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Right Conceptions & Misconceptions About Albert Einstein —The Christian Perspective—

Albert Einstein

Albert Einstein has become a folk hero in today’s world. You see his image on T-shirts and hear him quoted by virtually every special group around from environmentalists to politicians to religionists. Much of what is attributed to Einstein is myth, and many claims about him that you hear are stories without factual base.

1. Einstein’s irreligious childhood: Einstein was born into a Jewish family, but his parents and most of his close families were totally irreligious. His father referred Jewish rituals as “ancient superstitions”. Because his parents had no faith in Judaism and they sent their son to a Catholic school in the neighborhood. Einstein experienced some anti-Semitism, and as he grew older he became deeply religious, obeying all of the Jewish ordinances including dietary restrictions. He even composed hymns for the glorification of God which he sang to himself as he walked home from school.

When he was twelve years old, Einstein was exposed to David Hume’s atheistic philosophy, and to view of science that opposed religion and taught that the State and the Church intentionally deceive young people through lies. This caused Einstein to avoid religious rituals and to have an aversion to Jewish dogma and authority. He said that he had a profound reverence for the harmony and beauty of what he called the mind of God as it was expressed in the creation of the universal and its law, but he rejected all forms of dogma and authority.

2. Einstein did not flunk Math: A prevailing myth repeated even by “Ripley’s Believe it or Not” is that Einstein failed math as a child. This is simply not true. Before Einstein was 15 he had mastered differential and integral calculus. Einstein’s grades were always at the top of his class. As a twelve-year old, Einstein was deriving geometric theorems on his own including a previously unknown proof of the Pythagorean Theorem. Those of us who attempt to justify poor showing in mathematics on the basis of Einstein are picking a bad choice to justify our struggles.

3. Einstein was not an atheist: When a Boston cardinal warned American youth to beware of Einstein because he was an atheist, a New York rabbi cabled Einstein asking “Do you believe in God?” Einstein replied, “I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the harmony of all being”.

Shortly after his 50th birthday, Einstein was interviewed by George Sylvester Viereck. Viereck asked Einstein if he was an atheist to which Einstein said, “I’m not an atheist, the problem involved is too vast for our limited minds, we are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn’t know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God. We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws.”

One of the most interesting answers Einstein gave to Viereck was his response to how Christianity had influenced him. Einstein said “I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene. I accept the historical Jesus. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life.”

4. Einstein did not believe in a personal God: In spite of his strong statement about Jesus Christ, Einstein said he “could not conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals or would sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation.” He went on to say that he believed “in Spinoza’s God, who reveals himself in the lawful harmony of all that exists, but not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

5. Einstein refused the post of president of Israel: Einstein openly supported the cause of formation of a Jewish State in Palestine. In 1948, a Jewish State took shape in the form of Israel. In 1952, Einstein was requested to accept the post of President of Israel but he had politely refused and said, “I have little knowledge about nature, but I hardly know anything about human beings. During my entire life, I have dealt with physical objects. I have neither the capacity nor any experience of dealing with human beings.”

6. Einstein committed a great mistake: Einstein had emphasized that matter is nothing but energy. This was proved by atomic bomb. His famous formula E=mc2 formed the basis of nuclear energy. But Einstein was deeply disturbed by the destruction that atom bomb had unleashed. Later he said, “I made one great mistake in my life… when I signed the letter to President Roosevelt recommending that atom bombs be made.”

7. Einstein’s five articles changed the world: In 1905, Albert Einstein published five articles, within a span of seven months that laid down the foundation of modern physics.

I) Photo electric effect: Einstein explained that when light falls on metals like potassium, tungsten etc they emit electron. This he called “photo electric effect.” He was awarded Nobel Prize for this work in 1921.

II) Brownian Motion: This was about the motion of free particles in a fluid.

III) Special theory of Relativity: Einstein showed that physical quantities like mass, length and time are not constant but vary with the velocity of the body. This theory was so complicated that only few scientists could understand it fully at that time.

IV) E=mc2: Einstein gave the revolutionary idea establishing the equivalence of matter and energy. The formula E=mc2 derived from the Special Theory of Relativity relates energy and matter. Here E stands for energy, m for mass and c for velocity of light. The atom bomb was a result of this formula.

V) Photons: In this article Einstein proved that light travels in the form of photons or particles of energy.

8. Special theory of Relativity against false philosophy of Relativism: Until the publication of Albert Einstein’s Special Theory of Relativity, the scientific world was controlled by Newtonian physics. Einstein’s theory that space and time are relative, rather than absolute, rewrote the laws of physics.

Being the scientist that he was, Einstein refused to accept completely his equations as true until they were proven by empirical observation. Einstein designed three tests for this purpose. The most important of these tests was that a ray of light just grazing the surface of the sun must be bent by 1.745 seconds of arc. On May 29, 1919, Sir Frank Dyson, an astronomer, photographed a solar eclipse for purpose of confirming or disproving Einstein’s theory. On June 3, 1919, when the measuring and calculations were completed, Dyson had proven that Einstein’s theory was true.

Albert Einstein became a global hero, applauded by the masses. No one deserved these accolades more than Einstein, because he turned the world on its end by his discovery. His fame lives and thrives to this day.

The most tragic result, however; of Einstein’s theory is the theory of relativity became confused with the false philosophy of relativism. All of a sudden the world began to say that there were not absolutes at all. Many philosophers were quoting Einstein in proof of their fallacious notions that truth is relative rather than absolute.

The tragic thing is that Einstein never intended to anyone to apply these concepts to matters other than time and space. Einstein believed in God and in absolute standards of right and wrong. For the rest of Einstein’s life until his death in 1955 he tried to refute this passionately illegitimate use of his theory. He lived to see the doctrine of moral relativism become social sickness.

Sadly, though Einstein never intended it, his theory was taken and misused by the philosophers to create and perpetuate the false idea that truth is relative. He also lived to see his fatal equation bring into being the horrors of nuclear warfare.

Today most people believe that truth is relative and there is no such thing as absolute right or wrong. As a result of these false ideas, the world had become lawless and reckless. People persist in evil and dare to tell them they are wrong. There is the deluded notion that everyone has a right to do his own thing without regard as to whether that thing might wrong, deadly, detrimental to the rest of the world, and most of all, contrary to God’s will.

Jesus said in John 8:32, “And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Our Lord spoke in terms of absolute truth which we could know and follow with complete confidence. This is the same truth that makes men free from the bondage of sin. While it may be true that time and space are relative, that principle never has and never will apply to God’s law. The hope of the world is to reject relativism and return again to God’s truth which saves the souls of obedient human beings.

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*The article is written by Dr Tualchin Neihsial.

(Courtesy: The Sangai Express)

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