NOBEL PRIZE WINNERS AND GOD
section was kindly contributed by researcher and author Tihomir Dimitrov.
It is only a fraction
of his e-book,
Who Believe in God,
on his site (http://nobelists.net/)
and which we hope will soon be published in print
in North America. We are very grateful to him for his
very inspiring and illuminating contribution.
50 NOBEL LAUREATES AND OTHER GREAT SCIENTISTS WHO BELIEVE IN GOD, comprises
religious quotations from the most influential scientists and writers in
In the course of my 11-year research I have studied hundreds of
books, articles and letters - primarily those found in the archives of the
National Library of Bulgaria (Sofia), Biblioteca Comunale di Milano and
the Austrian National Library (Vienna). I have also corresponded with many
contemporary Nobel Prize-winning scientists who have shared their personal
beliefs about God.
I believe that this book will inspire believers, will give hope
to seekers and that it will challenge those who think that religion and
contemporary science are in insurmountable conflict.
1. ALBERT EINSTEIN, Nobel
Laureate in Physics:
“I want to know how God created this world. I am not interested in this or
that phenomenon, in the spectrum of this or that element. I want to know His
thoughts, the rest are details.” (Einstein, as cited in Clark 1973, 33).
“The most beautiful and most profound emotion we can experience is the
sensation of the mystical. It is the sower of all true science. He to whom
this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer stand rapt in awe, is as good
as dead. That deeply emotional conviction of the presence of a superior
Reasoning Power, which is revealed in the incomprehensible Universe, forms
my idea of God.” (Einstein, as cited in Libby Anfinsen 1995).
Clark, Ronald W. 1985. The Life of Ernst
Chain: Penicillin and Beyond. London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson.
Anfinsen, Libby. 1995. Memorial speech for
Christian Anfinsen at Memorial Garden Dedication, Weizmann Institute.
November 16. (The Christian Anfinsen Papers. Profiles in Science.) U.S.
National Library of Medicine.
PS. A letter written by
Einstein to Gutkind was made public recently which appears to indicate that
Einstein became an atheist toward the end of his life. The author of this
web site contends that such conclusion is not necessarily justified.
Click here for
2. MAX PLANCK,
Nobel Laureate in Physics
In his famous lecture Religion and Science (May 1937) Planck wrote:
“Both religion and science need for their activities the belief in God, and
moreover God stands for the former in the beginning, and for the latter at
the end of the whole thinking. For the former, God represents the basis, for
the latter - the crown of any reasoning concerning the world-view.” (Max
Planck, Religion und Naturwissenschaft, Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius
Barth Verlag, 1958, 27).
“Religion represents a bond of man to God. It consists in reverent awe
before a supernatural Might [Macht], to which human life is subordinated and
which has in its power our welfare and misery. To remain in permanent
contact with this Might and keep it all the time inclined to oneself, is the
unending effort and the highest goal of the believing man. Because only in
such a way can one feel himself safe before expected and unexpected dangers,
which threaten one in his life, and can take part in the highest happiness -
inner psychical peace - which can be attained only by means of strong bond
to God and unconditional trust to His omnipotence and willingness to help.”
(Max Planck 1958, 9).
Planck, Max. 1958. Religion und
Naturwissenschaft. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth Verlag. XIV Auflage.
(Trans. Adam Roman).
3. WERNER HEISENBERG, Nobel
Laureate in Physics:
Heisenberg wrote: “The first gulp from the glass of natural sciences will
turn you into an atheist, but at the bottom of the glass God is waiting for
you.” [“Der erste Trunk aus dem Becher der Naturwissenschaft macht
atheistisch, aber auf dem Grund des Bechers wartet Gott.”] (Heisenberg, as
cited in Hildebrand 1988, 10).
In his autobiographical article in the journal Truth, Henry Margenau
(Professor Emeritus of Physics and Natural Philosophy at Yale University)
pointed out: “I have said nothing about the years between 1936 and 1950.
There were, however, a few experiences I cannot forget. One was my first
meeting with Heisenberg, who came to America soon after the end of the
Second World War. …Our conversation was intimate and he impressed me by his
deep religious conviction. He was a true Christian in every sense of that
word.” (Margenau 1985, Vol. 1).
Hildebrand, Ulrich. 1988. “Das Universum -
Hinweis auf Gott?”, in Ethos (die Zeitschrift für die ganze Familie),
No. 10, Oktober. Berneck, Schweiz: Schwengeler Verlag AG. Reprinted by
permission of the publisher, Schwengeler Verlag AG.
Margenau, Henry. 1985. “Why I Am a
Christian”, in Truth (An International, Inter-disciplinary Journal of
Christian Thought), Vol. 1. Truth Inc., in cooperation with the Institute
for Research in Christianity and Contemporary Thought, the International
Christian Graduate University, Dallas Baptist University and the
International Institute for Mankind. USA.
ERWIN SCHRÖDINGER, Nobel Laureate
In his famous book Nature and the Greeks (Cambridge University Press,
1954) Prof. Schrödinger writes:
“I am very astonished that the scientific
picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of
factual information, puts all our experience in a magnificently consistent
order, but it is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to
our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and
blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing
of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity. Science sometimes
pretends to answer questions in these domains, but the answers are very
often so silly that we are not inclined to take them seriously.”
(Schrödinger 1954, 93).
