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What Einstein Wants Us to Know About God, Science, Prayer and the Universe
Life of Albert Einstein, Science and Religious Views
Albert Einstein is one of the most referenced scientists around the world till date. Like most scientists, Einstein has been widely perceived as an Atheist—one who doesn’t believe in the existence of God or gods. This could be partly because of his role in science and believes in natural laws, processes or objectiveness. Many skeptics erroneously thought him an atheist, citing his quotes on the principles of science as the basis for their claims—a fact which Einstein himself denied severally.
I consider these complications on Einstein’s stand on religions, God, prayer, and science as selfishness arising from people trying to prove their standpoint on religious issues. Funny enough, people have continued to complicate God, religion, prayer, and science.
Is God the same thing as religion or religions? If God and religion are the same, why do we have many religions? Which of these religions does God belong? Does the role of science deny the reality of God's existence? Does science discredit God or do they promote God’s work of creation? Is science faith-based or is it purely experimental? How will science or scientific discovery be possible, if scientists have no faith in the unseen? What does Albert Einstein want us to know about prayer? These are some of the questions I want to address in this article.
I see a pattern, but my imagination cannot picture the maker of that pattern. I see a clock, but I cannot envision the clockmaker. The human mind is unable to conceive of the four dimensions, so how can it conceive of a God, before whom a thousand years and a thousand dimensions are as one?— Albert Einstein
Is God the same as Religion?
Most people think that God and religion are the same. Is God the same as religion? My answer is NO! God and religion are not the same because an act that seeks to worship ‘a BEING’ cannot be the same as the being that the act seeks to worship. Most people think that believing in God and practicing religion is the same the thing. This is one point people get lost in their understanding of God. Einstein’s stand on the person of God, and what religion should be is really fantastic. He was able to make a clear distinction between religion, religiosity, and God. This is one point Einstein want to emphasize in one of his most popular quotes. That there exists a big world of difference between religion, faith, God, and science. Take for instance:
• God is an unseen ‘Super-being’ perceived by many including scientists as the creator of the universe. Religion, on the other hand, is an act that seeks to worship this unseen Super-being. And Albert Einstein, like most humans, never closes his heart toward this Super-being.
Here are prove:
1. “When the solution is simple, God is answering.”
2. “God does not play dice with the universe.”
3. “God is subtle but he is not malicious.”
These quotes were credited to Einstein. Can one who doesn’t believe in the existence of a being give it this much of credit? Not certainly! So it’s possible Einstein actually believe in God but reject religion. This is possible because religion portrays God far different from what Einstein perceived God to be. Of course, religion is the way and thoughts of men. And as Isaiah said, But the thoughts and ways of God are far different from the thoughts and ways of men. Isaiah 55:8
• Religion is man’s conception of a God, who created him and the world he cannot conceive or phantom.
Einstein again emphasized this point in this famous quote: “During the youthful period of mankind’s spiritual evolution, human fantasy created gods in man’s own image, who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate to influence, the phenomenal world. Man sought to alter the disposition of these gods in his own favor by means of magic and prayer”. Nothing could be truer than this. This, however, is not a denial of God’s existence but a fact that the concept of God like any other concept is man’s idea. In reality, the God-like matter could have existed, and man chose to name and give him description he deems the best base on his spiritual inclinations.
• God is a being, present in both science and religion but accepted or perceived differently.
Science within the ambient of evidence accepts God as a being to be sought within nature: one that is present in matters, their structures, and interaction with other materials. Religion accepts God as a dogmatic being which himself cannot be questioned or probe but must be accepted as final. But is God dogmatic and unquestionable? NO! If he is, why do we still pray to him to change situations? There is a missing link, and it is with man’s understanding of who God is or what He should be.
• Religion is an activity organized by man; either in awe of the altar magnitude of the universe or in an attempt to please God or himself.
Einstein as a reality concerns himself more with the present world than the world in the next not because He disapproves the possibility of another world but he left that to fate and time to reveal. Einstein recognized existence of spirituality as revealed in these lines: “The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge.”
