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It would not be difficult to come to an agreement as to what we understand by science Science is the century-old endeavor to bring together by means of systematic thought the perceptible phenomena of this world into as thoroughgoing an association as possible To put it boldly it is the attempt at the posterior reconstruction of existence by the process of conceptualization But when asking myself what religion is I cannot think of the answer so easily And even after finding an answer which may satisfy me at this particular moment I still remain convinced that I can never under any circumstances bring together even to a slight extent the thoughts of all those who have given this question serious consideration picture einstein in 1914 At first then instead of asking what religion is I should prefer to ask what characterizes the aspirations of a person who gives me the impression of being religious a person who is religiously enlightened appears to me to be one who has to the best of his ability liberated himself from the fetters of his selfish desires and is preoccupied with thoughts feelings and aspirations to which he clings because of their superpersonalvalue It seems to me that what is important is the force of this superpersonal content and the depth of the conviction concerning its overpowering meaningfulness regardless of whether any attempt is made to unite this content with a divine Being for otherwise it would not be possible to count Buddha and Spinoza as religious personalities Accordingly a religious person is devout in the sense that he has no doubt of the significance and loftiness of those superpersonal objects and goals which neither require nor are capable of rational foundation They exist with the same necessity and matter-of-factness as he himself In this sense religion is the age-old endeavor of mankind to become clearly and completely conscious of these values and goals and constantly to strengthen and
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