Using Einstein’s thinking in the Religion vs Science debate

Albert Einstein is famous for his repeated quip “I believe in Spinoza’s God” when asked about his own theological thinking. What he was apparently trying to communicate in that epigram was that he believed in a divine ordering, but not one that had a personhood that a human could relate to in the way one human has a relationship with another.

There’s a nice essay on one of Discovery Magazine’s blogs that tries to work through the implications for how one ought to properly include Einstein’s metaphysical musings into the ongoing debate between Science and Religion:

“For Einstein, the universe itself was an enigma at its very core, and this was the first cause of religious feeling. His spiritual sensibilities emerged from his experience of the world through his beloved physics, the music of the spheres. Through this lens, it was the experience of mystery that was the experience of the spiritual. As he wrote:

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. He who knows it not and can no longer wonder, no longer feel amazement, is as good as dead, a snuffed-out candle.

There are many other ‘modern’ scientists who, like Einstein, reject the notion of a supernatural divinity, and yet still respond to the world through what William James would call ‘religious experience.’ For these scientists, new descriptions must be self-created and idiosyncratic as each researcher struggles to balance the call of the sacred with their integrity as scientists. Somehow, this sense of the world would have to be balanced with a rejection of supernatural causes.”

Read the full article here.

Author: Nick Knisely

Episcopal bishop, dad, astronomer, erstwhile dancer...