Saturday, November 18, 2006

Still an atheist? Thank God!

Emboldened by the debate on atheism, I hunted down this piece on Einstein that speaks about his views on God:

Refining his views as he went along, he called his religion a ‘cosmic religious sense’. In The World As I See It he wrote: “You will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without a peculiar religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the religion of the naive man. For the latter, God is a being from whose care one hopes to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands to some extent in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with awe.”

“But,” he said, “the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation. The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past. There is nothing divine about morality, it is a purely human affair. His religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that, compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings is an utterly insignificant reflection.”

I agree. As a student of physics, I often wondered how gravitational force everywhere could be given by a simple formula. How every falling body went down at an acceleration of 9.8 m/s/s. How water flowing though a pipe ensures that the product of pressure and volume remains constant. Clearly, all this need not have been so. The world could have several thousand other permutations and still survive, but it doesn't, and one must ask, WHY? Why does the world run on simple equations that can be readily assimilated by the human mind, and exploited to make conditions of living better?

Surely, there is more to it than meets the eye. It can't all be co-incidence, can it now?


Gary Steele said...

No at times it's decisions made before you are actually thought of.. at times its more like an inherited curse... and at times a vice...and at times is a conditional sorta thing... einstein was a guy who had no brains... now thats what u gotta think bout!!!

P:S: sup sup???

Vikram Johri said...

Hey Gary, good to have you back, if only to have you write another one of your dopey posts :)

how have you been?

Frank Wilson said...

Einstein nothwithstanding, I would suggest that the authentic religious perception of reality is what Wordsworth describes in "Tintern Abbey":
And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And the blue sky, and in the mind of man;
A motion and a spirit, that impels
All thinking things, all objects of all thought,
And rolls through all things.

Vikram Johri said...

In my view, And rolls through all things, in describing that feeling of utter silence, utter peace, speaks of something beyond expression - what may be called the God experience.