Schrödinger maintains that the human technical inventions have caused a
deterioration in Nature: “The grave error in a technically directed cultural
drive is that it sees its highest goal in the possibility of achieving an
alteration of Nature. It hopes to set itself in the place of God, so that it
may force upon the divine will some petty conventions of its dust-born
mind.” (Schrödinger, as cited in Moore 1990, 349).
¨ In the presentation of a scientific problem,
the other player is the good Lord. He has not only set the problem but also
has devised the rules of the game - but they are not completely known, half
of them are left for you to discover or to deduce. …The uncertainty is how
many of the rules God himself has permanently ordained, and how many
apparently are caused by your own mental inertia, while the solution
generally becomes possible only through freedom from its limitations. This
is perhaps the most exciting thing in the game.” (Schrödinger, as cited in
Moore 1990, 348).
Schrödinger, Erwin. 1954.
Nature and the Greeks. Cambridge University Press.
Moore, Walter John. 1990.
Schrödinger: Life and Thought. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
5. ROBERT MILLIKAN, Nobel
Laureate in Physics:
In an interview, entitled “A Scientist’s God” (Collier’s; October 24,
1925) Millikan stated:
“It pains me as much as it did Kelvin ‘to
hear crudely atheistic views expressed by men who have never known the
deeper side of existence.’ Let me, then, henceforth use the word God to
describe that which is behind the mystery of existence and that which gives
meaning to it. I think you will not misunderstand me, then, when I say that
I have never known a thinking man who did not believe in God.” (Millikan
“To me it is unthinkable that a real atheist
could be a scientist.” (Millikan, as cited in Grounds 1945, 22).
Millikan, Robert A. 1925. “A
Scientist’s God,” in Collier’s, The National Weekly. October 24.
Collier’s Publishing Company.
Grounds, Vernon C. 1945.
The Reason for Our Hope. Chicago: Moody Press.
6. CHARLES TOWNES, Nobel Laureate
On May 24, 2002, Charles Townes wrote a letter to the compiler T. Dimitrov.
To the inquiry, “What do you think about the existence of God?” Prof. Townes
gave the following answer: “I strongly believe in the existence of God,
based on intuition, observations, logic, and also scientific knowledge.” (Townes
Townes, Charles H. 2002a. A letter to the
compiler T. Dimitrov. May 24. Reprinted by permission of Charles H.
7. ARTHUR SCHAWLOW, Nobel Laureate
Arthur Schawlow described the relationship between religion and science in
the following way:
“Religion is founded on faith.
It seems to me that when confronted with the marvels of life and the
universe, one must ask why and not just how. The only possible answers are
religious. For me that means Protestant Christianity, to which I was
introduced as a child and which has withstood the tests of a lifetime."
“I find a need for God in the universe and in my own life.”
(Schawlow, as cited in Margenau and
Varghese, 1997, 107; and in Clausen 1995, 10).
Margenau, Henry, and Roy A. Varghese, eds.
1997. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science, God, and the
Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens. 4th ed. Chicago and La
Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company.
8. WILLIAM PHILLIPS,
Nobel Laureate in Physics.
In his lecture Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science, delivered at the
conference “Science and the Spiritual Quest” (20 April 2002, Paris), Dr.
William Phillips said: “Many scientists are also people with quite
conventional religious faith. I, a physicist, am one example. I believe in
God as both creator and friend. That is, I believe that God is personal and
interacts with us.” (Phillips 2002a).
In his letter to the compiler T. Dimitrov (19 May 2002) William Phillips
replied to several questions. To the inquiry, “What do you think about the
existence of God?” Dr. Phillips gave the following answer:
“I believe in God. In fact, I believe in a
personal God who acts in and interacts with the creation. I believe that the
observations about the orderliness of the physical universe, and the
apparently exceptional fine-tuning of the conditions of the universe for the
development of life suggest that an intelligent Creator is responsible. …I
believe in God because of a personal faith, a faith that is consistent with
what I know about science.” (Phillips 2002b).
William D. 2002a. Ordinary Faith, Ordinary Science. А public lecture
at the conference “Science and the Spiritual Quest II” (April 20; IUP).
UNESCO, Salle 1, Paris. Reprinted by permission of William D. Phillips.
Phillips, William D. 2002b.
A letter to the compiler T. Dimitrov. May 19. Reprinted by permission of
William D. Phillips.
9. SIR WILLIAM H. BRAGG, Nobel
Laureate in Physics:
Prof. Bragg wrote: “Christ’s rule and example showed God as our Father and
us as His children, a society in which love governs all. Then if we seek a
rule of conduct we should think of what we should like children to be like
and what we should wish them to do. We like them to be hardworking, eager,
cheerful, sympathetic. We like them to enjoy themselves thoroughly. We must
be sad and in pain sometimes, but let us be happy as much and whenever we
can, and whilst we are well and happy let us help all who are not. The more
we strive to enjoy ourselves the more happiness we shall be able to
communicate to others. For we trust that this life is a preparation: not a
final probation.” (Bragg, as cited in Caroe 1979, 164).
“What should be the principles of a nation? …Christ stated them in the form
of two Commandments: ‘Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart’,
and ‘Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.’ ” (Bragg, as cited in Caroe
Caroe, Gwendolen M. 1979.
William Henry Bragg (1862 - 1942): Man and Scientist. Cambridge
Caroe, Gwendolen M. 1979.
