This interesting quote from Einstein has always intrigued me. I have always considered religious faith as something that is separate from scientific inquiry, but he correlates them as part of the quest for Truth. And, my experience over the years debating science, especially with militant atheists, confirms his point here. I generally avoid religious faith, when discussing scientific issues, but militant atheists ALWAYS bring it up. They constantly try to drive a wedge between religious faith & science, which they do not follow, themselves.
Anyway, the more i ponder this quote, the more i tend to agree. Having some kind of clear belief system, & recognizing it as such, is a good foundation for scientific inquiry. Without that philosophical foundation, scientific inquiry blindly follows flawed assumptions. And without the empiricism of Facts & scientific methodology, the philosophical beliefs have no feet.. nothing to propel them.. they are lame. So it is a good quote, & worthy of consideration.
I am reminded about John Locke, who was a fierce advocate of searching for Truth.
“To love truth for truth's sake is the principal part of human perfection in this world, and the seed-plot of all other virtues.” ~John Locke
Without this 'religious/philosophical' foundation, too much that is labelled 'science' is just agenda driven propaganda.. FAKE SCIENCE. There must be an underlying love for Truth, & a philosophical foundation of integrity & sincerity. Otherwise, as we see constantly in this world, science becomes an agenda.. a basis for manipulating people. It is what i have called, 'Fake Science'. It is not based on a 'holy curiosity of inquiry,' but indoctrination for some ideological agenda.
Now, how i interpret 'religion' in Einstein's quote, is a clear recognition of one's philosophical opinion.. NOT a dogmatic insistence of Absolute Knowledge, that they cannot possibly have. And unfortunately, that is how the militant atheists present their beliefs.. they won't even call their opinions 'beliefs'. They dogmatically assert that they have Absolute Knowledge, & have no circumspection about the vast mysteries of the universe. Everything is neatly logged in a tidy package, bereft of mystery or the unknown. This blinds them to possibility, as Einstein is saying. It is NOT their atheism that is the problem, it is the lack of objectivity, & the lack of awe & wonder for the universe. They are without mystery, & are stuck in dogmatic assertions of false knowledge. They are blinded by their own dogmatism, & have lost the wonder of the 'religious' experience of mystery & the unknown.