Chapter 11: Of the Virtue That Makes Small
Religion is not in the scriptures, and not in the words of the priest; religion is a flowering of your own intelligence, of your own consciousness. It is not in the churches, nor in the temples, nor in the synagogues. Unless you become a temple, unless you become spacious enough - pure and clean, just like the sky, unbounded - you will not know anything of religious experience.
And this is the whole message of Zarathustra: how man can become a superman. God is not his message, his message is that you are carrying the seeds of superman but you are not taking any care about them. You have the right soil in your heart, you have the right love and the tenderness; just you have to be a gardener of your own inner world, and your life will become a festivity, a celebration. And this festiveness, this ecstasy, this celebration is the only religion there is. All else is just the profession of the priests to exploit you.
And they have exploited badly. They have taken away all your blood, they have taken away everything that was important in you. They have destroyed you completely, and they have left only corpses behind.
They are surprised
.when they listen to Zarathustra.
.that I have not come to rail at their lusts and vices.
That’s what the priests have always been doing - condemning their lust, condemning their vices, condemning their desires. They have become accustomed to that. The priests never praise anything in the inner world of man. Everything is wrong - you are a born sinner. They have convinced you, through thousands of years of conditioning, that it is impossible for you to listen to any other kind of message.
They are surprised that I have not come to rail at their lusts and vices; and truly, I have not come to warn against pickpockets, either!
And when I cry: “Curse all the cowardly devils within you who would like to whimper and clasp their hands and worship,” then they cry: “Zarathustra is godless.”
Who worships in you? Have you ever pondered over the problem? Is it not something cowardly in you that kneels down before stone statues made by man? It cannot be something courageous. One that worships is hiding his cowardliness in a beautiful word.
Who is it in you that surrenders, becomes a Christian or a Hindu, or a Mohammedan? Is it a lion in you, or a sheep?
Jesus used to say to his people, “You are my sheep and I am your shepherd.” And not a single one of his followers ever raised the question, “You are insulting us. Why should we be sheep? Why should we not be lions, and why should we not bear in us a lion’s roar?”