Thursday, March 26, 2009

Prolegomena - scientists and theologians

Albert Einstein is one of the greatest scientists of all times.
He did not believe in God

To say the obvious, Judaism, Christianity and Islam are religions.

The essence of religion is faith. This faith is not devoid of content that relates to everyday life.

Faith has many consequences to individual and social life.

Religion is a belief system rather than a knowledge system. Not all people share the same faith and not everyone is religious.

There is no scientific evidence that God exists and there is no proof that God has created the universe. If there was such proof there would be no need for faith. Everyone would know that God exists as he would be visible and not hidden and no faith would be necessary.

In his letter to the early Christians in Rome apostle Paul writes words that ring true also in our modern world:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;

Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them.

For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:

Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, and changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.

Romans 1:18-23

The scientist justly asks "what has a religion that is based on faith have to do with space research and cosmology that are based on mathematical theories and experimental research?"

The theologian answers "from our religious point of view we cannot contribute to the study of interstellar space bubbles. Instead, we are asking ourselves what your research contributes to our faith."

The thing is - genuine faith in God is not something under your control so that you just say "okay, now I will begin to believe" or "okay, now I stop believing".

But there is help on the way. We can always ask God to give us more faith in His grace.

One day in Galilee about two thousand years ago a very distressed man brought his seriously sick child to Jesus of Nazareth. He was talking about an evil spirit that is dangering the life of his son by suddenly throwing him to water or fire. Today we might probably identify these symptoms as some kind of epilepsy.

And one of the multitude answered and said, Master, I have brought unto thee my son, which hath a dumb spirit; And wheresoever he taketh him, he teareth him: and he foameth, and gnasheth with his teeth, and pineth away: and I spake to thy disciples that they should cast him out; and they could not.

He answereth him, and saith, O faithless generation, how long shall I be with you? how long shall I suffer you? bring him unto me. And they brought him unto him: and when he saw him, straightway the spirit tare him; and he fell on the ground, and wallowed foaming.

And he asked his father, How long is it ago since this came unto him?

And he said, Of a child. And ofttimes it hath cast him into the fire, and into the waters, to destroy him: but if thou canst do any thing, have compassion on us, and help us.

Jesus said unto him, If thou canst believe, all things are possible to him that believeth.

And straightway the father of the child cried out, and said with tears, Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief.

When Jesus saw that the people came running together, he rebuked the foul spirit, saying unto him, Thou dumb and deaf spirit, I charge thee, come out of him, and enter no more into him.

And the spirit cried, and rent him sore, and came out of him: and he was as one dead; insomuch that many said, He is dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, and lifted him up; and he arose.

Mark 9:17-27 KJVA

Einstein and God
The recently published letter written in1954 by Albert Einstein to Eric Gutkind demonstrated how he despised religion as a product of human weakness. One of the greatest scientists of all times, he had little patience to Bible stories and practical Judaism with belief systems behind Sabbath candles and the commandments from Mount Sinai. And to be honest, we must confess that many things we see in human religious behaviour and belief systems does not look all that logical for even a lesser mathematical thinker than very brainy Einstein. (It has been said that the shaft between the left and right sides of his brain was shorter than usual and these additional connections may have helped him to associate things in a very creative way).

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 which are nevertheless pretty childish.

Albert Einstein 1954

But Einstein's theories of relativity do have great importance also to all those who believe that God of Israel is the Creator of the universe. Einstein's thinking reveals something of the divine thinking that is manifest in the works of Creation.

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