“‘SCIENCE without religion is lame, religion without science is blind.’ Albert Einstein’s aphorism has been the source of endless debate between believers and non-believers wanting to claim the greatest scientist of the 20th century as their own.
A little-known letter written by him may help to settle the argument – or at least provoke further controversy.
Due to be auctioned in London tomorrow after more than fifty years in a private collection, it leaves no doubt that he was no supporter of religious beliefs, which he regarded as ‘childish superstitions.’
Einstein wrote it on January 3, 1954, to the philosopher Eric Gutkind, who had sent him a copy of his book Choose Life: The Biblical Call To Revolt.
The letter, in German, went on public sale a year later and has remained in private hands ever since. In it he says: ‘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.’
Einstein, who was Jewish and who declined an offer to be Israel’s second president, also rejected the idea that the Jews are God’s favoured people.
‘For me the Jewish religion, like all others, 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 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.'” Read more…