FAITH, HOPE & CHARITY
Time-tested truth, or tired trinity?
"Faith, hope and charity" -- it's a seductive trinity that has been touted by everybody from priests to politicians for centuries. But what are the real implications of these words? As a new millennium begins, it brings an avalanche of prayers for renewal of faith, speeches full of hope for the future, and discussion panels on how charity might better serve the needs of the poor. But before we go too far down that same old road, maybe it's time for a more penetrating look at the implications of this trinity that has gone unquestioned for so long.
Faith is not a virtue, and it is not a great contribution to humanity's evolution. Faith is the greatest hindrance in people's search for truth. Before you go in search you have already been handed a secondhand, dirty faith, and you are told that just this much is enough; you don't have to search. Jesus has done it for you, Buddha has done it for you.
But Buddha has been drinking water, and my thirst does not get quenched. Jesus has been drinking wine, and I don't get drunk. How can Jesus help you by just having faith in him?
Faith simply means hiding ignorance, and it is very cheap.
Truth needs great energy, great urgency, and a total involvement in the search.
Truth is within you, faith comes from outside. Anything that comes from outside is not going to help you. You cannot take it in. Truth is already alive in you, you don't need any faith. It is faith that has kept humanity ignorant. It is not a contribution to evolution, it is a contribution to INvolution. Involution means going backwards, not forwards.
Faith is always in the other -- in Jesus, in God, in heaven, in hell. It is always outside you, and truth is within you. Having faith, you are moving outside, farther away from the truth.
I am absolutely against faith, against all belief systems, because they have been preventing humanity from discovering their own buddhahood, their own godliness. But no priest wants you to discover that you are divine. Every priest of every religion wants you to go away, far away from yourself so he can exploit you.
The moment you know that you are yourself part of this existence -- and not only part but the whole of this existence -- that you are in your own right a buddha, no priest can exploit you. Faith is needed for exploitation.
Religions teach faith because they cannot help you to find the truth. They themselves don't know where truth is.
The commanders-in-chief of the world want their armies to have faith. Faith in whom? Every Christian army carries, even to the battlefield, a small Bible. Just one time it worked, in the whole of history -- and that was just a coincidence, but it has been quoted again and again by Christian missionaries around the world. One soldier was keeping his small Bible in his pocket in the first world war, and a bullet hit the Bible and missed his heart. They said, "This is God's miracle!" But it only happened to one man, and since that time all soldiers have been carrying a small Bible in their pocket. It does not work.
Even an ordinary person can understand that exceptions are not rules. The exception is an accident, it was just by chance. If he had been carrying a Playboy Magazine, it would have done the same work! And I wonder whether his Bible did not have a Playboy Magazine inside…all soldiers are interested more in Playboy than in the Bible, because they are deprived of women. That too has a reason, why they are deprived of women.
As sexual energy accumulates, one becomes irritated. If your sexual energy is satisfied, you don't feel like fighting. But when your sexual energy is repressed, you are ready to destroy anything. You are in anger, in rage; you are blind, you don't know why you are killing the other person. The other person also has a wife, a child, a mother, an old father to look after, and he has not done anything bad to you. You have not even been introduced. You are killing a person just because your commander has ordered it.
Better to kill the commander! Millions of people at least will be saved by killing one man. Just kill all the commanders-in-chief of the world -- maybe one hundred, two hundred; that does not matter in a world where Adolf Hitler kills thirty million people in a war. And he does not even go to the war ....
It is the commanders-in-chief who don't go to the war; it is the lower officers who go to the war. It is a hierarchy. The poorest soldier at the bottom end of the hierarchy goes to the war. He receives orders, and he does not know from where those orders are coming.
President Truman is in Washington, in the White House, and the order comes to MacArthur, who is in a warship outside the area of Japan. Then the order goes to a pilot, and the pilot does not know from where it is coming.
And Truman is a religious man; he goes every Sunday to the church. The White House has a special church for the presidents. What kind of religious people are these? Even his name should be changed! "True-man" -- he is not even man, and you are calling him "true man"! He is the greatest murderer in history. Nobody has killed so many people simultaneously. Within three minutes Hiroshima was finished, and within three more minutes, Nagasaki was finished. Within four minutes the pilot was back. In ten minutes the whole massacre was complete.
I say absolutely, no faith is needed.
I teach trust, not faith, not belief. Because faith and belief are in others; trust is in yourself. I want you to trust in yourself. The existence has brought you here, you are still connected with existence; otherwise you will die. Have faith in you, and search your roots with deep trust. But it is not in somebody else -- not in some scripture, not in some shepherd, not in some messiah, not in some prophet. No, absolutely no.
This faith has been the greatest obstacle for seekers and searchers of truth.
Hope is another danger .... Hope is called by Karl Marx, in other words, the opium of the people. And he is right.
Who needs hope? The rich man does not bother; it is the poor, it is the sick, it is the dying, it is the starving, the beggars who need hope -- hope in a future life where they will be rewarded immensely. For what? -- for being poor and beggars. For producing dozens of children and creating more poverty in the world, they will be rewarded in heaven.
It seems God wants this world to be turned into slums, then he will be very happy. Everybody will have faith, everybody will be obedient, everybody will go to the church, and God will be immensely happy.
