Ray Comfort has a new book called Einstein, God and the Bible, which seeks to rescue the great physicist from the evil clutches of atheists and agnostics. Two very predictable things: A) Comfort lies a lot in the book and B) the Worldnetdaily is terribly excited about the book. Ken Ham joins in too:
In the book’s foreword, Ken Ham offers a perspective on how atheists view Einstein: “In the propaganda war carried out today by the ‘angry atheists’ (as they have been dubbed), their standard-bearer is often the late great scientist Albert Einstein. In fact, why not use him as their poster boy, the atheists would argue, if he was the smartest man in the world of the past century and also an atheist? After all, if the most brilliant man in the world was an atheist, then shouldn’t all of us be smart enough to follow him and be atheists ourselves?”
Really? Which atheists make that argument, exactly? Quote some of them. Oh, you can’t? What a surprise.
Indeed, Comfort provides a plethora of actual quotes from the man himself. For example: “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.”…
“Although he clearly didn’t believe in a personal God (as revealed in the Bible),” Comfort contends, “Einstein wrote that he wanted to know ‘His’ thoughts, referred to God as ‘He,’ and acknowledged that He revealed ‘Himself.’ So, it is clear from his own writings that he didn’t believe the Creator of the universe was simply an unthinking ‘force.’ He gave God a gender, and he asked how God ‘created this world.’ In other words, it is evident that Albert Einstein wasn’t a pantheist (one who thinks that God and nature are one and the same). Neither did he profess atheism, of which he is often accused by atheists.”
Talk about a strained reading. There are two possibilities here: Einstein actually believed in a personal god, with a gender and identity, or he’s just using the culturally popular “He” to describe this impersonal creative force. Gosh, how could we possibly decide which is correct? Well, we could ask Einstein himself, who was rather irritated by Christians like Comfort during his lifetime claiming that he was one of them. He wrote to Joseph Dispentiere, who asked him about those claims:
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.
And as far as pantheism is concerned, Einstein made clear in a letter to Herbert Goldstein:
“I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all that exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”
And later in another letter to a Japanese scholar he specifically said his views could be described as pantheistic:
Scientific research can reduce superstition by encouraging people to think and view things in terms of cause and effect. Certain it is that a conviction, akin to religious feeling, of the rationality and intelligibility of the world lies behind all scientific work of a higher order… This firm belief, a belief bound up with a deep feeling, in a superior mind that reveals itself in the world of experience, represents my conception of God. In common parlance this may be described as “pantheistic” (Spinoza).
As with Darwin, there has always been some ambiguity when it comes to Einstein’s actual beliefs. For example, with the above quote, it’s clear Einstein at least dipped a toe into orthodoxy, yet he also referred to the Bible as a “collection of honorable, yet still primitive legends.”
Now let’s look at the full quote in context:
“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text.”
Kinda changes the meaning just a bit, don’t you think? This is just plain old-fashioned dishonesty, which is, of course, Ray Comfort’s specialty.