Einstein’s God

When the famous physicist Albert Einstein lectured at U.S. universities, the recurring question students asked most was, “Do you believe in God?” Who was Einstein’s God? And what can we make of that concept today?

Here’s a documented answer from a radiogram Einstein sent in answer to the question on April 25, 1928:

“I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God who concerns himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.”

Baruch de Spinoza was a Dutch philosopher. Along with René Descartes, Spinoza is considered one of the great rationalists of 17th century philosophy. He is often associated with Pantheism, a concept with roots as far back as ancient Greece, India, and China, among thinkers who grappled with concepts of a divine force permeating the world.

Condensing a half dozen resources I referenced to write this message, Pantheism sees the universe as imbued with a divine essence, a manifestation of the sacred. Its focus on the profound interconnectedness of all things fosters a worldview open to the potential divinity expressed through various religions and spiritual beliefs.

In 2020, a now forgotten blogger distilled one of those often photocopied and circulated tomes, which attempted to modernize one person’s interpretation of Spinoza’s view of God. It’s been floating around the Internet for sometime. Its viral nature speaks to our desire to make sense of the unknowable.

Any post addressing spiritual beliefs is likely to spur controversy. My intention rather is to inspire thought. As most of you know, I write as a catalyst to my own mindful study of how the world works and actions we as individuals can take to mitigate the suffering of others.

I hope you will digest the following point of view about the deification of spiritual energy with this in mind. Integrate what works. Toss the rest. Be kind to one another.

According to the point of view of the long forgotten author of the following, his or her concept of a pantheistic god might include this advice:

Stop praying. What I want you to do is go out into the world and enjoy your life. I want you to sing, have fun and enjoy everything I’ve made for you.

Stop going into those dark, cold temples that you built yourself and saying they are my house. My house is in the mountains, in the woods, rivers, lakes, beaches. That’s where I live and there I express my love for you.

Stop blaming me for your miserable life; I never told you there was anything wrong with you or that you were a sinner, or that your sexuality was a bad thing. Sex is a gift I have given you and with which you can express your love, your ecstasy, your joy. So don’t blame me for everything they made you believe.

Stop reading alleged sacred scriptures that have nothing to do with me. If you can’t read me in a sunrise, in a landscape, in the look of your friends, in your child’s eyes… you will not find me in a book!

Stop asking me “will you tell me how to do my job?” Stop being so scared of me. I do not judge you or criticize you, nor get angry, or bothered. I am pure love.

Stop asking for forgiveness, there’s nothing to forgive. If I made you… I filled you with passions, limitations, pleasures, feelings, needs, inconsistencies… free will. How can I blame you if you respond to something I put in you? How can I punish you for being the way you are, if I’m the one who made you? Do you think I could create a place to burn all my children who behave badly for the rest of eternity? What kind of god would do that?

Respect your peers and don’t do what you don’t want for yourself. All I ask is that you pay attention in your life, that alertness is your guide.

This life is not a test, not a step on the way, not a rehearsal, nor a prelude to paradise. This life is the only thing here and now. It can be all you need.

I have set you absolutely free, no prizes or punishments, no sins or virtues, no one carries a marker, no one keeps a record.

You are absolutely free to create in your life. It can be heaven or hell. It’s up to you.

I can’t tell you if there’s anything after this life but I can give you a tip. Live as if there is not. As if this is your only chance to enjoy, to love, to exist.

So, if there’s nothing after, then you will have enjoyed the opportunity I gave you. And if there is, rest assured that I won’t ask if you behaved right or wrong, I’ll ask. Did you like it? Did you have fun? What did you enjoy the most? What did you learn?

Stop believing in me; believing is assuming, guessing, imagining. I don’t want you to believe in me, I want you to believe in you. I want you to feel me in you when you kiss your beloved, when you tuck in your precious child, when you caress your dog, when you feel the sun on your face, when you dive into the cool renewal of the ocean.

Stop praising me, what kind of egomaniac God do you think I am?

Feeling grateful? Do not praise me or thank me. Prove it by taking care of yourself, your health, your relationships, the world. Express your joy! Praise me with your example, not your words.

Stop complicating things and repeating the dogma you’ve been taught about me.

Make your own miracles. Synchronicity is everywhere, but you have to initiate it yourself.

Happiness is a decision. Decide to be happy.

The only thing for sure is that you are here, that you are alive, that this world is full of wonders.

That last one resonates with me. I hope it touches your heart, too. If so, go out, experience the wonders of the world and make the most of every day.

Three quotes for your week ahead:

“Your assumptions are your windows on the world. Scrub them off every once in a while, or the light won’t come in.” – Isaac Asimov

“The test of a first-rate intelligence is the ability to hold two opposed ideas in the mind at the same time, and still retain the ability to function.” – F. Scott Fitzgerald

“An open mind leaves a chance for someone to drop a worthwhile thought in it.” – Mark Twain