The CNN BeliefBlog reported that a Los Angeles auction agency has posted online a letter from Albert Einstein, written in 1954, in which he gives his thoughts on matters of faith. In the letter, Einstein called God “nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses” and the Bible “a collection of honorable but still primitive legends.”
Called Einstein’s “God Letter,” the document will be offered on eBay on Monday with a starting bid of $3 million. The president of the auction agency, Eric Gazin, called the letter “the most historically significant item to come up … since I’ve been doing auctions.”
A history professor at the California Institute of Technology, Diana Kormos Buchwald, said this letter may not be a revelation, since Einstein’s faith journey has been previously documented by biographers. But she agreed that it was a frank letter compared to others where “he understands a need for religion and is not derogatory. … Here he makes his own position very clear.”
According to the CNN report, Einstein, who was raised a secular Jew, also called the Jewish religion “an incarnation of the most childish superstitions” in the letter, but he also said he had a “deep affinity” for the mentality of the Jewish people,” even though he adds, “I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”
Several atheist, technology, university and museum organizations have already expressed interest in the letter.