Every now and then some Christian will drop me an email or leave a comment with an appeal to authority argument along the lines of the following: Einstein was one of the greatest thinkers ever and he believed in God. What makes you think you know better than Einstein? At which point I have to point out that while Einstein wasn’t exactly an atheist per se, he wasn’t your conventional sort of theist either. The God that Einstein believed in doesn’t even come close to the what most Christians mean when they use the word God as it’s much closer to the atheist viewpoint of no God at all.
Now another letter written by Einstein on the topic of God is up for auction and it reveals yet again just how disdainful of traditional God belief Einstein really was:
Einstein writes “the word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish.”
Born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1879, he also adds that “for me, the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”
He also wrote “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.”
This probably won’t stop the occasional Christian from trying to lay claim to Einstein as one of their own, but at least it provides us with another point of reference to refute that argument when it rears its ugly head. The letter itself is expected to go for between $12,000 and $16,000 and if I were a rich man I’d consider buying it myself. Einstein is one of my heroes and having something like that in my collection would be very cool indeed.