In the letter, according to the A.P. account, he wrote that “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.”
As for his fellow Jews, he said that Judaism, like all other religions, was “an incarnation of the most childish superstitions.”
He claimed a deep affinity with the Jewish people, he said, but “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.”
The letter should add to the controversies created by certain statements of Einstein's, such as:
"I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings."
"In view of such harmony in the cosmos which I, with my limited human mind, am able to recognize, there are yet people who say there is no God. But what really makes me angry is that they quote me for the support of such views."
"I'm not an atheist and I don't think I can call myself a pantheist. We are in the position of a little child entering a huge library filled with books in many languages. The child knows someone must have written those books. It does not know how. It does not understand the languages in which they are written. The child dimly suspects a mysterious order in the arrangements of the books, but doesn't know what it is. That, it seems to me, is the attitude of even the most intelligent human being toward God."
The winning buyer of the 1954 letter to Gutkind is identified only as somone having " a passion for theoretical physics and all that that entails.”
Among the wishful bidders for such a rare Einsteinian relic who were quickly abashed by the unexpectedly generous offers for it, was evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins, Oxford University's Professor for the Public Understanding of Science, whose ongoing crusade is to get atheists "to come out" -- much as gays once "came out of the closet."
Dawkin's intellectual posse includes some impressive thinkers and communicators like Steven Pinker, Daniel Dennet and Michael Schermer who are openly challenging the polite treatment of what they plainly regard as religious superstition involving institutions such as churches, schools and government.