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Einstein's Atheism 

I think part of the problem of theists wanting to believe that famous scientists such as Einstein and Hawking believe in their god comes from the common quote: "God does not play dice with the Universe." To those who already wish that Einstein believed in god, Einstein's mere mention of "god" here is all the "assurancance" they need. But to truly understand what he meant when he said that, one has to dig further into Einstein's views toward god and religion. Scientists often informally use "god" to mean the laws of nature.

In a (non-religious) discussion w/ another xian, I brought up this quote: "Everything is determined, the beginning as well as the end, by forces over which we have no control. It is determined for the insect as well as for the star. Human beings, vegetables, or cosmic dust, we all dance to a mysterious tune, intoned in the distance by an invisible piper." Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 422.

The person's immediate reaction was to say, "yeah, but WHO is the piper???" (Sigh) I don't think these kinds of people are really interested in the true meaning of these quotes, only what parts of them they can use to bolster their cause.

Here are some quotes I found relating to Einstein's views on god & religion:

"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." Upon being asked if he believed in God by Rabbi Herbert Goldstein of the Institutional Synagogue, New York, April 24, 1921, Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 502.

"an attempt to find an out where there is no door." Einstein's description of religious thought, Einstein: The Life and Times, Ronald W. Clark, Page 516.

 "Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here involuntary and uninvited for a short stay, without knowing the whys and the wherefore. In our daily lives we only feel that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own." ... "The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our mind cannot grasp and whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly and as a feeble reflection, this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all that there is." Einstein's speech 'My Credo' to the German League of Human Rights, Berlin, autumn 1932, Einstein: A Life in Science, Michael White and John Gribbin, Page 262.

And here's one that seems to speak from the grave:

"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. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it." - Albert Einstein in Albert Einstein: The Human Side, edited by Helen Dukas (Einstein's secretary) and Banesh Hoffman, and published by Princeton University Press.

Sorry for the rant; Einstein's sort of one of my historical heroes. :)

P.S. - ok, one more - sort of humorous (from the religious standpoint, at least):

 "Coughlin [of the Los Angeles tabloid Illustrated Daily News, in hot pursuit of asking Einstein a provocative, headline-inducing question] found the right moment while tailing the car that was speeding the couple [the Einsteins] north on the coast road to Pasadena. It had stopped to let Einstein stroll over to a small headland known as Sunset Cliffs, where he stood gazing at the sea and sky. Seizing the moment, Coughlin leaped from his car, the question on his lips, followed by Spang, his camera at the ready. "Doctor", Coughlin said, "is there a God?" Einstein stared at the water's edge some twenty feet below, then turned to his questioner. Coughlin later wrote: "There were tears in his eyes, and he was sniffing. Spang shot the picture as Einstein was hustled away before he could answer me. "Well," I said, "the way he reacted, he believes in God. Did you ever see such an emotional face?" Spang was standing on the edge of the headland, where the great scientist had stood. He looked down, then called me: "Come over here." I looked down and there, caught against the base of the little cliff, was a shark that must have been dead in the hot sun for several days. "Make anybody cry", Spang said." Einstein: A Life, Denis Brian, Page 206.

Celebrity Atheists and Agnostics

Archived from in accordance with "fair use" provisions of the copyright law for research, education, and scholarly review.


