Einstein letter on God to be auctioned

2012-10-08 10:16

London - A letter in which Albert Einstein dismissed the idea of God as a product of human weakness is being sold on eBay for a starting price of $3m.

The letter, handwritten in 1954, a year before Einstein's death, was addressed to philosopher Eric Gutkind. In it, Einstein discussed his views on religion, including calling "the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish".

An anonymous collector who bought the letter in 2008 is putting it on sale on online auction site eBay from Monday. The auction closes on 18 October.

Eric Gazin, a spokesperson for the sale, said on Sunday: "With the interest in Einstein, along with the questions this [letter] touches on, we feel it is well worth the price."

  • tuco.angeleyes - 2012-10-08 10:26

    3 million for a letter? This is getting nuts really..

      stoffels.hoffies - 2012-10-08 13:32

      Einstein got a lot of things completely wrong, and is definitely not an authority on religion. So, I will just consider his word in the same light as that of any other person.

      stoffels.hoffies - 2012-10-08 13:38

      @delutionbuster, I also comment from your response: Religion:The believe that out of nothing, and from nothing, the universe suddenly sprang into existence, and in turn, this universe that came from nothing, took nothing, and magically made EVERYTHING... Same argument...

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-10-08 14:32

      Hmmm, I bet Einstein would give more than 3 mil to reverse his ideas expressed in that letter from where he is now. Thinking themselves to be wise, they become fools!

      jody.beggs - 2012-10-08 15:55

      @Tuner what does the buy bull say about calling people fools ? See you in hell , buddy...

      stoffels.hoffies - 2012-10-08 16:03

      @Mememan I don't see Einstein in your quotation refer to the christian religion, more to his own jewish religion and people. So, i don't need to explain anything to my christian friends. I may probably sing a different tune as you speculated, but hey, you are doing it already, so i cannot see anything wrong with that anyway.. But to be honest, i would not base my faith on what he said ( or anyone else for that sake), that is just foolish. I want to find the truth for myself,.

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-10-08 16:50

      Hey, damnman, I afraid your ignorance is showing! It is obvious you are unaware that is a quote from the Bible. Nowhere does the Bible say if you call someone a fool (especially if he is one) you will go to hell. Funny you believe in hell, because you do not sound like a believer! Sorry you are looking forward to going there. Think again!

      stoffels.hoffies - 2012-10-08 20:25

      Mememan, you really love Einstein, don't you. Did you know that Albert Einstein did not originate the special theory of relativity in its entirety, or even in its majority. It was Joseph Larmor, Hendrik Antoon Lorentz, Jules Henri Poincaré, and many others that developed the theory. Albert have made a few contributions to the theory, such as the relativistic equations for the Doppler-Fizeau Effect. It was Henri Poincaré also, that first proved that time and space, as we know them, can only be relative. Without the work of Poincare, i wonder if Einstein would ever became such a household name as we know it today. It is also well known that he spend the last part of his life, in trying to show that quantum mechanics theory as we know it today, is not complete. He abysmally failed as well. The bell's experiment finally sealed the fate of Einsteins hopes, but that was only conducted after his death. Mind you, he was still a good scientist, but he was not infallible as demonstrated, and we therefore cannot believe everything he said, especially regarding field he most probably know little about (like philosophy and religion).

      pieter.pompies.31 - 2012-10-08 21:47

      @Tuner: Try Matthew 5:22 But don't loose too much sleep over it, -only words written by people many moons ago...

      stoffels.hoffies - 2012-10-08 22:32

      MemeMan His life was not really picture perfect, although everybody believes the world about him. He was quite an immoral man, and it is also claimed that he brutalized his wife. He cheated on her, and after they were divorced, he married his own niece, and did the same to her. I can really understand why he said what he said in his letter, since the scripture clearly condemn his lifestyle. There is a lot of people that are sure that Einstein was a fraudster and a thief. If that is true, i don't know, but for me, i guess i will only judge him by his works.

