What did Einstein think of religion?
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Albert Einstein is regarded as one of the major geniuses of all time. Attaching his name to an idea immediately gives it a degree of credibility. Both believers and non-believers have claimed Albert Einstein as being on their side, both being able to produce quotations attributed to him that either supported the idea of a god, or firmly renounced it. Unfortunately, a number of the quotations lack documentary support, and perhaps this has led to a degree of confusion about what he really thought.
So what did Albert Einstein actually think? The answer may be in his private correspondence.
A letter which Einstein wrote to the German philosopher, Eric Gutkind, about a year before his death recently came to light through being auctioned after being held in private hands for over 50 years. It is very clear from this letter that Einstein was firmly in the camp of the non-believers and had been for most of his life.
On god he wrote:
"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
Born a Jew, he said on Judaism:
"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions."
He stated he had started questioning religion at 12 with the result:
"The consequence was a positively fanatic freethinking coupled with the impression that youth is being deceived by the state through lies; it was a crushing impression."
Einstein may, at times, have used religious terminology to express his awe at the workings of the Universe, but I suggest it is clear he had no faith in a deity, nor use for organized religion.