‘Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.’
by Eunice Minford | Photograph by Alan Johnston
Albert Einstein, one of the most influential physicists of the 20th century and a world-renowned scientist, was also deeply religious. It was he who said that:
‘science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind’
He recognised the profound interconnectivity of these two disciplines, in the process exposing the futility and utter ignorance and arrogance of those who choose to hold either one supreme.
Neither science nor religion alone can provide all the answers to life and the world we live in.
Today, there are those who champion science as the only way to know and understand anything and who give no credence to other ways of knowing outside that sphere. Their dogmatic and fundamentalist scientific perspective is as rigid and ignorant as that of the most ardent religious fundamentalists they decry – a case of the blind challenging the blind.
Einstein understood and knew that science was but one branch from a tree of wisdom that is available and accessible to us all to aid our understanding, our way of living and ultimately our evolution and freedom – that we may become all that we are for the greater good of the whole.
‘All religions, arts and sciences are branches of the same tree. All these aspirations are directed toward ennobling man's life, lifting it from the sphere of mere physical existence and leading the individual towards freedom.’
Religion for Einstein was not about a personal God but was the Cosmic God revealed through the laws of nature and life, the inherent order sensed behind the chaos, the sense of awe and wonder at the grandness of universe we inhabit and the intricate harmony and delicate balance he perceived within and behind creation.
‘The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science. He to whom the emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand wrapped in awe, is as good as dead —his eyes are closed. The insight into the mystery of life, coupled though it be with fear, has also given rise to religion. To know what is impenetrable to us really exists, manifesting itself as the highest wisdom and the most radiant beauty, which our dull faculties can comprehend only in their most primitive forms—this knowledge, this feeling is at the center of true religiousness.’
‘The human mind, no matter how highly trained, cannot grasp the universe. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different tongues. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend, but only dimly suspects. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations.’
‘Try and penetrate with our limited means the secrets of nature and you will find that, behind all the discernible laws and connections, there remains something subtle, intangible and inexplicable. Veneration for this force beyond anything that we can comprehend is my religion. To that extent I am, in fact, religious.’
Einstein was touched by the beauty of nature and the human soul – and knew that what lay within was more important than the wrapper or clothes it came in. He recognised the falsity of focusing on outer adornments with no attention being given to the quality that lay within.
‘If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it.’
At the same time, and perhaps surprising to those who value the scientific and rational mind above all else, he knew that there was another source of intelligence or wisdom from which he was inspired and which enabled him to make his scientific discoveries. On this aspect he was very clear . . .
‘I didn't arrive at my understanding of the fundamental laws of the universe through my rational mind.’
‘The intellect has little to do on the road to discovery. There comes a leap in consciousness, call it intuition or what you will, the solution comes to you and you don't know how or why.’
One of Einstein’s key contributions was the equation E=mc2 – the equation that underpins the fact that the fundamental stuff of the Universe is energy. Einstein is attributed with the following explication:
‘Concerning matter, we have been all wrong. What we have called matter is energy, whose vibration has been so lowered as to be perceptible to the senses. There is no matter.’
My sense is that Einstein did not just reach this conclusion from his scientific discoveries but also from his religiosity and felt sense of the interconnectivity of all life and the immutable energetic laws that govern the Universe. It was through his connection with his soul, not his limited mind, that he was able to know and understand some of what he calls the mysteries of life.
‘Our separation from each other is an optical illusion.’
‘It is humankind's duty to respect all life, not only animals have feelings but even also trees and plants.’
Being aware of the fact that everything is interconnected, he knew the futility of nationalism:
‘Nationalism is an infantile thing. It is the measles of mankind.’
And the harm that comes from living a life devoted to pure self-indulgence.
‘A life directed chiefly toward the fulfilment of personal desires will sooner or later always lead to bitter disappointment.’
Although he described himself as a loner and someone who relished solitude, he also knew that we are to help each other, to work not just for ourselves but for something greater than ourselves, that our interdependence and connectivity calls us to evolve ourselves and the way we live, not just for ourselves, but for the greater good of the whole.
‘Man can find meaning in life, short and perilous as it is, only through devoting himself to society.’
Perhaps surprisingly for a scientist, he stated that improving the world could not be done with scientific knowledge and pointed to the great religious leaders and teachers like Jesus and Buddha as having done more for the world than science has done, through bringing the teachings from the heart of man, empowering people to adhere to their inner wisdom of love. How many of today’s scientists would agree with such views? Einstein knew the primacy of love – and he knew the world he inhabited in science was not open to that: how little has changed unfortunately!
