Einstein Letter on God to Be Auctioned on Ebay

    October 5, 2012
    Sean Patterson
    Comments are off for this post.

On January 3, 1954, Albert Einstein mailed a letter from Princeton, New Jersey to Eric B. Gutkind in Germany. The letter was Einstein’s response to Gutkind’s book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt, which Gutkind had mailed to him. The letter contains a look at Einstein’s views on religion and the concept of god, as well as his short rebuttal of Gutkind’s book. This was just over one year before Einstein passed away.

The letter is now scheduled to be up for auction on eBay from October 8th through the 18th. The opening bid for the letter will $3 million.

The artifact is so highly priced because it contains some of the only candid, straightforward words Einstein laid down regarding his views on religion and god. Though Jewish, he regarded religions as “childish superstitions,” according to his letter. From the text of the letter:

The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still purely primitive, legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.

The letter goes on to address Einsteins’s Jewish heritage, and touches on his views of the Jewish people as “chosen” by God:

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. 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.

The auction is being managed by the Auction Cause auction management agency. The company stated in its auction preview that the letter has been stored at a “professional academic institution” in a temperature, humidity, and light-controlled environment. It also said that the authenticity of the letter has been thoroughly established. Those who wish to bid on the letter can pre-qualify to bid at the Auction Cause website.

  • BlipBlap

    Interestingly Einstein’s views must have vacillated, because he also said…

    “Before God we are all equally wise – and equally foolish.”
    “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.”
    “When the solution is simple, God is answering.”
    “God does not play dice.”

    • Andrew

      Einstein did not use the word “god” from a religious or supernatural stand point. It has been noted many times he was an Atheist. Here is just one article stating such: http://www.ias.ac.in/resonance/July2008/p655-661.pdf

    • Jordan

      Einstein used “God” in a poetic sense to represent the universe and the laws which govern it. Other great minds, like Stephen Hawking, have done that too and suffered the same consequences. Thankfully, most modern philosophers are out of that habit.

      • Cheng

        What a cruel comment on a great scientist. Stephen Hawking’s illness has nothing to do with his scientific or philosophic thinking. For you to make such a comment just shows you are a superficial and mindless person.

  • Aaron

    I cannot read his cursive, but unless it’s in a different language I can still tell that it does NOT say what the article says it says. Wtf is the issue? Why did this article not word for word type out what the letter says. I want to know what it actually says not the paraphrased version.

    • Sam

      It’s written in German.

    • Andrew

      It is obvious the letter is not written in English and if you read the article it says it was written to someone in Germany, it would be pretty easy to deduce that it is probably written in German. There would also be no reason for the person writing the article to lie about what it says.

    • Newton

      Einstein didn’t write in English you idiot.

  • Foo

    As Richard Dawkins says in The God Delusion, Einstein was just being cute when he made those quotes. The letter evinces his true beliefs.

  • MJ

    As a Christian,…I am 100% sure Einstein does not have the same view of God today,….as a matter of fact IF Einstein went to his grave believing what is in the letter, his view of God is quite clear from Hell and wishes he could change his mind because this is a one way street with NO second chances,…..and Eternity is a really, really long time to be on the wrong side of that “equation”

    • stock2mal

      You are not 100% sure of anything, your faith and religion has no factual basis whatsoever, so even claiming a 1% probability is idiotic. Every person who subscribes fully to any religion claims they are 100% certain that they are correct, so lots of people out there who are going to be disappointed (actually, they won’t have any thoughts on the matter) when they take that final dirt nap.

    • Jim

      @MJ: Ever notice how people like stock2mal want to tell you how to make up your mind or how you should actually think? You can always tell who has not read more than the first 10 pages of the Bible–if that! They will lie and say that they have read all of it. I don’t think Einstein read much more than Genesis–well, maybe some of Exodus…maybe. If he had read some of the Prophets like Isaiah and Daniel, he might have had a little different perspective. So ignore the trolls: they are willfully ignorant, which makes them “a stiff-necked people!”

  • http://yahoo fred

    god is king!!!!

  • I believe in Islam

    Sick ass fool. I love Einstein but ultimitly still know that could not define god. He still bashes his own religion and offered no alternative to reinforce his beliefs in religion or anything to explain where everything initially started. God is ultimately who started our universe and planets. Gotta love Einstein and his amazing efforts!

  • Jim

    Hey, Mr. Einstein: That’s the point! God (YHWH) chose the people of Israel for his special inheritance. Why? Why not! He’s God, not me. Here is what Moses told them (the Children of Israel, the Jews) just before they entered the Promised Land after the 40-year Wandering:

    (Deuteronomy 9: 5 – 7 NIV) 5 “It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going in to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations, the Lord your God will drive them out before you, to accomplish what he swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. 6 Understand, then, that it is not because of your righteousness that the Lord your God is giving you this good land to possess, for you are a stiff-necked people. 7 Remember this and never forget how you aroused the anger of the Lord your God in the wilderness. From the day you left Egypt until you arrived here, you have been rebellious against the Lord.

    One of the proofs that the Bible is true is that the Jews walk among us today! When was the last time you talked to a German Hittite, an American Canaanite, a Spanish Amorite, or straight-up Perizzites, Hivites, or Jebusites? No, they are all gone; they have been absorbed by the people groups around them. But the Jews remain with their own language and culture even unto this very day even though they live in many different people groups. This is a big point that the Bible tries to make: The Jewish people are NO Better–or worse, for that matter– than any other people in the world at that time or even now! And yet, God (YHWH) chose them anyway. If he can work with them, he’ll work with us–and he has: read the Gospel of John in the New Testament for proof. It is written as an eye-witness account because that is what it is.