Summer 2002 Edition
new and updated entries in boldface - click to see cite
those who have no need for gods and some who have no need for the supernatural
Forrest J. Ackerman
Phillip Adams
Brandy Alexandre
Woody Allen
Shulamit Aloni
Thomas J. Altizer
Natalie Angier
Liv Arnesen
Madison Arnold
Peter William Atkins
Russell Baker
Iain M. Banks
Clive Barker
Dan Barker
MC Paul Barman
Dave Barry
Richard Bartle
Steve Benson
Ingmar Bergman
Bill Blass
Jim Bohanan
Sir Herman Bondi
Pierre Boulez
T. Coraghessan Boyle
Nathaniel Branden
Marlon Brando
Richard Branson
Rodney Brooks
Andrew Brown
Peter Buck
Warren Buffett
John Byrne
Dean Cameron
George Carlin
John Carmack
Adam Carolla
John Carpenter
Asia Carrera
Fidel Castro
Dick Cavett
Stephen Chapman
Vic Chesnutt
Noam Chomsky
Mohammed Choukri
Paul and Patricia Churchland
Alexander Cockburn
John Conway
Alex Cox
Francis Crick
David Cronenberg
David Cross
Alan Cumming
Justin Currie
Ron Dakron
Julia Darling
William B. Davis
Richard Dawkins
Daniel Dennett
David Deutsch
Ani DiFranco
Micky Dolenz
Amanda Donohoe
Roddy Doyle
Paul Draper
Patrick Duffy
Dean Edell
Paul Edwards
Greg Egan
Barbara Ehrenreich
Paul Ehrlich
Albert Ellis
Warren Ellis
Harlan Ellison
Garth Ennis
Brian Eno
Diane Farr
David Feherty
Jules Feiffer
Larry Fessenden
Harvey Fierstein
Nuno Filipe
Bob Fingerman
Antony Flew
Larry Flynt
Dario Fo
Dave Foley
James Forman
Jodie Foster
John Fowles
Robin Lane Fox
Kinky Friedman
Janeane Garofalo
Bill Gates
Bob Geldof
Jack Germond
Ira Glass
Jean Luc Godard
Al Goldstein
Nadine Gordimer
Greg Graffin
Spalding Gray
Seth Green
Stephen Greenblatt
Rachel Griffiths
Joe Haldeman
Alan Hale
Kathleen Hanna
Harry Harrison
Nina Hartley
Roy Hattersley
James A. Haught
Bill Hayden
Judith Hayes
Nat Hentoff
Katharine Hepburn
Paul Hester
Christopher Hitchens
General Choi Hong-Hi
Nicholas Humphrey
Derek Humphry
Stephan Jenkins
Penn Jillette
Angelina Jolie
Neil Jordan
Joachim Kahl
Jonathan Katz
Kawaljeet Kaur
Ludovic Kennedy
Margot Kidder
Florence King
Neil Kinnock
W. P. Kinsella
Michael Kinsley
Melvin Konner
Frank Kozik
Paul Krassner
Milan Kundera
Paul Kurtz
Ring Lardner Jr.
Mr. Lavanam
Richard Leakey
Alexander I. Lebed
Tom Lehrer
Mike Leigh
Stanislaw Lem
Gerda Lerner
Michael Lewis
Tom Leykis
John Lydon
John Malkovich
Barry Manilow
Shirley Manson
Michael Martin
Nick Mason
John McCarthy
Malachy McCourt
Ian McEwan
Todd McFarlane
Montana McGlynn
Sir Ian McKellen
Alexander McQueen
Jonathan Meades
Antonio Mendoza
Tom Metzger
Arthur Miller
Mike Mills
Marvin Minsky
Warren Mitchell
John Money
Hans Moravec
Max More
Henry Morgentaler
Desmond Morris
James Morrow
John Mortimer
Frank Mullen
Taslima Nasrin
Ramendra Nath
Ted Nelson
Randy Newman
Mike Nichols
Jack Nicholson
Kai Nielsen
Oscar Niemeyer
Robert Nozick
Gary Numan
Ronald Numbers
Bob Odenkirk
Camille Paglia
Andy Partridge
Robert Patrick
Mark Pauline
Leonard Peikoff
Paul Pfalzner
Julia Phillips
Ferdinand Piech
Katha Pollitt
Paula Poundstone
Vladimir Pozner
Terry Pratchett
Paul Provenza
Ted Rall
James Randi
Ron Reagan Jr.
Christopher Reeve
Rick Reynolds
Griff Rhys-Jones
Mordecai Richler
Matt Ridley
Brian Ritchie
Brad Roberts
Chris Robinson
Neil Rogers
Richard Rorty
Arundhati Roy
Jane Rule
Salman Rushdie
Mona Sahlin
Sebasti�o Salgado
Robert Sapolsky
Jos� Saramago
Pamela Sargent
John Sayles
Eugenie Scott
Captain Sensible
Nick Seymour
Robert I. Sherman
Michael Shermer
Claude Simon
J.J.C. Smart
George H. Smith
Robert Smith
Lee Smolin
Steven Soderbergh
Ed Sorel
Annika S�renstam
George Soros
Richard Stallman
Peter Steele
Bruce Sterling
Howard Stern
J. Michael Straczynski
Ken Stringfellow
Donald Sutherland
Julia Sweeney
Matthew Sweet
Studs Terkel
Linus Torvalds
Ted Turner
Eddie Vedder
Gore Vidal
Kurt Vonnegut Jr.
Sarah Vowell
Matt Wagner
Annika Walter
James Watson
Steven Weinberg
Joss Whedon
Harland Williams
Ian Wilmut
Lewis Wolpert
Steve Wozniak
Bruce Wright
Nick Zedd

