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Einstein Humiliates The Atheist Professor


Margee
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I mentioned on another post that some of my clients and I have been having some rather interesting conversations about the existence of god. They are all Christians, of course.The other day, one of my really 'smug' Christian clients printed this letter about Einstein for me to read, about how he challenged the suffering and evil argument (to an atheist professor), therefore proving that he believed in God. She want s to discuss this with me next week. I want to be ready to have some answers!

 

I did a little research on it this morning and I am now thinking that this letter is a 'fable' made up by 'believer's and has circulated around the Internet.

 

Please, If anyone could take a couple of minutes to read this and tell me your thoughts about this letter - I would sure appreciate it. Please, if you can - make your answers as simple as possible because I really do have a hard time understanding this.

 

Thanks gang!

 

This is the letter that she printed off to me:

 

http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

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“My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

 

Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 216.

 

“The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve.”

 

Albert Einstein in a letter to Beatrice Frohlich, December 17, 1952; Einstein Archive 59-797; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 217.

 

“I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.… This is a somewhat new kind of religion.”

 

Albert Einstein, in a letter to Hans Muehsam, March 30, 1954; Einstein Archive 38-434; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 218.

 

That's just a few quotes by Einstein on God and religion. There's many more to arm yourself with here: http://www.stephenjaygould.org/ctrl/quotes_einstein.html

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Quite awhile ago I read a retelling of one of the variations on the "evil atheist professor" urban legend (I don't remember whether it was this particular version or another one) followed by a rewrite of how the conversation may have gone assuming a professor actually would have started such a conversation and had a modicum of intelligence instead of just being a dupe created solely to play into the hands of the brave Christian student. Of course the rewrite went quite differently, and the student's house of cards came crashing down rather handily, as you might expect. It was an interesting read.

 

I wanted to post a link to it, but it was quite awhile ago, I didn't bookmark it, and I was unable to find it over my last ten minutes of searching. :(

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I did a little research on it this morning and I am now thinking that this letter is a 'fable' made up by 'believer's and has circulated around the Internet.

 

An excellent example of how religious people will believe ANYTHING in order to support their world-view. Faith in search of data. If your customer had been curious about this story, a simple Google search would have made them realize their story is an urban legend. This shows how most xtians are so desperate for "evidence" or arguments they'll cling onto anything without even really researching or understanding it.

 

The difference in you Margee, is a desire to do the research and not take things at face value.

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It makes no sense to believe that "love" and "faith" exist while "evil" doesn't. If evil is the absence of God, you can say love is the absence of Satan, because he is the source of hate in the world. Faith can be the absence of the Antichrist or anyone who is faithless. The story was made up by an imbecile.

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Einsten said it very clearly several times that he didn't believe in the Biblegod. Funny how Xtians always try to cite Einstein as an authority in support of their belief.

 

"As the first way out there was religion, which is implanted into every child by way of the traditional education-machine. Thus I came — though the child of entirely irreligious (Jewish) parents — to a deep religiousness, which, however, reached an abrupt end at the age of twelve. Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories of the Bible could not be true. " (A. Einsten)

 

 

 

Here is an article by Einstein titled "Religion and Science":

 

Religion and Science

 

The following article by Albert Einstein appeared in the New York Times Magazine on November 9, 1930 pp 1-4. It has been reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1954, pp 36 - 40. It also appears in Einstein's book The World as I See It, Philosophical Library, New York, 1949, pp. 24 - 28.

 

Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of deeply felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words? A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions - fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connections is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates illusory beings more or less analogous to itself on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. Thus one tries to secure the favor of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed toward a mortal. In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets itself up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases a leader or ruler or a privileged class whose position rests on other factors combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.

 

The social impulses are another source of the crystallization of religion. Fathers and mothers and the leaders of larger human communities are mortal and fallible. The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

 

The Jewish scriptures admirably illustrate the development from the religion of fear to moral religion, a development continued in the New Testament. The religions of all civilized peoples, especially the peoples of the Orient, are primarily moral religions. The development from a religion of fear to moral religion is a great step in peoples' lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based entirely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on our guard. The truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.

 

Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

 

The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.

 

The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.

 

How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.

 

We thus arrive at a conception of the relation of science to religion very different from the usual one. When one views the matter historically, one is inclined to look upon science and religion as irreconcilable antagonists, and for a very obvious reason. The man who is thoroughly convinced of the universal operation of the law of causation cannot for a moment entertain the idea of a being who interferes in the course of events - provided, of course, that he takes the hypothesis of causality really seriously. He has no use for the religion of fear and equally little for social or moral religion. A God who rewards and punishes is inconceivable to him for the simple reason that a man's actions are determined by necessity, external and internal, so that in God's eyes he cannot be responsible, any more than an inanimate object is responsible for the motions it undergoes. 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 other hand, I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research. Only those who realize the immense efforts and, above all, the devotion without which pioneer work in theoretical science cannot be achieved are able to grasp the strength of the emotion out of which alone such work, remote as it is from the immediate realities of life, can issue. What a deep conviction of the rationality of the universe and what a yearning to understand, were it but a feeble reflection of the mind revealed in this world, Kepler and Newton must have had to enable them to spend years of solitary labor in disentangling the principles of celestial mechanics! Those whose acquaintance with scientific research is derived chiefly from its practical results easily develop a completely false notion of the mentality of the men who, surrounded by a skeptical world, have shown the way to kindred spirits scattered wide through the world and through the centuries. Only one who has devoted his life to similar ends can have a vivid realization of what has inspired these men and given them the strength to remain true to their purpose in spite of countless failures. It is cosmic religious feeling that gives a man such strength. A contemporary has said, not unjustly, that in this materialistic age of ours the serious scientific workers are the only profoundly religious people.

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It makes no sense to believe that "love" and "faith" exist while "evil" doesn't. If evil is the absence of God, you can say love is the absence of Satan, because he is the source of hate in the world. Faith can be the absence of the Antichrist or anyone who is faithless. The story was made up by an imbecile.

 

agnosticator - Why can't I wrap my head around these sentences?? I re- read it 6 times slowly and I still can't get it. Must be my 'grade 9' brains! :shrug: I know you're trying to help me.

 

I want to understand this - but I can't. Can someone elaborate for me to help me understand? Please?

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“My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and punishment.”

 

Albert Einstein in a letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 216.

 

“The idea of a personal God is quite alien to me and seems even naïve.”

 

Albert Einstein in a letter to Beatrice Frohlich, December 17, 1952; Einstein Archive 59-797; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 217.

 

“I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.… This is a somewhat new kind of religion.”

 

Albert Einstein, in a letter to Hans Muehsam, March 30, 1954; Einstein Archive 38-434; from Alice Calaprice, ed., The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2000, p. 218.

 

That's just a few quotes by Einstein on God and religion. There's many more to arm yourself with here: http://www.stephenja...s_einstein.html

 

Thanks for these!

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Someone must have had a tape recorder in the classroom to have remembered every word of this conversation.

 

If god is supposed to be everywhere, how could he be absent anywhere? How could evil be the absence of god if god is everywhere and controls everything. This could only mean that evil has always existed as god has supposedly always existed.

 

Another problem with this conversation is that is contradicts the bible. The bible says that god creates evil (Isaiah 45:17). God created the wicked (Prov. 16:4).

 

Ask the person to find one passage in the bible that even closely states that evil is the absence of god. If so, that means god must be absent from any number of things. Just think of all the abstract things out there that exist in the absence of the supposedly all knowing, all powerful, omnipresent god.

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It makes no sense to believe that "love" and "faith" exist while "evil" doesn't. If evil is the absence of God, you can say love is the absence of Satan, because he is the source of hate in the world. Faith can be the absence of the Antichrist or anyone who is faithless. The story was made up by an imbecile.

 

agnosticator - Why can't I wrap my head around these sentences?? I re- read it 6 times slowly and I still can't get it. Must be my 'grade 9' brains! :shrug: I know you're trying to help me.

 

I want to understand this - but I can't. Can someone elaborate for me to help me understand? Please?

 

In the article, it stated "Evil does not exist sir, or at least it does not exist unto itself. Evil is simply the absence of God."..."Evil is not like faith, or love that exist just as does light and heat." Love and faith exist just like light and heat? :twitch:

 

The opposites darkness and light, cold and heat, are used as examples to understand God and evil. Without light, there is darkness. But how is evil the opposite of God? What is the opposite of faith and love? Or what produces them or causes them to exist? Feelings and ideas don't exist as effects like cold and darkness.

 

What I meant in the previous post is that any opposite can fit. If God is taken out of the picture, how does evil come into play? "Love is the absence of Satan" makes as much sense as "evil is the absence of God".

 

Hate is the absence of love (I wrote it backwards before, so I edited it) follows his point, but if faith is taken away, what is left? To say evil doesn't exist, and then to say it is the absence of God is stupid!

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Oh, wait, I get it.

 

The opposite to faith is doubt. Doubt is the absence of God's faith.

 

So if you doubt that Santa Claus is real, it's from Satan. Santa Claus exists!

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To me it would be a moot point if Einstein, Darwin, or anyone else for that matter had proclaimed Jesus as God and the church right. I have made up my own mind based on my own investigtion. I'm through relying on the testimony of others to decide what I believe.

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Oh, wait, I get it.

 

The opposite to faith is doubt. Doubt is the absence of God's faith.

 

So if you doubt that Santa Claus is real, it's from Satan. Santa Claus exists!

 

:Doh: Yeah, doubt is the opposite of faith. Now I'm convinced Santa exists! That means I have a chance of getting an ipad if I'm a good boy! WooHooo!

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She want s to discuss this with me next week. I want to be ready to have some answers!

http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp"]http://www.snopes.com/religion/einstein.asp

 

Make sure you let us know how it goes.

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I think its funny that xtians take this as a sign that god exists. Maybe if this was an actual conversation Einstien was just trying to play devils advocate to embarrass a pompous teacher. Does it mean he was defending god, no. Einstien, as said before, stated many times that he did not believe in God.

 

A year before his death Einstein wrote:

"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 change this."

 

However he did not claim to be athiest either.

On how he feels about atheist efforts to claim him as an ally: "There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views." <BR itxtvisited="1">On how he regards atheists: "The fanatical atheists...are creatures who cannot her the music of the spheres. I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos."

 

Einstien believed in a force that existed in nature. Similar to the Star Wars force.

On whether he considered himself religious: "Yes, you could call it that. Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything we can comprehend is my religion." <BR itxtvisited="1">

 

Hope this helps :grin:

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One reason xtians fail when trying to relate Einstein to their religious beliefs is that they spend more time mining for quotes on the internet than they actually spend time reading someone's biography. They think that with a few quotes, like spouting scriptures, they can summarize someone's existence in a few words. Your friend should spend more time at the library and less time on the internet.

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I greatly admire Aristotle for his elucidation of material, efficient, formal, and final causes. I laugh at Aristotle for thinking that the brain was an organ whose function was to cool the blood.

 

See what I'm saying here? :shrug:

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I greatly admire Aristotle for his elucidation of material, efficient, formal, and final causes. I laugh at Aristotle for thinking that the brain was an organ whose function was to cool the blood.

 

See what I'm saying here? :shrug:

Yes. I know exactly what you're saying. You're saying that Aristotle was a cool guy for using his brain a lot... :HaHa:

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