Albert Einstein Quotes on Life After Death

A portrait of Albert Einstein

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Belief in an afterlife and souls is a fundamental principle not only to most religions, but also most spiritual and paranormal beliefs today. Albert Einstein denied any validity to the belief that we can survive our physical deaths. According to Einstein, there is no punishment for misdeeds or rewards for good behavior in any afterlife.

Albert Einstein's denial of the existence of life after death suggests that he didn't believe in any gods and is part of his rejection of traditional religion. His view on these matters was captured in various quotes recorded in his lifetime, including his obituary and essays.

On Surviving Physical Death

"I cannot conceive of a God who rewards and punishes his creatures, or has a will of the kind that we experience in ourselves. Neither can I nor would I want to conceive of an individual that survives his physical death; let feeble souls, from fear or absurd egoism, cherish such thoughts. I am satisfied with the mystery of the eternity of life and with the awareness and a glimpse of the marvelous structure of the existing world, together with the devoted striving to comprehend a portion, be it ever so tiny, of the Reason that manifests itself in nature."—Albert Einstein, ​"The World As I See It"

On Death, Fear, and Ego

"I cannot imagine a God who rewards and punishes the objects of his creation, whose purposes are modeled after our owna God, in short, who is but a reflection of human frailty. Neither can I believe that the individual survives the death of his body, although feeble souls harbor such thoughts through fear or ridiculous egotisms."—Albert Einstein, obituary in New York Times, April 19, 1955

On Immortality of the Individual

" I do not believe in immortality of the individual, and I consider ethics to be an exclusively human concern with no superhuman authority behind it."—Albert Einstein, " Albert Einstein: The Human Side," edited by Helen Dukas & Banesh Hoffman

On Punishment After Death

" A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death."—Albert Einstein, " Religion and Science," New York Times Magazine, November 9, 1930

On the Immortality of the Cosmos

"If people are good only because they fear punishment, and hope for reward, then we are a sorry lot indeed. The further the spiritual evolution of mankind advances, the more certain it seems to me that the path to genuine religiosity does not lie through the fear of life, and the fear of death, and blind faith, but through striving after rational knowledge. Immortality? There are two kinds..."—Albert Einstein, quoted in: "All the Questions You Ever Wanted to Ask American Atheists," by Madalyn Murray O'Hair

On the Concept of a Soul

"The mystical trend of our time, which shows itself particularly in the rampant growth of the so-called Theosophy and Spiritualism, is for me no more than a symptom of weakness and confusion. Since our inner experiences consist of reproductions, and combinations of sensory impressions, the concept of a soul without a body seem to me to be empty and devoid of meaning."—Albert Einstein, letter of February 5, 1921
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Cline, Austin. "Albert Einstein Quotes on Life After Death." Learn Religions, Sep. 20, 2021, Cline, Austin. (2021, September 20). Albert Einstein Quotes on Life After Death. Retrieved from Cline, Austin. "Albert Einstein Quotes on Life After Death." Learn Religions. (accessed May 30, 2023).