William Henry Bragg (1862 - 1942): Man and Scientist. Cambridge
10. GUGLIELMO MARCONI,
Nobel Laureate in Physics:
"Guglielmo Marconi wrote: “The more I work with the powers of Nature, the
more I feel God’s benevolence to man; the closer I am to the great truth
that everything is dependent on the Eternal Creator and Sustainer [Creatore
e Reggitore Eterno]; the more I feel that the so-called ‘science’ I am
occupied with is nothing but an expression of the Supreme Will, which aims
at bringing people closer to each other in order to help them better
understand and improve themselves.” (Marconi, as cited in Maria Cristina
Marconi 1995, 244).
In his letter to his wife Maria Cristina (Savoy Hotel, London, 17 March
1927) Marconi wrote:
“I know how much you love and cherish the
beautiful Nature - the expression of God’s Will - where one can find the
ideal eternal values: the Truth, the Beauty and the Good (and you possess
the three of them). The harmonious unity of causes and laws forms the Truth;
the harmonious unity of lines, colors, sounds, and ideas forms the Beauty;
while the harmony of emotions and the will forms the Good, which in being
the ultimate expression of the Eternal and Supreme Creator brings man to
completion and drives us to seek absolute perfection.” (Marconi, as cited in
Maria Cristina Marconi 1995, 260).
Cristina. 1995. Mio Marito Guglielmo. R.C.S. Libri e Grandi Opere
Rizzoli. (Trans. Raina Castoldi.
11. ARTHUR COMPTON, Nobel Laureate
In his article “Science and the Supernatural” (1946) Compton said:
“From earliest childhood I have learned to
see in Jesus the supreme example of one who loves his neighbors and
expresses that love in actions that count, who knows that people can find
their souls by losing themselves in something of great value, who will die
rather than deny the truth in favor of the popular view held by his most
respected contemporaries. That Jesus’ spirit lives so vitally in men today
makes me hope that by following in his footsteps in my small way I also may
live forever.” (Compton, as cited in Johnston 1967, 372).
Commenting on the first verse of the Bible in Chicago Daily News (12
April 1936), Arthur Compton stated his religious views: “For myself, faith
begins with the realization that a supreme intelligence brought the universe
into being and created man. It is not difficult for me to have this faith,
for it is incontrovertible that where there is a plan there is intelligence.
An orderly, unfolding universe testifies to the truth of the most majestic
statement ever uttered - ‘In the beginning God.’ [Genesis 1, 1].” (Compton
Johnston, Marjorie, ed.
1967. The Cosmos of Arthur Holly Compton. Introduction by Vannevar
Bush. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc.
Compton, Arthur H. 1936.
Quoted in Chicago Daily News (Magazine Section, Issue of April 12).
12. ARNO PENZIAS, Nobel Laureate
In connection with the “Big Bang” theory and the issue of the origin of our
highly ordered universe, Dr. Penzias stated to the New York Times on
March 12, 1978:
“The best data we have are exactly what I
would have predicted, had I had nothing to go on but the five books of
Moses, the Psalms, the Bible as a whole.” (Penzias, as cited in Bergman
1994, 183; see also Brian 1995, 163).
Arno Penzias’ research into astrophysics has
caused him to see “evidence of a plan of divine creation” (Penzias, as cited
in Bergman 1994, 183).
Jerry. 1994. “Arno A. Penzias: Astrophysicist, Nobel Laureate,” in
Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 46.3: 183-187, (9/1994).
The Journal of the American Scientific Affiliation.
13. ALEXIS CARREL, Nobel
Medicine and Physiology:
In Reflections on Life, Prof. Carrel expressed his attitude towards
“We are loved by an immaterial and
all-powerful Being. This Being is accessible to our prayers. We must love
Him above all creatures. And we ourselves must also love one another.
“Christianity offers men the very highest of moralities. …It presents to
them a God who can be adored because He is within our reach and Whom we
ought to love.” (Carrel 1952, Chap. 9, Part 4). “I want to be like smoke in
the wind at God’s disposal.” (Carrel, as cited in Newton 1989).
Carrel, Alexis. 1952.
Reflections on Life. London: Hamish Hamilton.
Newton, James D. 1989.
Uncommon Friends: Life with Thomas Edison, Henry Ford, Harvey Firestone,
Alexis Carrel, and Charles Lindbergh. Harvest Books.
14. SIR JOHN ECCLES,
Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology:
In his article “Modern Biology and the Turn
to Belief in God” that he wrote for the book, The Intellectuals Speak Out
About God: A Handbook for the Christian Student in a Secular Society
(1984), John Eccles came to the following conclusion:
“We come to exist through a divine act. That
divine guidance is a theme throughout our life; at our death the brain goes,
but that divine guidance and love continues. Each of us is a unique,
conscious being, a divine creation. It is the religious view. It is the only
view consistent with all the evidence.” (Eccles 1984a, 50).
In an interview published in the scientific anthology, The Voice of
Genius (1995), Prof. Eccles stated: “There is a Divine Providence over
and above the materialistic happenings of biological evolution.” (Eccles, as
cited in Brian 1995, 371).
John C. 1984a. “Modern Biology and the Turn to Belief in God,” in The
Intellectuals Speak Out about God: A Handbook for the Christian Student in a
Secular Society, ed. Roy A. Varghese. (Preface by the former United
States President Ronald Reagan). Chicago, IL: Regnery Gateway.
Brian, Denis, ed. 1995.
The Voice of Genius. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Perseus Publishing.
