Einstein on religion

Last updated on May 13, 2008

Posted on May 13, 2008

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For the most brilliant scientist of our times, Einstein made this strange assertion: “Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind”.  In the ordinary sense of how we understand religion, as organized institution, this was nonsense!

This has fueled a lot of debate.  Thankfully, now comes out of the closet another letter that puts paid to any pretensions on his love for religion – the organized institution – as a source for solace or good.  In a letter written on January 3 1954 to the philosopher Eric Gutkind who had sent him a copy of his book Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt.

“The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

One can see his sense of conviction in this belief when he goes on to talk about his Jewish faith.  As much as he was proud of being a Jew he did not see any special distinction for the people versus another race or religion.

“For me the Jewish religion like all others is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions. 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. As far as my experience goes, they are no better than other human groups, although they are protected from the worst cancers by a lack of power. Otherwise I cannot see anything ‘chosen’ about them.”

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