The man whose intellect transcended all set norms and patterns, and changed the way we view our world, needs no introduction. Albert Einstein, the greatest scientist who graced the planet, opened up the dam to logical and scientific thinking, washing away with it specks of the supernatural and the ‘obvious’, as he let his thoughts flowed unbridled.
His contestation with reason and laws marked a beginning to an era characterized by deeper probings into the ways of the world. He shifted the focus from ‘what’ to ‘why’. It’s quite interesting to note then, that a man with an undisputed scientific temperament did not blatantly discarded the existance of a higher power of being, of a God to the lesser mortals.
Einstein has been described as an agnostic instead of an athiest. Even though both the terms point to a similar field of thought, there is an intrinsic difference between too. An atheist outrightly dismisses the existence of God whereas an agnostic propounds the preposition that it is impossible to prove the existence of God, and is noncommittal to the issue. No matter how miniscule the diffence between the two schools of thought may be, it is reflective of a larger understanding of the world as viewed by the thinker.
Einstein lost his faith in the institution of religion at a very early age. This distrust was not a result of an incident in specific, but was stemming out of a deeper set resentment towards the religious authorities which was, in his opinion, decieving the youth to satisfy their ulterior motives. ” Through the readings of popular scientific books I soon reached the conviction that much in the stories if The Bible could not be true. The consequence was a positively fanatic orgy of free thinking coupled with the impression that youth is intentionally decieved by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression”
Einstein’s perception of religion was not condescending- he did not take religious belief as a sign of stupidity, or disbelief as sign of intelligence. However, he did support the argument that it is ‘child like’ and ‘naive’ for one to believe that there exists a personal God who listens to prayers and grants relief to all the problems plaguing one’s life. He described his views to be near Spinoza: admiration of the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order which we can grasp only humbly and imperfectly. He held by the opinion that humans should content themselves with the ideas that are seeable, and quantifiable instead of stepping onto the realm of the unknown.
However, he did not regard the existance of a power higher than that of the limited intelligence of the human as something presumptuous. He believed that the divine revealed itself in the physical world and that his God created laws- his world works not on wishful thinking but on immutable laws. His comment, ” There must be something behind this energy” sheds light on his understanding of a superpower that is beyond the immutable laws of the world.