15. JOSEPH MURRAY, Nobel
Medicine and Physiology:
In an interview for the National Catholic Register (December 1-7,
1996), Prof. Joseph Murray asserts that there is no conflict between
religion and science:
“Is the Church inimical to science? Growing
up as a Catholic and a scientist - I don’t see it.
One truth is revealed truth, the other is
scientific truth. If you really believe that creation is good, there can be
no harm in studying science. The more we learn about creation - the way it
emerged - it just adds to the glory of God. Personally, I’ve never seen a
conflict.” (Murray, as cited in Meyer 1996).
“We’re just working with the tools God gave us. ...There’s no reason that
science and religion have to operate in an adversarial relationship. Both
come from the same source, the only source of truth - the Creator.” (Murray,
as cited in Meyer 1996).
Meyer, Gabriel. 1996.
“Pontifical Science Academy Banks on Stellar Cast.” National Catholic
Register (a weekly Catholic newspaper, founded in 1927). December 1-7.
Circle Media, Inc., North Haven, CT.
16. SIR ERNST CHAIN, Nobel
Laureate in Medicine and Physiology:
Concerning the Darwinian theory of evolution
Chain (who is a theistic evolutionist) states:
“I would rather believe in
fairies than in such wild speculation. …I have said for years that
speculations about the origin of life lead to no useful purpose as even the
simplest living system is far too complex to be understood in terms of the
extremely primitive chemistry scientists have used in their attempts to
explain the unexplainable that happened billions of years ago. God cannot be
explained away by such naïve thoughts.” (Chain, as cited in Ronald W. Clark,
The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond, Weidenfeld & Nicolson,
London, 1985, pp. 147-148).
In his public lecture “Social
Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society” (University of
London, February 1970) Sir Ernst Chain
“As far as my own actions are
concerned, I am trying to be guided by the laws, ethics and traditions of
Judaism as formulated in the Old Testament, which are, of course, also the
basis of Christianity. I am convinced, and have been for many years, that it
is impossible to construct a sort of absolute and generally applicable code
of ethical behaviour on the basis of scientific knowledge alone, if only for
the reason that our knowledge about the basic problems of life is far too
fragmentary and limited, and will always remain so.
Clark, Ronald W. 1985.
The Life of Ernst Chain: Penicillin and Beyond. London: Weidenfeld &
Chain, E. “Social
Responsibility and the Scientist in Modern Western Society,” Perspectives
in Biology and Medicine, Spring 1971, Vol. 14, No. 3, p. 366).
17. GEORGE WALD, Nobel Laureate in Medicine and Physiology:
WALD - THE STAUNCH
In 1954 Prof. George Wald (who was still an atheist at that time) wrote in
“The reasonable view was to believe in spontaneous generation; the only
alternative, to believe in a single, primary act of supernatural creation.
There is no third position. …Most modern biologists, having reviewed with
satisfaction the downfall of the spontaneous generation hypothesis, yet
unwilling to accept the alternative belief in special creation, are left
with nothing.” (Wald 1954, “The Origin of Life,” Scientific American,
191 : 45-46).
Nevertheless, George Wald
underwent an astonishing change of mind during
the early 1980s, and he came very close to religious mentality.
In 1984 Prof. Wald wrote: “In my life as
scientist I have come upon two major problems which, though rooted in
science, though they would occur in this form only to a scientist, project
beyond science, and are I think ultimately insoluble as science. That is
hardly to be wondered at, since one involves consciousness and the
The consciousness problem was hardly avoidable by one who has spent most of
his life studying mechanisms of vision. We have learned a lot, we hope to
learn much more; but none of it touches or even points, however tentatively,
in the direction of what it means to see. Our observations in human eyes and
nervous systems and in those of frogs are basically much alike. I know that
I see; but does a frog see? It reacts to light; so do cameras, garage doors,
any number of photoelectric devices. But does it see? Is it aware that it is
reacting? There is nothing I can do as a scientist to answer that question,
no way that I can identify either the presence or absence of consciousness.
I believe consciousness to be a permanent condition that involves all
sensation and perception. Consciousness seems to me to be wholly impervious
The second problem involves the special properties of our universe. Life
seems increasingly to be part of the order of nature. We have good reason to
believe that we find ourselves in a universe permeated with life, in which
life arises inevitably, given enough time, wherever the conditions exist
that make it possible. Yet were any one of a number of the physical
properties of our universe otherwise - some of them basic, others seemingly
trivial, almost accidental - that life, which seems now to be so prevalent,
would become impossible, here or anywhere. It takes no great imagination to
conceive of other possible universes, each stable and workable in itself,
yet lifeless. How is it that, with so many other apparent options, we are in
a universe that possesses just that peculiar nexus of properties that breeds
It has occurred to me lately - I must
confess with some shock at first to my scientific sensibilities - that both
questions might be brought into some degree of congruence. This is with the
assumption that Mind, rather than emerging as a late outgrowth in the
evolution of life, has existed always as the matrix, the source and
condition of physical reality - that the stuff of which physical reality
is composed is mind-stuff. It is Mind that has composed a
physical universe that breeds life, and so eventually evolves creatures
that know and create.”
Wald, George. 1954. “The Origin of
Life,” Scientific American, 191 : 44-53, August.
George Wald, 1984, “Life and
Mind in the Universe”, International Journal of Quantum Chemistry:
Quantum Biology Symposium 11, 1984: 1-15.
