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What Was Einstein’s Religion?: Deist? Pantheist? Humanist? Atheist?

Science, philosophy, politics, and religion are frequent topics for writer and public speaker Catherine Giordano.

What Was Einstein’s Religion?

The answer is: It’s complicated. Albert Einstein said so many varied things about God that every theist and non-theist group can claim him for their own.

Einstein is most famous for his work in physics and mathematics, but he also applied his brilliant mind to religion.

Einstein is most famous for his work in physics and mathematics, but he also applied his brilliant mind to religion.

The Jews claim him. The Christians claim him. The atheists claim him. The agnostics claim him. The pantheists claim him. The deists claim him. The humanists claim him. They each have a basis for their claim.

The problem with Einstein and God is that he said a lot of things about God and religion.

Who Was Albert Einstein?

Let’s begin with a few brief biographical facts about Albert Einstein and then return to the question of his religious beliefs.

Albert Einstein was the renowned physicist and mathematician who formulated the “Law of Relativity” and developed the famous equation “energy is equal to mass times the speed of light squared," or E = mc2. He won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, not for his theory of relativity, but for his explanation of the photoelectric effect.

The man who the world considers to be one of the great geniuses in all of history was “slow” as a child. His parents worried because he was late in learning to talk. As a youngster, he was never a good student, partly because he rebelled against rote-learning. However, he proved to have a strong aptitude for mathematics and physics. He received his PhD in science from the University of Zurich in 1905. Around the same time, he published several ground-breaking papers including his first paper on relativity.

Einstein was born in Germany in 1879. He happened to be in the United States in 1933 when Hitler came into power. Since he was Jewish by birth, and he wisely decided not to return to Germany. He became a U.S. citizen in 1940. He died in 1955.

Was Einstein Jewish?

Albert Einstein was born to a Jewish family and always identified as a Jew. However, he was a cultural Jew, not a religious Jew. Like many Jewish people, Einstein rejected the tenets of the faith of Judaism, but identified with the Jewish people as his “tribe.”

His parents were not religious, but as all Jewish boys do, he received religious instruction in preparation for his bar mitzvah at age 13. He became observant for a time, but by age12 he was questioning the truth of many biblical stories, and his religiosity faded. He never did his bar mitzvah.

He quite strongly rejected the faith of Judaism throughout his adult life. A year before his death, in 1954, Einstein wrote a private letter to his friend Eric Gutkind. This letter has come to be known as the “God Letter.” (In 2012, the letter sold for a little over $3 million on e-Bay.)

“For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people."

Albert Einstein was not an Israeli citizen but in 1952, the first Prime Minister of Israel, David Ben Gurion, asked Einstein if he would be willing to serve as the second president of the new nation. It would have been a largely ceremonial position since it is the Prime Minister who actually governs, and Einstein was promised full freedom to pursue his scientific interests. Einstein turned it down, but affirmed that he felt a strong bond with the Jewish people.

"I am deeply moved by the offer from our State of Israel [to serve as President], and at once saddened and ashamed that I cannot accept it. All my life I have dealt with objective matters, hence I lack both the natural aptitude and the experience to deal properly with people and to exercise official functions. For these reasons alone I should be unsuited to fulfill the duties of that high office, even if advancing age was not making increasing inroads on my strength. I am the more distressed over these circumstances because my relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond, ever since I became fully aware of our precarious situation among the nations of the world."

A Relationship to Judiasm

When Einstein was asked to become president of Israel he said, "My relationship to  the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond."

When Einstein was asked to become president of Israel he said, "My relationship to the Jewish people has become my strongest human bond."

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Was Einstein Christian?

Einstein attended a Catholic school from the ages of 5 to 8, so he most likely was exposed to Christian theology at this young impressionable age.

“As a child I received instruction both in the Bible and in the Talmud. I am a Jew, but I am enthralled by the luminous figure of the Nazarene."

“No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life."

Nonetheless, he rejected the Christian idea of a personal god--a god who is involved with the lives of people, who hears and answers prayers, performs miracles, etc.

“I cannot then believe in this concept of an anthropomorphic God who has the powers of interfering with these natural laws.”

“I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws."

"Scientific research is based on the idea that everything that takes place is determined by laws of nature, and therefore this holds for the actions of people. For this reason, a research scientist will hardly be inclined to believe that events could be influenced by a prayer, i.e. by a wish addressed to a supernatural Being."

However much he was impressed with the gospels’ telling of the story of Jesus, Einstein did not believe in the Christian concepts of soul or an afterlife.

"Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seems to me to be empty and devoid of meaning."