But if people are having trust in themselves, who cares about God? You are coming closer and closer to your own godliness. You have found your own shrine inside. The outside God becomes a fiction.
Hope is always for the future, and the reality is always in the present. Hope deprives you of the present, and the present is the only moment you can explore your reality, your beauty, your truth, your divineness. Hope is a very cunning strategy.
Once I was going to the university, and a beautiful young woman waved to me to stop my car. I thought perhaps she wanted a ride, so I stopped the car. I opened the window and asked her, "What is the matter? What do you want?"
She said, "I don't want anything, I simply want to give you this pamphlet. Just read it. And it has the phone number, so if you want more of this kind of literature I will send it to you, or I will come myself to deliver it."
As I was moving off, I started looking at it, because just on the outside cover there was a beautiful bungalow made of pure Italian marble, and by the side and behind the bungalow, a huge mountain capped with snow. From the mountain a great waterfall came down by the side of the bungalow, becoming a river just in front of the bungalow lawn.
The gate opened on a bridge -- because the waterfall had become a river, and around the river were huge trees, lush and green. And in the bungalow's garden were so many roses, such a beautiful lawn, such a beautiful fountain ....
I said, "I have never seen this house here or anywhere in India." I turned the page, and there it was written: "If you believe in the only begotten son of God, Jesus Christ, you will have such bungalows available for you in paradise." So cheap!
This is all business. This is giving people hope. Now, a man who has no house and lives on the street will treasure this pamphlet in case he reaches paradise -- and perhaps he will reach, because Jesus says, "Blessed are the poor. They shall inherit the kingdom of God." The man will think, "Who can be more poor than me? So I will keep it, because paradise will be vast -- so many millions of saints of the past -- and I would love to find this bungalow."
What is hope? To whom do you give the hope? To the hopeless one who has lost all hope, seeing the life and the competition and the continuous struggle for survival -- to the one who has become hopeless.
Karl Marx says also, "Religion is the hope of the hopeless." It gives a certain consolation that, if not in this life ... And this life is not much; most of it is already gone, maybe a few years more. Just a little patience and prayer and faith, and you will receive such beautiful bungalows -- without any cost. Only faith is needed.
Again, hope is not a contribution to humanity's progress. It prevents progress. It makes people believe in dreams. They don't start creating reality, transforming reality, changing the social structure, changing all institutions which create only misery and nothing else. Hope prevents them! Why bother?
Revolution may come, but you will be gone. And in revolution, getting involved, you will not be able to pray, you will not be able to go to the church, you will not be able to have enough faith. If you have enough faith, then this society, this structure, is made by God; you have to be patient, it is a fire test for you -- your poverty, your sickness, your death, everything. Just be quiet and have faith in God.
A Christian mother was telling her small son, "It is your duty, being a faithful Christian, to share whatever you have with others. Charity is the foundation of our religion."
The little boy said, "That's perfectly good. I will give whatever I have to others, but then what will they do?"
The mother said, "What do you mean, what will they do?"
He said, "Isn't somebody else going to give his toys to me? When I have given my toys to somebody else in charity…" He said, "It is an absurd idea: I give to others, they give to me, somebody else gives to somebody else, he gives to somebody else. What is the point? I have my toys, they have their toys. I take care of myself, they take care of themselves. Why make such a clumsy and messy affair of the whole thing? What is the point?"
And that is what charity is, absolutely meaningless. Give to the poor -- but first you have to create the poor, otherwise to whom will you give? So first create the poor, then give to the poor; then God will be very happy with you.
In a small school, a Christian teacher was giving the students a sermon on how to get to heaven. Finally she asked a boy, a little older, "Stand up and tell me how to reach heaven."
He said, "First you have to commit a sin."
She said, "What?!"
He said, "Yes. According to your sermon, I have concluded that first you commit sin, then God forgives you; otherwise, whom will he forgive? He will feel very miserable if he has nobody to forgive. Make him happy, commit as many sins you can. God is kind, God is love, God is compassion, so he will forgive. And he is sitting there since eternity just for one purpose, to forgive people. Have mercy on God, commit sin! That is the way to heaven." A clear-cut arithmetic.
But the teacher was shocked. She could not believe that a small child can come to such conclusions. But it is not only small children…
Omar Khayyam, the great Persian poet, has written in his Rubaiyat, "Don't be worried -- enjoy women, enjoy wine. God is compassionate." Why did you not commit sins? Were you not sure that God is compassionate? Commit as many sins as you can! Give God a good opportunity to show his compassion, love, forgiveness.
So it is not only a small child, but a very great poet also has the same idea.
All these ideas -- original sin, faith, hope, charity -- have not made the world better. They have prevented the world from growing in consciousness, growing in its experience of the real existence, and transcending all poverty, all birth, all death, and becoming part of, one with, the eternal life.
We are searching for the same tree that Adam and Eve missed: eternal life.
Christianity has no meditation, because meditation will take you in. It has prayer; prayer takes you out. Prayer is towards a fictitious God. Meditation is deep into your own existence, it is not fiction.
You are a reality.
God is only invention.
Osho: Christianity: The Deadliest Poison and Zen, The Antidote to All Poisons