18. SIR DEREK BARTON, Nobel Laureate
Prof. Barton wrote: “God is Truth. There is no incompatibility between
science and religion. Both are seeking the same truth. Science shows that
God exists.” (Barton, as cited in Margenau and Varghese 1997, 144).
“The observations and experiments of science are so wonderful that the truth
that they establish can surely be accepted as another manifestation of God.
God shows himself by allowing man to establish truth.” (Barton, as cited in
Margenau and Varghese 1997, 145).
Margenau, Henry, and Roy A.
Varghese, eds. 1997. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science,
God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens. 4th ed.
Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company.
19. CHRISTIAN ANFINSEN, Nobel Laureate
To the question, “Many prominent scientists - including Darwin, Einstein,
and Planck - have considered the concept of God very seriously. What are
your thoughts on the concept of God and on the existence of God?” Christian
“I think only an idiot can be an atheist. We
must admit that there exists an incomprehensible power or force with
limitless foresight and knowledge that started the whole universe going in
the first place.” (Anfinsen, as cited in Margenau and Varghese, Cosmos,
Bios, Theos, 1997, 139).
Margenau, Henry, and Roy A.
Varghese, eds. 1997. Cosmos, Bios, Theos: Scientists Reflect on Science,
God, and the Origins of the Universe, Life, and Homo sapiens. 4th ed.
Chicago and La Salle, Illinois: Open Court Publishing Company.
WALTER KOHN, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry:
In the interview, entitled “Dr. Walter Kohn: Science, Religion, and the
Human Experience” (July 26, 2001), Dr. Kohn stated:
“I am Jewish and have a strong
identification with Judaism.
I would say I see myself as religious
simultaneously in two ways. One is that I have found that religion,
specifically the Jewish religion, has very much enriched my own life and is
something that I have conveyed to my children and feel their lives also have
been enriched by.
Secondly, I am very much of a scientist, and
so I naturally have thought about religion also through the eyes of a
scientist. When I do that, I see religion not denominationally, but in a
more, let us say, deistic sense. I have been influenced in my thinking by
the writings of Einstein who has made remarks to the effect that when he
contemplated the world he sensed an underlying Force much greater than any
human force. I feel very much the same. There is a sense of awe, a sense of
reverence, and a sense of great mystery.” (Kohn 2001a).
On May 23, 2002, Professor Kohn wrote a letter to the compiler T. Dimitrov.
To the question, “What do you think should be the relationship between
science and religion?” Walter Kohn replied: “Mutual respect. They are
complementary important parts of the human experience.” (Kohn 2002).
And to the inquiry, “What do you think about
the existence of God?” Walter Kohn gave the following answer: “There are
essential parts of the human experience about which science intrinsically
has nothing to say. I associate them with an entity which I call God.” (Kohn
Walter. 2001a. “Dr. Walter Kohn: Science, Religion, and the Human
Experience.” An interview in The Santa Barbara Independent. (July 26,
2001). Dr. Kohn was interviewed by John F. Luca. Santa Barbara, CA.
Kohn, Walter. 2002. A letter
to the compiler T. Dimitrov. May 23.
T. S. ELIOT, Nobel
Laureate in Literature.
“Lord, shall we not bring these gifts to Your service?
Shall we not bring to Your service all our
For life, for dignity, grace and order,
And intellectual pleasures of the senses?
The Lord who created must wish us to create
And employ our creation again in His service
Which is already His service in creating.”
Seen through the Eyes of the Greatest Minds, 2000, 116).
RUDYARD KIPLING, Nobel
Laureate in Literature:
“Father in Heaven who lovest all,
Oh, help Thy children when they call;
That they may build from age to age
An undefiled heritage.”
From “The Children’s
Song”, 1906, “Puck of Pook’s Hill”.
Kipling, Rudyard. 1989.
Rudyard Kipling, Complete Verse: Definitive Edition. Garden City, New
York: Anchor Press/Doubleday & Company, Inc.
Nobel Laureate in Literature:
“How easy it is for me to live with Thee Lord! How easy to believe in Thee!
When my thoughts pull back in puzzlement or go soft, when the brightest
people see no further than this evening and know not what to do tomorrow,
Thou sendest down to me clear confidence that Thou art, and will make sure
that not all the ways of the good are closed.” (From
Solzhenitsyn’s prayer, as cited in Burg and
Feifer 1972, 189; see also
Caputo, Michael, God -
Seen through the Eyes of the Greatest Minds, 2000, 155).
FRANÇOIS MAURIAC, Nobel Laureate in Literature:
“When I was twenty, would I
have been able to fight human loneliness: to remain alone, as I dare do
I was a victim of all those
illusions to which youth is always a prey, …all the qualities which make us
want to hurl ourselves into someone else’s arms to soothe the wounds of
loneliness, the yearning for a single human presence!
Today, in the evening of my life, I know the
final answer. It is Jesus Christ alone who quiets the radical anguish that
is in us - an anguish which is so consubstantial with the human condition
that it is cruelly manifest from childhood to the grave. The torment of
loneliness, the vacillating shadows of those we love as they leave us in the
horrible mysteries of death, the secret and permanent thirst we have for the
limitless gratification of our ego…
Our hearts remain full of
unseen idols until we are stretched on the wood of the Cross with Christ,
until we cease trying to nourish ourselves and our desires, and give
ourselves completely to the poor, to the needy, to the suffering members of
Christ’s body throughout the world…” (Mauriac, Notre Dame, 1964).
