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Originally published Sunday, October 7, 2012 at 5:49 PM

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Einstein letter on God could be yours for $3 million

A letter in which Albert Einstein dismissed the idea of God as a product of human weakness is being sold on eBay for a starting price of $3 million.

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LONDON — A letter in which Albert Einstein dismissed the idea of God as a product of human weakness is being sold on eBay for a starting price of $3 million.

The letter, handwritten in 1954, a year before Einstein's death, was addressed to philosopher Eric Gutkind. In it, Einstein discussed his views on religion, including calling "the Bible a collection of honorable but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish."

An anonymous collector who bought the letter in 2008 is putting it on sale on online auction site eBay from Monday. The auction closes Oct. 18.

Eric Gazin, a spokesman for the sale, said Sunday: "With the interest in Einstein, along with the questions this (letter) touches on, we feel it is well worth the price."

Einstein, who helped unravel the mysteries of the universe with his theory of relativity, expressed complex and arguably contradictory views on faith, perceiving a universe suffused with spirituality while rejecting organized religion.

In it, Einstein said 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."

"For me," he added, "the Jewish religion like all other religions is an incarnation of the most childish superstitions."

Born to a Jewish family in Germany in 1879, Einstein said he went through a devout phase as a child before beginning to question conventional religion at the age of 12.

In later life, he expressed a sense of wonder at the universe and its mysteries — what he called a "cosmic religious feeling" — and famously said: "Science without religion is lame, religion without science is blind."

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