Bad News from JTA: Einstein Wrote that the Jews are Not the Chosen People

Darn it. That Einstein was a party pooper.
Jews are not the chosen people and religious belief is "childish," Albert Einstein said in a 1954 letter.

Jews are not the chosen people and religious belief is "childish," Albert Einstein said in a 1954 letter.

The letter, written in German to philosopher Eric Gutkind the year before the Nobel Prize-winning scientist's death, will go on sale Thursday at an auction in England. It is expected to sell for up to $15,400, according to the Daily Telegraph.

Einstein's opinion on religion has long been debated. Previous statements attributed to the father of the Theory of Relativity -- a Jew who declined an invitation to be Israel's second president -- have been more ambivalent than this letter.

"The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish," Einstein wrote.

Einstein said he started questioning religion at the age of 12.

"For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," the letter said. "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 better protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything 'chosen' about them."

1 comment:

John D. Enright said...

Your despair is laudable in this instance, but probably inappropriate.

Einstein, even though gifted, wasn't perfect as we all have personal imperfections. In this instance, he wasn't entirely consistent with some of his prior statements such as: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

Be that as it may, I think he was a great man and that life as we know it in the 21st century would be much different without his contributions.