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Religion and Science [Kindle Edition]

Albert Einstein
4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)

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Book Description

Religion and Science
by Albert Einstein

The following article by Albert Einstein appeared in the New York Times Magazine on November 9, 1930 pp 1-4. It has been reprinted in Ideas and Opinions, Crown Publishers, Inc. 1954, pp 36 - 40. It also appears in Einstein's book The World as I See It, Philosophical Library, New York, 1949, pp. 24 - 28.

Everything that the human race has done and thought is concerned with the satisfaction of deeply felt needs and the assuagement of pain. One has to keep this constantly in mind if one wishes to understand spiritual movements and their development. Feeling and longing are the motive force behind all human endeavor and human creation, in however exalted a guise the latter may present themselves to us. Now what are the feelings and needs that have led men to religious thought and belief in the widest sense of the words? A little consideration will suffice to show us that the most varying emotions preside over the birth of religious thought and experience. With primitive man it is above all fear that evokes religious notions - fear of hunger, wild beasts, sickness, death. Since at this stage of existence understanding of causal connections is usually poorly developed, the human mind creates illusory beings more or less analogous to itself on whose wills and actions these fearful happenings depend. Thus one tries to secure the favor of these beings by carrying out actions and offering sacrifices which, according to the tradition handed down from generation to generation, propitiate them or make them well disposed toward a mortal. In this sense I am speaking of a religion of fear. This, though not created, is in an important degree stabilized by the formation of a special priestly caste which sets itself up as a mediator between the people and the beings they fear, and erects a hegemony on this basis. In many cases a leader or ruler or a privileged class whose position rests on other factors combines priestly functions with its secular authority in order to make the latter more secure; or the political rulers and the priestly caste make common cause in their own interests.


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Chapter 2 is missing from the Kindle Edition October 19, 2013
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The book is brilliant - coming from the mind of Einstein, could have expected nothing less. The evolution of religion, to manage fear then to manage morality and finally to manage cosmic wonder is beautifully explained in Chapter 1 as only a genius like Einstein could. But Chapter 2 is entirely missing from the Kindle edition. I looked at other reviews and only one other person has mentioned this. Wonder why ! The rest of you, in case you have got Chapter 2 in your Kindle edition, please let me know. Unfortunate that because of this flaw - attributable to the publisher, I am sure, I have to give 3 stars. The other 2 chapters (1 and 3) clearly deserve 5 stars.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Genuis that can Write May 29, 2013
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Excellent short and cogent handling of a classic topic by one of the best thinkers that ever lived. I will read more of his writings that are off the subject of theoretical physics. Eventually might get to his "Theory of Relativity".
Honestly and seriously, well thought out on the topic of God, religion, and science by a very intelligent man - who does not throw his beliefs or un-beliefs into the discussion. Try it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A delightful writer! August 9, 2013
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Einstein makes complex ideas almost understandable. I encourage anyone with an interest in cosmology, science and faith to read this material
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the privilege. October 8, 2013
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Einstein's capacity to see the human behavior from his unique concatenation of ideas (and ideals) is our highest gift we can accept.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
By DaleO
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It was intetlligent and thoughtfully crafted, as you might expect from Albert Einstein. He was a great humanist as well as a great scientist, and his thoughts on the connections between religion and science were quite fascinating. Those of us who peer through a telescope for fun probably feel some experiences akin to what he talks about.

That being said, the publisher really should have included a bit more. Even though the price was only 99 cents, 3000 or so words is still pretty thin.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Provocative January 6, 2013
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Succinctly written, with concise and careful analyses of the social and contextual relationship between religion and the pursuit of knowledge gives this brief read considerable depth and clarity for the experienced and thoughtful reader. It is not for those of unprepared intellectual capacity, but rather for those who have considered religion and deism in evolving ways for many years of personal contemplation. Packed with meaningful thoughts and explanations, the relatively brief treatment of the subject is of particular value if considered carefully and without prejudicial biases.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A review of Albert Einstein's essay Religion & Science January 25, 2014
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As a writer and publisher I was surprised to find Einstein's essay, "Religion & Science," significantly confusing. At least in this era of his career, Einstein's writing seems overly lofty and wordy, studiously debating each side of the proposed issue without a clear message of his own conclusion. In my view, that gives his essay a feeling of emptiness. In fact, his debate seems to be as much with himself as his intended readers. And it certainly is wide ranging and thought provoking, well worth studying intensely. We know that a great many, if not most, who consider themselves scientists claim to be aetheists or agnostics, feeling, perhaps, that they are able to create the universe and all that's in it with scientific education. We also know that many others are persons of faith, believing that scientific education studies an already existing intelligent, amazingly intricate, design. In a debate of this magnitude, it is always meaningful - in our own quest - to share the thoughts of an Einstein on such a vital part of our humanity. There is a hint of his conclusion when he says that man creates religion in his own mind to buffer life's fears, dangers, and mysteries. Nevertheless, what I wanted to know when I found this essay of Einstein's was...as a scientist, what do you think of God? I couldn't find that answer in Einstein's essay. Maybe you will.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This was lovely January 14, 2014
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This is a clear and elegant explanation of not only the perceived divide between religion and science but also the importance of bridging that divide. It is well worth the read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Excellent thoughtful views concerning the role of religion in society
Published 23 days ago by b.keavey
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Some great insights. I don't agree 100%, but a good 90%.
Published 1 month ago by Robert A. Selwa
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
It's very short
Published 1 month ago by Shane Pease
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Informative!
Published 3 months ago by King Little
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
Worth Reading
Published 3 months ago by Jacquesone
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
short, but very poignant!
Published 3 months ago by David Begnell
4.0 out of 5 stars Important work not always easy to read
It's an important work, good for a preacher's reference shelf. Some quotes are good for sermons and newsletters. Some remarks need studious interpretation.
Published 4 months ago by William P. Shackleford, Jr.
5.0 out of 5 stars Science vs Religion
I couldn't understand how such a great scientific mind could have religious thoughts. "God doesn't play dice with the universe. ", always came to my mind. Read more
Published 9 months ago by jackel88
4.0 out of 5 stars Great Read (But Chapter 2 is missing from Kindle edition)
This was a wonderful little collection of essays on science and religion by the 20th century's most important physicist. Read more
Published 9 months ago by Michael Sullivan
4.0 out of 5 stars Fascinating
A genius and a discoverer, such a brilliant mind. I was fascinated by his point of view on the subject.
Published 11 months ago by Bruno Beauregard
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