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The concentration camps make the actions of Ghengis Khan look like child's play. 65: "I don't like to implant in youth the Church's doctrine of a personal God, because that Church has behaved so inhumanely in the past 2000 years. Consider the hate the Church manifested against the Jews and then against the Muslims, the Crusades with their crimes, the burning stakes of the Inquisition, the tacit consent of Hitler's actions while the Jews and the Poles dug their own graves and were slaughtered. The truly religious man has no fear of life and no fear of death—and certainly no blind faith; his faith must be in his conscience. It would have been fine if the spirit of religion had guided the Church; instead, the Church determined the spirit of religion.
But what makes me shudder is that the Church is silent.
Behind each cause is still another cause; the end or the beginning of all causes has yet to be found.
Albert Einstein, Telegram () sent to prominent Americans. In Robert Andrews Famous Lines: a Columbia Dictionary of Familiar Quotations (1997), 340.
Variations exist due to different translations from the original German.
In his original statement Einstein was probably referring to the actions of the Emergency Covenant of Pastors organized by Martin Niemöller, and the Confessing Church which he and other prominent churchmen such as Karl Barth and Dietrich Bonhoeffer established in opposition to Nazi policies. This power maneuver of the Church, these Concordats through the centuries with worldly powers . The Church sowed hate instead of love, though the Ten Commandments state: Thou shalt not kill." And then on p. Since when can one make a pact with Christ and Satan at the same time? The moment I hear the word 'religion', my hair stands on end.
Einstein also made some scathingly negative comments about the behavior of the Church under the Nazi regime (and its behavior towards Jews throughout history) in a 1943 conversation with William Hermanns recorded in Hermanns' book Einstein and the Poet (1983). 63 Hermanns records him saying "Never in history has violence been so widespread as in Nazi Germany. 64: "I'm not a Communist but I can well understand why they destroyed the Church in Russia. The Church will pay for its dealings with Hitler, and Germany, too." And on p. The Church has always sold itself to those in power, and agreed to any bargain in return for immunity.