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The Power of Preference to Shape Beliefs

Writer/historian John Dickson writes about a social media post that annoyed his atheist friends. It was a portion of a 1929 interview of Albert Einstein by journalist George Viereck. What annoyed them was Einstein’s admiration for a historical figure found in the New Testament Gospels.

Veireck: To what extent are you influenced by Christianity?

Einstein: As a child, I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene.

Veireck: You accept the historical existence of Jesus?

Einstein: Unquestionably! No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. How different, for instance, is the impression which we receive from an account of legendary heroes of antiquity like Thesus. Thesus and other heroes of his type lack the authentic vitality of Jesus.

Dickson writes,

I literally had folks suggesting Veireck’s interview itself was a fraud, even though – as I pointed out – it was published in one of 20th-century America’s most widely read magazines. I had to dig it out of the archives and post screenshots of the relevant pages of the interview before some would believe that Einstein said such a thing … Such is the power of preference to shape what we believe!


John Dickson, Is Jesus History? (The Goodbook Company, 2019), pp. 10-11

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