1. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    13 May '08 03:38
    There are some letters by Einstein going up for auction this week. One of my favourite bloggers, PZ Meyer, pointed out a couple of juicy quotes, which shatters the whole "Einstein was religious myth".

    "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still 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 others 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 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."

    Now, Einstein cannot be claimed to be any sort of theological authority, but I hope this puts to bed the "Einstein was a theist" nonsense once and for all.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/einstein_on_gods_and_judaism.php
  2. weedhopper
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    13 May '08 04:24
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    There are some letters by Einstein going up for auction this week. One of my favourite bloggers, PZ Meyer, pointed out a couple of juicy quotes, which shatters the whole "Einstein was religious myth".

    "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive le ...[text shortened]... or all.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/einstein_on_gods_and_judaism.php
    All those notes prove is that Einstein did not embrace Judaism. That doesn't make him non-religious! Judaism ain't the only game in town, dontchaknow 😀
  3. Standard memberscottishinnz
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    13 May '08 04:53
    Originally posted by PinkFloyd
    All those notes prove is that Einstein did not embrace Judaism. That doesn't make him non-religious! Judaism ain't the only game in town, dontchaknow 😀
    Well, actually the first one would show him to be an atheist.
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    13 May '08 06:24
    Originally posted by scottishinnz
    Well, actually the first one would show him to be an atheist.
    I don't think it introduces anything new. Einstein, like a number of people on this forum, liked to use the word God with a meaning other than the popular theist one. I am not clear as to whether he attributed intelligence or deity status to his concept of God but as far as I know he believed that the universe had an underlying order he called God and was very frustrated by the implications of quantum mechanics. But I am no expert on Einstein.
    I personally think that use of the word 'God' in this manner can only lead to confusion, and the fact that it almost invariably does do so has been shown time and again. I dont actually understand why people continue to insist on using it that way. I challenged one poster on this forum and as far as I could tell the response amounted to 'I can use it if I want so stop bugging me'.
  5. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 May '08 09:38
    Originally posted by scottishinnz

    Now, Einstein cannot be claimed to be any sort of theological authority, but I hope this puts to bed the "Einstein was a theist" nonsense once and for all.

    http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2008/05/einstein_on_gods_and_judaism.php
    Just for you:

    "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one, 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 of our own being." (Albert Einstein)

    "Then there are the fanatical atheists whose intolerance is the same as that of the religious fanatics, and it springs from the same source . . . They are creatures who can't hear the music of the spheres. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p. 214)"

    "What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos. (Albert Einstein to Joseph Lewis, Apr. 18, 1953)"

    And for twhitehead:
    "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings.
    (Albert Einstein, responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein who had sent Einstein a cablegram bluntly demanding "Do you believe in God?" Quoted from Victor J. Stenger, Has Science Found God? 2001, chapter 3.)"

    And for every other fool ...

    "The religion of the future will be a cosmic religion. It should transcend personal God and avoid dogma and theology. Covering both the natural and the spiritual, it should be based on a religious sense arising from the experience of all things natural and spiritual as a meaningful unity. Buddhism answers this description. If there is any religion that could cope with modern scientific needs it would be Buddhism. (Albert Einstein)"
  6. Standard membertheprotectors
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    13 May '08 09:471 edit
    Originally posted by PinkFloyd
    All those notes prove is that Einstein did not embrace Judaism. That doesn't make him non-religious! Judaism ain't the only game in town, dontchaknow 😀
    No, no, no but he was born a jew that we can agree on... what his belife was later in life we dont know but he still belonged to the jewish faith. And futher more it is a very jewish thing to ask questions. And it is all about the question not the answer as you might think....
    yes for me🙂
  7. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 May '08 09:501 edit
    Originally posted by twhitehead

    I personally think that use of the word 'God' in this manner can only lead to confusion, and the fact that it almost invariably does do so has been shown time and again. I dont actually understand why people continue to insist on using it that way. I challenged one poster on this forum and as far as I could tell the response amounted to 'I can use it if I want so stop bugging me'.
    You believe in education. Try Spinoza's Ethics:
    http://www.mtsu.edu/~rbombard/RB/Spinoza/ethica-front.html

    Then, if someone brings Spinoza's God up, you can either speak with understanding, or say, "I'm afraid that I just don't understand Spinoza's God, so I can't discuss it".

    Or you can continue to insist that people use 'the common idea of God' (a personal God, I assume) because discussing a more complex notion that makes more sense to people like Einstein is 'too confusing'.
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    13 May '08 10:22
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    You believe in education. Try Spinoza's Ethics:
    http://www.mtsu.edu/~rbombard/RB/Spinoza/ethica-front.html

    Then, if someone brings Spinoza's God up, you can either speak with understanding, or say, "I'm afraid that I just don't understand Spinoza's God, so I can't discuss it".