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-10-09 01:38

      Dear damnman and pompies, I can clearly see you both are not scholars of note. Allow me to assist you. As I previously stated, what I mentioned about fools is actually a quote from Romans 1:22. So if you have an issue with this, then speak to the Holy Spirit, the actual author of Romans written by Paul. By the way, pompies, since the Bible does not contradict itself, a correct understanding is necessary when you try and use scripture to back up your understanding. Try reading the context of Mt 5:22. Talking about context give the context of Romans 1:22 a try from verse 20 to 25. It may just ring a bell! Oh yes, mememan, I agree that his body is part of the ecosystem, but not him. Significant difference! How do I know? The Bible says so. How do you know? Thumbsuck??!

      pieter.pompies.31 - 2012-10-09 07:00

      @Tuner: You stated above: "Nowhere does the Bible say if you call someone a fool (especially if he is one) you will go to hell." All I did was provide you with a verse that says exactly that in black and white... From your above comment: "The Bible says so". - you seem to imply that something that is written in the Bible is true, because the Bible says so... Not trying to be rude, but you do realise it will be very hard (if not impossible) to have a sensible discussion with you?...

      paulthebok - 2012-10-09 09:54

      @ Meme For someone who aspires to be like Einstein ...LMAO ...your words not mine , you like to pick and choose your Einstein quotes on religion, God, Jesus and atheists, so I'll give you a refresher course. Here's my favourite one ... Interviewer: “You accept the historical existence of Jesus?” Einstein: “Unquestionably. No one can read the Gospels without feeling the actual presence of Jesus. His personality pulsates in every word. No myth is filled with such life. Here's one for you ... According to biographer Walter Isaacson, Einstein was more inclined to denigrate disbelievers than the faithful. Einstein said in correspondence, "The fanatical atheists...are like slaves who are still feeling the weight of their chains which they have thrown off after hard struggle. They are creatures who in their grudge against the traditional 'opium of the people' cannot bear the music of the spheres."Although he did not believe in a personal God, he indicated that he would never seek to combat such belief because "such a belief seems to me preferable to the lack of any transcendental outlook." Meme, isn't the weight of those chains starting to get a bit too heavy for you now, is't not good for you to hold a grudge, you have being set free , why spend you life insulting your Ex-slave master, why not just move on and enjoy your new found freedom!! But no , you have a agenda, you are going to SAVE the world from us EVIL Christians ...LMAO !!! PS! I could give you many more quotes!

      paulthebok - 2012-10-10 09:00

      @Meme ! You told me , that you aspire to be like Einstein even if you now deny it, you also told me you are writing a book proving that God doesn't exist ... tell me how is that book coming along , you should finish it , damn man you'd make more money than JK Rowling did, yet here you are wasting your time, when you could be finishing that book and be on your way to a Billionaire...WHY?

      rob.bancroft.94 - 2012-10-10 14:54

      mememan, thanks for reply. I have been away for a day, so I am not sure if you are still reading this comment blog, but here goes anyway. I was not aware of your discourse on the link you gave me. I glanced at it and saw it is quite lengthy. Do not have the time now, but be assured, I see you are a thinking man and deserve an opinion especially since you asked so nicely. I trust you will hang around for my comment or should I attached it to that article you wrote? Just a side comment to the rest who read these comments, by the number of likes and dislikes particular comments get, it is obvious that most readers are non-christians! Perhaps attracted by the name Einstein. Oh, yes, pompies. I realise you find it difficult to accept what the Bible says as truth if you are not a believer, but since I am, it doesn't mean I am dull in thinking and unable to give my reasons for accepting whatever the Bible says (with correct interpretation). By accepting the Bible as the absolute truth just means I KNOW it is. Thats all! It is not a blind faith, but faith that comes from experience and understanding. Talk again.

  • PrettyUsefulArt - 2012-10-08 10:27

    Old news, News24. Scraping the bottom of the barrel to find some news, are we?

  • marcus.steenberg.7 - 2012-10-08 10:52

    Perhaps the creationists should buy it and then burn it so they can deny it was ever written. They are so fond of claiming arguably the most intelligent man ever born as their own when he considered them to be nothing more than unsophisticated peasants.

      lvdm86 - 2012-10-08 11:07

      Are you referring to Newton?

      Tony Lapson - 2012-10-08 11:30

      Marcus, Einstein believed in god. He had no faith in the religions man created. He knew that the bible was composed of wise stories and tales on life and co-existence, however primitive it might be. He also never expressed 'god' as a conscious being who expects us to worship and praise him/her/it/everything.