Mauriac, François. 1964.
Anguish and Joy of the Christian Life. Notre Dame, IN: University of
Notre Dame Press. (See also the edition of Dimension Books, Denville, N. J.,
HERMANN HESSE, Nobel
Laureate in Literature
“The fact that people think
they have their life on loan from God and do not want to use it
egotistically, but, on the contrary, they want to live it as service and
sacrifice to God, this experience and legacy, the greatest one, from my
childhood has had an extremely powerful influence on my life.” (Hesse
Hesse, Hermann. 1972.
Mein Glaube. Frankfurt am Main: Suhrkamp Verlag. (Trans. V. Daskalova).
26. SIR WINSTON CHURCHILL, Nobel Laureate in Literature:
In his speech “The 20th century - Its Promise and Its Realization” at the
MIT Mid-Century Convocation, Boston (March 31, 1949) Sir Winston
“Here I speak not only to
those who enjoy the blessings and consolation of revealed religion but also
to those who face the mysteries of human destiny alone. The flame of
Christian ethics is still our highest guide. To guard and cherish it is our
first interest, both spiritually and materially. The fulfilment of Spiritual
duty in our daily life is vital to our survival. Only by bringing it into
perfect application can we hope to solve for ourselves the problems of this
world and not of this world alone…
United we stand secure. Let us
then move forward together in discharge of our mission and our duty, fearing
God and nothing else.” (Churchill 1974, Volume VII, p. 7807ff).
“Above all, we have our faith that the universe is ruled by a Supreme Being
and in fulfilment of a sublime moral purpose, according to which all our
actions are judged.” (Churchill 1974,
Vol. VII, p.
Churchill, Winston S. 1974.
The Complete Speeches of Winston S. Churchill. Edited by Robert
Rhodes James. Volume VII (1943-1949) & Volume VIII (1950-1963). New York and
London: Chelsea House Publishers.
27. JEAN-PAUL SARTRE,
Nobel Laureate in Literature:
SARTRE - THE MILITANT ATHEIST
“…First of all, man exists, turns up, appears on the scene, and, only
afterwards, defines himself. If man, as the existentialist conceives him, is
indefinable, it is because at first he is nothing. Only afterward will he be
something, and he himself will have made what he will be. Thus, there is no
human nature, since there is no God to conceive it.” (Sartre 1957, 15-16;
see also Sartre 1988, 75).
Nevertheless, Sartre underwent a very surprising and unusual change of mind
towards the end of his life; in fact, he came very close to theistic
commitment. The magazine National Review (June 11, 1982) reported it
“Throughout his mature career,
the philosopher Jean-Paul Sartre was a militant atheist. Politically,
although he quarreled with Marxist materialism, his rhetoric was often
indistinguishable from the most heavy-handed Stalinist boiler-plate.
However, during the
philosopher’s last months there were some surprising developments. In 1980,
nearing his death, by then blind, decrepit, but still in full possession of
his faculties, Sartre came very close to belief in God, perhaps even more
than very close.
The story can be told briefly,
and perhaps reverently. An ex-Maoist, Pierre Victor, shared much of Sartre’s
time toward the end. In the early spring of 1980 the two had a dialogue in
the pages of the ultra-gauchiste Nouvel Observateur. It is
sufficient to quote a single sentence from what Sartre said then to measure
the degree of his acceptance of the grace of God and the creatureliness of
‘I do not feel that I am
the product of chance, a speck of dust in the universe, but someone who was
expected, prepared, prefigured. In short, a being whom only a Creator could
put here; and this idea of a creating hand refers to God.’
Students of existentialism,
the atheistic branch, will note that in this one sentence Sartre disavowed
his entire system, his engagements, his whole life. Voltaire
converted on his deathbed; one never knows, the brilliant old rascal is
supposed to have said.
… The epilogue is much less edifying. His
mistress, Simone de Beauvoir, behaved like a bereaved widow during the
funeral. Then she published La cérémonie des adieux in which she
turned vicious, attacking Sartre. He resisted Victor’s seduction, she
recounts, then he yielded. ‘How should one explain this senile act of a
turncoat?’, she asks stupidly. And she adds: ‘All my friends, all the
Sartreans, and the editorial team of Les Temps Modernes supported me
in my consternation.’
Mme. de Beauvoir’s
consternation v. Sartre’s conversion. The balance is infinitely heavier on
the side of the blind, yet seeing, old man.” (National Review, June
11, 1982, p. 677, article by Thomas Molnar - Professor of French and world
literature at Brooklyn College; see also
McDowell and Stewart 1990, 477).
Sartre, Jean-Paul. 1988.
“Existentialism Is a Humanism,” in An Introduction to Modern Philosophy.
Alburey Castell and Donald M. Borchert - editors. New York: Macmillan
Publishing Company, 1988.
McDowell, Josh and Don
Stewart, eds. 1990. Concise Guide to Today’s Religions. Amersham-on-the-Hill,
Bucks, England: Scripture Press. (First published in the USA by Here’s Life
Publishers, Inc., 1983).
SIGRID UNDSET, Nobel Laureate in Literature:
“ ‘He came to his own, and his
own did not receive him. But as many as received him, to them he gave power
to be the children of God.’ This is the Catholic faith, that an act of the
will on the part of man is unconditionally necessary before he can be saved.