He also rejected religion as an institution. He sounds quite angry when he speaks of indoctrination. In this, he may be typical of people who as children believe what they are taught, but who come to feel betrayed when they learn that what they were taught is not true. Einstein talked of his time of youthful belief as a time of “religious paradise.” Learning that his paradise was false left him understandably bitter.

"About God, I cannot accept any concept based on the authority of the Church... As long as I can remember, I have resented mass indoctrination.”

“It is quite clear to me that the religious paradise of youth, which was thus lost, was a first attempt to free myself from the chains of … an existence dominated by wishes, hopes, and primitive feelings.”

Was Einstein a Deist?

Einstein did not believe in an anthropomorphic personal god, but did not reject the concept of god entirely. He believed that a “spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe.” I suspect that his belief in “spirit” was a remnant of his early religiosity and an attempt to keep a toehold in the “paradise” he experienced as a child.

"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."

Spinoza’s god was a deist god, a “God of Nature,” a “Prime Mover,” who set the universe in motion, but then no longer concerned Himself with it. Einstein often speaks of a “cosmic religion”—he describes himself as religious because he is in awe of the universe and the spirit that he perceives to have created it and is imbued in it.

"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."

“To sense that behind everything that can be experienced there is something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense...I am a devoutly religious man.”

“We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements 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."

An Affinity to "Spinoza's God"

Einstein sometimes expressed deist or pantheist views.

Einstein sometimes expressed deist or pantheist views.

Was Einstein a Pantheist?

Einstein sounds a lot like a pantheist when he talks about “spirit.” Pantheism is the belief that the entire natural universe is identical with divinity-- everything composes, and is composed of, an all-encompassing, immanent God. Pantheism differs from deism in that it does not posit God as a distinct entity, but believes God to be present in everything. It is a mystical view of the spirit of life.

He denied being a pantheist, but when he talks of the mystery of the universe, he sounds very much likes a pantheist. He speaks of “the grandeur of reason incarnate.”

“The most beautiful and most profound religious emotion that we can experience is the sensation of the mystical. And this mysticality is the power of all true science. If there is any such concept as a God, it is a subtle spirit, not an image of a man that so many have fixed in their minds."

Was Einstein a Humanist?

Humanism is a philosophy that dismisses the divine or supernatural and instead focuses on human interactions. Humanists seek solely rational ways of solving human problems and posit that humans can devise values for living a good and fulfilling life.

The Ethical Culture society is a non-theistic religion that professes humanistic ideals and works to integrate these ideals into daily life.

Albert Einstein was a supporter of humanism and the Ethical Culture Society. He served on the advisory board of the First Humanist Society of New York, and he was an honorary associate of the British Humanist Association.

For the seventy-fifth anniversary of the New York Society for Ethical Culture, he stated that the idea of Ethical Culture embodied his personal conception of what is most valuable and enduring in religion.

“Humanity requires such a belief to survive… without 'ethical culture' there is no salvation for humanity."

“A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death.”

Was Einstein an Agnostic or Atheist?

Einstein denied being an atheist, although he sometimes called himself an agnostic. He definitely rejected the God of the Bible.

"I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist."

"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 punishment."

"It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly."

Was he an atheist? It depends on how you define atheist. I define atheist as someone who does not have a belief in the God or the holy books of the major religions of the world. By my definition, Albert Einstein was an atheist because he too rejected the God of the Bible.

"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this."

He may have denied being an atheist, while accepting the label agnostic, because he had negative stereotypes of atheists.

“You may call me an agnostic, but I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist whose fervor is mostly due to a painful act of liberation from the fetters of religious indoctrination received in youth.”

In another statement, he berates atheists as people “who cannot hear the music of the spheres.”

When he denies the existence of a personal god and equates God with “the music of the spheres,” he is speaking like an atheist. However, he rejects the label because he dislikes “professional atheists” (what we now call “militant atheists”). He apparently did not understand that many atheists are not bitter people rebelling against childhood indoctrination and that they are just as readily moved by “the music of the spheres” as he himself was. If he had known this, he might have been as willing to call himself an atheist as he was willing to call himself an agnostic.

Einstein used the words “God” and “religion” to mean different things at different times. His definitions of these words often do not match the meanings of these words as they are commonly used. We must look to the context to determine how to interpret his words.

There are two quotes which are often cited as proof that Einstein believed in God, but which are actually metaphors that stem from his deism and humanism.

“God does not play dice with the universe.”

“Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”

In the first metaphor, Einstein was referring to the emerging field of study known as quantum physics--he was saying that the laws of the universe are not random. In the second metaphor, he was talking about his belief that religion must be based on science and that a religion of humanistic ethics must inform science.

