Chapter 7: A Bold Experiment
The scientist has faith, and your so-called religious person has belief. What is the faith of a scientist? The faith that existence is a cosmos, not a chaos, that existence is based on some fundamental law. The faith that that law is discoverable. The faith that man’s consciousness is capable of knowing that fundamental law, the order of life and existence. The scientist has faith. Your so-called religious person has no faith. Because he has no faith he substitutes it by a plastic, synthetic thing called belief. Avoid belief.
Faith will make you more integrated than you are: belief will make you more disintegrated than you are. Belief will keep you a slave: faith will give you a mastery. Belief will help you, certainly, to become part of a herd, of a crowd. It will be a kind of security; it is comfortable, convenient. Faith is dangerous: it will take you into the realms of the unknown. It will make you alone; you will not be with the crowd and the crowd will not be with you either. But to be alone is of tremendous import, because to be alone is purity, and to be alone one has to be alert, one has to be aware.
The believer falls asleep. The man of faith keeps wakeful - he has to keep wakeful because there is nobody else to support him. He is not part of the crowd psychology; he has to stand on his own. But he believes in the cosmos. He does not believe in any doctrine, creed, but there is a tacit belief that existence is not disorderly, that existence is based on a certain order, and that order can be discovered.
Herman Hesse’s statement that Faith and doubt belong together and govern each other like inhaling and exhaling is true about belief but not about faith as I am defining it. Just change the word faith and the statement is true. Read: Belief and doubt belong together and govern each other like inhaling and exhaling.
Belief always represses doubt; belief is a strategy to repress doubt. That’s why believers say, “I believe strongly.” Why strongly? There must be a strong doubt deep down; it needs a strong belief to force it, to repress it into the unconscious. Whenever somebody says ‘strong belief’ that simply means the doubt is big and has to be fought, and you will need a very strong belief to fight with it.
That’s why believers become fanatics. What is a fanatic? A man who has such strong doubt inside himself that unless he is a fanatic he will not be able to repress it. He is afraid of his doubt; he is so much afraid of his doubt that he never looks within. He has to create such fanaticism around himself, such smoke of fanaticism, that the doubt gets completely lost.
And the fanatic cannot communicate; he is afraid - you may say something to him that will bring his doubt again to the surface. He cannot listen to the other side. His argument is his sword - he cannot argue, he can only kill. By killing he proves that his belief is right. That’s why Christians and Mohammedans and others have been killing each other - these are all fanatics. They have made the earth very ugly. They have destroyed much that is beautiful and should be preserved. They have reduced humanity to a very unconscious phenomenon. They have not allowed human beings to flower and bloom; they have been very destructive. They have not been blessings: they have been curses.