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Thu Oct 4, 2012, 08:26 PM

Einstein Letter, set for Auction, shows scientist challenging the idea of God, being 'Chosen'

Source: cnn



Decades before atheist scientist and author Richard Dawkins called God a "delusion," one world-renowned physicist - Albert Einstein - was weighing in on faith matters with his own strong words.

“The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still primitive legends,” Einstein wrote in German in a 1954 letter that will be auctioned on eBay later this month. "No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

Dubbed Einstein’s “God Letter” by the Los Angeles-based auction agency that's posting it online, the original document will be up for grabs starting Monday. The opening bid: $3 million.

The letter provides a window into the famed genius's religious beliefs. Einstein wrote it to Jewish philosopher Eric Gutkind, one year before Einstein died, in reaction to Gutkind’s book, “Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.”

“I’ve been managing high profile auctions since 2005, and this is the most historically significant item to come up ... since I’ve been doing auctions,” said Eric Gazin, president of Auction Cause, the group that's organizing the eBay auction.

Read more: http://religion.blogs.cnn.com/2012/10/04/einstein-letter-set-for-auction-shows-scientist-challenging-idea-of-god-being-chosen/?hpt=hp_c2

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Reply Einstein Letter, set for Auction, shows scientist challenging the idea of God, being 'Chosen' (Original post)
trailmonkee Oct 2012 OP
kelliekat44 Oct 2012 #1
jimlup Oct 2012 #9
RainDog Oct 2012 #10
agent46 Oct 2012 #14
ieoeja Oct 2012 #20
d06204 Oct 2012 #2
Chemisse Oct 2012 #4
d06204 Oct 2012 #12
modrepub Oct 2012 #17
torotoro Oct 2012 #18
donqpublic Oct 2012 #3
truthisfreedom Oct 2012 #5
defacto7 Oct 2012 #15
defacto7 Oct 2012 #16
valerief Oct 2012 #6
Vattel Oct 2012 #7
Moostache Oct 2012 #8
Raster Oct 2012 #11
TrogL Oct 2012 #21
randome Oct 2012 #19
PATRICK Oct 2012 #13

Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 08:35 PM

1. I thought Einstein believed in a "Creator?"

Must have read the wrong history.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:34 PM

9. No Einstein used the word "God" metaphorically

But it is pretty clear if you study him more carefully that he did not believe in a personal "God". So when he made the famous statement that "God does not play dice with the Universe" he mean by "God" the laws of physics which govern how the universe works.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #1)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:35 PM

10. religious righties have tried to use Einstein to bolster their beliefs for a while

They quote him out of context for that very reason.

But you can assume if someone is talking about a religious belief, they are making things up.

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Response to RainDog (Reply #10)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 11:35 PM

14. New Agers too

I've seen fake new age quotes attributed to Einstein circulating on DU and on Facebook. I checked. They were entirely made up. Everyone wants to be a genius.

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Response to kelliekat44 (Reply #1)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 03:09 PM

20. To the contrary. Einstein rejected the Big Bang theory.


Einstein, like most scientists of his time, believed in a "steady-state" universe that had existed forever. The Big Bang theory, based on Einstein's Theory of Relativity, was invented by a Jesuit Priest/Professor working out of a Catholic University. Einstein rejected it saying the author's, "math is correct, but your physics is abominable".

Modern Creationists are unaware of the fact that the Big Bang theory *supports* a creationist theory. If you were going to "prove" creationism, you must first prove that the universe has not already existed. The Big Bang theory postulated that very fact with Einstein's math to back it up.

Then Hubble went on to prove that the universe was expanding, and science came to embrace the Big Bang theory.


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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 08:39 PM

2. Didn't really take a genius

to figure this out.

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Response to d06204 (Reply #2)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 08:44 PM

4. This was quite radical for that time period.

So maybe it did take a genius to get outside the web of religion in our society and see it for what it is.