God Does Not Play Dice

Einstein famously said "God does not play dice with the universe."

Einstein famously said "God does not play dice with the universe."

What Was Einstein’s Religion?

Einstein turned his brilliantly analytic mind to the concept of religion and created his own religion. He rejected the idea of the “God of Abraham,” but found some parts of the Bible to be inspirational. His religion was mainly a mixture of deism, pantheism, and humanism.

I consider deism to be a form of agnosticism. [I don't believe in the God of the major religions, but someone/something had to have created the universe so I will call that God. It is just another way of saying "I don't know."] And agnosticism is just another form of atheism. [I don't believe in the God of the major religions, but instead of saying that I will say I don't know if it is true or not.] It's a cop out because if you thought it was true, you would be a believer, but you are not a believer, so you must be an atheist. And that is how I equate deism with atheism. And that is how I conclude that Einstein, despite what he said, was an atheist.

Einstein clearly had a keen interest in religion. He wrote about and spoke about it extensively. (The quotes in this article are taken from his public writings, his personal letters, his interviews with journalists, and his speeches.) I think he formed his religious views after much consideration. I believe that, as he himself says, his religious views were consistent throughout his adult life.

Please take this poll so I can learn more about my readers.

© 2015 Catherine Giordano

I welcome your comments on Einstein and his beliefs about religion.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 27, 2018:

I don't think that Einstein was familiar with the religion of Islam. I imagine if he was asked about it, his response would have been similar to his statements about Judaism and Christianity.

Einstein definitely did not formulate his Theory of Relativity because he was influenced by the Muslim religion.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on March 15, 2018:

Mariia: As a scientist, Einstein would most likely not accept your logical fallacy that if we don't know the answer to something then the answer must be God. Maybe it just means that we have not found the answer yet. Neil de Grasse Tyson said it best: "God is an ever-receding pocket of scientific ignorance that's getting smaller and smaller and smaller as time moves on.”

Maria on March 14, 2018:

The fact that you cannot explain exactly how the universe came to be and how it works, is a sign there is a supreme being who is otherwise called God. All these discussions show the lack of knowledge for all things that came to be including how humans came to be from nothing. For this reason, however you may call it - Atheist, etc., is not possible unless you can explain your existence and most importantly you can create a universe of your own.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on March 07, 2018:

Tanya Nesha: Atheist means "without God." Anti-theists are against God. A subtle difference

Removing a cross from public property is not atheist or anti-theist. It is about freedom of religion and government being neutral on religious matters. Public property is for everyone, not just people who are believers of a particular religion.

Tanya Nesha on March 05, 2018:

I can relate though. I am not atheist. I most closely relate to an ethical culture. I don't believe in a god either. I find that atheist, to me, means more of the anti-god folks. I'm not that. However, with the recent issues with humanists, I don't know that I'd relate to much of anything. They fought to remove a cross statue. To me that is more atheist and anti-god in nature. I'm not against anything. I believe in being good to people and they should be good to other. I don't care what they believe in. It doesn't personally have anything to do with me. To each their own.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 16, 2017:

Mike KOvach: Thanks for your comment. I'm always happy to hear from people who agree with me. I don't know if you thought Einstein was an atheist before you read my piece, but I like to think it was my excellent argument that convinced you.

Mike KOvach on September 16, 2017:

I think it apparent that Einstien was an atheist

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 07, 2017:

Joel U: Einstein never said he believed in miracles. Quite the opposite. You must have missed the quote in the article that showed he did not believe in miracles .“I cannot then believe in this concept of an anthropomorphic God who has the powers of interfering with these natural laws.” He also said the universe is ruled by "immutable laws." By definition, a miracle is interference with natural immutable laws.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on September 07, 2017:

Note to Jason and Others: Sometimes I will get a comment that disputes something I have written. Once in a while, I find that they are right and I correct the article. Most often, I reply by explaining why I feel my statement was correct and/or why I find their counter-argument to be wrong. This is usually the end of it. Unfortunately, some people do not like my reply and they come back again and again making the same comment repeatedly. Comments are not a place for an extended discussion; therefore I only accept two comments from the same person. Hub Pages is open to everyone so anyone who feels the need to have their point of view heard can join (it's free) and publish their own hub.

Joel U on September 05, 2017:

Einstein said he believed and counted on miracles!!?

