Photo Credit: The Guardian
Christie's auction house offered Albert Einstein's "God Letter" in a special sale which was its third sale since it surfaced in 2008. This letter is Einstein's most famous letter about religion, the idea of God, his Jewish identity and man's eternal search for meaning, and the auction house set a presale estimate of $1 million to $1.5 million. It fetched nearly $3 million. Despite the fact that letter became known a decade ago as the "God letter", Einstein used the word "God" only once in the letter.
The handwritten letter was sent to Eric Gutkind, a German philosopher who wrote a book called "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt" which was inspired by Jewish tradition. Einstein wrote in the letter that he was proud to be a Jew but that Jewish religion is, like other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition.
"For me the unadulterated Jewish religion is, like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and in whose mentality I feel profoundly anchored, still for me does not have any different kind of dignity from all other peoples." Einstein declared in the letter. "As far as my experience goes, they are in fact no better than other human groups, even if they are protected from the worst excesses by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot perceive anything ‘chosen’ about them."
It looks like Einstein did not like the Gutkind's book so much and he used this letter to express that sentiment in his own way while also expressing his views on other important questions at the same time. If it was not 1954 but 2018, and if Einstein used Twitter rather than a letter to express his opinions, those tweets would surely go viral. The letter contains statements about topics like religion and search for meaning, and those statements were written by one of the greatest scientists of all times and one of the most famous persons in the world.
Einstein wrote dozens of letters in which he mentioned God or Judaism so "The God letter" is not his definite view on religion and it doesn't contain his unchanging view about this topic. Anyway some of the statements from the letter clearly show that he did not believe in God and that this was something he was not going to change his mind about.
“The word God is for me nothing but the expression and product of human weaknesses,” Einstein wrote to Gutkind, “...the Bible a collection of venerable but still rather primitive legends. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change anything about this.”