    Tell you what: If Einstein is right, and all this is just a myth (which it isn’t), so be it! I will still try to live my life to please God (YHWH) simply because it is good. If I drop into the void when I die (which I won’t), so what?!? BUT, if you Mr Einstein and all you other athiests are incorrect (and you are) and there is God, what defense will you make for yourselves when you stand before the face of Omniscience and that greatly provoked for you have neglected so great a salvation!

    • Jon

      (which it isn’t) (which I won’t) (and you are)

      Who cares? Believe what you want to believe..don’t undermind someone elses beliefs simply because they differ from your own. I don’t believe in a christian god, does that alone make me a bad person? I’d like to think not.. If I have flaws they are of my own making and upbringing. And fear of any afterlife besides a christian heaven certainly does not persuade my decision one way or another, as it apparently has yours.

    • Emma Hamilton

      How can you say you are a christian and question why there is a need for God? If you are a christian, then you are a follower of Christ. Christ Jesus said that if you have seen me, you have seen the Father (God). He also said “I and the Father (God) are one”. It kind of sounds as though you like the title “christian” without being a practitioner of Christ’s teachings. Please read the Book of I John (in the Bible) prayerfully (it is close to the Book of Revelations). It helps us to be honest with ourselves and is an eye opener. Make a note of things that you don’t understand and pray about them. God is not funny. He doesn’t mind answering your sincere prayer.

  • monkey

    I am a Christian but am quite skeptic about my religion too. I began questioning why is there a need for God. Why are there believers? what are their beliefs upon?

    I think what Einstein meant by ‘The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness’ is that human fears about the unknown and ending. So basically, is death the end? What if death is not an end? thus creates the spiritual world. The paradigm of having to continue to exist even after death, which gives people hope, even the bad ones(or which the society deemed as bad). but the spirit has to go somewhere after the physical body dies. In the society, people are grouped into bad and good, so logically, after you die, if you are bad, you have hell for punishment because you want to punish the bad. and heaven if you have been good. But there is a flaw in this, where if doing good is all you need to go to heaven, then there is no need for a God to play a part in your life. So here comes Christianity, where you have a God to save you from your Sin. This Sin are not the typical sins where the bible tells you not to do this not to do that or when you disobey God. It is the Primitive Sin that everyone is born with, where it roots back to adam and eve disobeying God. So we have the Sin, or do we? Before believing that Jesus came to die on the cross and raised 3 days after that to wash away your sin so you can be holy and thus able to enter heaven, you need to believe that everyone is a sinner in the first place. This is where Faith comes in. You believe that you are a born sinner and thus needs to be saved. Or there is no heavens or earth. And i chose to have faith.

    P/s: i watched a discovery channel about stephen hawkings uses quantum mechanics to explain why there’s no need for a God. the conclusion was the property of particles to randomly appear/dissapear making the big bang possible as a chance event plus time doesnt exist before the big bang. But one could argue that God is not influenced by factor such as time/quantum mechanics, so my conclusion was still Faith.

    Sorry for the long post, go buy yourself a cookie at 7/11 =p

  • matt

    so why did god create all these peaople if only jewish are chosen? personally love is my religion

  • Summer

    And he died a year later…I think Einstein was senile by 1954. Definitely his sharpest moments were in the years past in which he stated some creationist leanings.

  • Claudio Maia (Brazil)

    I Honestly DARE anyone to chalenge Dr. Albert Einstein moral, ethics, literacy, intelect.
    I honestly DARE YOU NOT TO USE any (if not all) The contributions that he made for humanity.
    I honestly DARE YOU to look back in your life, before the knowlege of that particular letter, and see you not cheering up for Eisntein as one of the most important men in human history.
    So, please stop the hypocrisy in yourself, and if you have a reliion, keep it to yourself, be a better person with your god, and stop judging!

  • schenker

    Too many discrepancies, so much unexplained and yet we are suppose to swallow in whole….
    well imagine a creator with great power- who gave the right to create us anyaway?? a programer just like in the matrix..
    freewill, saints & sinners….argh only a lonely desperado needs such amusement from us…or is there something else?
    anyway it’s up to us to treat another fellow being with most care & respect..God is god- up to us to define and believe

  • schenker

    A kid creates ant farm for his amusement..but going all thru these troubles..create a universe, life. heaven and hell, wow, wow, wow

  • Arnold

    So, this young girl arrives at Heaven’s gate somewhat prematurely. She is met by St. Peter and given the grand tour ( parks, gardens,
    golf course and country club, etc. ) and then taken to a huge long
    hallway where she passes a room and hears this blood curdling screaming and asks “St. Peter ! What in the world is all that screaming from ” and he says ” Not to worry, my dear – they are just drilling the holes in his back to mount the angel wings ” and they continue down the hall until even worse screams are heard and she asks again to which St. Peter says ” Don’t worry,my love, they are just drilling the holes in the skull to mount the halo !” And she asks
    “Is there another choice ? ” and he says ” Well, sure, you can go to hell where they will rape you and sodomize you and make you perform orally ” and she says “Well, please send me there – I already have the holes for that !”.