Jimmy Test on August 26, 2017:


Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 26, 2017:

Daniel: It is true that Einstein did not wish to call himself an atheist. Yet he repeatedly stated that he did not believe in a "personal God," but instead in a "cosmic spirit." Boston's Cardinal William Henry O'Connell said that "cosmic spirit" was "a cloak beneath which hides the ghastly apparition of atheism." Please reread the section of the essay where I explain why I think Einstein was an atheist. His views about God and religion are consistent with atheism. I think he just did not want to admit it, maybe even to himself.

Daniel on August 26, 2017:

Einstein says over and over again that he was not an atheist yet after he passed away atheist claim he was an atheist. Unbelievable.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 04, 2017:

Einstein never said he was a deist. Not believing in a personal god is not the same a being a deist. I never could understand deism. God made an entire universe; then he made all life on Earth including humans, his crowning achievement. ....And then he got bored and walked away?

Jason on August 04, 2017:

A deist god is not "the laws of the universe" or "mother nature". It is an impersonal god that created the universe. A being that exists outside of the universe. The god of deism doesn't intervene with the universe and any religious text about it or experiences with it are false, hence it could not be the god of abraham. It is clear that deists actually believe in a god and are not just using the word in place of the workings of the universe. So to say that deism is like atheism is absolutely false, and that is the argument you made in your second to last paragraph.

As for Einstein being an atheist, I definitely think it was possible. I'm not arguing against it. I am just saying that you can't say deism equates with atheism and use that to support the idea that Einstein was an atheist.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 04, 2017:

Jason: Thanks for your comments. Einstein did reject all Gods. If someone believes" the laws of the universe" is God or "Mother Nature" is God, that's not God. God requires a supernatural element. You may think I am defining God too narrowly; I think you re defining God too broadly.

Jason on August 04, 2017:

In my experience, when someone says they are an atheist, it means all gods, not just the abrahamic one. While I will not disagree with the possibility of Einstein being an atheist, you have to offer more than simply your narrow definition of atheism to make the claim. As I stated earlier, based on your second to last paragraph, deism does not equal atheism.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on August 02, 2017:

Daniel Wilcox: You make the mistake that so many make (even Einstein): They don't understand what atheism is. It definitely is NOT purposelessness, meaninglesness, and a lack of ethics. (It is not nihilism although some nihilists might also be atheists.) Please see my post explaining atheism and the related post that explains secular humanism

I have to also take issue with your definition of God as "Ultimate Reality." How can something that is not real be called "ultimate reality." Perhaps God would be so defined by believers, but I would think "Ultimate Unreality" is a better definition.

I'm glad you agree with me that Einstein said many contradictory things about his religious beliefs. As an adult, he did not practice any religion and I think the sum total of his statement on the topic of religion demonstrate an atheistic life-stance. If you read my post about "Defining Atheism," you will have a better understanding of why I say so. If Einstein did have a belief in God, he would not have been so contradictory.

Daniel Wilcox on August 02, 2017:

Thanks for writing this review of Albert Einstein's complex, sometimes seemly contradictory views of ultimate reality.

Your stating he was an "atheist," even though he denied being an atheist shows how semantic a lot of discussion, dialog, debate, and argument about the ultimate nature of existence is.

I am a fairly strong intellectually convinced theist (panentheist), but according to your definition, I guess, I, too, would be an atheist!

No. I think that the Merriam-Webster Dictionary first definition of the word "God" is a fairly good one: "ultimate reality."

And in contrast, I would say that "atheism" usually means what many famous atheists have claimed, that existence is "meaningless," "purposeless," that ethics are illusionary and subjective, that only matter and energy exist, and so forth.

In that sense, thinkers such as Einstein definitely wasn't an "atheist," as he himself repeatedly stated. Indeed, late in his life, he said that if he wasn't Jewish, he would be a "Quaker."

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on July 15, 2017:

CyrilS: You understand me correctly. I am using the definition of atheism that many atheists use.

CyrilS on July 14, 2017:

Let’s see if I understand you correctly. Einstein believed in God, just not the popular view of a personal God. This didn’t suit your standpoint, so you broadened your definition of atheist to include such people, even though that’s not what other people would mean by atheist. But then, perhaps feeling uncomfortable, you argued that Einstein didn’t really believe in even an impersonal God, but didn’t want to say so for fear of the hostility this would arouse.

