Chapter 6: Religion: The Last Luxury
Secondly, the scientific progress of the world and the scientific training of the young basically presupposes a training in doubt. Since all the old cultures and civilizations are based on faith, there is a gap. The young are trained for doubt and all religions and cultures require faith, so it becomes impossible. The young are now really in search of a faith which can be scientific, a faith which is so alive that it can allow doubt, a faith that is unafraid of doubt.
Life is complex, and everything exists with its polar opposite. A scientist begins with doubt and ends in faith while a religious man - the religious man of old - begins with faith: that is the only difference. And, as I see it, the faith that begins with doubt is deeper, because it is unafraid of doubt.
Doubt is not against faith, it is a way toward faith; it can be used as an instrument. If you can doubt rightly, you will come upon faith, and then your faith will be well grounded; it will not be a blind belief.
Thirdly, the world has become one. It has come so much closer together that local traditions cannot continue now. We need one culture, one civilization; and what we have are many cultures, many civilizations, and that creates confusion.
Once, everyone was enclosed in his own local world. A Hindu was a Hindu, with no awareness of anything else. It was impossible to conceive that anything else could be an alternate path. But now we are acquainted with multi-alternatives; the world has become an open world. No one is rooted in his local culture now, and that creates restlessness. In a way, we are uprooted. We have to build a world culture.
But before a world culture can come into being, local cultures will have to die. That is why the youth of today appear to be rebellious. It is not really the young who are rebellious, it is the resistance of the old establishment to the new world which creates rebelliousness.
Fourthly, we have created atomic weapons for the first time. Now there are two alternatives: either we will have to learn to live together or we will die together - universal suicide or a universal society. Because of the possibility of total atomic war, the young are restless, the future is blurred. There seems to be no future - an atomic war can happen at any moment, there may be no time to live - so this very moment becomes very meaningful.
There is a deep correlation between time-consciousness and restlessness: the more time-conscious a society is, the more restless it becomes. But a society is always contented if it has no time-consciousness. In the East, we have lived very contented lives for centuries only because of the theory of reincarnation: “Time is infinite. If this life is lost, nothing is lost.” But for Christianity there is only life: “Time is very short and man has much living to do.” Time is so short that one becomes restless.
With atomic war threatening, there is no more time left for the future. It seems that any day the whole planet may be destroyed. For the first time, youth is more concerned with the present moment - to live it, to enjoy it - because there seems to be no future.