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Einstein Letter Critical of Religion To Be Auctioned On EBay

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the get-behind-me-science dept.

Science 414

cheesecake23 writes "In an admirably concise piece in The Atlantic, Rebecca J. Rosen summarizes Einstein's subtle views on religion and profound respect for the inexplicable, along with the news that a letter handwritten by the legendary scientist that describes the Bible as a 'collection of honorable, but still primitive legends' and 'pretty childish' will be auctioned off on eBay over the next two weeks. Bidding will begin at $3 million."

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2012 (-1, Flamebait)

coma_bug (830669) | about 2 years ago | (#41654905)

Einstein is dead. Jesus is alive.

Re:2012 (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41654909)

I just shit my pants and it's running down my legs.

Badum-tish!

Re:2012 (5, Funny)

zippo01 (688802) | about 2 years ago | (#41654943)

Um, something about Jesus, Jews and a cross, keeps coming to mind.

Re:2012 (1)

ThatsMyNick (2004126) | about 2 years ago | (#41654959)

Was it about, Jesus being cross with the Jews?

Re:2012 (4, Funny)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | about 2 years ago | (#41654965)

Um, something about Jesus, Jews and a cross, keeps coming to mind.

You must mean the famous joke:

What happens when you drive nails through the hands of the son of a jewish carpenter? He gets very cross...

Re:2012 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655035)

No... why did Jesus get crucified? He forgot the safe word.

Re:2012 (1)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#41655255)

...And a Spaniard.

Re:2012 (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655631)

I asked God: "Do you want me to believe in you?" And God told me: "Write the following program, and you will receive my answer." I haven't run the program yet. Maybe I am scared of what it will tell me.

/* Copyright (C) 2012 God
  *
  * I asked God. Do you want me to believe in you? I didn't hear an answer, but
  * immediately after asking the question, this program formed inside my mind.
  * If God does indeed exist, then this program was given to me directly by God.
  * If God does not exist, then this program must have been formed by my own
  * mind. And my intelligent reasoning tells me, that if God exists, then God
  * controls the output of this program, and if the program produces a
  * nontrivial output, then the message was indeed carrying a digital signature
  * produced by God himself. Thus the output will be authentic.
  */
#include <openssl/sha.h>
#include <unistd.h>
#include <inttypes.h>
#include <sys/fcntl.h>
#include <stdlib.h>
#include <stdio.h>
#include <string.h>
#define RANDOM_SOURCE "/dev/random"
ssize_t read_retry(int fd, uint8_t *buf, size_t count)
{
  size_t done=0;
  while (done<count) {
    int r=read(fd,buf+done,count-done);
    if (r < 1) {
      if (done) return done;
      return r;
    }
    done+=r;
  }
  return done;
}
int main()
{
  uint8_t buffer[111];
  uint8_t hash[64];
  int fd=open(RANDOM_SOURCE, O_RDONLY);
  if (fd == -1) {
    perror(RANDOM_SOURCE);
    return EXIT_FAILURE;
  }
  if (read_retry(fd,buffer,111) != 111) {
    perror(RANDOM_SOURCE);
    return EXIT_FAILURE;
  }
  while (!memchr(buffer,0,111)) {
    uint8_t buffer2[111];
    int i;
    if (read_retry(fd,buffer2,111) != 111) {
      perror(RANDOM_SOURCE);
      return EXIT_FAILURE;
    }
    for (i=0;i<111;++i) {
      buffer[i] ^= buffer2[i];
    }
  }
  SHA512(buffer,111,hash);
  if (memcmp(buffer+47,hash,64)) {
    printf("God wants you to be an atheist\n");
  } else {
    printf("God exists\n");
    if (buffer[0]) {
/* When this path is taken the output of the program is from 42 to 151
      * characters long. Of this output 41 characters is boilerplate and 1 to
      * 110 characters is the message from God.
      */
      printf("And he has a message for you\n%s\n",buffer);
    }
  }
  return EXIT_SUCCESS;
}

Re:2012 (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41654977)

Prove it. Saying you feel it in your soul doesn't count. A book with very little forensic evidence backing it up, while concurrently having ample evidence of several rewrites by parties with something to gain over the centuries also doesn't count.

Re:2012 (4, Insightful)

harlequinn (909271) | about 2 years ago | (#41655061)

Actually it's not a "book" as such. It is distinctly a collection of stories and letters that were at one stage compiled and bound together. The original authors never intended for them to be in a book. Many of the letters were probably never even meant for more than one person. Go figure.

What "ample evidence" is there that any individual part was rewritten?

Textual analysis (5, Interesting)

Benfea (1365845) | about 2 years ago | (#41655149)

Evidence of alterations come from textual analysis. For example, some of the alterations use phrases that were in use much later than the stories were supposedly written down.

Re:2012 (5, Insightful)

Zuriel (1760072) | about 2 years ago | (#41655205)

30 seconds on Google turned up this article [dangerousi...ection.org] and a speech on the subject [youtube.com] .

The bible has been in human hands for centuries and copied by hand before printing presses came in. A spelling mistake here, bad handwriting there, the next guy comes along and misreads a word and then 'fixes' the sentence so that it makes sense. I'd be shocked if there was a single page in there that hadn't changed. And that's only accidental changes.

