Unlike the forwards you receive from your gullible older relatives, it turns out Albert Einstein did have something to say about religion, at least regarding prayer. In response to a young girl’s letter to him in which she asked, “Do scientists pray?” Einstein said this:
Scientists believe that every occurrence, including the affairs of human beings, is due to the laws of nature. Therefore a scientist cannot be inclined to believe that the course of events can be influenced by prayer, that is, by a supernaturally manifested wish.
But also, everyone who is seriously involved in the pursuit of science becomes convinced that some spirit is manifest in the laws of the universe, one that is vastly superior to that of man. In this way the pursuit of science leads to a religious feeling of a special sort, which is surely quite different from the religiosity of someone more naive.
In other words, scientists ought to be applying the ideas of logic and reason to religion, just like they do everything else. Trying to mix science and religion means you’re doing both of them wrong.
(via Letters of Note — Thanks to Amanda for the link!)