Was Einstein a Christian?

Essay by Kendab April 2004

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If you were able to ask a room full of people what certain words meant, you would find that there were many different understandings about each word you presented.

For example "cup". As soon as the word is sounded, the imagination finds a definition. The "cup" you thought of might be floral and delicate, or white and ornate with a large handle, or plain, or solid, or a modern thing with a small handle. Or you might think of a beer mug, or a metal cup, or something made of pewter. There are thousands of different options.

When one listens to scientists talking about mysteries, they quite often use the word "God" to summarise the unknown. Stephen Hawking did this, and so did Einstein. In fact Einstein once said "God does not play dice with the universe". Just what, exactly, did he mean when he used the word "God"?

Albert Einstein was born in 1879 of German Jewish parents.

He was not brought up in the Jewish faith, but was instead sent to a nearby Catholic elementary school in Munich, and then to the local high school. He was described as a rather slow and dreamy student, who was bored with non-scientific subjects - not an outstanding prospect for someone who went on to be one of the most brilliant thinkers in recent history!

At age 11 he went through a religious phase, in which he ate no pork, and composed songs to God, which he sang to himself on the way to scjhool. From age 12 on he read popular books on science, taught himself algebra, geometry and calculus, and studied Immanuel Kant's anti-theistic (anti-God) 'Critique of Pure Reason'.

Concerning this time of life, Albert later wrote "Through the reading of popular scientific books I soon reached the...