Looking at the things politicians do today, when it's easier to fact-check and catch them out than ever before, I find it completely believable that people just... mis-copied parts of the bible to justify whatever they felt like doing. It's not like people in the year 900 were going to get on Facebook and compare notes with people in other countries. They'd probably never touched a copy of the Bible. Probably couldn't read. A man with a bible could tell people it said anything. Make some changes in his copy, noone would ever know.

Re:2012 (4, Funny)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41655423)

The bible has been in human hands for centuries and copied by hand before printing presses came in. A spelling mistake here, bad handwriting there, the next guy comes along and misreads a word and then 'fixes' the sentence so that it makes sense. I'd be shocked if there was a single page in there that hadn't changed. And that's only accidental changes.

Of course, The Faithful claim that $DEITY in his glorious omnipotence has kept The Holy Word pure and absolutely identical to The Original.

In common-speek that's a circular proof and can thusly be completely ignored.

Re:2012 (1, Informative)

cold fjord (826450) | about 2 years ago | (#41655519)

The bible has been in human hands for centuries and copied by hand before printing presses came in. A spelling mistake here, bad handwriting there, the next guy comes along and misreads a word and then 'fixes' the sentence so that it makes sense. I'd be shocked if there was a single page in there that hadn't changed. And that's only accidental changes.

Looking at the things politicians do today, when it's easier to fact-check and catch them out than ever before, I find it completely believable that people just... mis-copied parts of the bible to justify whatever they felt like doing. It's not like people in the year 900 were going to get on Facebook and compare notes with people in other countries. They'd probably never touched a copy of the Bible. Probably couldn't read. A man with a bible could tell people it said anything. Make some changes in his copy, noone would ever know.

You are way wrong on this.

Transmission [bible.org]

B. The Masoretes

The Masoretic scribes (A.D. 500-1000) in charge of the Old Testament manuscript copying used a very meticulous system of transcription and had a deep reverence for the text. God used their almost obsessive respect for the text to preserve the text’s accuracy. They had specific rules on the type of ink and the quality and size of parchment sheets. No individual letter could be written down without having looked back at the copy in front of them. The scribe could not write God’s name with a newly dipped pen (lest it blotch) and even if the king should address him, while writing God’s name, he should take no notice of him. They were so meticulous that they counted all the paragraphs, words and even letters, so they could know by counting, if they had done it perfectly. They knew the middle letter of each book so they could count back and see if they had missed anything. . .

D. The Dead Sea Scrolls

Since the oldest complete copy of a Hebrew Old Testament in existence is dated about A.D. 1000, that’s a long time after the originals were written (1450-400 B.C.). But there are portions that date back farther. Most significant are the Dead Sea Scrolls, which were discovered in caves in 1947 by an Arabian shepherd boy. These well-preserved Hebrew text fragments date back to 100 B.C. They include many Bible portions, including some complete books. Their value to the credibility of our Bible is that amazingly, there is virtual agreement between these Hebrew texts and the ones dated 1,100 years later! This proves how accurately the scribes copies for all those years.

The evidence shows that our Old Testaments today are extremely accurate reflections of the original manuscripts.

Meticulous Care in the Transmission of the Bible [bibleevidences.com]

So how reliable are the manuscripts that all these Bibles are translated from? The evidence is overwhelming and seldom disputed. Manuscripts prepared from different individuals spread over various parts of the Middle East and Mediterranean region agree remarkably with each other. Also, the manuscripts agree with the Septuagint, which was translated to Greek from Hebrew possibly as far back as the 3rd century BC. The Dead Sea scrolls discovered in 1947 also provided a profound testimony to the reliability of the centuries of transmission of the Bible text, as every Old Testament book found was virtually word for word with today's Bible! (the few differences were "obvious slips of the pen or variations in spelling"1).

The scribes who were in charge of the Old Testament text dedicated their lives to preserving the text's accuracy when they made copies. The great lengths the scribes went to guarantee the reliability of the copies is illustrated by the fact that they would count every letter and every word, and record in the margins such things as the middle letter and word of the Torah. If a single error was found, the copy was immediately destroyed. As a software engineer, I can personally vouch that the scribe's method of protecting the text is more rigorous than the common checksuming methods used today to protect software programs from corruption2. . . .

It is also very impressive to note that scholars can recreate all but 11 verses of the New Testament by simply piecing together quotations by the early church fathers of the second and third centuries! . . . More. . . [bibleevidences.com]

Note - the table in this is worth seeing at the web site.

The Transmission Accuracy of the Bible [worldviewweekend.com]

The reliability of the New Testament is also beyond reproach. More than 24,000 partial and complete copies of the New Testament are available today. No other document of antiquity can even come close to such large numbers. Homer's Iliad is second with a mere 643 existing manuscripts. So sparse are copies of ancient classical works that 20 copies would be a lofty number of manuscripts. In addition to the New Testament manuscripts, there are over 86,000 quotations of the New Testament from the Early Church fathers. So thorough are these quotations that all but 11 verses of the New Testament can be reconstructed from this material, which dates less than 200 years after the coming of Jesus.

