Why I feel sorry for Einstein.

One of CNN’s headlines this morning caught my eye: “Einstein Letter: God a Sign of Weakness”.  Naturally, I clicked and read on, learning of Einstein’s “God Letter”, a correspondence he wrote to his friend, Eric B. Gutkind, in response to Gutkind’s book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.  The letter was written the year before Einstein’s death and some claim it to be his final thoughts on God, revealing a true atheism despite being raised Jewish.  Here is an excerpt:

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation, no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

Here he is, Albert Einstein, scientist, inventor, father of the Theory of Relativity, Nobel Prize Winner, Princeton University Professor and I pity him.  I feel sorry for a man who was so brilliant, he couldn’t think beyond a concrete explanation to a Divine dimension without reason.  He wouldn’t allow his heart to enter the picture and consider that there was a God out there who might love him personally.  He was unable to reason to an answer without an equal sign.  Try to put God in a box and you’ll come up with an empty box.  That’s what I believe happened to Einstein.

If you have to spend your life arguing for or against God, you’ve missed the point.  He’s there for us.  Christ died for us.  You’ve also missed all the goodness a life of faith can offer.  Peace, patience, kindness, hope, goodness.  Look to Ephesians 5 and you’ll find ample reasons why believing is for one’s good.  Faith is not a burden, it is a gift.

For some, to look to Einstein and find fault would seem obtuse.  But for me, I see a man who was required to make the leap of faith and wouldn’t jump.  I feel sorry for him.

Because sometimes to live we need to blindly trust and fall back on a Creator who will catch us no matter what.

  • Ann

    I have to agree with you. We have missed the point if we have to give evidence to prove God exists. My faith is a gift, one that some of my close relatives do not share with me. I have often wanted to start a dialogue with them to encourage them toward faith but have never been able to find the words. Does anyone have experience with sharing their faith with someone close to you who was very much against it? I believe very much in the power of a person’s example and prayers, but are there words that are effective? I have tried in the past and it lead to a brick wall and hurt feelings no matter how delicately I tread. I would be interested to hear about anyone who has had a positive experience sharing the faith with their atheist relatives.

  • Jason in Ohio

    I bet he believes in God now!

  • Carl S.

    Marcus Aurelius once said “Live a good life. If there are gods and they are just, then they will not care how devout you have been, but will welcome you based on the virtues you have lived by. If there are gods, but unjust, then you should not want to worship them. If there are no gods, then you will be gone, but will have lived a noble life that will live on in the memories of your loved ones.” Albert Einstein the father of modern physics not only lived a noble life but his name will forever be synonymous with genius. I can think of billions of people on this planet to feel sorry for but he is far from one I am afraid.

  • Toryshane

    Were these the last thoughts on GOD from Einstein? This is a tough question but consider this. A mans life can only be measured in its fullness and only after that life is completed. A single letter written late in life can never be the sum of a mans experience or belief. For all the Jews who died in the Concentration camps, whose last thoughts while being led to their deaths was GOD must surely not be real to allow such a terrible thing to happen, do we call them atheists? Does the devout Christian who was murdered because of doctrinal differences lose credibility if in his last moments he questions GOD? No, God exists to be questioned. The bible, both old and New Testaments is nothing if not a long conversation between man and GOD, a conversation that has gone both ways and that allows more than enough room for outright finger pointing. Th e GOD whom Abraham negotiated with is the same GOD we pray to today. The Same GOD that LOT called out with no answer is still present. And when Christ hung on the cross and begged why have you forsaken me? Well, this is the same question that is asked every day all over the world. The same question that was asked in tearful whispers in the gas chambers of Auschwitz and the indeed the same question that lay at the heart of Einsteins letter.

    Can we measure a mans heart against a single letter from him as an old man? Or do we measure the life in its fullness a life lived by a man who also said “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.”

    It has been said that Einstein used references to GOD often. In fact to read his writings and see how often he invoked GOD you would be forgiven for assuming him to be a theologian. Because of this believers have embraced him as one of their own. This is a mistake. But no more so than the mistake atheists make when embracing Einstein as a symbol of unbelief by suggesting that he used Biblical language only for its value as metaphor, that he chose to speak of GOD because the language was poetic. IT is poetic, but not because the words themselves sound nice, they are poetic because they ring true and because they reach inside us and touch our hearts in a deeply profound way. A way that I would happily call primitive. And if being elevated to such wonderfully sublime language is only representative of human weakness then, well, The bible itself express how wonderfully weak human beings are. Eisenstein may have closed his life as an atheist or maybe agnostic or something else all together. He has never been as Jewish as his heritage would suggest and he never claimed to be Christian and yet his desire to seek out the universe came from a deep longing to commune with the divine. And this is the true measure of a man.


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