A handwritten letter in which Albert Einstein challenges the idea of God and the notion of being "chosen" is going up for sale on eBay this month with an opening bid of $3 million, auction agency Auction Cause has announced.
The note, dubbed the "God letter" and penned a year before Einstein's death, contains the famed physicist's views on religion, the Bible and the concept of God.
SCROLL FOR A SCANNED IMAGE OF THE LETTER
According to an Auction Cause translation, the letter says:
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. No interpretation, no matter how subtle, can (for me) change this.
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. As far as my experience goes, they are also 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.
As Reuters notes, the letter -- which Einstein wrote to Jewish philosopher Erik Gutkind -- "offers insights into the private thoughts…of one of the world's most brilliant minds."
Eric Gazin, the president of Auction Cause, the Los Angeles-based premier auction agency that is handling the eBay sale, says the letter is significant for a number of reasons.
"This letter, in my opinion, is really of historical and cultural significance as these are the personal and private thoughts of arguably the smartest man of the 20th century," Gazin told Reuters.
He added this was the "most historically significant item to come" since he started managing high profile auctions in 2005, according to CNN.
"So much of what we know [about Einstein] is scientific…As related to God and Judaism, this is so significant. It really lends itself to further study,” Gazin said.
Buchwald said the "God letter" would be useful for those interested in Einstein and his religious views.
“There are no revelations here,” Buchwald said. “But it is frank in the sense that there are other writings where he says he understands a need for religion and is not derogatory…Here he makes his own position very clear.”
Einstein, who won the Nobel Prize in Physics in 1921, was raised as a secular Jew.
According to Fox News, Einstein's letter has "been stored in a temperature-controlled vault since it was last sold for $404,000" in 2008.
At the time, the New York Times said the letter "poured gasoline on the culture wars between science and religion."
Gazin told Fox News that said the "letter could fetch as much as triple the opening bid threshold." The bidding runs from Oct. 8-18.
More information can be found at www.einsteinletter.com.
(Courtesy Auction Cause)