A handwritten letter by Albert Einstein in which he calls religion “childish” is to be sold at auction – with a starting price of £1.85 million.
The Nobel Prize-winning scientist questions the existence of God in a letter penned to philosopher Eric Gutkind in 1954.
In the private letter, which was a response to Gutkind’s book ‘Choose Life: The Biblical Call to Revolt’, the genius says the word God is “nothing more than the expression of human weaknesses”.
The agnostic Jew goes on to say the Bible is a “collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish”.
He adds: “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.”
The letter, written one year before the German’s death in 1955, is commonly known as ‘The God Letter’.
When it was offered by Bloomsbury Auctions in 2008 it had an estimate of just £8,000.
But a bidding frenzy resulted in one anonymous person eventually paying a staggering £170,000.
The letter has been stored in a temperature controlled vault and will be sold through LA-based Auction Cause with a starting bid of $3 million (£1.85m).
However, it has been estimated the letter could fetch as much as TWICE this figure.
Eric Gazin, president of Auction Cause, said: “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.
“The letter was written near the end of his life, after a lifetime of learning and thought.”
The online auction can be viewed at www.einsteinletter.com will run from October 8 to October 18.