Evidently, we know God and religion are not the same and what Einstein did was to separate the two in order to avoid conflict of interests. He said, “What I see in Nature is a magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.” This same was emphasized by Paul in 1corinthians 13:1-13, where he said, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part. But when that which is perfect comes, then that which is in part shall be done away."
While God can existence differently base on human understanding. All religion in the world seeks to personalize God, just like atheism, a religion which denies its religious characteristics tries to personalize science and scientific processes.
Religions claims of ownership of God or gods DO NOT make God a religious Being and the atheist claims of the ownership of science DO NOT make science atheists affair. God remains God, so does science irrespective of who is laying claims of ownership of either. The reality of God in every life is the same and taking a fanatical position changes nothing. This path of fanatic Einstein avoided.
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)— Albert Einstein
Does the Role of Science Deny the Existence of God?
Science, a body of knowledge that systematically study natural phenomena with the view to understand their nature, components, functions, causes, and working mechanisms believes in laws of nature. But none of these laws have ever disapproved of God’s existence. While fanatical atheism and religion has continued to see science as the opposite of God or two things working against each other scientific shreds of evidence have continued to prove the reality of the existence of a more powerful BEING with an incomprehensible working order.
This incomprehensible BEING has continued to reveal himself to humanity through science. In my opinion, Science does more to make God known than religion. However, the relationship between science and religion has been that of a broken trust with humans discrediting each other on behave of the two. This is evident in the fact that religion DOESN’T want to see God in scientific discovery and science DOESN’T want to admit the glaringly latent God without provable pieces of evidence.
Albert Einstein said, “The human mind is not capable of grasping the Universe.” This is obviously the case and perhaps the reasons science and religion cannot harmonize the existence of God. If a scientist is a religious being, he/she learns to see God in his science and religious practices. But, what happens if he is not? He might just become fanatical and would want to remove God from the picture. Little wonder then, Einstein said, “The real problem is in the hearts and minds of men. It is easier to denature plutonium than to denature the evil spirit of man.” This is an absurd life's reality.
Let’s look at a few claims of religion proven by science.
• Religion says God created the world (Universe) and put the man in charge. Science says since man is in charge he has got to invents and study processes taking place within the universe. That was harmony and agreements, but what do we see? Conflicts!
• Religion reported God created light by separating day from night. Science said if that is true, as man created in God’s image we got to be able to do what God did and gave us the authority to do. Then again, we saw conflict.
• Religion says, 'man is made from the dust of the earth.' Science proved that man is made from molecules micro and macro (mineral elements, proteins, lipid, carbohydrates etc.) and their interactions are what brought about life. But religion and science can see God in both theories.
• God gave man authority saying, “Reproduce, multiply, fill the earth, dominate and replenish it” and science decided to live this command instead of mouth-proclaiming it. Then someone came up with the argument that science is offsetting God’s plans. Truly, the real problem is in the minds and hearts of men. And the single aim is to win the argument. But while the argument is on, science is providing more evidence of God's existence than do religion.
Like Einstein said, “We are like a little child entering a huge library. The walls are covered to the ceilings with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written these books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. But the child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books—-a mysterious order which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects.” From Einstein words, the existence of library is a reality of the existence of someone greater than the little child. Religion says that someone is God. Science says we need evidence to prove it’s indeed God.
Of course, there is a possibility it is someone else whose true identity religion isn’t able to evidentially validate or capture. The path to finding that evidence has been the stance of scientists in the argument. Obviously, science does not discredit God. That’s not the intent. And Einstein like other scientists acknowledges God amidst skepticism and endless wonder.
I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know his thoughts. The rest are details. (The Expanded Quotable Einstein, Princeton University Press, 2000 p.202)— Albert Einstein
Does Science Complicate God?
I’ll say NO! From my elementary understanding of who God is, and background in one of the most complicated fields of life sciences—biochemistry. Science DOES NOT complicate God. Science investigates the nature of the universe—physical and spiritual. The more I got to understand the complexity of the processes going on in my own body as a biochemist, the more I agree with the claim that God put them in place—yes chances couldn’t have done such an amazing work. A big band collision couldn't have either. The orderliness and corporation are sincerely amazing, and I can't credit chance for such orderliness.
