Skip to comments.Belief in God 'childish,' Jews not chosen people: Einstein letter
Posted on 05/13/2008 5:45:59 AM PDT by Alex Murphy
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 fuelled 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.
So then, all this talk about God not rolling dice with the universe was what? Metaphor or crass pandering?
einstein was an einstein.
Gasp! I guess I better stop believing in the God who redeemed me from eternity in Hell.
They (the Jews) were chosen by God to bring monotheism to the world and to express it in their culture.
That choosing did not impart upon them any other special status (Jews are not better than other peoples). However, it did impart upon them special duties and responsibilities.
It's like God said "I need some volunteers for a tough mission, so I choose the Jews". They fought the mission and came back with medals.
His genius did not extend outside the field of physics and mathematics.
“the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”
Einstein said he was quite religious as a child, and was dismayed when he grew old enough to realize that the Bible was not credible. He said he found it very poingnant that so many people conspired to lead him astray, and that this contributed to his maverick way of thinking.
Was this letter faxed from a Kinkos in Texas?
The beginning of wisdom is the fear of God.
Genius - ? Now that’s a whole different story. I would like to look up the history of that word.
A Deist would be perfectly comfortable saying such things. Ben Franklin who said in his autobiography that he was a “thorough Deist” also said “Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”.
Well, in the end, this reminds me of that saying in regard to another famous atheist:
“God is dead.” - Nietzsche
“Nietzsche is dead.” - God
“The fool in his heart says that there is no God.”
“The fool in his heart says that there is a God.”
Both are null statements.
It should be remembered that Einstein actively promoted socialism.
Not so smart after all.
The reality is now Enistine knows that he was DEAD wrong about ALL of these statments. Sadly he is also experienceing the consequences of his unbelief: (Luke 16:23-24, 26)
“I believe in Spinoza’s God, who reveals Himself in the lawful harmony of the world, not in a God Who concerns Himself with the fate and the doings of mankind.” - ALBERT EINSTEIN.
I love a good story!
Einstein knows better now.
The problem for Einstein was that you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to believe in G-d.
So it was more metaphor than crass pandering. Thanks
Cuz the bible says so.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom;A good understanding have all those who do His commandments.His praise endures forever.
Proverbs 1:7 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, But fools despise wisdom and instruction.
What exactly do you mean?
“Einstein, stop telling God what to do!” -Niels Bohr
I know what the bible says, but I was asking why is the fear of God the beginning of wisdom?
Jesus was a Jew.
I reject the whole 'being tested' hypotheses
I do NOT disbelieve in God....but I don't believe in yours.
“What exactly do you mean?”
A null statement is not susceptible to logical proof or disproof.
Stating something as fact that is unascertainable is a waste of time: “The Bible says it’s true and the Bible is the word of God, so it must be true.” Or “God does not exist. If He existed, we would know He exists.”
It’s something like `question-begging’ or a circular argument.
As Al or Spinoza might put it, you go with what you know, not what you believe or feel to be true, even if you do risk (as some believe) being boiled in excrement for eternity.
Like his idol Ernst Mach, Einstein was a monist. Monism was popularized in Germany by Ernst Haeckel, but it has deeper roots (Oken). Monism is basically a German form of mystical raving atheism. All that blather about the unity of nature, Goethe, and Spinoza, is typical monist tripe. Ernst Mach even joined Haeckel's monist church and wrote up a particularly embarrassing page about it in his (otherwise mostly excellent) history of mechanics. There is some evidence that Einstein grew out of this as he got older, but it's vague.
I’m guessing that he feels differently now.
Yes, but isn’t this knowledge of other questions, really just beliefs?
Because a person like Einstein ends up being a fool no matter how worldly "smart" he seems. "what good is it to gain the world and lose your soul?"
I believe in the God of the bible, "the only true God and Jesus Christ who he has sent".
That really doesn’t explain why fearing God is the beginning of wisdom, but thanks.
well we will have to just disagree....
but I do like your Tagline.
Is it the word fear that is bothering you? I know that really bothers a lot of people. That word is used a lot of times regarding feelings toward or worship of or belief in God.
This may be the first instance in the bible:
Genesis 20:11 And Abraham said, Because I thought, surely the fear of God is not in this place; and they will kill me on account of my wife.
There are certainly many Christians that would see that and take it upon themselves to try to share the gospel with you. I suspect you already know it and have rejected it. I think most people already know the gospel and know what they have rejected.
who does he think he is, Einstein????
>> Was this letter faxed from a Kinkos in Texas?
Actually, Einstein himself emailed it in 1954.