And so we can see the threads that come together to weave a unified theme and message through his work, his life and his words. He was by no means perfect in the lived consistency or quality of his life regarding that theme, but none of us are perfect and it does not detract from the truth and relevance of what he shared. He joined the dots of his scientific discoveries regarding energy and his deeply felt sense of God and a religiosity that was deeply honouring of the sacredness of life, nature and the laws of the Universe. Whilst there may be a tendency to compartmentalise what was science and what was religious in nature, a tendency that today is rampant, this is a fallacy, that betrays the fact that both emerge from the same tree, the same source, and are deeply intertwined in a truly holistic understanding of life and the Universe.
Today science and religion are often described as being at war, each battling for domination and desire to be the supreme authority regarding the nature of life and how to live it. This is a battle that will never be won, for it flies in the face of true wisdom that knows that each has its part to play, not just as solitary or part players contributing to the whole, but that there is an interdependence and interconnectivity between them that is needed in order to maximise what each can bring to the table. The whole outplay of the harmonious and synergistic interactivity of the parts is greater than the sum of their parts as isolated and individual components.
For example, in contrast to many scientists today who ridicule and dismiss religion as a relevant power in the world, Einstein attributed religion as being the source or true power behind his scientific endeavours and that he could not imagine any true scientist not being similarly inspired.
‘I maintain that the cosmic religious feeling is the strongest and noblest motive for scientific research.’
‘But science can only be created by those who are thoroughly imbued with the aspiration toward truth and understanding. This source of feeling, however, springs from the sphere of religion. To this there also belongs the faith in the possibility that the regulations valid for the world of existence are rational, that is, comprehensible to reason. I cannot conceive of a genuine scientist without that profound faith. The situation may be expressed by an image: science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.’
‘Every one who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit vastly superior to that of man, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.’
And so it is to our detriment and the detriment of the evolution of mankind that we persist in attempting to understand life and the Universe through a fragmented and compartmentalised approach that has science in one corner and religion in another in rigid opposition, unwilling to consider that each just might have something to offer the other, that together enhances our understanding of the whole sphere of life.
We need science and scientific research to continue our understanding of the mechanics of the world we live in and the bodies we inhabit. But we must also realise that science has its limitations and it is not the only way of knowing what we know. Not everything in life that is important and relevant to living a rich, rewarding and healthy life can be measured and assessed and verified scientifically in the way we understand science today, and even if it was possible it would be void of meaning.
Music, described scientifically as variations of wave pressure, is very different to the felt experience that results from listening to it. To have a world reduced to merely the scientific process, equations, numbers and mechanics is to strip it bare of the deep richness that comes when it is imbued with meaning, human experience, religiosity and ultimately the magic of God. To see a rainbow simply as a spectrum of electromagnetic energy (light) caused by the refraction, reflection and dispersion of light in water droplets is to deny the beauty, radiance and unspoken but deeply felt transmission of that particular constellation.
‘Many of the things you can count, don't count. Many of the things you can't count, really count.’
The fact is our scientific endeavours and religious understandings would both be significantly enhanced if each welcomed the other and the wisdom that they have to share. Of course all religious teachings must also be discerned and this is not a carte blanche advocacy for all-comers of religion, as I am well aware of the many evils that reside in so-called religious teachings. However, the fact that religion has been bastardised does not mean that all religious teachings are null and void and without reason, meaning or purpose. There remains a true religious way that has been presented for aeons – a way that is founded upon the love that God is and that we are. A scientist inspired from this true religious heart will seek to expand our understanding of life and the universe for the greater good of all and not for self-aggrandisement or self-serving motives that can result in the depths of corruption and sponsored science that we see today.
There are religious qualities, morals and ethics that spring from the true heart of religion and philosophy, that give our lives meaning and purpose and which guide our behaviours and inform our scientific endeavours so that mankind acts for the greater good of the whole and thus do not choose to pursue practices that are contra to that.
‘You are right in speaking of the moral foundations of science, but you cannot turn around and speak of the scientific foundations of morality.’
We can look at the cells of the liver under the microscope and understand the different enzymatic reactions involved in the metabolic processes of that organ and how it is affected in illness and disease – but that tells us nothing of the experience of the individual who has that disease, what it is like to live with that condition or what it was in their life story that drove them to live in such a way that the harmony of their liver was destroyed and with it the harmony of their body – for a disease of a part of the body, impacts the whole of the body. Experience is a key source of knowledge and in medicine and science we are all too ready to dismiss the personal experience as anecdotal when really it is a living science. Each human being is a scientific experiment in action, where our bodies get to reveal the results of the lived experiments we have performed on them.
