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Einstein, the Spiritual and Faith

Posted by T. Resnikoff // January 31st 2014 // Future of Faith // no comments

FoF_CommentaryThe Laws of the Universe

Albert Einstein’s response in 1936 to a letter from a 6-year old asking if one could believe in both science and religion shows that the two are not mutually exclusive. As the “nones”, movements like Sunday Assembly, and and others challenge the traditional structure and role of religious organizations Einstein’s words remind us that there is a higher power with which humans naturally seek to join. We reprint Einstien’s thoughts here. Read more on why he wrote this letter on Huffington Post here.


Einstein_portrait-e1346962517640January 24, 1936

Dear Phyllis,

I will attempt to reply to your question as simply as I can. Here is my answer:

Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.

However, we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.

But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.

With cordial greetings,

your A. Einstein



About the Author

Ted Resnikoff is the Digital Communications Editor at the Unitarian Universalist Association.
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