Joe Chuman: Einstein's Religion - 3/10/19

Sunday March 10, 2019
Joe Chuman

It’s worth 2.9 million dollars, and it has created quite a buzz in intellectual circles. The center of attention is a brief missive written by Albert Einstein, nicknamed “the God Letter,” that was recently auctioned by Christie’s and purchased for that amount. Written in 1954, a year before his death, it summarizes Einstein’s thoughts about God as well as his Jewish identity.

Einstein's views on religion, I contend, should be of great interest to Ethical Culturists. On the one hand, he vehemently denied belief in a supernatural God, yet proclaimed that he was deeply religious. While this assertion may seem like a contradiction to most of the public, it places Einstein within the territory occupied by many, if not most, Ethical Culturists. Hence, an understanding of Einstein's religious thought, and how he understood himself to be religious can help us clarify our own.