The occasional discussion of Einstein’s religious views arises during my interviews. Some think he was an atheist, while others maintain he was agnostic. I’ve always held the view that he was a theist, in that he believed there was some establishing and governing order or authority to the cosmos that was more than the sum total of its physical constituents, even though he didn’t interpret this as any of the various deities proposed by the world’s religions (including Judeo-Christianity). A few of his quotes allude to this governing authority like, “If there are laws, there has to be a lawgiver,” and “Quantum mechanics is impressive, but I am convinced that God does not play dice.” For those who are still unsure, here is another of Einstein’s quotes:
“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, and one in the face of which we with our modest powers must feel humble.”
Einstein was always very specific and precise with his use of words, so that his use of the term “spirit” was no mere, ambiguous metaphor.
Here are some quotes regarding religion from other noted scientific authorities:
"It was not by accident that the greatest thinkers of all ages were deeply religious souls."
--Max Planck, physicist famous for his work in quantum mechanics
“I am very astonished that the scientific picture of the real world around me is very deficient. It gives a lot of factual information, puts all our experiences in a magnificently consistent order, but is ghastly silent about all and sundry that is really near to our heart, that really matters to us. It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter and sweet, physical pain and physical delight; it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, god and eternity."
--Erwin Schroedinger, physicist, Nobel Prize winner and famous for his quantum enigma model nicknamed “Schroedinger’s Cat”
“From religion comes a man's purpose; from science, his power to achieve it. Sometimes people ask if religion and science are not opposed to one another. They are: in the sense that the thumb and fingers of my hands are opposed to one another. It is an opposition by means of which anything can be grasped."
--William H. Bragg, Nobel Prize winning physicist
“I find it as difficult to understand a scientist who does not acknowledge the presence of a superior rationality behind the existence of the universe as it is to comprehend a theologian who would deny the advances of science."
--Wernher Von Braun, aerospace scientist and father of the Saturn V rocket
“Science can have a purifying effect on religion, freeing it from beliefs of a pre-scientific age and helping us to a truer conception of God. At the same time, I am far from believing that science will ever give us the answers to all our questions."
-- Nevill Mott, Nobel Prize winning physicist
“A commonsense interpretation of the facts suggests that a superintellect has monkeyed with physics, as well as with chemistry and biology, and that there are no blind forces worth speaking about in nature. The numbers one calculates from the facts seem to me so overwhelming as to put this conclusion almost beyond question."
--Fred Hoyle, noted astronomer and mathematician
“I am very much a scientist, and so I naturally have thought about religion also through the eyes of a scientist. When I do that, I see religion not denominationally, but in a more, let us say, deistic sense. I have been influenced in my thinking by the writing of Einstein who has made remarks to the effect that when he contemplated the world he sensed an underlying Force much greater than any human force. I feel very much the same. There is a sense of awe, a sense of reverence, and a sense of great mystery."
--Walter Kohn, Nobel Prize winning physicist