Excerpted from The Quotable Einstein by
Alice Calaprice, Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, See pp. 145 -
Why do you write to me "God should punish the English"? I have no close
connection to either one or the other. I see only with deep regret that
God punishes so many of His children for their numerous stupidities, for
which only He Himself can be held responsible; in my opinion, only His
nonexistence could excuse Him.
Letter to Edgar Meyer colleague January 2, 1915 Contributed by Robert
Schulmann; also see CPAE Vol. 8 (forthcoming).
Reverence Before Nature
In every true searcher of Nature there is a kind of religious
reverence, for he finds it impossible to imagine that he is the first to
have thought out the exceedingly delicate threads that connect his
1920; quoted in Moszkowski, Conversations with
Einstein p. 46
Religious Feeling in Science
Everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes
convinced that a spirit is manifest in the laws of the Universe-a spirit
vastly superior to that of man.... In this way the pursuit of science
leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is indeed quite
different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
Letter to a child who asked if scientists pray, January 24, 1936;
Einstein Archive 42-601
God and Goodness
Whatever there is of God and goodness in the universe, it must work
itself out and express itself through us. We cannot stand aside and let
God do it.
From conversation recorded by Algernon Black, Fall 1940; Einstein
Superpersonal Objects and Goals
A religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt about
the significance of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither
require nor are capable of rational foundation.
Nature 146 (1940), p. 605
Philosophy and Reason
I would not think that philosophy and reason themselves will be man's
guide in the foreseeable future; however, they will remain the most
beautiful sanctuary they have always been for the select few.
Letter to Benedetto Croce, June 7, 1944; Einstein Archive 34-075;
also quoted in Pais, Einstein Lived Here
My position concerning God is that of an agnostic. I am convinced that
a vivid consciousness of the primary importance of moral principles for
the betterment and ennoblement of life does not need the idea of a
law-giver, especially a law-giver who works on the basis of reward and
Letter to M. Berkowitz, October 25, 1950; Einstein Archive 59-215
The Religious Character of Science
I have found no better expression than "religious" for confidence in
the rational nature of reality, insofar as it is accessible to human
reason. Whenever this feeling is absent, science degenerates into
Letter to Maurice Solovine, I January 1, 1951; Einstein Archive
21-174, 80-871, published in Letters to Solovine,
Unbelief as Philosophy
Mere unbelief in a personal God is no philosophy at all.
Letter to V. T Aaltonen, May 7, 1952, on his opinion that belief ill
a personal God is better than atheism Einstein Archive 59-059
Einstein's Religious Feeling
My feeling is religious insofar as I am imbued with tile consciousness
of the insufficiency of the human mind to understand more deeply the
harmony of the Universe which we try to formulate as "laws of nature."
Letter to Beatrice Frohlich, December 17, 1952; Einstein Archive
An Unperceivable Being
To assume the existence of an unperceivable being ... does not
facilitate understanding the orderliness we find in the perceivable world.
Letter to an Iowa student who asked, What is God? July, 1953;
Einstein Archive 59-085
If God has created the world, his primary worry was certainly not to
make its understanding easy for us.
Letter to David Bohm, February 10, 1954; Einstein Archive 8-041
The Society of Friends
I consider the Society of Friends the religious community which has the
highest moral standards. As far as I know, they have never made evil
compromises and are always guided by their conscience. In international
life, especially, their influence seems to me very beneficial and
Letter to A. Chapple, Australia, February 23, 1954; Einstein Archive
59-405; also quoted in Nathan and Norden, Einstein on Peace P. 510
A Religious Nonbeliever
I am a deeply religious nonbeliever.... This is a somewhat new kind of
Letter to Hans Muehsam March 30, 1954; Einstein Archive 38-434
Awe of the Structure of the World
I don't try to imagine a God; it suffices to stand in awe of the
structure of the world, insofar as it allows our inadequate senses to
Letter to S. Flesch, April 16, 1954; Einstein Archive 30-1154
No Purpose in Nature
I have never imputed to Nature a purpose or a goal, or anything that
could be understood as anthropomorphic. What I see in Nature is a
magnificent structure that we can comprehend only very imperfectly, and
that must fill a thinking person with a feeling of humility. This is a
genuinely religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism.
1954 or 1955; quoted in Dukas and Hoffman Albert
Einstein the Human Side, p. 39
A man's moral worth is not measured by what his religious beliefs are
but rather by what emotional impulses he has received from Nature during
To Sister Margrit Goehner, February 1955; Einstein Archive 59-831
My religion consists of a humble admiration of the illimitable superior
spirit who reveals himself in the slight details we are able to perceive
With our frail and feeble minds. That deeply emotional conviction of the
presence of a superior reasoning power, which is revealed in the
incomprehensible Universe, forms my idea of God.
Quoted in the New York Times obituary
April 19, 1955