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Response to Chemisse (Reply #4)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 10:49 PM

12. I disagree that it took a genius.

There were others, Mark Twain - Chronicles of Young Satan, published after his death; Denis Diderot, and a host of lesser knowns who had belief equal to those of Einstein. History has taught us that many none believers were often shunned, ostracized, and/or killed. Which, perhaps, explains why this letter came to light after his death, similar to Twain's unpublished manuscript relative to the existence/nonexistence of Satan. I'll even go so far as to say that many of the so-called believers or practitioners of religious faith don't really believe what they are espousing. But they are smart enough to not let their tongues betray them.

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Response to Chemisse (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 06:27 AM

17. Maybe not

I don't think there were really strong religious convictions during the first half of the 20th century. Remember most people of that age had witnessed two devastating world conflicts with millions of casualties and unspeakable cruelties that undoubtedly shook their faith in a righteous God. It wasn't until the red scare in the 1950s that the word "God" was added to american coinage and the Pledge of Allegiance. Regardless of what evangelicals believe I'm not convinced religious convictions were stronger in the past than they are now.

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Response to Chemisse (Reply #4)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 09:44 AM

18. Apparently it is radical for today since 95% of the world still believe in this Magic Nonsense.

 

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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 08:42 PM

3. I wonder if...

some filthy rich evangelical will buy the letter only to burn it in front of the "faithful?"

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Response to donqpublic (Reply #3)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 08:59 PM

5. Can't burn an idea.

If someone did buy it and burn it, thousands of Atheists would gather and have a mass bible burning.

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Response to truthisfreedom (Reply #5)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 03:57 AM

15. Yeah... I'd do it.

And I don't think it's going to start a riot either.

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Response to donqpublic (Reply #3)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 04:07 AM

16. I know that

Richard Dawkins wanted to buy it. He just didn't think he could afford the price it was going to bring. He really wanted it bad.

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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:03 PM

6. Duh, there's a crapload of us who've been atheists since childhood.

Einstein was special for his science, not stating he didn't believe in magic.

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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:24 PM

7. I agree with Einstein.

Whether God, defined broadly, exists: Who knows? But the idea that the Bible is God's written revelation to humankind is silly. It has all the marks of a human work limited by its cultural context.

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Response to Vattel (Reply #7)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:32 PM

8. If you want to ensure your children don't take to religion..

raise them in the Catholic Church!

I attended a Catholic grade school, a Catholic middle school and a Catholic-lay person prep school (sadly the very same as Chief Justice Roberts). Of the people I grew up with and was "confirmed" into the Catholic Church with, none of us are practicing Catholics to this day.

You can only stomach that nonsense when you are forced to....after which it produces much the same response as the Roddy McDowell character in "A Clockwork Orange" when he hears Ludwig Van...

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Response to Moostache (Reply #8)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 09:50 PM

11. Ditto for the mormon church...

...To this day, every time I hear "Give Said The Little Stream," I break out in hives.

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Response to Raster (Reply #11)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 03:21 PM

21. I can't unsee that, can I?

I googled it and got the text. No way do I want to hear the tune 'cause I'll bet it some cloying 19th century piece of crap.

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Response to Moostache (Reply #8)

Fri Oct 5, 2012, 10:07 AM

19. That's "Malcolm", not "Roddy".

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Response to trailmonkee (Original post)

Thu Oct 4, 2012, 11:17 PM

13. Just to point out the Jewish context

which is more a personal challenge about the significance of God than in most other religions. The Holocaust is one of many bold challenges to the type of faith Einstein is refuting. Certainly entitled and the range of the cosmos(from even what we see) is too vast for the parochial, naive and especially arrogant use of God by humans.

Maybe Gutkind's book pushed him over. There are a lot of religionists that create the same effect as Leibniz's optimism had on Voltaire. The revolt of the thinking decent man will not accept false gods even if the abused word itself goes down with it. God, if existing, would agree.

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