Although this article has focused predominantly on religion and science through the lens and words of Einstein, these are only two of the three pillars that are needed to form a whole and true understanding of life. We need not just science but also philosophy and religion if we are to bring a true understanding and relationship to illness and disease – to understand the reasons why people have lived the way they have, the quality of their relationship with themselves and how that has impacted their life, their choices and their health including their relationship with illness and disease.
We can never have a true and full understanding of medicine, health, illness and disease and healing as long as we continue with a fragmented approach to the study of the human body and life.
Serge Benhayon, a modern day philosopher and practitioner of the esoteric healing arts, has been delivering to mankind a way of understanding life that brings the wisdom of all three pillars –science, religion and philosophy – together to form a one unified truth that gives credence to each of the parts and their place in the whole symphony of life. Like Einstein, he recognises and knows that there is but one true source from which all three pillars spring, with no one part seeking dominance or supremacy over another. He raises the bar on understanding life by drawing on all three disciplines in a way that is relatable, practical and easily understood – deftly weaving the different strands into one harmonious and beautiful tapestry. His presentations bring an all encompassing way of understanding life, God, the Universe, the human condition, illness, disease and healing – because they come from the one source of wisdom that can only be all encompassing by its nature, where no part is left out or denied.
Serge is renowned for presenting on the energetic truth of life – where everything is known at its most fundamental nature, in the realm of energy first. In doing so, he has brought forth ways of understanding the human body, illness and disease, at the level of energy that are not yet recognised within the current scientific paradigm and are therefore dismissed or ridiculed as being quackery by those invested in scientism and the current medical paradigm and who are unwilling to consider that a non-scientifically trained, non-medically trained practitioner could deliver anything of value to the field. Such is the mighty arrogance and supremacy of the scientific mind that is not imbued with the wisdom of the soul.
Einstein knew there was a source of wisdom and intelligence that did not come from his mind, which means that his source was not the man ‘physicist’ i.e. he was not the root of his intelligence and subsequent discovery. Call him humble, honest or immensely both, either way he did not hold back in sharing the source of his intellect, a source that is innately accessible to all – it is our soul. He also recognised that those who deliver truth or wisdom from the soul are often met with opposition.
‘The man with the greatest soul will always face the greatest war with the low minded person.’
‘Great spirits have always encountered opposition from mediocre minds. The mediocre mind is incapable of understanding the man who refuses to bow blindly to conventional prejudices and chooses instead to express his opinions courageously and honestly.’
For Einstein true religion was ‘real living; living with all one’s soul’ and Serge Benhayon is someone who does just that and who expresses what he knows to be true irrespective of the ‘mediocre minds’ who attempt to oppose, criticise and denigrate him. He is someone who sees with his own eyes and feels with his own heart – something that Einstein recognised few truly did unencumbered. Serge lives true religion; true relationship in full acknowledgement of the interactivity of all life; through observation he understands, lives and applies true philosophy and he activates true science every day in the way that he lives, treats his clients, honours his body and is guided by the impulses of his soul.
So let us cease this futile separative battle between religion and science and honour the truth of Albert Einstein and Serge Benhayon, two of many past and present, who know that there is only one true source of wisdom from which the pillars of life – science, religion and philosophy – arise. Let us no more be blind, lame and crippled by our refusal to see that each is a necessary part of the whole, but instead remove the blinkers, see clearly and walk tall in the understandings and lived application of true religion, true philosophy and true science to know that we are not just little pieces of individuated animated flesh whizzing around the globe for a few or seventy years, but that we are majestic, beautiful, glorious beings of light unavoidably and eternally interconnected with all that is and at one with the true source of all life and wisdom, our heavenly Father, God.
In doing so we may begin to drop our self-centred and self-indulgent separative ways to deeply know and live the truth of these words that marry the pillars of science, religion and philosophy:
‘A human being is a part of the whole called by us universe, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feeling as something separated from the rest, a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty.’
All quotes are accessible from the internet and are used in trust as the words of Einstein. Many, including the lead quote, are also found and verified to be true in the scholarly work of Max Jammer “Einstein and Religion”. This book also affirms the nature of Einstein's religiosity and the key premises as stated in this article.