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-08 11:39

      lvdm86, Newton was born into a world that at the time had no other explanation for the origin of man other than "god did it", was he born post the discovery of evolution he would have had other views on his indoctrinated religion as ALL modern scientist now do.

      lvdm86 - 2012-10-08 12:05

      @hotbyt...personally I would read some of his works before I make such an absolute statement. It doesn't appear that he believed in coincidence. 'ALL modern scientists'.. Think you have a lot of reading to do..

      wim.kotze.5 - 2012-10-08 12:16

      I wonder how much Einstein's letter on the necessity of a bomb that would kill hundreds of thousands of civilian Japanese would be sold for today? Truth is wisdom is not solely determined by whether one highly intelligent or agreeable individual once said so.

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-08 12:21

      lvdm86, none of his physics, mathematics or astronomy works have F all to do with religion, what does it matter anyway? Now apply yourself and focus on what I am saying; had he lived in modern times he would have thought much differently about religion, I'm not saying he would've been an atheist but he most certainly would've questioned most of what he was thought as a christian (ass ALL modern scientists do) thus all his theologian works would've gone in a completely different direction.

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-08 12:24


      lvdm86 - 2012-10-08 12:41

      @hotbyt clearly you have not even read the Wikipedia article on Isaac Newton

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-08 13:06

      lvdm86, I have and it is evident that although he questioned christianity he remained strongly religious, if he lived in modern times surely he would've had more evidence and reason to reject it overall wouldn't you agree?

      lvdm86 - 2012-10-08 13:57

      @hondbyt such a statement is pure speculation. In his time there were also atheists and agnostics with convincing arguments of how the universe created itself, siting newtons own mathematical proofs and Boyle's mechanical conception of the universe. But yes he did still think otherwise saying, he saw evidence of design in the system of the world: "Such a wonderful uniformity in the planetary system must be allowed the effect of choice" Who knows what he would have questioned more in modern times? Maybe the lack of evidence for abiogenesis when all we have is the germ theory developed by Pasteur. Or how the most effective coding system in the universe, DNA could have had its origin by forming on crystals. Or how there is no watertight transitional fossil. Or the uncaused first cause of the Big Bang? Or how nothing like the Big Bang has ever since its occurrence repeated itself. I guess what I'm trying to say is that there will always be unknowns, and unprovable truths, as proved by Gödel's incompleteness theorems. Evidence either way, for a God or not remains relative to the total amount of current knowledge. How much knowledge do you think we currently posses? 10%? 80? It's impossible to say. In the irony of quoting Einstein on this article, 'There are two ways to live your life - one is as though nothing is a miracle, the other is as though everything is a miracle."

      zane.zeiler - 2012-10-08 14:33

      @lvdm86, Well I agree that it is mostly speculation on my part, It's just that I would just naturally assume that a man of his caliber and intelligence would use all the evidence and knowledge at his disposal when pondering about life, the universe and everything in it, and with all the knowledge we have today (granted, we still know very little) logic and reason will dictate that the existence of the Abrahamic god is highly improbable...

      lvdm86 - 2012-10-08 15:07

      @hontbyt in his day though, it did seem as if he was sure about his position, having written 3 million words on science and mathematics but 6 million in apologetics.

      lvdm86 - 2012-10-08 15:54

      @Mememan, thank you, I have have extensively studied the big bang theory. The alleged big bang was a one-off event in the past, so it is beyond the reach of experimental verification. Hence speculation is presented wherever evidence is scant. Whenever the hypothesis runs into trouble, its proponents continually ‘move the goal posts’ by introducing hypothetical ad hoc assumptions and fudge factors like inflation, dark matter and dark energy, that have never been observed by modern physics. “‘Cosmology may look like a science, but it isn’t a science,’ James Gunn (Princeton University). ‘A basic tenet of science is that you can do repeatable experiments, and you can’t do that in cosmology.’” I was only referring to Isaac, Pasteur and Boyle in the light of the comments made. The questions asked are however still relevant. As for abiogenesis, computer modelling relies on predetermined boundary conditions, natural selection has no mould to fit to. And some alien intrusion to originate life on earth only displaces the problem. A minimal cell needs several hundred proteins. Even if every atom in the universe were an experiment with all the correct amino acids present for every possible molecular vibration in the supposed evolutionary age of the universe, not even one average-sized functional protein would form. I'm very interested as to how you have come to such a number. What if it were to be proved that we only know 0.0001% of all knowledge?

