Last Update: 15 Aug 00
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REPLY #96 TO
(R) I have been reading your responses in the Religion essay section with interest. Two of the arguments against the existence of a Supreme Being that your briefly discussed are multiplicity and simplicity. Could you elaborate on these arguments, or point me to somewhere that does?
(MB) This was discussed in Reply #44d. The terms in question were brought up by the respondent in that message. Essentially, they are the opposing ends of views on the nature of God. In multiplicity, God is all things and is infinitely complex. In simplicity, God simply "is". To me, the two ideas seem to be mutually-exclusive. Since believers line up behind both of them, they can't all claim to be correct in their promotion of the nature of their God. Therefore, the believers really need to hash out their own internal difficulties before trying to push their claims on the rest of us.
(R) Also, when you talk about Einstein, you said that he didn't believe in God in any supernatural sense. Can you corroborate this with any independant testimony? I'm not calling you a liar, it's just that I've heard things elsewhere that state the opposite of what you're saying about Einstein.
(MB) You've likely heard lots of apologetic spin-doctoring which is primarily based upon Einstein's famous quote "God does not play dice". This was an argument against the random and unpredictable nature of quantum mechanics (an argument that Einstein would later recant). For his real views on whether or not he believed in God, the best source is Einstein himself. I offer the following quotes for your consideration:
"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."And, of course, there's this famous quotation from a 1932 speech called "My Credo" delivered to the German League of Human Rights:
"The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is."
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