Reading Einstein's quotes, I get the impression that he did believe in a higher power. He doesn't come off atheist, just anti-organized religion. He uses the phrase, "personal god", which I think shows that he's saying he doesn't support the belief of this sort of judging entity that sits on his throne controlling his creations. Anyway, that's what I get out of this quote:
"My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance-but for us, not for God."
He knows that our awareness is so small that it's impossible to say with one hundred percent conviction that a higher power doesn't exist. I think people of his great intellect AND enlightenment often feel this way. They remain open. At least that's what I'm getting out of it. Of course, I'm probably completely wrong!
I think John Lennon expressed a similar belief. From what I've read. Just an openness to possibility I guess. Naive or not. Who knows.
"I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky. I believe that what people call God is something in all of us. I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha and all the rest said was right. It's just that the translations have gone wrong."
"I believe in everything until it's disproved. So I believe in fairies, the myths, dragons. It all exists, even if it's in your mind. Who's to say that dreams and nightmares aren't as real as the here and now?"
Anyway, it's people who pervert religion anyway. As they do so many things. They kill in God's name and use it as an excuse for their hatred. Doesn't mean God or the concept of God is bad. A lot of people get something very good out of it. And I'm betting there's a hell of a lot more who get something positive out of it than negative. That's just not discussed. People will be people. If there were no concept of God, there would be something else to use as an excuse. It's all down to the individual and what they choose to do with it. I certainly wouldn't begrudge anyone their beliefs if that's what gets them through the day or compels them to do the right thing. Some people need to feel that they're being watched over and cared for. Some don't. Who's to say which is right and which is wrong? To confuse the issue because some radicals take the concept and use it to commit acts of violence based on their own narrow minded grasp of reality is just a waste of time. There's a deeper problem here. Which I think Alexis hit on a bit earlier.