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Albert Einstein: Pantheist or deist?

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From writer and filmmaker Paul Ratner at BigThink:

Some (including the scientist himself) have called Einstein’s spiritual views as pantheism, largely influenced by the philosophy of Baruch Spinoza. Pantheists see God as existing but abstract, equating all of reality with divinity. They also reject a specific personal God or a god that is somehow endowed with human attributes.

Himself a famous atheist, Richard Dawkins calls Einstein’s pantheism a “sexed-up atheism,” but other scholars point to the fact that Einstein did seem to believe in a supernatural intelligence that’s beyond the physical world. He referred to it in his writings as “a superior spirit,” “a superior mind” and a “spirit vastly superior to men”. Einstein was possibly a deist, although he was quite familiar with various religious teachings, including a strong knowledge of Jewish religious texts. More.

It does not sound as though Einstein was a metaphysical naturalist, as are large numbers of elite scientists today. Could naturalism be one reason some fields are basically stuck? (“We need fresh thinking here but humans did not evolve so as to perceive reality”)

In this connection, does anyone remember Antony Flew? Antony Flew died at 87 in 2010:

Roy Varghese has just notified me of the death of Professor emeritus Antony Flew, the rationalist philosopher who died on April 8 aged 87, spent much of his life denying the existence of God, and then in 2004, dramatically changed his mind.

See also: Antony Flew considered Richard Dawkins a bigot.

and

Evolution bred a sense of reality out of us

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One suspects no further information will ever be available. Here is a Dawkinsian take on the subject.

4 Replies to “Albert Einstein: Pantheist or deist?

  1. 1
    Axel says:

    Einstein apparently said – and it makes sense of his manifest deism – that he was perhaps closest to a a panENtheist, i.e. a believer in an immanent God, yet by no means coterminous with (the) Creation (that He manifestly must have, Himself, created*).

    I believe he may have been conceding it to someone who put it to him, but I can’t remember for sure. Of course atheists like to push the more well-known Spinozan line.

    *My interpolation.

    I doubt if the negative effects of the Nazi horror of WWII, with particular reference to the Jewish people can be exaggerated, still less, perhaps, their effect on the religious beliefs of the great theoretical physicists of the day.

    As a child, Einstein was very taken with Christianity, but was put off his in God by an older boy whom he greatly admired.

  2. 2
    Axel says:

    ‘It does not sound as though Einstein was a metaphysical naturalist, as are large numbers of elite scientists today. Could naturalism be one reason some fields are basically stuck? (“We need fresh thinking here but humans did not evolve so as to perceive reality”)’

    It strikes me that he had difficulty concealing his contrempt for the atheist Establishment, hegemonic even in his day.

    I particularly love his asseertion to the effect that he rated imagination over intelligence – something the militant atheists would choke over, if they were capable of honesty – focusing entirely, as they do, for all their aping of a Einstein’s belief in imagination and intuition, on the unaided, superfical, linear, analytical intelligence.

    Which is why I see them as parasites battening on today’s religious physical hegemon, QM, which they could never have even dreamed of in their mechanistic ‘mound top’ – to transpose the ironic metaphor of Thatcher’s Sermon on the Mound (a steep hill on top of which the Church of Scotland HQ is perched, and holds its annual, General Assembly.

    She had given a speech there, after her people had repeatedly harassed the C of S to be permitted to do so, predictably covering herslf with glory by asserting that the real message of the parable of the Good Samaritan was that you need to have money in your wallet !

  3. 3
    SpareHeadOne says:

    I am a pantheist and I do not reject a personal God or a God that we are made in the image of.

  4. 4
    mahuna says:

    Did you ever wonder why Al Einstein wasn’t on ANY of the US development projects during WW2? The answer is simple: EVERYBODY knew Al was a Communist, or more exactly a Fellow Traveler, since he apparently never had a membership card or paid dues to any Communist organization. But he was quite literally sleeping with a Russian spy. Everybody knew THAT, too, including Al’s wife.

    So I’d go with full goose Atheist.

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