Friday, May 16, 2008

Einstein Addresses Religion

In our United States of America, religion or "having religion," has become a must-have political imperative.

Politicians must have it, wars must be fought over it, vast trillions must be spent to support it, special laws must be enacted to shield it. The wall of separation between church and state erected at great cost by our Founding Fathers is now in reality a flimsy beaded curtain, easily brushed aside in the rush for political power and favor.

So.... it is instructive to read what one of the greatest thinkers of our time, Albert Einstein, thought of religion, God, the Bible, Judaism and the walls erected by ego.

In a letter to philosopher Eric Gutkind written a year before Einstein died and sold at auction this week for $400,000, Einstein branded religious beliefs as "childish superstitions" and the "product of human weaknesses" and the "Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

Einstein frankly told Gutkind that "In general I find it painful that you claim a privileged position and try to defend it by two walls of pride, an external one as a man and an internal one as a Jew..... With such walls we can only attain a certain self-deception, but our moral efforts are not furthered by them. On the contrary."

The letter came after Einstein was sent a copy of Gutkind's book, "Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt." Einstein repudiated almost everything that Gutkind believed in with a difference.... he felt that a devout believer shared his "striving to make life beautiful and noble."

Einstein's "devout" weren't the evangelical pastors preaching hate of gays justified with fanciful interpretations of Biblical verse, or a Catholic church protecting child molesters and giving sanctuary to lawbreakers.

He wasn't referring to the plate-passing propagators and their props as the "devout." He would applaud driving the moneychangers from the temple, and government.... and the return to a solid wall of separation between church and state.

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