those who declare themselves agnostic
Martin Amis
Piers Anthony
Margaret Atwood
Richard Avedon
Nick Becker
Burton C. Bell
Pierre Berton
Susie Bright
Vincent Bugliosi
Gene Burns
Kurt Busiek
Robert X. Cringely
Alan Dershowitz
Umberto Eco
Bret Easton Ellis
Carrie Fisher
William Friedkin
Candace Gingrich
Matt Groening
Bob Guccione
Robert (Bob) James Lee Hawke
David Horowitz
Robert Jastrow
Wendy Kaminer
Jack Kevorkian
Larry King
Rick London
James Lovelock
Dave Matthews
Sarah McLachlan
Scott Mosier
Larry Niven
Neil Peart
Sean Penn
Roman Polanski
Andy Rooney
Dan Savage
Robert J. Sawyer
Adrienne Shelly
Rod Steiger
Al Stewart
James Taylor
Charles Templeton
Uma Thurman
Robert Anton Wilson

apparently skeptical of theism or religion -- need more info
Lance Armstrong
John Perry Barlow
Sir Harrison Birtwistle
Branden Boyd
Michael Caine
Jerry Casale
Nick Cave
Arthur C. Clarke
George Clooney
Larry Cohen
Billy Connelly
Billy Corgan
Dalai Lama
Wade Davis
Phyllis Diller
David Duchovny
Pat Duffy-Hutcheon
Danny Elfman
George Fernandes
Ed Fredkin
Robbie Fulks
Liam Gallagher
Noel Gallagher
Prabhir Ghosh
James Gleick
Mikhail Gorbachev
Laurence Gough
Dave Grohl
Peter Hall
Stephen Hawking
Taylor Hawkins
Hugh Hefner
Robert Heilbroner
Doug Henwood
Sir Edmund Hillary
Douglas Hofstadter
John Irving
Molly Ivins
Billy Joel
Kirk Jones
Lionel Jospin
Eli Khamarov
Mark Knopfler
Monica Lewinsky
G. Gordon Liddy
Jim Lindberg
Marilyn Manson
Rita Levi Montalcini
Kim Newman
Mojo Nixon
Krist Novoselic
John Passmore
Sarah Polley
Tom Robbins
Henry Rollins
Laetitia Sadier
John Ralston Saul
Neil Simon
Skunk Anansie
Mira Sorvino
Louis Theroux
Paul Verhoeven
Paul Watson
Gene Wilder
Bruce Willis
Edward O. Wilson
Rabbi Sherwin T. Wine

Disclaimer: The accuracy of this list is based solely on the quality of citations sent in by readers. There is no intent to misrepresent any person's beliefs or lack thereof. Errors will be corrected when brought to the editor's attention. If you see any, please send notice of error, along with any supporting information to Reed Esau ( ).

Edited: Jun 02, 2002 at 12:00:00 - Generated: Jun 02, 2002 at 12:54:40


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