A letter written by Albert Einstein in which he dismissed belief in God as a "product of human weaknesses" was auctioned off Thursday for more than $330,000 US, destroying previous selling records of letters by the renowned physicist.
The letter, written in German in 1954 to philosopher Eric Gutkind, was sold in London, England, by Bloomsbury Auctions to a private collector. It had initially been expected to fetch between $12,000 US and $16,000 US.
"It beats the world record for an Einstein letter by about four times," managing director Rupert Powell told the Guardian newspaper. "It's a massive difference."
In the letter, Einstein writes "the word 'God' is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."
Einstein, who was Jewish, also rejects the notion that Jews were God’s chosen people
"For me, the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions," he wrote.
He added that "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."
Einstein's religious and spiritual beliefs have been the subject of much speculation by both believers and skeptics.