Albert Einstein

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Albert Einstein Albert Einstein (March 14, 1879 – April 18, 1955) was a theoretical physicist widely regarded as the most important scientist of the 20th century and one of the greatest physicists of all time. He played a leading role in formulating the special and general theories of relativity; moreover, he made significant contributions to quantum theory and statistical mechanics. He was awarded the 1921 Nobel Prize for Physics for his explanation of the photoelectric effect in 1905 (his "wonderful year") and "for his services to Theoretical Physics."

Einstein's Religion

Einstein is often claimed by theists as one of their number. In fact Einstein's views were highly personal and complex. Here are a few selected quotes on the subjects of God and religion:

  • "It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it."
    • Letter sent March 24, 1954
  • "I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with the fates and actions of human beings."
    • Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 502
  • "I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our own -- a God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."
    • New York Times, 19 April 1955, quoted from James A. Haught, "Breaking the Last Taboo" (1996)
  • He described conventional religious thought as "an attempt to find an out where there is no door"
    • Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 516
  • "Strange is our situation here on Earth. Each of us comes for a short visit, not knowing why, yet sometimes seeming to divine a purpose. From the standpoint of daily life, however, there is one thing we do know: that man is here for the sake of other men -- above all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness depends."
    • 2000 Years of Disbelief, p. 241

For more quotes from Einstein on these subjects, see his page on the Positive Atheism site.

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