Einstein’s ‘God letter’ to be auctioned in New York

The acclaimed physicist wrote that Judaism ‘is an incarnation of the most childish superstition’.

Albert Einstein (photo credit: Courtesy)
Albert Einstein
(photo credit: Courtesy)
A letter by Albert Einstein mocking God and religion will be auctioned off later this year in New York.
The letter, written in German in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, offers a window into the religious views of the acclaimed physicist.
“The word God is for me is nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish,” wrote the Jewish Nobel Prize-winning scientist. “No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this.”
Einstein wrote to Gutkind after reading his book Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.
“For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition,” Einstein continued in his letter. “And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong, and whose thinking I have a deep affinity for, 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.”
Einstein died the following year, in 1955. The letter is slated to be auctioned off at Christie’s in New York on December 4, after being available for viewing for five days.
The auction house estimates it could be sold for at least $1 million.
In 2012, the letter was put up for auction on eBay with a starting bid of $3 million but never sold. The anonymous owner purchased the letter in 2008 at Bloomsbury Auctions in London for $404,000.
Last year, a note written by Einstein on the “theory of happiness” was sold by a Jerusalem auction house for $1.5 million. That letter, written in Tokyo in 1922, simply stated: “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness.”