A book chronicling the life history of Albert Einsten will be released this week and will reveal the deep religiosity of one of history's greatest minds.
Einstein: His Life and Universe, written by Walter Isaacson, records not only the science behind the genius, but also the humanistic aspects of him, including a deep belief in God. An excerpt from his book was recently published in a Time magazine article titled "Einstein & Faith," which specifically looked at the famed scientist's theory on a higher being.
"But the awe part comes in his 50s when he settled into a deism based on what he called the 'spirit manifest in the laws of the universe,'" wrote Isaacson in the book, "and a sincere belief in a 'God who reveals Himself in the harmony of all that exists.'"
Through his discoveries in physics and other sciences, Einstein felt that there was undoubtedly a force behind all existence that created all the laws that the world abides by. He even criticized atheists who he argued are missing on the very present link between science and faith.
"There are people who say there is no God," the physicist told a friend, according to the biography. "But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views."
In a later letter he wrote, "The fanatical atheists are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who – in their grudge against traditional religion as the 'opium of the masses' – cannot hear the music of the spheres."
Einstein was by no means a Christian. He had grown up as a German Jew, later leaving that faith. He did not believe in the Judeo-Christian concept of free will, but rather, that people were predetermined to act a certain way.
Despite, he still felt that people should act as if there was free will.
"I am compelled to act as if free will existed, because if I wish to live in a civilized society I must act responsibly," explained Einstein in Isaacson's book. "I know that philosophically a murderer is not responsible for his crime, but I prefer not to take tea with him."
In the biography, the author also shows how Einstein did feel compelled by the story of Jesus, seeing him as an integral part of history.
When asked whether he accepts the historical existence of Jesus, Einstein replied, "Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus.
"His personality pulsates in every word," he added. "No myth is filled with such life."
Current scientists today are also bridging the gap that many see between science and religion.
In an Apr. 6 commentary featured in CNN, Francis S. Collins, M.D., Ph.D., director of the Human Genome Project, shared about his Christian faith. He is also coming out with his own book, The Language of God: A Scientist Presents Evidence for Belief, to show how the two are related.
"I had always assumed that faith was based on purely emotional and irrational arguments," explained Collins in the commentary, "and was astounded to discover, initially in the writings of the Oxford scholar C.S. Lewis and subsequently from many other sources, that one could build a very strong case for the plausibility of the existence of God on purely rational grounds."
In contrast to Einstein, however, the Human Genome director noted that reason alone is not enough to understand God or to prove his existence.
"Faith is reason plus revelation, and the revelation part requires one to think with the spirit as well as with the mind," Collins wrote. "You have to hear the music, not just read the notes on the page. Ultimately, a leap of faith is required."
When asked how he could both be a scientist as well as a Christian, Collins noted that the two are more than compatible with each other.
"Actually, I find no conflict here, and neither apparently do the 40 percent of working scientists who claim to be believers," he explained. "I have found there is a wonderful harmony in the complementary truths of science and faith. The God of the Bible is also the God of the genome."
On the web: 'Einstein and Faith' book excerpt at 'Time.'