Albert Einstein letter doubting God auctioned for $2.89m

Einstein’s letter fetches $2.9m

A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which the physicist doubts the existence of God has been auctioned in NY for $2.9 million. That was nearly twice the expected amount.

The "God Letter", written in German by Einstein in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, is regarded as a key manuscript in the debate over science and religion and is Einstein's clearest statement of his views on the universal search for the meaning of life.

Written a year before the legendary physicist died in 1955, his name synonymous with genius, Einstein writes in German from Princeton, New Jersey to German philosopher Eric Gutkind.

"The word God is for me nothing but the expression of and product of human weaknesses".

It is not the first time Einstein's letters have been put up for auction.

"For me the unadulterated Jewish religion is, like all other religions, an incarnation of primitive superstition. And the Jewish people to whom I gladly belong and with whose mentality I have a deep affinity have no different quality for me than all other people", he wrote. "Otherwise I can not see anything "chosen" about them".

The letter (full text here) was previously offered at auction in 2008, bought by a private collector for $404,000, Christie's said.

Acknowledging his disappointment in failing to secure the item, Dawkins said: "This letter was about something very important to Einstein I suspect". But at the age of 13, he "abandoned his uncritical religious fervour, feeling he had been deceived into believing lies".

Though Einstein was unequivocal in his critique of Gutkind's work, he sought to establish a common ground between them, noting that they still agreed on "the essentials."Prefacing his frank remarks on God and religion, he observed diplomatically that he and Gutkind both believed in the importance of a strong moral foundation that rose above self-interest and instead sought to benefit humanity".

"As so often during his life, he refused and disturbed the accepted categories".

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