Saturday, March 23, 2013

From ‘Einstein's God. Conversations about science and the human spirit’ by Krista Tippett

…..opening line of Reinhold Niebuhr’s twentieth-century theological classic The Nature and Destiny of Man: “Man has always been his own most vexing problem.” ….Einstein’s dismayed observation, as chemists and physicists became eager purveyors of mid-twentieth-century weaponry, that technology in his generation was like a razor blade in the hands of a three-year-old…. Einstein came to understand his contemporary, Mahatma Gandhi, and other figures such as Jesus, Moses, St. Francis of Assissi, and Buddha, as “spiritual geniuses” – “geniuses in the art of living ….more necessary to the sustenance of global human dignity, security and joy than the discovers of objective knowledge.”

….. St. Augustine …..the reverence for the human physical experience…..

Men go forth to wonder at the heights of
mountains, the huge waves of the sea,
the broad flow of the rivers, the vast
compass of the ocean, the courses of the
stars: and they pass by themselves
without wondering.

…….concise description by Einstein of his quintessential “faith”:

A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, of the manifestations of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty – it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute the truly religious attitude; in this sense, and in this alone, I am a deeply religious man I cannot conceive of a god who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the type of which we are conscious in ourselves …. Enough for me the mystery of the eternity of life, and the inkling of the marvelous structure of reality, together with the single-hearted endeavor to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the reason that manifests itself in nature.

…quote….attributed to Philo of Alexandria ….. “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a great battle.”

….Darwin…. quote of Francis Bacon that he put opposite the title page of The Origin of Species:

Let no man …think or maintain that a man can search too far or be too well studied in the book of God’s word, or in the book of God’s works …. but rather let men endeavor an endless progress or proficience in both.

Einstein said this funny thing, that only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity. And then he said, “I’m not so sure about the universe.”

Jane Kenyon: “We try a new drug, a new combination of drugs, and suddenly I fall into my life again.”

Sir John Polkinghorne …..Genesis stories … he points out that these are lyrical, theological writings. There were not composed as scientific texts. The early Christians, he says, knew this, and only in the later medieval and Reformation times did people begin to insist on literal interpretation. To read a work of poetry as a work of prose, he analogizes, is to miss the point.

….a passage in Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s Letters and Papers from Prison where he’s reflecting on that in the mid-twentieth century. He writes that if God is consigned to the unknowable and we’re learning more and more, then God is always being pushed further and further out of human experience.

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