Not only are the New Testament documents superior because of their great numbers, but also because of the time span existing between the original autographs and their copies. Unlike Buddha, whose sayings were not recorded until 500 years after his death, all the books of the New Testament were probably written within 30 years of the death of Jesus. The earliest copies of our existing New Testament begin at A.D. 125. In comparison, Homer's Iliad has a time span exceeding over 500 years between the time of writing and the oldest manuscript. No book in antiquity can compare with the New Testament in the number of manuscripts or in the interval of time between the originals and the copies. Compare the New Testament with the top works of antiquity in the chart on the following page.

The New Testament in comparison to other ancient manuscripts is virtually free from any corruption. Textual critics have found only one-half of one percent differs. Thus, 99 1/2 percent of the New Testament has no variation. These variations for the most part deal with matters of spelling or word order. Not one single variant has any bearing on a doctrine of faith. In any case, the Church has in its possession 100 percent of the New Testament. Such confidence cannot be attributed to any other piece of classical literature. The accuracy of transmission in the manuscripts of the Bible testifies to their truthfulness.

The Historical Reliability of the Gospels [probe.org]

Re:2012 (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655691)

No offense, but I would give those sources more credit if their entire existence wouldn't be completely undermined by saying anything to the contrary.

And if it wasn't completely unrealistic and contradicted by the incredibly well documented existence of Apocrypha, multiple councils to determine the true gospels, and the fact that the Church has always been far more political than religious even if its followers are not.

Re:2012 (5, Insightful)

wonkey_monkey (2592601) | about 2 years ago | (#41655713)

The reliability of the New Testament is also beyond reproach.

Now there's a scientific attitude.

Re:2012 (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655515)

It's really sad, that grown men organize their lives around some rules that an iron age tribe wrote on the skin of dead animals to keep the peace in their tents.

Re:2012 (1)

coma_bug (830669) | about 2 years ago | (#41655161)

Prove it.

woosh. "2012" too subtle?

Re:2012 (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655039)

Jesus promised the end of all wicked people.
Thor promised the end of all ice giants.

I don't see many ice giants around.

Re:2012 (5, Informative)

grouchomarxist (127479) | about 2 years ago | (#41655063)

All praise Thor!!

Re:2012 (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655043)

Jesus continues to give us problems; Einsteins' many contributions continue to benefit us while he himself become forgotten.

Re:2012 (1)

Smartcowboy (679871) | about 2 years ago | (#41655377)

Hey mod: This is not Flamebait -1. This should be Funny +1. It's funny. Laugh. Why so serious?

Oh. Yay. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41654945)

Something's come up. I'll, uh, see you guys later. Have a cold one for me.

3 million (5, Insightful)

Urthas (2349644) | about 2 years ago | (#41654947)

I'm fairly certain that were Einstein still alive, he would be shaking his head at such ridiculousness.

Re:3 million (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41654975)

I think the safe bet is that they are equally alive, or not, however you choose to look at it. And that by pretty much any worthwhile definition of "alive".

Re:3 million (3, Funny)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41655083)

Yes, but as soon as his head stopped shaking in disbelief, he would would start to learning how to touch type.

Re:3 million (1)

tinkerton (199273) | about 2 years ago | (#41655311)

On the other hand, now he 'll be turning in his grave, which beats shaking your head by eh, a long way.

Church and Einstein (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41654953)

Also Einstein said:

"Being a lover of freedom, when the revolution came in Germany, I looked to the universities to defend it, knowing that they had always boasted of their devotion to the cause of truth; but, no, the universities immediately were silenced. Then I looked to the great editors of the newspapers whose flaming editorials in days gone by had proclaimed their love of freedom; but they, like the universities, were silenced in a few short weeks. . . ."

"Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth. I never had any special interest in the Church before, but now I feel a great affection and admiration because the Church alone has had the courage and persistence to stand for intellectual truth and moral freedom. I am forced thus to confess that what I once despised I now praise unreservedly."

ORIGINAL SOURCE (you need a paid subscription): http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,765103,00.html
ALTERNATIVE SOURCE: http://www.thinkingchristian.net/2008/12/time-christians-in-germany-during-world-war-ii/

Re:Church and Einstein (5, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41654967)

And still - just because you praise an organisation for its stand in a conflict, you don't need to subscribe to her ideology.

Re:Church and Einstein (4, Insightful)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41655101)

Absolutely. But if you praise an organization for its stand in a conflict, perhaps you should not be so quick to call for its complete obliteration. Einstein, to my knowledge, never called for the complete elimination of religion. But I'd wager that someone will do just that before this thread falls off the first page.

Re:Church and Einstein (5, Insightful)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41655147)

Just because you don't subscribe to the ideology of an organisation you don't call for its elimination.

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

artor3 (1344997) | about 2 years ago | (#41655411)

Uhh, yes, that's true. I never suggested otherwise. But the fact that some atheists don't call the elimination of religion does not mean that no atheists do. As with any belief set, you've got extremists who want to force their views on everyone.

Indeed, just five minutes after you posted, an AC posted to say that our species is better off without religion (going as far to include a Hitler analogy), thus proving me right.

Re:Church and Einstein (5, Funny)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41655619)

You also don't burn down the stadium of the opponent you play in your next game, if you lose. But you will still have people in your fan crowd demanding exactly that.

My personal stance is quite similar to this one:

Religion is like a penis.
It's fine to have one.
It's fine to be proud of it.
But, please don't pull it out and wave it around in public.
And never ever force it down the throat of my children.

