A year before his death Einstein expressed in a hand written letter his views rejecting the existence of god as childish superstition. In the same letter he espoused that the Jewish people of whom he gladly belonged were nonetheless no more chosen nor special than any other. That letter is now up for auction on eBay. Per the article:
Einstein handwrote the letter in German to Jewish philosopher Eric B. Gutkind on Jan. 3, 1954, a year before Einstein's death. The letter was a response to Gutkind's book "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt" (1952, H. Schuman; 1st edition). In part of his letter, Einstein writes, "For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people....In a March 24, 1954 letter, he is quoted as writing, "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." However, in the letter to Gutkind, Einstein wrote the word God was "nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
Update: The letter was bought by an anonymous purchaser for $3,000,100.
Cool John I made a discussion of this too - no one saw it - or missed it somehow.
Thank you. For some reason I've not head of this action or letter yet. Very interesting.
Great stuff from Einstein, I particularly like the last line in reference to the bible.
This letter risks being sold very expensively. I have written about it before on a thread in Atheist Nexus, and suggested that I fear that some christian or Jewish billionaire will buy it in order to destroy it.
I posted the same discussion in the Atheist News group and the member, David W, there had the same concern:
Nice. I wouldn't put it past some wealthy religious person or group to purchase the letter and then ceremoniously destroy it.
The opening bid was supposed to be $3,000,000.
Even if purchased and destroyed, it is now part of the historical record and well documented. It deserves a prominent place in the Smithsonian or American Museum of Natural History ... not in someone's house.
I agree that it should be in a museum. However, I don't know how absolutely it is part of history. If it were destroyed a debate could open as to what supposed copies of it were authentic and which were not.
In a March 24,1954 letter he indicates that people have falsely accused him of believing in a god. Per the article of this discussion:
In a March 24, 1954 letter, he is quoted as writing, "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.
Isn't he viewed as a scientist who usually don't believe anyway?
That doesn't stop the theists who have no freaking clue or just lie freely, as many do.
The letter was bought by an anonymous purchaser for $3,000,100.