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VIRTUAL DEISM

 

 

Copyright October 26, 2008 12:18 AM CST

By Dr. Michael J. Bisconti

 

 

 

We begin this article with a brief discussion about Dr. Albert Einstein’s views on religion, with which we agree in part.

 

Einstein believed in something beyond science:

 

In his book The World as I See It, he wrote:  “A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which are only accessible to our reason in their most elementary forms—it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude….”

 

Einstein believed in the existence of God:

 

He is reported to have said in a conversation with Hubertus, Prince of Löwenstein-Wertheim-Freudenberg, "In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God.  But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."

 

Einstein believed in a God of nature:

 

In 1929, Einstein told Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, "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."

 

Einstein once wrote:  “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

 

Einstein once said, "The individual feels…the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves in nature…and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole."

 

In Einstein's view, "…the rule of…Divine Will [does not exist]…as…[a present,] independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted…by science, for [it] can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot."

 

Einstein did not believe in a personal God:

 

Einstein once said, "I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one."

 

Einstein once wrote:  “I do not believe in a personal god and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly.”

 

Einstein believed in the value of religion:

 

He argued that conflicts between science and religion "have all sprung from fatal errors."  "[E]ven though the realms of religion and science in themselves are clearly marked off from each other" there are "strong reciprocal relationships and dependencies…science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind…a legitimate conflict between science and religion cannot exist."

 

Now, in all these things we agree with Einstein, except one.  We believe in a personal God.

 

For the purpose of this article, we want to focus on Einstein’s views on God as the God of nature.  We repeat:

 

Einstein believed in a God of nature:

 

In 1929, Einstein told Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein, "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."

 

Einstein once wrote:  “If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.”

 

Einstein once said, "The individual feels…the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves in nature…and he wants to experience the universe as a single significant whole."

 

In Einstein's view, "…the rule of…Divine Will [does not exist]…as…[a present,] independent cause of natural events. To be sure, the doctrine of a personal God interfering with natural events could never be refuted…by science, for [it] can always take refuge in those domains in which scientific knowledge has not yet been able to set foot."

 

Based on Einstein’s words we conclude that Einstein was a:

 

Deist

 

A deist denies both “the interference of the Creator with the laws of the universe” and his personal involvement with his created beings; especially, human beings.  Bear in mind that, for Einstein, this was a personal belief, not a fact of science.  Now, we can see why Einstein may have arrived at this belief.  However, we believe, with all due respect to Dr. Einstein, that, had he given the subject more thought, he would have come to a different conclusion.  We believe he would have arrived at a belief in:

 

Virtual Deism

 

Virtual deism says that God is “directly and immediately involved with the laws of the universe but that one may experience the illusion that he is not involved with the laws of the universe and the illusion that he is not a personal God.”  Evidence for this, in our experience, is the following:

 

On one occasion, God confirms in our minds and hearts that he will provide a given blessing.  On another occasion, he does not.

 

Now, having enough experience of the goodness of God, we cannot believe that God has stopped loving us or that his love is on-again, off-again.  Rather, God is sending a message:

 

He wants us to live life by the principle of virtual deism; that is, he wants us to live as if he is not personally involved with us.

 

Now, why does God want us to live this way, to believe in virtual (not actual) deism?  The answer is:

 

Personal involvement prevents the use of the ability to foresee future needs and, thus, to respond to those needs.

 

One final note:  A defined period of time during which we do not practice virtual deism is acceptable.  This is because, the foresight-blocking effect of the personal involvement is temporary.

 

 

  

 

 

 

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