…By his will, man turned from God; with his will he turns back to him. God
pours out his saving grace for us because of love alone and not because in
the least measure we have deserved or earned it; the Catholic Church teaches
nothing else.” (Undset 1993).
Undset, Sigrid. 1993. “Catholic
Propaganda.” In Sigrid Undset: On Saints and Sinners. (Proceedings of
the Wethersfield Institute; Deal W. Hudson - Editor). Volume 6, pp. 232-272.
Ignatius Press. San Francisco, CA.
30. ISAAC B. SINGER, Nobel Laureate in Literature:
In his Nobel Lecture (8 December 1978, Les Prix Nobel 1978), Isaac
Bashevis Singer said:
“I can never accept the idea that the
Universe is a physical or chemical accident, a result of blind evolution.
Even though I learned to recognize the lies, the clichés and the idolatries
of the human mind, I still cling to some truths which I think all of us
might accept some day. There must be a way for man to attain all possible
pleasures, all the powers and knowledge that nature can grant him, and still
serve God - a God who speaks in deeds, not in words, and whose vocabulary is
the Cosmos.” (Singer 1979).
“I’m a sceptic. I’m a sceptic about making a better world. When it comes to
this business where you tell me that this-or-that régime, one sociological
order or another, will bring happiness to people, I know that it will never
work, call it by any name you want. People will remain people, and they have
remained people under communism and all other kinds of ‘isms.’
But I’m not a sceptic when it comes to
belief in God. I do believe. I always did. That there is a plan, a
consciousness behind creation, that it’s not an accident.” (Singer, as cited
in The Brothers Singer by Clive Sinclair, London, Allison and Busby,
1983, p. 30).
Singer, Isaac Bashevis.
1979. Nobel Lecture (December 8, 1978), in Les Prix Nobel 1978. The
Nobel Foundation. Stockholm, Sweden: Almqvist & Wiksell International. (See
also Nobel Lectures in Literature 1968-1980. Sture Allen - editor.
Singapore: World Scientific Publishing Co. 1994).
Sinclair, Clive. 1983.
The Brothers Singer. London, New York: Allison and Busby.
STATESMEN AND PEACE-ACTIVISTS
ALBERT SCHWEITZER, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
In his sermon given at Lambaréné
in 1947 on the Sunday following the Feast of Saint John, Dr. Schweitzer
“If there should come a man
who was king of all the world - Europe, America, Asia, Africa - he would not
be the greatest of men. The true grandeur of a man is to understand the
heart of God. John had spoken the words of God when he said that now is the
time when the kingdom of God should come. He was greater than any of the
prophets because his heart was filled with the spirit of God. The others
said that it was still night, and they did not know when the dawn would
come. John, in the middle of the night, said, ‘The sun will rise’...
O God, we can never thank you
enough for the great preacher of the kingdom of God whom you have sent, the
man who gave us an example, the man who had strength to put into our hearts,
the man who was the servant of God. May he make us servants of God. We thank
you for all the riches that you have put within us. Give us to understand
these riches. May we desire to have your strength within us. Give us then
the will to be thy children. Amen!” (Schweitzer, as cited in The Africa
of Albert Schweitzer, by Charles Joy and Melvin Arnold, chapter “The
Feast of Saint John”, The Beacon Press, 1948).
Joy, Charles and Melvin
Arnold. 1948. The Africa of Albert Schweitzer. Boston: The Beacon
32. THEODORE ROOSEVELT, Nobel Laureate
Theodore Roosevelt, America’s 26th president, wrote:
“Fear God and take your own part! Fear God,
in the true sense of the word, means to love God, respect God, honor God;
and all of this can only be done by loving our neighbor, treating him justly
and mercifully, and in all ways endeavoring to protect him from injustice
and cruelty, thus obeying, as far as our human frailty will permit, the
great and immutable law of righteousness.” (Theodore Roosevelt, The
Theodore Roosevelt Treasury, New York, G. P. Putnam’s Sons, Hermann
Hagedorn - editor, 1953, p. 322).
“Christianity after all must largely be the attempt to realize that noble
verse of Micah, ‘What more doth the Lord require of thee than to do justly
and to love mercy and to walk humbly with thy God?’.
This verse has always been a favorite of
mine, because it embodies the Gospel of Works, with the necessary antidote
in the last few words to that hard spiritual arrogance which is brought
about by mere reliance on the Gospel of Works.” (Roosevelt 1953,
Roosevelt, Theodore. 1953.
The Theodore Roosevelt Treasury. Hermann Hagedorn - editor. New York: G.
P. Putnam’s Sons.
WOODROW WILSON, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
“From the laws of the Old and New Testaments every civilized nation has
taken the foundation of its laws. At no time can any nation be prosperous
whose laws are not founded upon these eternal principles of right and wrong,
of justice and injustice, of civil and religious liberty.
Above all, in these pages may be found the
most perfect rule of life the mind can conceive. Dimly through the Old, and
brilliantly through the New Testament, shines the principle of love to God
as the foundation and cause of men’s duties to God, to each other, and to
their own souls. One who forms his every-day life after the perfect model of
Christ’s life will himself be a model which no man can afford to despise,
besides thereby gaining for himself an assurance of everlasting life.”
(Woodrow Wilson, The Papers of Woodrow Wilson, 1966, Vol. 1, p. 185,
Arthur S. Link - editor, Princeton University Press).
