He didn't -- at least not Abraham's God. He believed in Spinoza's God -- a style of pantheism. Einstein wasn't shy about invoking the word "God" to represent his beliefs, though. It's caused no end of confusion -- to the point where Dawkins has to spend time in The God Delusion to define what he called the Einsteinian God.
The Time article doesn't take the same position that Dawkins does -- at least to my reading. It describes Einstein as angry at being called an atheist.
But throughout his life, Einstein was consistent in rejecting the charge that he was an atheist. "There are people who say there is no God," he told a friend. "But what makes me really angry is that they quote me for support of such views." And unlike Sigmund Freud or Bertrand Russell or George Bernard Shaw, Einstein never felt the urge to denigrate those who believed in God; instead, he tended to denigrate atheists. "What separates me from most so-called atheists is a feeling of utter humility toward the unattainable secrets of the harmony of the cosmos," he explained.That is not how I read those quotes at all. Just because he didn't denigrate those who believed in God doesn't mean he didn't have atheist views. It seems to me that Einstein only wanted to distance himself from a certain type of atheist. In the same way that I want to distance myself from certain types of atheists. It's true, some of them are just offensive and I don't like them representing me. I don't like it when atheists try to give religious labels to 'our' things -- like saying that Darwin is our saint, Dawkins and Harris are our prophets, and The Origin of Species is our bible. I hate that. And I just think it sounds like Einstein has the same feelings towards atheists that think they know all of the answers to the universe.
I find the whole article seemed to have been written in a religious slant, as if it were defending Einstein as a religious person. Instead the article mostly just tried to explain what he did believe, as if to emphasize the fact that he believed something. It even omitted (innocently or otherwise) what many atheists consider to be the defining quote about Einstein's religious views:
It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it.If the article had mentioned that quote, it would have had a harder time coming to these wishy-washy conclusions on Einstein:
Around the time he turned 50, he began to articulate more clearly--in various essays, interviews and letters--his deepening appreciation of his belief in God, although a rather impersonal version of one.
For some people, miracles serve as evidence of God's existence. For Einstein it was the absence of miracles that reflected divine providence.It feels like the article is trying to paint Einstein's beliefs as an interpretation of God, not as an atheist that is fascinated by the mysteries of the universe. The author is about to publish a biography of Einstein. I think I'll pass.