The Religiousness of Science
The following short essay is taken from the abridged edition of
Einstein's book The World As I See It. In this edition
(Philosophical Library, New York, 1949), the essay appears on pp. 28-29.
will hardly find one among the profounder sort of scientific minds without
a peculiar religious feeling of his own. But it is different from the
of the naive man.
For the latter God is a being from whose care one hopes
to benefit and whose punishment one fears; a sublimation of a feeling
similar to that of a child for its father, a being to whom one stands to
some extent in a personal relation, however deeply it may be tinged with
But the scientist is possessed by the sense of universal causation.
The future, to him, is every whit as necessary and determined as the past.
There is nothing divine about morality, it is a purely human affair. His
religious feeling takes the form of a rapturous amazement at the harmony
of natural law, which reveals an intelligence of such superiority that,
compared with it, all the systematic thinking and acting of human beings
is an utterly insignificant reflection. This feeling is the guiding
principle of his life and work, in so far as he succeeds in keeping
himself from the shackles of selfish desire. It is beyond question closely
akin to that which has possessed the religious geniuses of all ages.
Editorial comments in this section on Einstein are by
Prof. Arnold V. Lesikar, Physics Dept., St. Cloud State University, St.
Cloud, MN 56301-4498. He would appreciate any feedback or comments.