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41655427)

Just because you don't subscribe to the ideology of an organisation you don't call for its elimination.

Someone please tell that to The Jews/The Arabs.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

Sique (173459) | about 2 years ago | (#41655601)

Someone please tell that to the <fundamentalist group de jour>.

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655629)

I'm not sure who you think Judaism calls for the elimination of. In fact, Judaism is very unusual among religions in that it has no interest in converting the masses, nor has any issue with them living in peace.
Now you're going to say "not Judaism, I said 'The Jews' (!)", whatever that is supposed to mean - maybe something to do with the world Jewish conspiracy or something. Well, still no. Instead of eating up antisemitic rhetoric, go do some research of your own.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655163)

I'll do that right now. As they say, Hitler made the trains run on time, but I still think we're better off without him around.

People have the capacity for decency, with or without superstitions of an all-seeing magician looking over their shoulder. Furthermore, I think it's fair to say the world has been a more perilous place because of organized religion.

There's just no good reason I can think of to keep harmful, vestigial garbage like that around. Our species is better off without it.

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#41655473)

As they say, Hitler made the trains run on time

They don't really say that. They say Mussolini made the trains run on time. What they say about Hitler is that the Autobahn system was a great advance.

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

flyingfsck (986395) | about 2 years ago | (#41655209)

"Man will only be free, once the last King has been strangled with the entrails of the last priest." -- Heinlain.

Re:Church and Einstein (5, Interesting)

jalet (36114) | about 2 years ago | (#41655285)

Certainely not "Heinlain" or whatever...
"Je voudrais, et ce sera le dernier et le plus ardent de mes souhaits, je voudrais que le dernier des rois fût étranglé avec les boyaux du dernier prêtre." [atheisme.free.fr]
It's from Jean Meslier (1664-1729), who was... a catholic priest !

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

meerling (1487879) | about 2 years ago | (#41655121)

Correct. For instance, the Nazis actually did great things for Germany's economy and national pride. On the other hand, their methods and ideals are why the entire world reviles even the mention of their name.
As Sique was saying, just because a group does one good thing, you don't have to like or agree with them. (My paraphrasing of his statement.)

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

risom (1400035) | about 2 years ago | (#41655491)

Correct. For instance, the Nazis actually did great things for Germany's economy and national pride.

Except they didn't do great things for Germany's economy. Neither in workers wages nor in GDP.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

vlad30 (44644) | about 2 years ago | (#41655581)

And still - just because you praise an organisation for its stand in a conflict, you don't need to subscribe to her ideology.

The ideology behind religions is generally not bad, most teach good behaviour, morals and tolerance as the basis of the religion. For some humans who cannot think for themselves need something to guide them. The problem is those that deliberately misinterpret the teachings to promote their own agenda

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

garaged (579941) | about 2 years ago | (#41655663)

I mostly agree with you, until the point of not thinking by themselves. I am religious, and I do learn science and have a very letftiah libertarian way of thinking, so I dont see how can someone say that I dont think by myself, still I might be blind.

There are some people working an agenda thru religion, but most are really not, they are learning just as any scientist, every day trying to discover a little new thing about what God left us. And you can be surprised by the good things you get to learn when you actually take the time to reading the bible, of course, if you want to deform ideas it is just as easy as with science or political laws.

Re:Church and Einstein (5, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#41654991)

He praised their actions not their beliefs, I also praise the actions of church groups that help the needy and homeless. But I still don't believe in the mythology they try and push.

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655269)

It is their beliefs that hold the organization together and make it all possible in the first place. You do not have top believe in their message but it would be wise of you to allow it to exist.

Re:Church and Einstein (3, Insightful)

bloodhawk (813939) | about 2 years ago | (#41655365)

That is faulty logic, it assumes people are only capable of doing good because they believe some mythical being is looking over their shoulder. Personally I believe most people are good and do not require the threat of constant supervision to perform good deeds and any that do require it I try to avoid like the plague. Their are plenty of non-religious organisations around the world devoted to helping others.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

IrquiM (471313) | about 2 years ago | (#41655645)

I actually believe that only persons without beliefs can be real, good humans, as they're the only ones who are not pressured into doing good deeds without the threat of some kind of deitys wrath. I do not trust the others to be 100% unselfish.

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655381)

It is a shame that religion is actually the very thing that has been intolerant throughout history. Without religions I feel the world would be a safer and healthier place. a few good deeds do not offset the large amount of death and destruction that religion has brought to humanity. Just as Hitler did many good deeds too, we are still way better off without him and his beliefs.

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

garaged (579941) | about 2 years ago | (#41655687)

The world has never had so little proportion of religious people... Do you think it is getting better aside from technollogy? Even more, do you think it will be better in let's say 100 years? a thousand?

Re:Church and Einstein (4, Informative)

raahul_da_man (469058) | about 2 years ago | (#41654999)

"Only the Church stood squarely across the path of Hitler's campaign for suppressing truth."

Einstein was wrong about this one, if it is in fact an authentic Einstein quote. Can someone please verify for me?
The Catholic and Protestant Churches supported both Nazism and Fascism.