    Or you can continue to insist that people use 'the common idea of God ...[text shortened]... ore complex notion that makes more sense to people like Einstein is 'too confusing'.
    I'm afraid that I just don't understand Spinoza's God, but I wouldn't mind discussing it. He looks like a theist to me though his God is not personal:

    "VI. By God, I mean a being absolutely infinite--that is, a substance consisting in infinite attributes, of which each expresses eternal and infinite essentiality."

    I really don't see why he put the word 'being' in there.

    I also see a whole list of 'proofs' which appear to consist mainly of 'anything else is absurd' without actual explanation.

    I still maintain that the use of the word God to mean 'universe' is unnecessarily confusing even when you maintain it is a 'more complex notion' which it isn't. It is simply a different definition and that leads to confusion. You might as well call aeroplanes cars and maintain that anyone who gets confused is 'mentally challenged' or uneducated.

    I would be interested to know why you think it a good idea to use the word 'God' in that way.
  9. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 May '08 10:32
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    I'm afraid that I just don't understand Spinoza's God, but I wouldn't mind discussing it.
    You probably would if you read it. Or perhaps a handy commentary:
    http://plato.stanford.edu/entries/spinoza/
  10. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 May '08 10:40
    Originally posted by twhitehead

    I would be interested to know why you think it a good idea to use the word 'God' in that way.
    Because it enables me to believe in God, without having to believe in God.

    In the context of this thread -- why do you think Einstein said he believed in Spinoza's God?
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    13 May '08 12:07
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    Because it enables me to believe in God, without having to believe in God.
    And why do you want to believe in God? And why do you apparently want to deceive other people that you believe in their God.

    In the context of this thread -- why do you think Einstein said he believed in Spinoza's God?
    I think that:
    1. It was politically correct to claim some sort of theism at the time.
    2. I suspect his beliefs were very similar to Spinoza's. I know very little about either of them but they seem to both have believed in a deity that was non-personal. Whether or not that makes them theists I do not know.
  12. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 May '08 12:24
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    And why do you want to believe in God? And why do you apparently want to deceive other people that you believe in their God.

    [b]In the context of this thread -- why do you think Einstein said he believed in Spinoza's God?

    I think that:
    1. It was politically correct to claim some sort of theism at the time.
    2. I suspect his beliefs were very simi ...[text shortened]... lieved in a deity that was non-personal. Whether or not that makes them theists I do not know.[/b]
    Being able to believe in God without believing in God (there's a play on words that I hope you're subtle enough to pick up on; I'm not going to spell it out) grants me a certain flexibility that is good for my, ahem, soul. I don't want to deceive people that I believe in their God; hence my interest in Spinoza. Whether or not that makes me a theist, I don't know.

    I don't think Einstein was being politically correct, hence his derogatory statements on a personal God. Rather, I think he said what he meant.
  13. Cape Town
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    13 May '08 12:35
    Originally posted by Bosse de Nage
    I don't want to deceive people that I believe in their God; hence my interest in Spinoza.
    But you do deceive people knowingly, and I believe, deliberately. I also cant see how your interest in Spinoza can be explained as an attempt to avoid deception.

    Whether or not that makes me a theist, I don't know.
    Well you say 'interest in Spinoza' not 'belief in Spinoza's God'.

    I don't think Einstein was being politically correct, hence his derogatory statements on a personal God. Rather, I think he said what he meant.
    Strangely enough, as long as you claim to have some sort of religion you can get away with all manner of derogatory statements but once you say you are atheist you are labeled a religion-basher. But I suspect you are right that he said what he meant - though I know little about either Einstein or Spinoza.
  14. Standard memberPalynka
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    13 May '08 12:412 edits
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    But you do deceive people knowingly, and I believe, deliberately. I also cant see how your interest in Spinoza can be explained as an attempt to avoid deception.

    [b]Whether or not that makes me a theist, I don't know.

    Well you say 'interest in Spinoza' not 'belief in Spinoza's God'.

    I don't think Einstein was being politically correct, hence ...[text shortened]... t that he said what he meant - though I know little about either Einstein or Spinoza.[/b]
    Don't underestimate our ability to deceive ourselves unwillingly (or even willingly).
  15. Standard memberBosse de Nage
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    13 May '08 12:49
    Originally posted by twhitehead
    But you do deceive people knowingly, and I believe, deliberately. I also cant see how your interest in Spinoza can be explained as an attempt to avoid deception.
    Serious accusations -- please show how I deceive people into thinking that I believe in 'their God'.
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