Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Einstein letter - Belief in God ‘childish’

Einstein’s views on religion have been the subject of much debate, and several of his quotes have been used to back up arguments in favor of faith. However, a letter to be sold in London this week clarifies (once again) the scientist’s views on god belief -- right from the scientist's own pen.

Belief in God ‘childish,’ Jews not chosen people: Einstein letter

LONDON (AFP) - Albert Einstein described belief in God as “childish superstition” and said Jews were not the chosen people, in a letter to be sold in London this week, an auctioneer said Tuesday.

The father of relativity, whose previously known views on religion have been more ambivalent and fueled much discussion, made the comments in response to a philosopher in 1954.

As a Jew himself, Einstein said he had a great affinity with Jewish people but said they “have no different quality for me than all other people”.

“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.

“No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this,” he wrote in the letter written on January 3, 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, cited by The Guardian newspaper.

The German-language letter is being sold Thursday by Bloomsbury Auctions in Mayfair after being in a private collection for more than 50 years, said the auction house’s managing director Rupert Powell.

In it, the renowned scientist, who declined an invitation to become Israel’s second president, rejected the idea that the Jews are God’s chosen people.

“For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions,” he said.

“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.”

And he added: “As far as my experience goes, they are 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.”

Previously the great scientist’s comments on religion — such as “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind” — have been the subject of much debate, used notably to back up arguments in favour of faith.

Powell said the letter being sold this week gave a clear reflection of Einstein’s real thoughts on the subject. “He’s fairly unequivocal as to what he’s saying. There’s no beating about the bush,” he told AFP.

Einstein was an atheist.

This is pretty cool:
Albert Einstein
Adobe Photoshop time lapsed art speed painting Speedpainting

Martin Missfeldt


Cole said...

Hi Star! I wasn't aware of this. I always thought that Einstein believed in a Superior Reasoning Power of some sort. But then again I've been lied to so much by Hugh Ross and his books I'm not sure what to believe anymore.

Great post!

Stardust said...

Hi Cole,

Yep, the god believers try to use whatever they can to try to boost up the credibility of their beliefs by taking out of context certain quotes or parts of quotes they can try to use to say "see, this smart guy believes so you should to!" They try to do this with Abraham Lincoln, too. Pulling quotes he says about God and then trying to make him look like a Christian man. He wasn't. Lincoln was a Deist like Thomas Paine...if that.

CyberKitten said...

They're discussing this over @ Jewish Atheists Blog.

As I said over there it's 'much ado about nothing' as far as I'm concerned.