Link, Arthur S., ed. 1966.
The Papers of Woodrow Wilson. Volume 1. Princeton, New Jersey:
Princeton University Press.
33. Nelson Mandela, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
In his speech at the Zionist Christian Church Easter Conference (Moria,
April 3, 1994) Nelson Mandela stated:
“We bow our heads in worship on this day and
give thanks to the Almighty for the bounty He has bestowed upon us over the
past year. We raise our voices in holy gladness to celebrate the victory of
the risen Christ over the terrible forces of death.
Easter is a joyful festival!
It is a celebration because it is indeed a
festival of hope!
Easter marks the renewal of life!
The triumph of the light of truth over the
darkness of falsehood!
Easter is a festival of human solidarity,
because it celebrates the fulfilment of the Good News!
The Good News borne by our risen Messiah who
chose not one race, who chose not one country, who chose not one language,
who chose not one tribe, who chose all of humankind!
We pray with you for the blessings of human
solidarity, because there are so many who wish to divide us!
We pray with you for the blessings of
reconciliation among all the people of South Africa!” (Mandela 1994).
Mandela, Nelson. 1994.
Speech at the Zionist Christian Church Easter Conference (Moria, 3 April
1994). African National Congress (ANC Historical Documents Archive).
Johannesburg, South Africa.
KIM DAE-JUNG, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
In a letter sent to his second son, Hong-up, on November 24, 1980, after Kim
Dae-jung was sentenced to death, he wrote: “Only the truly magnanimous and
strong are capable of forgiving and loving. Let us persevere, then, praying
always that God will help us to have the strength to love and forgive our
enemies. Let us together, in this way, become the loving victors.” (Kim
Dae-jung, Prison Writings, Berkeley: University of California Press,
1987, p. 6).
Kim Dae-jung. 1987.
Prison Writings. Berkeley: University of California Press.
DAG HAMMARSKJÖLD, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
“Give me a pure heart that I may see Thee,
A humble heart that I may hear Thee,
A heart of love that I may serve Thee,
A heart of faith that I may abide in Thee.”
(From Hammarskjöld’s prayer in Markings,
New York, Alfred A. Knopf, translation - W. H. Auden and Leif Sjoberg, 1964,
MARTIN LUTHER KING JR., Nobel Laureate for Peace:
Martin Luther King closed his last speech “I’ve been to the Mountain Top”
(April 3, 1968, Memphis, Tennessee) with the words:
“I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve
got some difficult days ahead. But it really doesn’t matter with me now,
because I’ve been to the mountain top. And I don’t mind. Like anybody, I
would like to live a long life; longevity has its place. But I’m not
concerned about that now. I just want to do God’s will. And He’s allowed me
to go up to the mountain. And I’ve looked over. And I’ve seen the Promised
Land. I may not get there with you. But I want you to know tonight, that we
as a people will get to the Promised Land. And so I’m happy tonight, I’m not
worried about anything. I’m not fearing any man. Mine eyes have seen the
glory of the coming of the Lord.” (Excerpt from Dr. King’s last speech,
before he was assassinated on April 4; see The Words of Martin Luther
King, Jr., NY, Newmarket Press, 1983, p. 94).
King, Martin Luther, Jr.
1983. The Words of Martin Luther King, Jr. (Selected by Coretta Scott
King). New York: Newmarket Press.
JOHN R. MOTT, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
“If our Gospel is the truth, we are under obligation to propagate it. If it
is not the truth we ought to forsake it. To attempt to occupy middle ground
is not simply inconsistency but is the most dangerous form of hypocrisy.”
(John R. Mott, The Pastor and Modern Missions: A Plea for Leadership in
World Evangelization, NY, Student Volunteer Movement, 1904).
“All men need Christ. We have Christ. We owe
Christ to all men. To know our duty and to do it not is sin. Continuance in
the sin of neglect necessarily weakens the life and arrests the growth. To
fail to do our duty then with reference to the peculiar opportunity of our
generation means the promotion of spiritual atrophy.” (Mott, 1904).
Mott, John R. 1904. The
Pastor and Modern Missions: A Plea for Leadership in World Evangelization,
New York: Student Volunteer Movement for Foreign Missions.
NATHAN SÖDERBLOM, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
Be before us to lead us,
Be behind us to encourage us,
Be beneath us to carry us,
Be above us to bless us,
Be around us to protect us,
Be within us so that in body and soul
We may serve you for the glory of your
(Söderblom, as cited in Etchegaray 2000, 4).
Etchegaray, Cardinal Roger. 2000. “All
is Possible When We Rely on Christ.” L'Osservatore Romano (Weekly
Edition in English), 2 February 2000, p. 4, The Cathedral Foundation,
JIMMY CARTER, Nobel Laureate for Peace:
“The Gospels recount how Jesus, having lived a perfect and blameless life,
accepted a death of horrible suffering on the cross on our behalf, as an
atonement for the sins we have committed. Accepting Christ as my savior
means believing all these things and entering into a relationship with God
through him, so that my past and future sins no longer alienate me from my
Putting our total faith in these concepts is
what is meant by being ‘born again.’ It’s when there is an intimate melding
of my life with that of Jesus: I become a brother with him, and God is our
mutual parent. This frees me from the strings that previously limited my
relationship with my Creator.” (Carter 1998, 20).
Carter, Jimmy. 1998.
Living Faith. NY: Times Books/Random House.