On the Protestant side:

European Protestantism bore the fierce impress of Martin Luther, whose 1543 tract On the Jews and Their Lies was a principal inspiration for Mein Kampf. In addition to his anti-Semitism, Luther was also a fervent authoritarian. Against the Robbing and Murdering Peasants, his vituperative commentary on a contemporary rebellion, contributed to the deaths of perhaps 100,000 Christians and helped to lay the groundwork for an increasingly severe Germo-Christian autocracy.

On the Catholic:

The Lateran Treaty of 1929 was when the Catholic Church threw its full formal support behind Mussolini. Of course, there had been longstanding informal support long before this, but this is the formal document that the Church cannot deny! It is a impossibility to win power in heavily Christian countries like Italy and Germany were in the 1920's without the active support of the church.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about 2 years ago | (#41655041)

Interestingly, I recently read that when Japan joined the Axis they passed a law forbidding persecuting the Jews in Japan.

Why kill the 1 Jew when you can 1 million chinese? (5, Informative)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#41655155)

The Japanese indeed never went after the Jews, specifically. They did however put civilians from conquered territories into labor camps and had their troops rape women and children for relaxation. Not specifically Jews, just anyone really who they had captured.

They did kill millions of Chinese in their holocaust but their generals were not sickened by a little blood so they never bothered with gas chambers.

Still, I don't think that exactly makes them the nice guys of the axis powers.

Partly true (4, Interesting)

SmallFurryCreature (593017) | about 2 years ago | (#41655141)

Urk is a fishing village in Holland known to be part of the bible belt. They were also FIERCE resisters, their fishing vessels carrying many a Jew and downed allied airmen to safety. There reasoning wasn't so much a love of Jews and others they helped to safety but a pigheaded resistance to being told what to do. They knew wrong and right and nazism was wrong, end of story. They were good men, who did do something.

But I wouldn't call them lovers of freedom, just people who when pushed, push back, by instinct. They would also have had nothing to do with mass religion, claiming "protestants" are one group is damn silly. Most consider the people in the next village to be weirdos.

Meanwhile the pope at the time was thought of to be a good man too. He just didn't do anything.

Mussoline and the holocaust were strange bed fellows, it has to be remembered that nazism and facism are not the same thing. And Mussolini was a fascist, not a nazi. He regonized Jews were part of Italy and should be left undisturbed, Jews were members of his party in quite high positions. It is only with the increasing power of Germany that this changed, resulting in Jews being stripped of citizenship rights in 1939.

This was not at all popular with the Italian fascists and the pope even send a strong letter of critism on this. To increasingly appease Hitler, Jews were started to be round up in Italian controlled areas and send to labor camps but Mussonlini until the Italy surrender refused to send them to German controlled extermination camps. The Germans complained that Italy and its territories were becoming a save haven in Europe for Jews.

After Italy surrendered, Mussonlini was freed by the Germans and they took over control over the remaining Italian land and started to put their holocaust plan into action. Italian soldiers who were not captured by Allied forced found themselves improsoned by the Germans, Italy very much became subjegated to full German control and all that entailed.

The role of religion in WW2 is far from clean, but it is not as simple as some Discovery Channel programs would like you to believe.

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

tinkerton (199273) | about 2 years ago | (#41655187)

The Catholic and Protestant Churches supported both Nazism and Fascism.

Actually I think you're the one that is wrong on that one. And so was I until not so long ago. The main thing that can be said against the Catholic church is that it didn't openly oppose nazism under the war - but they surely opposed them. Read up on Pius XI and XII . Wikipedia is a start.

Re:Church and Einstein (2, Interesting)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 years ago | (#41655707)

Which explains why the Vatican was the first governing body to recognize Hitlers election, and why Catholic churches aided ODESSA to move high ranking SS officers out of Germany as the war ended, instead of allowing them to be captured and tried as war criminals.

http://www.secularhumanism.org/library/fi/paul_23_4.html [secularhumanism.org]

http://www.catholicarrogance.org/Catholic/RC_scandal-3.html [catholicarrogance.org]

...but some of us in the US are not the only ones with seeing things this way...

http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2008/10/a_papal_dustup_over_the_holoca [economist.com]

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

thatskinnyguy (1129515) | about 2 years ago | (#41655217)

[Citation Needed]

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655253)

Please, cite sources or stop spreeding lies and black legends.

Catholic Church saved more than 700000 jews from Nazis:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40300640/ns/world_news-europe/t/popes-praise-pius-dismays-holocaust-survivors
http://www.amazon.com/Pius-XII-Holocaust-Understanding-Controversy/dp/081321081X

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655277)

The Catholic and Protestant Churches supported both Nazism and Fascism.

What the churches "supported" in both Nazism and Fascism (before was clear what both Nazism and Fascism actually supported! - it ended quickly, when both Nazism and Fascism expressed their true nature) was their opposition to Communism (the other great evil competing for world domination, with eliminating Christianity as one of their top priority).

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#41655281)

So, your evidence that protestants supported Hitler was that a single protestant, who lived ~400 years before Hitler was born, didn't like Jews either?

Re:Church and Einstein (5, Informative)

cheesecake23 (1110663) | about 2 years ago | (#41655303)

Einstein was wrong about this one, if it is in fact an authentic Einstein quote. Can someone please verify for me?

