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Albert Einstein Quotes on a Personal God: Einstein Denied Personal Gods, Prayer

Albert Einstein Regarded Belief in Personal Gods as Fantasy, Childish

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Did Albert Einstein believe in God? Many religious theists cite Einstein as an example of a smart scientist who was also a religious theist like them. This supposedly rebuts the idea that science conflicts with religion or that science is atheistic. However, Albert Einstein consistently and unambiguously denied believing in personal gods who answered prayers or involved themselves in human affairs - exactly the sort of god common to religious theists claiming that Einstein was one of them.

1. Albert Einstein: God is a Product of Human Weakness

Clever Chap
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The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

Letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind, January 3, 1954

2. Albert Einstein & Spinoza's God: Harmony in the Universe

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.

- Albert Einstein, responding to Rabbi Herbert Goldstein's question "Do you believe in God?" quoted in: Has Science Found God?, by Victor J Stenger

3. Albert Einstein: It is a Lie that I Believe in a Personal God

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.

- Albert Einstein, letter to an atheist (1954), quoted in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman

4. Albert Einstein: Human Fantasy Created Gods

During the youthful period of mankind's spiritual evolution, human fantasy created gods in man's own image who, by the operations of their will were supposed to determine, or at any rate influence, the phenomenal world.

- Albert Einstein, quoted in: 2000 Years of Disbelief, James Haught

5. Albert Einstein: Idea of a Personal God is Childlike

I have repeatedly said that in my opinion the idea of a personal God is a childlike one. You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth. I prefer an attitude of humility corresponding to the weakness of our intellectual understanding of nature and of our own being.

- Albert Einstein to Guy H. Raner Jr., Sept. 28, 1949, quoted by Michael R. Gilmore in Skeptic magazine, Vol. 5, No. 2

6. Albert Einstein: Idea of a Personal God Cannot be Taken Seriously

It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I also cannot imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere.... Science has been charged with undermining morality, but the charge is unjust. A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.

- Albert Einstein, "Religion and Science," New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930

7. Albert Einstein: Desire for Guidance & Love Creates Belief in Gods

The desire for guidance, love, and support prompts men to form the social or moral conception of God. This is the God of Providence, who protects, disposes, rewards, and punishes; the God who, according to the limits of the believer's outlook, loves and cherishes the life of the tribe or of the human race, or even or life itself; the comforter in sorrow and unsatisfied longing; he who preserves the souls of the dead. This is the social or moral conception of God.

- Albert Einstein, New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930

8. Albert Einstein: Morality Concerns Humanity, Not Gods

I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. I cannot do this in spite of the fact that mechanistic causality has, to a certain extent, been placed in doubt by modern science. My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God.

- Albert Einstein, from Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman

9. Albert Einstein: Scientists Can Hardly Believe in Prayers to Supernatural Beings

Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the action of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a Supernatural Being.

- Albert Einstein, 1936, responding to a child who wrote and asked if scientists pray; quoted in: Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffmann

10. Albert Einstein: Few Rise Above Anthropomorphic Gods

Common to all these types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.

- Albert Einstein, New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930

11. Albert Einstein: Concept of a Personal God is the Main Source of Conflict

Nobody, certainly, will deny that the idea of the existence of an omnipotent, just, and omnibeneficent personal God is able to accord man solace, help, and guidance; also, by virtue of its simplicity it is accessible to the most undeveloped mind. But, on the other hand, there are decisive weaknesses attached to this idea in itself, which have been painfully felt since the beginning of history. ...

- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion (1941)

12. Albert Einstein: Divine Will Cannot Cause Natural Events

The more a man is imbued with the ordered regularity of all events the firmer becomes his conviction that there is no room left by the side of this ordered regularity for causes of a different nature. For him neither the rule of human nor the rule of divine will exist as an independent cause of natural events. ...

- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion (1941)

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