reason I see myself as being so important I should escape this universe.
        Yet religious people get very upset when I hold up others as high as I place myself.
        “”WHAT “!!
        You demand I hold up everyone else higher than myself.
        What reason would I do that ?

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      • What do you believe happens at ZERO KELVIN.
        So the question is not worthy of a opinion .
        When there is zero movement of everything and the universe has expanded so vast nothing is close .
        Everything that was in the big bang is still the entire universe nothing has left .
        For anything to leave would force a paradox .
        Anything can happen in a closed void as long as nothing leaves that void .
        If even a single photon leaves you have got something from nothing

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  5. 27 letters up for auction .
    Why would letters from him be important to buy ?
    Unless they contain important parts to his work they are no better than any words printed in a gossip column .
    No private story has importance when put beside a bar of “STEEL”
    That steel is made of “IRON”.
    The only place IRON is made is a “SUPERNOVA”.

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    • Aaah the “”EGO””of man .
      That was the theme when there was a almost human .
      Moving on from the valley ,the distance one could walk ,then how far one could ride a animal of lesser intelligence. a water craft .
      All the way to the planet .
      And the stars where just a show for man .

      Now the ego of some humans theorizes the entire universe that would now be at least 40,000,000,000 light years across if this planet was the center of the universe .
      And go down in scale almost as much .
      A glass of water has as many atoms as all the grains of sand on all the beaches on this planet.
      Just how far can a EGO EXPAND ??
      Apparently greater than the acceleration of the BIG BANG and faster than the speed of light.
      How about we make a space craft propelled by the magical power of man,s ego.
      We could even escape from a black hole !
      Pass right throw and take some happy shots of “”SINGULARITY””

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      • Would a better hypothesis be that with our thoughts WE create the universe?
        You may know something of quantum physics.

        Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking?

        FROM THE JUNE 2002 ISSUE, DISCOVER MAGAZINE.

        Does the Universe Exist if We’re Not Looking?
        Eminent physicist John Wheeler says he has only enough time left to work on one idea: that human consciousness shapes not only the present but the past as well

        “John Wheeler, scientist and dreamer, colleague of Albert Einstein and Niels Bohr, mentor to many of today’s leading physicists, and the man who chose the name “black hole” to describe the unimaginably dense, light-trapping objects now thought to be common throughout the universe, turned 90 last July. He is one of the last of the towering figures of 20th-century physics, a member of the generation that plumbed the mysteries of quantum mechanics and limned the utmost reaches of space and time. After a lifetime of fundamental contributions in fields ranging from atomic physics to cosmology, Wheeler has concerned himself in his later years with what he calls “ideas for ideas.”
        ///
        “Why does the universe exist? Wheeler believes the quest for an answer to that question inevitably entails wrestling with the implications of one of the strangest aspects of modern physics: According to the rules of quantum mechanics, our observations influence the universe at the most fundamental levels. The boundary between an objective “world out there” and our own subjective consciousness that seemed so clearly defined in physics before the eerie discoveries of the 20th century blurs in quantum mechanics. When physicists look at the basic constituents of reality— atoms and their innards, or the particles of light called photons— what they see depends on how they have set up their experiment. A physicist’s observations determine whether an atom, say, behaves like a fluid wave or a hard particle, or which path it follows in traveling from one point to another. From the quantum perspective the universe is an extremely interactive place. Wheeler takes the quantum view and runs with it.”
        http://discovermagazine.com/2002/jun/featuniverse

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      • Strewth :-
        A physicist’s observations determine whether an “”atom”” say, behaves like a fluid wave or a hard particle,
        Sorry Strewth it is the “”PHOTON ” not atom that does that trait.
        The PHOTON can be a wave & partical at the same time and amazingly it can be connected to itself traveling apart and still be changed by polarization instantly by-passing the speed of light limitation of normal space time .
        As for matter being created out of nothing is still is but it is destroyed instantly matter and anti -matter instantly destroy each other.
        As there is no such thing as empty space
        My thinking is what made everything in the universe is just the by product of the formation of the dimensions .
        The matter and anti matter are just the waste product from that dimensional existence .
        Not the other way around.
        You need a place to be “”BEFORE” there can be anything.
        And the conclusion of that is no matter how far you go even a entity if any exists still required a place to exist before is could be .
        Another issue it the total fallibility of brains and senses to get anything near a true perspective of what,s going on.
        The brain has a built in desire for survival and also has built in trickery perception filling in areas of view with total lies.
        Magicians use those brain faults to make a good living .
        The idea the human brain is some sort of mystical power to influence the universe is LOL .
        Have you seen the idiots on Judge Judy .
        And the hard fact the IQ in Yank land has FALLEN FIVE POINTS IN THE PAST THIRTY YEARS .

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      • The quote, if you’d followed the link, CB, was from one Tim Folger in Discovery Magazine. I did not post in support of it. It is just one of many hypotheses scientists think about. There is no ‘believe either this or that’. There are many possibilities. Why should I worry which is ‘truth’?

        Like

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