Here [skeptic.com] is an apparently honest attempt at verification by a math professor who put a lot of effort into sourcing the quote in 2006. He concludes that it is probably not authentic.

HOWEVER, in 2008, a woman brought a series of letters to an episode of Antiques Roadshow [youtube.com] . Apparently her father had also attempted to source the quote. Her father finally received a letter from Einstein himself:

"It's true that I made a statement which corresponds approximately with the text you quoted. I made this statement during the first years of the Nazi regime-- much earlier than 1940-- and my expressions were a little more moderate."

Ever heard the one about the Polish Pope? (2)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41655577)

He did a few things back in WWII and later went on to be Pope John Paul the second, I'm sure you've heard about him. He wasn't the only one.

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655059)

What? The Catholic church handed all their record to the Nazis for blood line determination and actually celebrated Hitlers birthday nationally during the war. Further, the Pope that came in during the war was a vocal supporter of Hitler. I am not arguing Einstein did not say those words, but I wouldn't be surprised if second one is out of context or at least sarcastic.

Re:Church and Einstein (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655263)

Sources are very important when you talk about controversial history. If you don't cite it please stop spreeding lies and black legends...

Catholic Church saved more than 700000 jews from Nazis:
http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/40300640/ns/world_news-europe/t/popes-praise-pius-dismays-holocaust-survivors
http://www.amazon.com/Pius-XII-Holocaust-Understanding-Controversy/dp/081321081X

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 years ago | (#41655715)

http://www.economist.com/blogs/certainideasofeurope/2008/10/a_papal_dustup_over_the_holoca [economist.com]

.... talk to the Israelis. You might remember the old saying: "All that is gold does not glitter, and all "facts" not cited in EVERY post are not lies." I may have paraphrased a little.

My Credo. (3, Informative)

TapeCutter (624760) | about 2 years ago | (#41655151)

Albert hit the religion nail on the head in the last paragraph of his famous speech "My credo", which he gave to the German League of Human Rights in late 1932.

My Credo

It is a special blessing to belong among those who can and may devote their best energies to the contemplation and exploration of objective and timeless things. How happy and grateful I am for having been granted this blessing, which bestows upon one a large measure of independence from one's personal fate and from the attitude of one's contemporaries. Yet this independence must not inure us to the awareness of the duties that constantly bind us to the past, present and future of humankind at large.

Our situation on this earth seems strange. Every one of us appears here, involuntarily and uninvited, for a short stay, without knowing the why and the wherefore. In our daily lives we feel only that man is here for the sake of others, for those whom we love and for many other beings whose fate is connected with our own.

I am often troubled by the thought that my life is based to such a large extent on the work of my fellow human beings, and I am aware of my great indebtedness to them.

I do not believe in free will. Schopenhauer's words: 'Man can do what he wants, but he cannot will what he wills,' accompany me in all situations throughout my life and reconcile me with the actions of others, even if they are rather painful to me. This awareness of the lack of free will keeps me from taking myself and my fellow men too seriously as acting and deciding individuals, and from losing my temper.

I have never coveted affluence and luxury and even despise them a good deal. My passion for social justice has often brought me into conflict with people, as has my aversion to any obligation and dependence I did not regard as absolutely necessary.

I have a high regard for the individual and an insuperable distaste for violence and fanaticism. All these motives have made me a passionate pacifist and antimilitarist. I am against any chauvinism, even in the guise of mere patriotism.

Privileges based on position and property have always seemed to me unjust and pernicious, as does any exaggerated personality cult. I am an adherent of the ideal of democracy, although I know well the weaknesses of the democratic form of government. Social equality and economic protection of the individual have always seemed to me the important communal aims of the state.

Although I am a typical loner in daily life, my consciousness of belonging to the invisible community of those who strive for truth, beauty, and justice keeps me from feeling isolated.

The most beautiful and deepest experience a man can have is the sense of the mysterious. It is the underlying principle of religion as well as of all serious endeavour in art and science. He who never had this experience seems to me, if not dead, then at least blind. To sense that behind anything that can be experienced there is a something that our minds cannot grasp, whose beauty and sublimity reaches us only indirectly: this is religiousness. In this sense I am religious. To me it suffices to wonder at these secrets and to attempt humbly to grasp with my mind a mere image of the lofty structure of all there is.


Einstein - 1932

Re:Church and Einstein (2)

ohnocitizen (1951674) | about 2 years ago | (#41655173)

The behavior of the Church during (and leading up to) world war 2 was entirely more complex than standing squarely across the path of hitler's ambitions and campaigns: Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] . Especially the words and actions of pope pius [wikipedia.org] .

Einstein never said that (2)

crabel (1862874) | about 2 years ago | (#41655249)

Einstein never said that as he confirmed in an unpublished letter: http://www.skeptic.com/eskeptic/06-01-05/ [skeptic.com]

Re:Einstein never said that (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655449)

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

quantaman (517394) | about 2 years ago | (#41655345)

Churches form a of counter-government in Western society. Thus in a time of revolution they are one of the few organizations that have the ability to resist. That is not so much an argument for churches as an argument for spreading out the concentration of power in a society. The news media and Universities have both grown stronger since Hitler, but neither really has the ability to act as an independent and alternate government to the same degree.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#41655615)

Which is why combining church and government is such an incredibly scary thing, yet there are so many naive idiots on the authoritarian side of politics that want to do exactly that.
A fascist state run by televangalists would be just as nasty as a communist state where the church is outlawed.
Tell those Godless "Christians" that go to Church for just the political power to look at their Bible for the bit about Caesar.

