Is religion primitive
Albert Einstein : Relatively incredulous
A little-known letter from Einstein has now emerged and is due to be auctioned in London this week. The document was privately owned for over 50 years. In it Einstein distances himself with clear words from the biblical conception of a personal God, which he describes as “childish superstition”: “For me, the word God is nothing but an expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of venerable, but nevertheless abundantly primitive legends “, Writes Einstein. “No amount of subtle interpretation can change that. These refined interpretations are ... extremely varied and have almost nothing to do with the original text. "
Einstein wrote the letter on January 3, 1954, to the religious philosopher Erich Gutkind, who, like Einstein, was a Jew. Einstein also takes a position on Judaism: “For me, the unadulterated Jewish religion, like all other religions, is an incarnation of primitive superstition. And the Jewish people, to which I like to belong and with whose mentality I am deeply rooted, have for me no different quality than all other peoples. As far as my experience goes, it is no better than other human groups, even if it is secured against the worst excesses by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot perceive anything 'chosen' about him. "
Despite his disbelief and reservations about religion, Einstein never called himself an atheist. On the contrary, he rejected the term for himself, saying the problem was "too big for our limited minds".
Most of his statements suggest that the divine and religious had a meaning of their own for him - one that had something to do with the order of the cosmos and nature. When asked by a New York rabbi whether he believed in God, Einstein replied: "I believe in Spinoza's God, who reveals himself in the legal harmony of beings, not in a God who deals with the fate and actions of people." And in a letter he wrote: “What I see in nature is a great structure that we can only partially understand. This structure must give every thinking person a feeling of humility - an authentic religious feeling that has nothing to do with mysticism. "
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