  • jody.beggs - 2012-10-08 10:54

    Great so now the xians will stop quoting Einstein as a believer ... Damn the man.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-10-08 11:36

      He was a believer, just not one that called himself Christian/Jewish/Muslim. His perception of god was within his own understanding, and not that of ancient myths, tales and scriptures.

      JManAtheoi - 2012-10-08 11:45

      " His perception of god was within his own understanding, and not that of ancient myths, tales and scriptures." ... I wish that were true for all believers....

      jody.beggs - 2012-10-08 11:53

      @Tony-Lapson just like an xian believe what you want and forget about the evidence...

      shannon.mcmurtrie.3 - 2012-10-08 12:05


      zaatheist - 2012-10-08 12:51

      Tony-Lapson This does not sound like a believer to me - My religiosity consists in a humble admiration of the infinitely superior spirit that reveals itself in the little that we, with our weak and transitory understanding, can comprehend of reality. Morality is of the highest importance -- but for us, not for God. - Albert Einstein I cannot conceive of a personal God who would directly influence the actions of individuals, or would directly sit in judgment on creatures of his own creation. - Albert Einstein A man's ethical behavior should be based effectually on sympathy, education, and social ties and needs; no religious basis is necessary. Man would indeed be in a poor way if he had to be restrained by fear of punishment and hope of reward after death. - Albert Einstein

      zaatheist - 2012-10-08 12:51

      Nor this - "... The word God is for me 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. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this. These subtilised interpretations are highly manifold according to their nature and have almost nothing to do with the original text. 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." - Albert Einstein in a letter to Eric Gutkind (1954) It was, of course, a lie what you read about my religious convictions, a lie which is being systematically repeated. I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly. If something is in me which can be called religious then it is the unbounded admiration for the structure of the world so far as our science can reveal it. - Albert Einstein

      Tony Lapson - 2012-10-08 13:20

      Za-atheist, Hence the constant use of the term "conscious entity" in many of my comments.

  • michael.neville.9849 - 2012-10-08 11:38

    Surprised nobody has said the devil did this.

  • sagin.verity - 2012-10-08 11:39

    Albert Einstein had, without doubt, the most remarkable mind in our time. Dismiss him at Your peril. A very important letter, written by a superior mind. Worth a lot more than the money that was paid.

      wim.kotze.5 - 2012-10-08 12:22

      Yes, like his letter recommending the bomb that was to be the death sentence to more than 100,000 civilians. Einstein himself also did not postulate the big bang, which followed so logically from his theories that the average Physics student can see it. If you hang on to every word just because Einstein said it, then you are in fact a deeply religious (uncritical and irrational) believer of Albert Einstein.

      trueblue.andreal - 2012-10-08 13:18

      "dismiss him at your peril"..on the contrary i would argue in so far as the basic idea contained in the letter...genius does not get you into the Kingdom of God

  • duncan.gill1 - 2012-10-08 13:17

    Well one thing for sure, he was an enlightened Jew wasn't he!

  • leonard.beckmann.31 - 2012-10-08 15:53

    People who enjoy this article will, one day prepare their own fires in hell , and jump in. GOD is great. I feel sorry for for this devil worshippers.

      goldd.goldfinger - 2012-10-08 16:03

      Just believe your own lies, there is no God, everytime you kneel down to pray its just a waste of time..its better to be on your feet and attempt to address your problems head on a mysterious unprovable God is really just a self indulgent illusion.

      Tony Lapson - 2012-10-08 16:10

      Hello fellow human being. I can only assume that you are a good hearted chap because you are religious. I can also assume that you have a right to judge, being a holy man and what-not. If I burn in hell, I will take solace in the fact that the entity that sent me there loves me, and created me as a part of the "greater plan". I may not be a murderer, rapist, thief or fraudster, but I will know that I deserved burning in hell for not blindly following a belief, and because you say I will. Thanks for the kind words, and have a pleasant day.

      marcus.steenberg.7 - 2012-10-08 16:26

      Lol, not surprising that the supposedly "loving" xtian is once again gleefully recounting the tortures allegedly in store for us atheists. In showing the pleasure they take in imagining our torture, they reveal their true nature and god that they serve. For the record, as a supposedly immoral atheist, I would never revel in the torture of another human being - which is less than I can say for our xtian brethren.

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