Einstein on God

Contrary to what many people think, he was not a believer.

A friend of mine who apparently lurked in the background during “The Bible in the Refrigerator” and “Angry, Nasty Christians” debacle, sent me a link to a letter written by Albert Einstein and reproduced, with translation, on Letters of Note. The letter was written to the author of Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt in 1954, and says, in part (translated into English):

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….

You can read the entire text of the letter — a and see a scan of the actual handwritten document — here.

Oddly, when I tried to bookmark it on Delicious, I discovered that I’d already bookmarked it back in October, after being directed to it by @MrTeller on Twitter.

I didn’t blog it then because I didn’t think it particularly relevant. But since the attack of the Bible-thumping RVers, I’ve decided to be more forthcoming with links to the works of great thinkers who share my religious beliefs (or lack thereof).

Thanks to my shy friend who sent me the link this morning. I’d forgotten all about it.

A word of warning to commenters here: I will not tolerate any abusive comments. If you have something to say, say it politely, in the spirit of intelligent debate. Any comment that I consider abusive will never appear, so don’t waste your time with the usual “burn in hell” crap that so many of you think is the best way to worship your god.

4 thoughts on “Einstein on God

  1. I quite like Einstein’s closing sentence: “I think that we would understand each other quite well if we talked about concrete things.”

    Would that it were possible to do that with the Bible thumpers and evangelicals, as we might find some common ground. I just don’t think it’s possible given this present culture of intolerance. Their lack of self-examination is a roadblock to understanding others.

    • MFerree: I also got a kick out of that comment. Concrete things, indeed.

      I thought that perhaps as I was slipping further and further from organized religion and blind faith that I was imagining the intolerance I saw among those who still do believe. But now I think that I’m not imagining anything. It’s definitely getting worse. Sad, when you consider that many of the early immigrants to this country came to escape religious persecution. Now their descendants are doing the persecuting.

  2. I’m so sorry you have had such an experience with one calling him/herself christian as mentioned in the blog entitled “Angry, Nasty Christians”. Sadly, not every one who calls himself christian is an actual follower of Christ. I found this out in Turkey when I met people who prided themselves on protecting the Jews during WW2 from the Christians. I was horrified to think there are people who could not see through Hitler’s mascarade.
    The Christians I know that are truly followers of Christ are the most gracious and kind people I’ve ever seen or known even during disagreements.
    Thanks for not being so narrow-minded as to lump all “Christians” into the same group as the ones with whom you have experienced such grief. In your reading, you probably read Matthew 7:13, “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.” Unfortunately, many on the wide path say they are Christians, but are not actually followers of Christ.

What do you think?