A sixth-grader from a Sunday school at The Riverside Church wrote a letter to one of the best scientific minds of our time, Albert Einstein asking if scientists do pray.
The young girl named Phyllis penned a polite and inquisitive note to the great physicist, and she was probably surprised to receive a considerate reply.
The exchange was published in the book "Dear Professor Einstein: Albert Einstein's Letters to and from Children," edited by Alice Calaprice, the Huffington Post reported.
He replied a mere five days later on January 24, 1936, sharing with her his thoughts on faith and science.
He said that scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.
However, he said that we must concede that our actual knowledge of these forces is imperfect, so that in the end the belief in the existence of a final, ultimate spirit rests on a kind of faith. Such belief remains widespread even with the current achievements in science.
But he also said that everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
While the letter doesn't reveal much about Einstein's own personal views on religion, he brilliantly manages to capture the sublime sense of wonder that science can evoke in a way that it's possible to describe as "religious."
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Original headline: Here's what Einstein told sixth grader when asked whether scientists prayed
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