Author: Huxleў
© Huxleў — almanac about philosophy, business, art and science.
5 minutes for reading

Famous Nobel laureates — about religion and God (Part I)

Famous Nobel laureates — about religion and God (Part I)
Share material
Illustration: Vsevolod Shvaiba «Outcast II», ink, pen, paper, 40×86 cm


Men of science and famous scholars can answer the most difficult questions. When it comes to God, however, everyone insists on what he or she believes in. Of course, leaving room for dialog.

Nobel laureates Albert Einstein, Max Planck, Bertrand Russell, Richard Feynman, James Watson, and Vitaly Ginzburg have all expressed their thoughts on the existence of God. Not always with consideration for the feelings of believers, but definitely with a desire to know the most essential truth of existence.




When the great physicist Einstein was entering the zenith of his fame, many theologians suspected him of denying God. How could they? Because science and religion are incompatible.

The clergymen forbade parishioners to be interested in the theory of relativity and all scientific developments of Albert Einstein, as this knowledge distances man from God and even questions his very existence.


Альберт Эйнштейн
Albert Einstein /


The theoretical physicist Albert Einstein, one of the founders of modern theoretical physics and winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, remained silent. Until Rabbi Herbert S. Goldstein sent him a hasty telegram. «Do you believe in God? Stop. A 50-word answer paid in advance», it said.

The great physicist did not think long and was able to formulate his relationship with God in 24 words. 

«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» — he telegraphed and finally confused the society. Religious people were fully convinced that Einstein was an atheist and did not believe in the Creator.

And at the same time, some theologians and philosophers saw proof of the unity of God even in the formula E=mc2, linking energy and matter. They were convinced that Einstein’s concept of space-time confirmed what was written in the ancient books: «For God, there is no concept of time. The past, present, and future exist for Him at the same time».


We see the universe marvelously arranged and obeying certain laws but only dimly understand these laws. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations


Albert Einstein




Believer or not? — is a question that researchers of Albert Einstein’s biography are still concerned about today. Here is a statement of the famous physicist, which will please the atheist: «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 anything about this».

«It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, — he wrote in a letter dated March 24, 1954. — 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».

And here are other letters and sayings:


I do not try to imagine God as a person; the marvelous structure of the universe, as far as our imperfect senses can perceive it, is enough for me


Albert Einstein


«I am not an Atheist. I do not know if I can define myself as a Pantheist. It seems to me that we are like a child who has entered a library filled from floor to ceiling with books in different languages. We are in the position of a little child, entering a huge library whose walls are covered to the ceiling with books in many different languages. The child knows that someone must have written those books. It does not know who or how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child notes a definite plan in the arrangement of the books, a mysterious order, which it does not comprehend but only dimly suspects.

That, it seems to me, is the attitude of the human mind, even the greatest and most cultured, toward God. We see a universe marvelously arranged, obeying certain laws, but we understand the laws only dimly. Our limited minds cannot grasp the mysterious force that sways the constellations».




Professor John Lennox suggests that science and religion are not contradictory, the former has not replaced the latter as the only reliable way of knowing the world, and that many of the world’s most eminent scientists did believe in God.

The researcher emphasized that more than 65% of Nobel Prize winners (65% of Christians, 20% of Jews, less than 1% of Muslims) between 1901 and 2000 classified themselves as believers. Among them is the German theoretical physicist Max Planck, founder of quantum physics and Nobel Prize winner in 1918.


Портрет Макса Планка
Max Planck portrait /


«The deity which the religious man tries to approach by means of religious symbols is equivalent, in essence, to the force manifested in the laws of nature, of which the investigator obtains a certain degree of insight by means of his senses», — wrote Planck. — In this coincidence, however, one fundamental difference must be pointed out. To the religious man, God is given directly and primordially.

From Him, His omnipotent will, all life and all phenomena of both the human and spiritual world proceed. Though unknowable by reason, He nevertheless manifests Himself directly through the medium of religious symbols, putting His holy message into the souls of those who, believing, put their trust in Him.

In contrast, for the natural scientist, only the content of his perceptions and the measurements deduced from them are primary. Hence, by inductive ascent, he tries to approach God and His world order as the highest, eternally unattainable goal. Consequently, both religion and natural science need faith in God, with God standing at the beginning of all reflection for religion and at the end for natural science. For some, He means the foundation, and for others, He means the pinnacle of the construction of any worldview principles».


It is strange that all religions devote so much time to miracles while every schoolchild knows that a miracle, i.e., a violation of the laws of the universe, is impossible


Max Planck


Read Part II


When copying materials, please place an active link to
By joining the Huxleў friends club, you support philosophy, science and art
Share material

Spelling error report

The following text will be sent to our editors: