Einstein's 'God letter' for sale on eBay

Posted by Emma Woollacott

A letter written by Albert Einstein in which he gives his views on religion is to be auctioned on eBay next week.

In the letter, written to philosopher Erik Gutkind in 1954, Einstein expresses his opinions more forcefully than he ever did in public.

"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 which are nevertheless pretty childish," he writes.

"For me the Jewish religion like all other religions 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."

The letter, written in German, was a response to Gutkin's book, 'Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt'. In it, Einstein doesn't reject religion altogether, saying: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind".

For the last 50 years, the letter has been stored in a temperature, humidity and light controlled environment at a professional academic institution. The anonymous seller bought it in 2008.

"The ideas expressed are the culmination of a lifetime of work exploring the most principle questions of existence," says auction house Auction Cause, which is managing the eBay sale. "If there were a guide for seekers of answers, this letter would be the introduction."

The starting bid for the letter has been set at $3 million - but the auction house says it expects it to go for substantially more. Prequalify to bid here, and it could soon be hanging on your bathroom wall.