The development from a religion of fear to a moral religion is a great step in peoples lives. And yet, that primitive religions are based purely on fear and the religions of civilized peoples purely on morality is a prejudice against which we must be on guard. the truth is that all religions are a varying blend of both types, with this differentiation: that on the higher levels of social life the religion of morality predominates.
Common to all types is the anthropomorphic character of their conception of God. In general, only individuals of exceptional endowments, and exceptionally high-minded communities, rise to any considerable extent above this level. But there is a third stage of religious experience which belongs to all of them, even though it is rarely found in a pure form: I shall call it cosmic religious feeling. It is very difficult to elucidate this feeling to anyone who is entirely without it, especially as there is no anthropomorphic conception of God corresponding to it.
The individual feels the futility of human desires and aims and the sublimity and marvelous order which reveal themselves both in nature and in the world of thought. Individual existence impresses him as a sort of prison and he want to experience the universe as a single significant whole. The beginnings of cosmic religious feeling already appear at an early stage of development, e.g., in many of the Psalms of David and in some of the Prophets. Buddhism, as we have learned especially from the wonderful writings of Schopenhauer, contains a much stronger element of this.
The religious geniuses of all ages have been distinguished by this kind of religious feeling, which knows no dogma and no God conceived in man's image; so that there can be no church whose central teachings are based on it. Hence it is precisely among the heretics of every age that we find men who were filled with this highest kind of religious feeling and were in many cases regarded by their contemporaries as atheists, sometimes also as saints. Looked at in this light, men like Democritus, Francis of Assisi, and Spinoza are closely akin to one another.
How can cosmic religious feeling be communicated from one person to another, if it can give rise to no definite notion of a God and no theology? In my view, it is the most important function of art and science to awaken this feeling and keep it alive in those who are receptive to it.
-- Albert Einstein, Science and Religion, NY Times, November 9, 1930.
The origin of religion begins in the world. The gods control the world and the ancients feared them. Then secularism created morality which are man made interpretations of objective conscience which has atrophied in us
We are evolving into the ability for objective conscience to replace the personal God telling us what is moral in favor of universal truths. Objective conscience must be remembered rather than indoctrinated as with morality
Einstein is part of a minority who understand the function of conscience. I know how and why the world must hate them but I do respect and value them. How and what they know must be communicated to the world which denies conscience in favor of egoistic imagination. They will be ignored and persecuted
Can religion evolve? I know Einstein, Simone Weil, Jacob Needleman, and others know its value if Man is to become human. Will art and science retain its belief in truth and awaken cosmic religious feelings or will it sink along with the rest of society into self serving interpretations? Only time will tell