Atheists seem very eager to claim Einstein for one of their own. Richard Dawkins devotes a whole section to Einstein in The God Delusion and Christopher Hitchens' Portable Atheist is peppered with Einstein quotations seemingly rejecting all belief in God. Recently an Einstein letter surfaced which showed the great scientist scorning the idea that the Jews were in any sense God's chosen people.
But all that these quotations prove is that Einstein was not an orthodox believer. He rejected the idea of a personal God "who would directly influence the actions of individuals or would sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation." Einstein also rejeted the immortality of the soul, noting that "one life is enough for me."
At the same time, Walter Isaacson in his celebrated new biography Einstein provides ample evidence that Einstein not only believed in a higher or transcendent power, but also that Einstein despised atheists. Here are some quotations, drawn from Isaacson's book with full documentation, that I offer as a needed counterbalance to the one-sided list provided by Dawkins, Hitchens and the others.
Here are a couple of the quotes:
On how he feels about atheist efforts to claim him as an ally: "There are people who say there is no God, but what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views."
On how he regards atheists: "The fanatical atheists...are creatures who cannot her the music of the spheres. I do not share the crusading spirit of the professional atheist. What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos."