All Night Conversations About Spirituality and Religion

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I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly.

Waterhouse and Barbara Wolff of the Einstein Archives in Jerusalem found that the statement was mentioned in an unpublished letter from In the letter to Count Montgelas, Einstein explained that the original comment was a casual one made to a journalist regarding the support of "a few churchmen" for individual rights and intellectual freedom during the early rule of Hitler and that, according to Einstein, the comment had been drastically exaggerated. On 11 November the Rev. Cornelius Greenway of Brooklyn wrote a letter to Einstein which had also quoted his alleged remarks about the Church.

Einstein responded, "I am, however, a little embarrassed. The wording of the statement you have quoted is not my own.

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Shortly after Hitler came to power in Germany I had an oral conversation with a newspaper man about these matters. Since then my remarks have been elaborated and exaggerated nearly beyond recognition.

I cannot in good conscience write down the statement you sent me as my own. The matter is all the more embarrassing to me because I, like yourself, I am predominantly critical concerning the activities, and especially the political activities, through history of the official clergy.

Thus, my former statement, even if reduced to my actual words which I do not remember in detail gives a wrong impression of my general attitude. In the Antiques Roadshow television program aired a manuscript expert, Catherine Williamson, authenticating a letter from Einstein in which he confirms that he "made a statement which corresponds approximately" to Time magazine's quotation of him.

However, Einstein continued, "I made this statement during the first years of the Nazi regime—much earlier than —and my expressions were a little more moderate.

Einstein's conversations with William Hermanns were recorded over a year correspondence. In the conversations Einstein makes various statements about the Christian Churches in general and the Catholic Church in particular: "When you learn the history of the Catholic Church, you wouldn't trust the Center Party.

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Hasn't Hitler promised to smash the Bolsheviks in Russia? The Church will bless its Catholic soldiers to march alongside the Nazis" March The Church since Constantine has always favoured the authoritarian State, as long as the State allows the Church to baptize and instruct the masses" March But no sooner have they done their job than their 'friends', often blessed by the Church, spit in their faces" August One doesn't need to be a prophet to say, 'The Catholic Church will pay for this silence I do not say that the unspeakable crimes of the Church for 2, years had always the blessing of the Vatican, but it vaccinated its believers with the idea: We have the true God, and the Jews have crucified Him.

I don't need to go to Church to hear if I'm good or bad; my heart tells me this" August Consider the hate the Church manifested against the Jews and then against the Muslims, the Crusades with their crimes, the burning stakes of the inquisition , the tacit consent of Hitler's actions while the Jews and the Poles dug their own graves and were slaughtered. And Hitler is said to have been an altar boy! Since when can one make a pact with Christ and Satan at the same time?

Consider what mass misery they have produced in Spain , South America and Russia. In response to a Catholic convert who asked "Didn't you state that the Church was the only opponent of Communism? Einstein didn't mean only the Catholic church, but all churches. When asked for more precise responses in , Einstein replied: "About God, I cannot accept any concept based on the authority of the Church.

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I do not believe in the fear of life, in the fear of death, in blind faith. I cannot prove to you that there is no personal God, but if I were to speak of him, I would be a liar. I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. My God created laws that take care of that. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking but by immutable laws. Einstein believed that when trying to understand nature one should engage in both philosophical enquiry and enquiry through the natural sciences.

From a young age he had an interest in philosophy. Einstein said about himself: "As a young man I preferred books whose content concerned a whole world view and, in particular, philosophical ones. Einstein believed that epistemology and science "are dependent upon each other. Epistemology without contact with science becomes an empty scheme. Science without epistemology is—insofar as it is thinkable at all—primitive and muddled.

Like Spinoza, Einstein was a strict determinist who believed that human behavior was completely determined by causal laws. For that reason, he refused the chance aspect of quantum theory, famously telling Niels Bohr: "God does not play dice with the universe. You believe in a God who plays dice, and I in complete law and order in a world which objectively exists, and which I in a wildly speculative way, am trying to capture. I firmly believe , but I hope that someone will discover a more realistic way, or rather a more tangible basis than it has been my lot to find.

Even the great initial success of the quantum theory does not make me believe in the fundamental dice game, although I am well aware that some of our younger colleagues interpret this as a consequence of senility. Einstein's emphasis on 'belief' and how it connected with determinism was illustrated in a letter of condolence responding to news of the death of Michele Besso , one of his lifelong friends. Einstein wrote to the family: "Now he has departed from this strange world a little ahead of me.

That signifies nothing. For us believing physicists the distinction between past, present, and future is only a stubbornly persistent illusion. Einstein had admitted to a fascination with philosopher Spinoza's deterministic version of pantheism. American philosopher Charles Hartshorne , in seeking to distinguish deterministic views with his own belief of free will panentheism , coined the distinct typology " Classical pantheism " to distinguish the views of those who hold similar positions to Spinoza's deterministic version of pantheism. He was also an incompatibilist , in he said the following:.

I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.

Einstein was a secular humanist and a supporter of the Ethical Culture movement. He observed, "Without 'ethical culture' there is no salvation for humanity.

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With regard to punishment by God, Einstein stated, "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own — a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Science has therefore been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary.

Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hopes of reward after death. It is therefore easy to see why the churches have always fought science and persecuted its devotees. On the importance of ethics he wrote, "The most important human endeavor is the striving for morality in our actions.

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Our inner balance and even our very existence depend on it. Only morality in our actions can give beauty and dignity to life. To make this a living force and bring it to clear consciousness is perhaps the foremost task of education. The foundation of morality should not be made dependent on myth nor tied to any authority lest doubt about the myth or about the legitimacy of the authority imperil the foundation of sound judgment and action. This does not make sense. The proper guidance during the life of a man should be the weight that he puts upon ethics and the amount of consideration that he has for others.

I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance—but for us, not for God.

In a conversation with Ugo Onufri in , with regards to nature's purpose he said, "I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or goal, or anything that could be understood as anthropomorphic. He agreed with Bertrand Russell that humans observe the effects objects have on them greenness, coldness, hardness etc and not the actual objects themselves.

Einstein declared that he was no positivist , [87] and maintained that we use with a certain right concepts to which there is no access from the materials of sensory experience. Kant built his structure upon the foundations of the world outlook of Kepler and Newton. Now that the foundation has been undermined, the structure no longer stands.

Hume has permanently influenced the development of the best philosophers who came after him. Some sources maintain that Einstein read the three Critiques at the age of 16 and studied Kant as a teenager. However Philip Stamp states that this is contradicted by some of his own claims. In , Einstein said that he "did not grow up in the Kantian tradition, but came to understand the truly valuable which is to be found in his doctrine, alongside of errors which today are quite obvious, only quite late.

In one of Einstein's letters in to Max Born , Einstein said that he was starting to discover this "truly valuable" in Kant: "I am reading Kant's Prolegomena here, among other things, and I am beginning to comprehend the enormous suggestive power that emanated from the fellow, and still does.

Once you concede to him merely the existence of synthetic a priori judgements , you are trapped. Anyway it is nice to read him, even if it is not as good as his predecessor Hume's work. Hume also had a far sounder instinct. Hume saw that concepts which we must regard as essential, such as, for example, causal connection, cannot be gained from material given to us by the senses. This insight led him to a sceptical attitude as concerns knowledge of any kind. Man has an intense desire for assured knowledge. That is why Hume's clear message seems crushing: the sensory raw material, the only source of our knowledge, through habit may lead us to belief and expectation but not to the knowledge and still less to the understanding of lawful relations.

Then Kant took the stage with an idea which, though certainly untenable in the form in which he put it, signified a step towards the solution of Hume's dilemma: if we have definitely assured knowledge, it must be grounded in reason itself. Schopenhauer's views on the independence of spatially separated systems influenced Einstein, [90] who called him a genius.

Einstein liked Ernst Mach 's scientific work, though not his philosophical work. He said "Mach was as good a scholar of mechanics as he was a deplorable philosopher". From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Further information: Transcendental Idealism. Religion portal Philosophy portal. New York: Science, p.