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Albert Einstein Quotations: Albert Einstein on Science, God, and Religion

Was Albert Einstein an Atheist? A Freethinker? Did Einstein Believe in God?


What did Albert Einstein think about God, religion, faith, and science? Given his stature in the field of science, it's hardly surprising that everyone might want to claim him for their own agenda. Given the equivocal nature of some of his statements, this isn't as easy as one might hope. Nevertheless, Einstein wasn't always equivocal: he often stated clearly that he rejected the existence of a personal God, of an afterlife, of traditional religion, etc.

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

Sid 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.

2. Albert Einstein Quotes on Immoral Gods: How Are Popular Gods so Immoral?

Albert Einstein didn't merely disbelieve or even deny the existence of the sort of god traditionally asserted in monotheistic religions. Albert Einstein went so far as to deny that such gods could even be moral, if religious claims about them were true. Gods which presume to reward good and punish evil would themselves be immoral - especially if they were omnipotent and thus ultimately responsible for every event. Gods that reflect human frailty are not moral gods.

3. Einstein Quotes on Atheism & Freethought: Was Einstein an Atheist, Freethinker?

Albert Einstein is sometimes claimed by religious theists seeking the authority of a famous scientist for their theistic views, but Einstein denied the existence of the traditional concept of a personal god. Was Albert Einstein therefore an atheist? From some perspectives his position would be seen as atheism or no different from atheism. He admitted to being a freethinker, which in a German context is much the same as atheism, but it's not clear that Einstein disbelieved in all god concepts.

4. Albert Einstein Quotes on Life After Death: Einstein Denied an Afterlife

Belief in an afterlife and souls is a fundamental principle not only to most religions, but also most spiritual and paranormal beliefs today. Albert Einstein denied any validity to the belief that we can survive our physical deaths. According to Einstein, there is no punishment for misdeeds or rewards for good behavior in any afterlife. Albert Einstein's denial of the existence of life after death suggests that he didn't believe in any gods and is part of his rejection of traditional religion.

5. Einstein's Criticisms of Religions: Einstein was Very Critical of Religion

Albert Einstein used the word 'religion' frequently in his writings to describe his feelings towards scientific work and the cosmos, but he really didn't mean what is traditionally thought of as 'religion.' In fact, Albert Einstein had a lot of sharp criticisms for the beliefs, history, and authorities behind traditional theistic religions. Einstein didn't just reject belief in traditional gods, he rejected the entire traditional religious structures built around theism and supernatural belief.

6. Einstein Quotes on Science & Religion: Do Science and Religion Always Conflict?

The most common interaction between science and religion seems to be conflict: science finding that religious beliefs are false and religion insisting that science mind its own business. Is it necessary for science and religion to conflict in this manner? Albert Einstein seems to have felt not, but at the same time he often recounted just such conflicts occurring. Part of the problem is that Einstein seems to have thought there existed a 'true' religion that couldn't conflict with science.

7. Einstein Quotes on Ethics & Morality: Humans, not Gods, Define Morality

An important principle of most theistic religions is that morality originates with their god: there is no morality apart from their god and, in particular, apart from obedience to their god. This leads many to say non-believers cannot behave morally and/or cannot be moral. Albert Einstein denied that morality required or even could have a divine source. According to Einstein, morality is a purely natural and human creation - it's a part of being human, not a part of some supernatural realm.

8. Einstein Quotes on Mystery: How are Religion & Science Driven by Mystery?

Albert Einstein is often cited as a smart scientist who was also a religious theist, but both his religion and his theism are in doubt. He denied believing in any sort of traditional, personal god and he also rejected the traditional religions built around such gods. On the other hand, Albert Einstein expressed religious feelings. He always did so in the context of his feelings of awe in the face of the mystery of the cosmos. He saw the veneration of mystery as the heart of religion.

9. Einstein Quotes on Society, Politics: What were Einstein's Political Beliefs?

Religious theists who claim Albert Einstein as one of their own might want to take a closer look at his social, political, and economic beliefs. Many of Einstein's opinions would be anathema to conservative Christians today - and perhaps even some moderates as well. Not just an advocate of democracy in politics, Albert Einstein was a critic of capitalism who strongly favored socialist policies. Some conservatives might attribute this to his denial of traditional religion and traditional gods.

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