Many people wonder whether Albert Einstein, arguably one of the smartest people to have ever lived, believed in God. The battle over history's most brilliant minds has gone on for centuries, even including the father of the theory of evolution, Charles Darwin. But few are as hotly disputed as Einstein's religious beliefs. What did Albert Einstein really believe in, if anything?
Some religious leaders and theists like Ray Comfort claim that Einstein believed in some form of God, even if it was just an abstract higher power.
"Although he clearly didn't believe in a personal God (as revealed in the Bible)," Ray Comfort posits in Einstein, God, and the Bible. "Einstein wrote that he wanted to know 'His' thoughts, referred to God as 'He,' and acknowledged that He revealed 'Himself.'"
Meanwhile outspoken atheists like evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins claim Einstein as one of their own.
The Hinckley Times recently published an article written by Reverend John Whittaker denouncing Dawkins' claim and trying to prove that Einstein never identified as an atheist. Whittaker uses one of Einstein's most telling quotes on his atheism to support his point.
Albert Einstein once said the following in an interview for G. S. Viereck's book Glimpses of the Great.
"I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. The problem involved is too vast for our limited minds... The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangement of the books but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God."
Creationist leaders like Ray Comfort and Ken Ham also use this quote as proof that Albert Einstein did not side with atheists. However, that interview is not the only time Albert Einstein spoke on the subject of God.
Einstein's final opinions on the matter were shared in a letter he wrote one year before his death, in 1954. According to Letters of Note, Albert Einstein wrote to the philosopher Erik Gutkind after having just read Gutkind's book Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt. In this letter, Einstein made his views on God as clear as possible, including the following quote.
"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can change this for me."
Einstein's letter has since been auctioned off. Richard Dawkins bid on the letter and failed to win the auction, but that doesn't change that he and other atheist activists appear to be right about Albert Einstein's religious stance. It's possible that Einstein simply did not approve of the atheist label, and chose not to identify as such despite lacking a belief in the God of the Bible or other religions.
What do you think? Does this prove Albert Einstein didn't believe in God?