Einstein thought religion 'childish'

May 13, 2008
Jill Lawless

LONDON – A letter being auctioned in London this week is sure to add fuel to the long-simmering debate about the religious views of Albert Einstein.
In the note, written a year before his death, the Nobel prize-winning physicist dismisses the idea of God as the product of human weakness and the Bible as "pretty childish."
The letter, handwritten in German, is being sold by Bloomsbury Auctions on Thursday.
It is expected to fetch between $12,000 and $16,000.
Einstein, who helped unravel the mysteries of the universe with his theory of relativity often expressed complex and arguably contradictory views on faith.
He apparently perceived a universe suffused with spirituality while rejecting organized religion.
The letter up for sale, was written to philosopher Eric Gutkind in January 1954 and suggests that Einstein's view on religion did not mellow with age.
In it, Einstein said that "the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
"For me," he added, "the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions."
Addressing the idea that the Jews are God's chosen people, Einstein wrote that "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."
"As far as my experience goes, they are also no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."
Bloomsbury spokesman Richard Caton said the auction house was ``100 per cent certain" of the letter's authenticity. It is being offered at auction for the first time, by a private vendor.
John Brooke, emeritus professor of science and religion at Oxford University, said the letter lends weight to the notion that ``Einstein was not a conventional theist" – although he was not an atheist, either.
"Like many great scientists of the past, he is rather quirky about religion, and not always consistent from one period to another," Brooke said.
Born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1879, Einstein said he went through a devout phase as a child before beginning to question conventional religion at the age of 12.
In later life, he expressed a sense of wonder at the universe and its mysteries – what he called a "cosmic religious feeling" – and famously said: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."
But, he also said: "I do not believe in the God of theology who rewards good and punishes evil. My God created laws that take care of that. His universe is not ruled by wishful thinking, but by immutable laws."
Brooke said Einstein believed that "there is some kind of intelligence working its way through nature. But it is certainly not a conventional Christian or Judaic religious view."
Einstein's most famous legacy is the special theory of relativity, which makes the point that a large amount of energy could be released from a tiny amount of matter. The theory changed the face of physics, allowing scientists to make predictions about space and paving the way for nuclear power and the atomic bomb.
Einstein's musings on science, war, peace and God helped make him world famous, and his scientific legacy prompted Time magazine to name him its Person of the 20th Century.

Started questioning it at age 12; that's about right.

I told him, Al, it's bullsh!t. He agreed.

Smart man, Al.

(used to help him with algebra.......He finally caught on.
"The bigotry of the nonbeliever is, for me, almost as funny as the bigotry of the believer." Albert Einstein

The guy was a frigging genius after all.
is he agnostic?
Maybe he was. He's dead now.
What I've never understood about Al, was why after realizing the nature of humanity that he continued to work on the greatest instrument of terror that has ever existed! When Nobel was creating dynamite I'm sure he didn't forsee the world wars and if he had, is it the responsibility of the gifted and the intelligent to save humanity from themselves'?
Handing razor blades to a child …..

In an interview shortly before his death in 1967 Oppenheimer spoke with philosophic melancholy of his first gut reaction to the atomic bomb. Besides the science, the math imagery, and satisfaction that the 1945 device had really worked as his team of scientists and military liaisons had struggled so long for, Oppenheimer also recalled the words of the Hindu god Vishnu as that god was trying to compel an earthly leader to follow his dictates. To intimidate the human,Vishnu re-formed himself into the visage of a huge multi-armed writhing figure, enormously immense beyond the scale of simple human proportions. "Now I am become Death", he told the human, "destroyer of worlds.".

Quotations by Subject: God (49 quotes)
Results from Michael Moncur's (Cynical) Quotations:
Before God we are all equally wise - and equally foolish.
Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955)- More quotations on: [God] [Equality]
Results from

Quote has been trimmed
what Albert Einstein (external - login to view)has said in relation to God
Think about this for a moment.

No inventor has ever known the ramifications of his/her invention.

No creator has ever known what far shore his ripples will reach.

Likewise any concept of a God, should teach us that no God can possibly know all the future results begetting more future results.

Has no God in all our many stories of different Gods not known angst ?

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