Einstein: religion is “childish superstition”

Einstein: religion is “childish superstition” May 13, 2008

Sometimes Einstein is put forward as an example of an eminent scientist who was also a religious believer. What he did or did not believe has literally been the subject of books (Max Jammer, Einstein and Religion) , as well as websites and magazine articles. What he actually believed is complex and changed over time, but seems essentially to have been a vague spiritual feeling linked to strong humanist values (no life after death, no active deity).

But today there’s something new to add to the mix: a letter he wrote in 1954 (a year before he died) to the philosopher Eric Gutkind. According to The Guardian, the letter has been in a private collection for 50 years, unknown to historians who have researched Einstein’s life.

In the letter, he states: “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. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

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