Science & Tech

Did history’s most famous scientists believe in God?

IS it possible for theists to be a biologist or maybe a chemist or a physicist?

The most famous biologist of all time (Charles Darwin) was a firm believer in the Abrahamic God— though later in life he became somewhat conflicted in his views on his particular strain of Christianity, particularly struggling with the “problem of evil”, but despite this he is quoted as saying in 1879 “I have never been an atheist in the sense of denying the existence of a God.”

The most famous physicists of all time are Isaac Newton and Albert Einstein.

Newton’s religious views were, at the time, very unconventional — had they been public he would probably have been deemed a heretic, but there is no doubt that he believed firmly in the idea of God, his heresy arose from questioning how he should be worshiped — he particularly disagreed with the divinity of the Trinity. He was, however, definitely a theist, albeit an unconventional and radical one.

Albert Einstein is probably the closest to an Atheist we have so far — he was raised as a Jew, but in later life he rejected the idea of a “personal god”, a benevolent, human-like entity who took an interest in human affairs. He did not describe himself as an atheist, though he did not believe in an afterlife — he believed that God existed, but that he was nebulous, universal, and not comprehensible to the human mind.

The most famous chemist of all time is probably Marie Curie (a Catholic, until her mother’s death drove her to agnosticism, but never outright atheism, similar to Einstein).

So, in all three fields, the most famous figures all have nuanced religious views, that tend towards a belief in a higher power. Some of those views (i.e. Curie) faltered over time, and the others are all somewhat unconventional beliefs, but they are theist beliefs nonetheless.

So, yes, it is possible to be a religious individual, and be a scientist, the two are not mutually exclusive.

What is mutually exclusive is religious fundamentalism. If you believe that God literally made the world in 7 days, formed mankind in his image, women from a man’s rib, and all the other ‘creation myth’ type stuff in the Bible, Torah, Qu’ran or any other religious text, that is going to be problematic.

Many of these religious scientists believe that investigating the nature of the universe is to scrutinize the work of God himself, to behold His creation in ever deeper glory.

These views are in no way contradictory to the tenets of scientific thought, after all, it was Galileo who said:

I do not feel obliged to believe that the same God who has endowed us with senses, reason, and intellect has intended us to forgo their use.

  • Forbes

0 0 votes
Article Rating
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Back to top button
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x