To better understand this point, let’s consider a few facts:
The existence of the universe is a fact. That this universe wasn’t created by man is another does not call for debates. That neither science nor religion knows not how the universe came into existence is another fact. That this universe is put up or fabricated by a force with higher power (either natural or spiritual) than that of man is another undebatable fact. And finally, that man has no absolute control over what happened within the universe is yet another fact. If we knit these facts together, we see a power at work.
Since we have no knowledge of how the universe came into being, we've continued to offer explanations and attribute meaning to the power behind its existence and what kept it in continuous flux.
If lifeless proteins or breathless water molecules or muscles-less lipids or boneless carbohydrates or any other molecule for that matter can bring about life through their interactions; and work so effectively through complicated mechanism to handle all our body needs, then the one who designed and organized them must be masterly. This brings me to the point made by Einstein, “Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.” This is why I say science does not complicate God in any way.
What Einstein Want Us To Know about Prayer?
Albert Einstein has been tagged an atheist because of his reply to a letter sent to him by a grade six Sunday School child asking if Scientist prays and what they pray for if they do. The letter was dated 19 January 1936, and Einstein replied to that letter was dated 24 January 1936.
Einstein wrote in reply, “Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being. However, it must be admitted that our actual knowledge of these laws is only imperfect and fragmentary, so that, actually, the belief in the existence of basic all-embracing laws in Nature also rests on a sort of faith. All the same, this faith has been largely justified so far by the success of scientific research.”
Then I ask, does this reply justify the claim that Einstein does not believe in God or Prayer? Again, NO! Einstein sincerely wants the little girl to know that science or scientific research is an evidence-based affair, which though subject to faith, is not credited to prayers. Yes, to embark on any scientific research, one needs to possess and push with such a faith similar to that of a hunter. While we hope and pray our hypothesis pulls through, we also know that the alternative hypothesis is possible. It’s like casting a dice. Could the outcome of throwing a dice be determined by prayer? How do we prove it does or does not? Either way, what are the chances? 50-50, I guess. That’s exactly the point Einstein was making above. However, that 50% chance in favor, will not come until we try. That’s why Louis Pasteur said in his famous and widely quoted phrase: “In the field of observation, chances favors only the prepared mind”.
Again, Einstein was reported asking a doctoral student to find out about prayer when he was asked by the doctoral student what was left in the world for original dissertation research. “Find out about prayer. Somebody must find out about prayer” he was quoted.
What exactly does Einstein want us to know about prayer?
Firstly, I think Einstein wanted us to treat prayer as an extensive field of human study just like nuclear physics, Nano-science or biochemistry. If he was disinterested about prayer, he wouldn’t ask someone to take a research in prayer.
Secondly, Einstein wanted us to understand the importance of prayer as a component of human life and existence. He was neither blind nor naïve about the subject. Perhaps, prayer played a role in his own life as a pantheist. This is one point my atheist friends will never admit. Surely, they will argue that Einstein has no religion. Hey, Einstein was a pantheist and he is deeply spiritual being like anyone of us. Who wants to prove otherwise?
Thirdly, Einstein was deeply spiritual as provided by his writings on religion, spirituality, and humanity. His successes in science do not take from him the spiritual or religious nature, and Einstein himself attested to this fact on many occasions.
Fourthly, Einstein knows that man cannot exist without yearning which manifests in faith and prayers. As a scientist, he possibly had found himself yearning for a particular result. This yearning which is innate in every one of us cannot be absent in Einstein. However, he probably wanted us to spend more time working for human progress than we spent praying. James, one of the apostles of Christ believe and preach the same. “Faith without work is dead” James 2:26
Lastly, Einstein wanted humanity to see God as simple, loving, and compassionate: one who loves his creatures with the tender love of a father. It’s from this viewpoint Einstein wrote: “When the answer is simple, God is speaking.”
With this article, I hope my atheist friends will see Einstein as he is, not as they have thought or hope he should be. More so, I hope people stop taking religion or men’s opinion on who God is or should be and begin to know Him through every atom, element, and particle. God is the big deal. If you want to truly know Him, you must see Him in every atom, molecule, and creature that you ever set your eyes each day. Everything in the universe depicts God, and you can’t argue or prove otherwise.
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