A newly published letter reveals that Albert Einstein viewed religion and religious works as "childish," and "primitive works."
In the letter, dated January 3 1954, he wrote: "The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weakness, 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..."
"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."
I love this excerpt - there is so much in here to love. Firstly, it's such a great example of the kinds of questions I get asked - how can you be a scientist and believe in Gpd? How can you be "religious" (quotes because I don't think I am at all religious but might appear more religious than many people) and How do your parents deal with your lifestyle ...
This excerpt sums up so much about Judaism. Einstein has totally dismissed Gpd, The Bible, religion and Judaism and yet he still "gladly belongs" to and still has a "deep affinity" for the Jewish people. And the Jewish people still gladly have him as "one of us" despite his dismissal. It reminds me of an answer my father once gave me to a question I asked (I was 15 or so) ... "Alisa, the French consider it to be a mature mind that can accept a paradox". Which frankly, is a pretty good answer to the kinds of questions you ask at 15 - it was probably about hypocrisy, isn't it always at that age? Which is to say ... Judaism is so much more than following and adhering to all and every law and commandment. And it encourages questioning, challenging, reasoning with logic and science. It survives despite and because of these things and its a religion in which you can and are invited to find your own level or place or space within it - be that just an appreciation of the food, of the traditions, of the humour, of family, of high holidays, of all of it, of none of it, of carrying out the letter of the law, of carrying out the spirit of it.
And that's how come I can be a scientist and still believe in Gpd, I guess.