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"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."
~ Albert Einstein

In January of 1954, just a year before his death, Albert Einstein wrote the following letter to philosopher Erik Gutkind after reading his book, Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt. Apparently Einstein had only read the book due to repeated recommendation by their mutual friend Luitzen Egbertus Jan Brouwer. The letter was bought at auction in May 2008, for £170,000.

Translated Transcript: Princeton, 3. 1. 1954

    Dear Mr Gutkind,

    Inspired by Brouwer’s repeated suggestion, I read a great deal in your book, and thank you very much for lending it to me ... With regard to the factual attitude to life and to the human community we have a great deal in common. Your personal ideal with its striving for freedom from ego-oriented desires, for making life beautiful and noble, with an emphasis on the purely human element ... unites us as having an “American Attitude.”

    Still, without Brouwer’s suggestion I would never have gotten myself to engage intensively with your book because it is written in a language inaccessible to me. 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. ... For me the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong ... 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.

    In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew. As a man you claim, so to speak, a dispensation from causality otherwise accepted, as a Jew of monotheism. But a limited causality is no longer a causality at all, as our wonderful Spinoza recognized with all incision...

    Now that I have quite openly stated our differences in intellectual convictions it is still clear to me that we are quite close to each other in essential things, i.e. in our evaluation of human behavior ... I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.

    With friendly thanks and best wishes,


    A. Einstein

Some have pointed to Einstein's quote that God "does not play dice" with the universe (his rejection of the randomness of the universe) as proof of his belief in a higher being. Others have said that the quote does not advocate a belief in God and have referred to other letters written by Einstein.

"I do not believe in a personal God and I have never denied this but have expressed it clearly,” he wrote in another letter in 1954. "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."

See other Einstein quotes HERE

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