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Letter from an alumnus about Einstein a believer/Einstein’s faith observed

Date Posted: November 26, 2004

The issue of what Einstein did and didn’t say about the existence of God (Letters, Oct. 6 and Nov. 17) is of minor historical interest. Of most importance is the fact that modern science largely supports Stan Stevenson ’53’s recollection of what Einstein said about God in the University Chapel in the spring of 1952; that indeed, “It’s all too perfect for there not to be something.”

Christopher E. Smith ’73
Burlington, N.C.

Date Posted: November 26, 2004

May I offer another observation of Albert Einstein’s religious faith?

In either 1942 or 1943 the Princeton Chapel Choir presented Bach’s The Passion According to St. John, both at Princeton and in Carnegie Hall. On the night of a final dress rehearsal, Dr. Einstein joined a few of us, and we sat late into the night discussing the music, its meaning, scripture, and Einstein’s perception of creation and a creator, both beginning and ongoing.

He discussed his perception of the universe that certainly almost demanded a power that he was willing to equate with a non-personal God. His views are expressed in depth in his book Albert Einstein, Out of My Later Years, first published the year after his death. It is wonderful reading. Rather than try to summarize its essence, I suggest that it be read. I leave you with one quote: “Science without religion is lame; religion without science is blind.”

Garth K. Graham ’45
West Chester, Pa

Date Posted: November 17, 2004

Jeffrey Shallit ’79 has criticized my synopsis of Albert Einstein's remarks during a University Chapel service (Letters, Nov. 3). As his authority, Shallitt has quoted from an Einstein letter written two years after the Chapel service.

With respect, Einstein's letter seems more to corroborate, rather than negate, my version of what Einstein said on the earlier occasion.

In Einstein's letter he clearly acknowledged something in himself “which (could) be called religious” based on his “unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.” Einstein's awe was reflected in his Chapel remarks which, as my earlier letter (Oct. 6) noted, was to the effect that “it’s all too perfect for there not to be ‘something.’” That “something” I called “God.” Einstein did not himself use the “G” word.

If that was not clear to Mr. Shallit from my earlier letter, I regret his confusion.

Stan Stevenson ’53
Toronto, Canada

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