Jason on June 02, 2017:

Yeah you did say that though. Right here in your second to last paragraph:

I consider deism to be a form of agnosticism. [I don't believe in the God of the major religions, but someone/something had to have created the universe so I will call that God. It is just another way of saying "I don't know."] And agnosticism is just another form of atheism. [I don't believe in the God of the major religions, but instead of saying that I will say I don't know if it is true or not. It's a cop out because if you thought it was true, you would be a believer, but you are not a believer, so you must be an atheist.) And that is how I equate deism with atheism. And that is how I conclude that Einstein, despite what he said, was an atheist.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on June 01, 2017:

Jason: I never said that deists were atheists. I said they do not believe in an anthropomorphic God. Deists are theists of a sort--they don't believe in the God of the Abrahamic religions (the one in the Bible), but they believe in a Supreme Being or Creator God. At times, Einstein made comments that suggested he was a deist. He also made comments suggesting other beliefs. I think , especially towards the end of his life, his comments suggested that he was an atheist.

Jason on May 31, 2017:

How you came to deism = atheism is beyond me. Deists believe in a creator who created the universe and most believe that is all that was done. Atheists lack a belief in any god whether it be a theistic or deistic god. Agnostics either simply believe we don't know and possibly cannot know if god exists (in which case we are all agnostic since belief does not equal fact), or they simply are in the middle and choose not to say they believe or not. In any case, you cannot call deism atheism in another form since atheists fundamentally lack the one thing needed to be called a deist: belief in a creator god.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on January 30, 2017:

Emese Fromm: Thank you for letting me know you enjoyed this article about Einstein. He was a complicated man.

Emese Fromm from The Desert on January 30, 2017:

Great article. I enjoyed reading it, and found it very interesting. Thank you for sharing your well researched thoughts.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on April 26, 2016:

EZ Swim Fitness: Thank you for your comment. I enjoyed trying to tease out what Einstein's religious beliefs were. It is said that he made his discoveries through thought experiments wherein he visualized the solutions. I think he dealt with religion in the same way. He had an amazing mind and a great ability to feel his way to an answer as well as think his way to a answer.

Kelly A Burnett from Southern Wisconsin on April 26, 2016:


Fascinating quotes about a great man and his insight into the world in which we live.

I always wondered about his religion and wanted to dive into his quotes - you did it wonderfully and I greatly thank you.

The mysteries of the world, the vastness of our universe is beyond the capabilities of mankind.

Loved this hub - thank you!

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on April 03, 2016:

Yvonne Weekers: Einstein was religiously indoctrinated as a child. He abandoned religion at age 12 when he got old enough to understand the scientific and logical flaws of religion. I think his disillusionment was a deep disappointment for him. However, he continued to have a sense of wonder and awe for the universe.

The comment about dice was just a metaphor for the laws of physics. I don't think Einstein would have used chess as a metaphor--chess is a more suitable metaphor for intelligent design. Einstein definitely did not believe in intelligent design.

Yvonne Weekers on April 02, 2016:

My pronunciation: God don't play chess. Or is it Einstein's vision: God don't play dice? I think that playing dice is an a-selecte chance -calculation. But don't playing dice is that it is perhaps calculable or foreseen. I even don't know.

Yvonne Weekers on April 02, 2016:

Thank you, Christine, for this illuminating article: I only will state a few comments: I don't think it is relevant to have concepts as atheisst, pantheist , deist etc. These concepts are very clarifying to explore or unfold the issue, but in j this article I read a more crucial point: The unfolding of life in a 'pantheistisch' universum is more than to heve concepts as God, theism, or supprenatural mystifications.Einstin was very clear that in youth the indroctination with religions has begun. Is it than not worht to undo you from this concepts (however clearifying these are?)I think it is true that there is an unfolding mystery for what we name God (have ever concept for this), but there are questions leave: What with the justice society.and the human interactions , the free will. There is , in my opnion, not such an force that is an solution for all worse, bad etc. things . But that is very cynic. I should I would believe in a strong force of that mystery that can be a solution for all the incompatable experiences in life . Incompatable in the kind of injustice (what that ever mean)', or thhe pain (het lijden).

Is their such a mystery that can wake for justice and can abondon us from the bad"What is the human interaction in this ?And is there such a thing as a concious bad action, or is this not concious. That is the question for the goodness or badness of man. Ik think both. But perhaps have you better answers.

Catherine Giordano (author) from Orlando Florida on July 21, 2015:

lawrence01: Just type the quotes you doubt into google and they should come up. I did not make up quotes.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 21, 2015:

Atheism claims to be a philosphy but the way some of its adherents behave makes me wonder!

Andrew Petrou from Brisbane on July 21, 2015:


but is atheism a religion? No.

Ergo: Einstein's religion can not be atheism.

Lawrence Hebb from Hamilton, New Zealand on July 21, 2015:


I looked up the definitions of the words and apparently a "Theist" is someone who believes in a conscious deity. A