Did the scientist who once called the Bible childish claim evil is caused by a lack of God’s love?
"Evil does not exist," read a quote attributed to Albert Einstein in a recent Facebook post featuring his photo. "It is just like the darkness and cold. God did not create evil. Evil is the result of what happens when man does not have God’s love present in his heart."
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It was deleted as we were fact-checking whether Einstein really said that, but we found plenty of other places where the image was shared — in 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2012. It’s also appeared elsewhere online and in books, often as an anecdote in which Einstein, as a student, challenges his professor.
Searching for the quote online, we couldn’t find any credible sources confirming that Einstein said this. We did find it in stories like this one from Gizmodo in 2014: "9 Albert Einstein quotes that are totally fake."
A letter Einstein wrote in 1954 perhaps better captures the physicist’s ideas about a higher power. In it, he said: "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."
A 1996 biography of Einstein says he was religious as a child, the Guardian reported last year, but by the time he was a teenager he "abandoned his uncritical religious fervor, feeling that he had been deceived into believing lies."
The newspaper quotes Nick Spencer, a fellow at a Christian think tank called Theos, who said: "Einstein offers scant consolation to either party in this debate. His cosmic religion and distant deistic God fits neither the agenda of religious believers or that of tribal atheists. As so often during his life, he refused and disturbed the accepted categories. We do the great physicist a disservice when we go to him to legitimize our belief in God or in his absence.
We rate the claims in these Facebook posts as False.