Re:Church and Einstein (1)

Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) | about 2 years ago | (#41655559)

The entire hierarchy of the Catholic church, top to bottom, colluded to hide the rape and torture of small children by priests in Ireland only a few years ago. I guarantee said rape and sexual abuse is still going on TODAY in less enlightened places where the church still holds power, and when it is unearthed, it will be covered up as much as possible as well.

Re:Church and Einstein (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655711)

It should be noted that one Church spoke out against Hitler, the other did not, Germany has proud Protestant and and Catholic traditions, and one of them was united into a single faith with Hitler as its head. Einstein was speaking specifically about the Catholic Church.

IDK (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41654981)

Religious nuts scare me.
They have no problem screwing over anyone not of their religion. They are only good at all because they think the invisible man is watching them all the time. And even that isnt absolute. They can be a tool. Confess. And hey! its all good!

All the non-religious peeps are good without the afterlife reward carrot in front of them.

Someday.. long after im dead im afraid.. society will finish growing up. and religion will earn its proper place. as a subset of CRAZY.
Sure wish i could see that.

Re:IDK (1)

harlequinn (909271) | about 2 years ago | (#41655107)

"All the non-religious peeps are good without the afterlife reward carrot in front of them."

All of them you say... yeah, no.

To start, only some are "good" (how you universally define that I do not know). Then only some will be good without prodding. You ignore that the rules and regulations of society are very much full of carrots and sticks.

I am sick and tired of this (1)

astropirate (1470387) | about 2 years ago | (#41655023)

I am sick and tired of people (mostly atheists) confusing Christianity and Religion. Stop it. He was critical of Christianity not "Religion"

Re:I am sick and tired of this (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655109)

Actually his views were for religions in general, not just Christianity, though most of his comments were around Christianity as that is what he generally had to deal with. He basically has been quoted many times that the only religion he believes in are the laws of nature and the underlying physics of the universe.

He was critical of anyone who... (2)

Benfea (1365845) | about 2 years ago | (#41655157)

...believed in a "personal god", which includes but is not limited to Christianity.

Re:I am sick and tired of this (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655321)

All religion is insanity. Classification of the specific type of insanity is really beyond the scope of any single person.
Its easier to lump all religion into the one box marked CRAZY. Leave classification to those studying the insane.

Muslim, christian, jew, whatever. you've ALL killed people in the past for not believing in your specific brand of invisible sky wizard insanity. you're all just as bad AND just as crazy as each other. None of you have any high ground to denounce any other religion anymore. ALL OF YOU need to stfu. keep your religious beliefs between you and god and shut the fuck up. Stop making the world a worse place already! you're not helping!

And stop trying to drag atheists every fucking argument about religion. Thats just a strawman and you know it.
Really i don't expect much logic and common sense from you crazies tho.
But still. Stop making the world a worse place.

Re:I am sick and tired of this (1)

rtb61 (674572) | about 2 years ago | (#41655457)

He simply used the religion he was most exposed to as an example, to look beyond that is simply vain attempts to promote other religions. More concisely the view is whether or not life has value, real value ie considered a dimension an expression of a different form of energy. Once down that path all life has value, not just select believers over non-believers and the remainder of the living biosphere. Obviously Einstein perceived a value of value of life, a distinct worth, something that has a true impact and influence upon the whole universe great and small.

Those choices that promote life as being honourable and those that detract from it, lessen it, diminish all life that is not your own as being dis-honourable ie forces positive and negative. More simply expressed in English as 'LIVE' being the literal opposite of 'EVIL', hardly an accident in literal expression. So people have always had this perception of value, in some ways religion support this and in their own lust for power the chief promoters of particular religions routinely abandon it. Psychopaths always find a place in organisation where they can manipulate circumstance to feed their own ego, greed and lust.

Corporations, governments and especially religions have all fallen under the sway of individual psychopaths who have used those organisation in the most destructive ways imaginable, costing the lives of hundreds of millions in the process. Whilst psychopathy can by it's action be considered the true evil of human society it still does not mean psychopaths themselves are evil, they just suffer from a genetic defect which impacts the cerebral functions, which relate to social behaviour and that makes them unfit for position of governance, control and influence.

Thanks Rebecca (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655027)

You just saved me $3 million.

Einstein Jesus (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655057)

Hear me out here, but had Jesus said in the bible something like "judge not less ye be judged... and the earth is round, keep sailing west for months and there's a whole new land!"

or "I die for your sins... and gravity can be explained simply using numbers and counting on a few fingers, try it for other stuff and eventually you'll be in space and walking on the moon."

He may well have been the son of God to be able to impart such insights ahead of their time.

Einstein's insights I believe are like this, they were not for this age. Man remains too immature to wield such knowledge and the vast acceleration of understanding about the secrets of nature the universe he has brought about.

Politicians and businessmen still control the fruits of the knowledge of humanity, and not the scientists and learned who first discover them.

