Albert Schweitzer (14 January 1875 – 4 September 1965) was a Franco-German (Alsatian) theologian, organist, philosopher, and physician. He was born in Kaysersberg in the province of Alsace-Lorraine, in the German Empire. Schweitzer challenged both the secular view of Jesus as depicted by historical-critical methodology current at his time in certain academic circles, as well as the traditional Christian view, depicting a Jesus Christ who expected and predicted the imminent end of the world. He received the 1952 Nobel Peace Prize for his philosophy of "Reverence for Life", expressed in many ways, but most famously in founding and sustaining the Albert Schweitzer Hospital in Lambaréné, now in Gabon, west central Africa (then French Equatorial Africa). As a music scholar and organist, he studied the music of German composer Johann Sebastian Bach and influenced the Organ reform movement (Orgelbewegung).
Schweitzer's passionate quest was to discover a universal ethical philosophy, anchored in a universal reality, and make it directly available to all of humanity.
Born in Kaysersberg, Schweitzer spent his childhood in the village of Gunsbach, Alsace (German: Günsbach), where his father, the local Lutheran-Evangelical pastor, taught him how to play music. Long disputed, the predominantly German-speaking region of Alsace or Elsass was annexed by Germany in 1871; after World War I, it was reintegrated into France. The tiny village is home to the Association Internationale Albert Schweitzer (AIAS). The medieval parish church of Gunsbach was of a special Protestant-Catholic kind found in various places in Germany even today. It was shared by the two congregations, which held their prayers in different areas of the same church at different times on Sundays. This compromise arose after the Protestant Reformation and the Thirty Years War. Schweitzer, the pastor's son, grew up in this exceptional environment of religious tolerance, and developed the belief that true Christianity should always work towards a unity of faith and purpose.