Anyway for this reason Einstein > Jesus. E=MC^2 = God

Good memories (1)

digitaltraveller (167469) | about 2 years ago | (#41655095)

This reminds me of catholic high school when I quoted Einstein for an assignment in my religion (indoctrination) class as a way of proving that god DID exist. To make my (nonunderstanding) teacher look foolish in front of the rest of the class. Good times.

Re:Good memories (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41655123)

Logic doesn't get you promotions, though. Kissing up has better odds, I hate to say. I doubt it helped your grade.

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Oh shit...now youve gone and done it... (1)

Spectrumanalyzer (2733849) | about 2 years ago | (#41655125)

Any takers on how long it will take for the religious people to find this thread and turn it into a big nerd-vs-religion flame fest?

*ducks and hides*

Re:Oh shit...now youve gone and done it... (1)

meglon (1001833) | about 2 years ago | (#41655723)

..about 5 posts...

I dig his definition of "God" (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41655143)

His definition is basically that "God" is the mystery, AKA creating force, of the universe itself. Whether that "force" turns out to be a bearded dude or natural laws is a lower level than the definition.

It's a great wiggle-room definition. Thus, you can be a geek who admires the "glory of God" without having to subscribe to a particular religion or "shape" or sentient-level of creator.

It's the kind of non-committal fuzz that would make Mitt Romney proud ;-)

Re:I dig his definition of "God" (2)

Epeeist (2682) | about 2 years ago | (#41655175)

It's a great wiggle-room definition. Thus, you can be a geek who admires the "glory of God" without having to subscribe to a particular religion or "shape" or sentient-level of creator.

All definitions of god have a huge amount of wiggle room, AKA incoherence. I always thought of Einstein as a pantheist due to his claim of following the god of Spinoza, perhaps though he would be better characterised as an igtheist [onlinephilosophyclub.com] .

Re:I dig his definition of "God" (1)

Tablizer (95088) | about 2 years ago | (#41655229)

I haven't seen a good description of the concept in such definitions, especially in terms of the indirection required. Basically it's appreciation for x in "x created the Universe" without having to first define x. Definitions for pantheism imply a belief in the supernatural. However, we are not assuming that here even. x may turn out to be anything.

Re:I dig his definition of "God" (1)

bytesex (112972) | about 2 years ago | (#41655621)

Spinoza made a compelling case for 'nature' /being/ 'god', so I don't see how the two were any different. No need for a separate definition.

Re:I dig his definition of "God" (1)

Crypto Gnome (651401) | about 2 years ago | (#41655441)

It's the kind of non-committal fuzz that would make Mitt Romney proud ;-)

Careful application of Occams Razor shows that under all that non-committal fuzz is a face-full of self-interest.

lmfao (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655153)

3 million.

"Childish" not in text, Incorrect translation... (3, Informative)

felixrising (1135205) | about 2 years ago | (#41655193)

As several commenters on the source article mentioned already, the word "Childish" does not appear in the original text. My German may be rusty but I concur, "Kindish" is not present in the original letter... but lets not let the facts get in the way of a sensational headline...

He did not say Childish (5, Informative)

aepervius (535155) | about 2 years ago | (#41655279)

He said "primitive susperstition". That's way different. You can look it up in the original yourself , it is barely recognizable in the JPG but you can see he said "primitiven Aberglauben" (http://www.auctioncause.com/cf/einstein/images/large.jpg see second picture middle) und nicht "kindisch" which would be childish. Methink the person translating made a bit of creative translation here.

Re:He did not say Childish (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#41655613)

While you did not put quotes around the und nicht words you typed, the use of German might mislead someone into thinking that this letter contained the phrase "und nicht kindisch" within the sentence that does contain "primitiven Aberglauben". The letter has more sentences than one. You shared your discovery of one phrase in the letter. Verifying the presence of "pretty childish" may require more than a simple search for "kindisch".

Re:He did not say Childish (1)

cyberdime (2750427) | about 2 years ago | (#41655673)

Parent is correct. The following link [sueddeutsche.de] contains the passage in question. Google translate the paragraph that begins with "Das Wort Gott ist für mich nichts":

"Das Wort Gott ist für mich nichts als Ausdruck und Produkt menschlicher Schwächen, die Bibel eine Sammlung ehrwürdiger, aber doch reichlich primitiver Legenden. Keine noch so feinsinnige Auslegung kann (für mich) etwas daran ändern. Diese verfeinerten Auslegungen sind naturgemäß höchst mannigfaltig und haben so gut wie nichts mit dem Urtext zu schaffen. Für mich ist die unverfälschte jüdische Religion wie alle anderen Religionen eine Incarnation des primitiven Aberglaubens."

The machine translation is pretty readable:

"The word God is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honorable, but still plenty of primitive legends. No matter how subtle design can (for me) change this. This refined interpretations are naturally highly diverse and have next to nothing to do with the original text. For me the Jewish religion like all other genuine religions is an incarnation of primitive superstition. "

"Reichlich Google appears to have reordered the adjective in the last sentence, transferring it from "the Jewish religion" (die unverfälschte jüdische Religion) to "all other (genuine) religions". Translating that part alone produces "the unadulterated Judaism".

Re:He did not say Childish (1)

cyberdime (2750427) | about 2 years ago | (#41655699)

Bad copypasta: my last sentence should begin with "Google Translate appears to have reordered" etc.
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