Chapter 25: Religions, like Diseases, Are Many: Truth, like Health, Is One
Yes, if I speak against Jesus, somebody’s religious feelings may be hurt. But this letter is from the president of the American Nazi party, and it is a threat: “You should stop speaking against Adolf Hitler because it has not anything to do with politics, it is our religious feelings.”
Adolf Hitler is a religious leader.. If these people had won, then you can imagine: Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini - these people would have been installed in churches, in synagogues, in temples. Krishna and Jesus and Buddha would have been thrown out and you would have been worshipping these people.
I am not being far-fetched. In Russia it has happened. Russia was one of the most orthodox Christian countries. What happened after the revolution? Now Lenin’s grave is being worshipped, and while Stalin was alive his statues, his pictures were being worshipped. Karl Marx’s book, Das Kapital, has become the holy book of the communists. And the same misfortune has happened to Das Kapital that happens to any holy book: nobody reads it.
To become a holy book is the worst fate that can happen to any book, because then nobody reads it. It is too holy to read; just worship it, put a few flowers on it.
A small boy was asked in school, “Can you tell us what is in The Bible?” - because for a few days the teacher had been explaining what is in The Bible.
The boy stood up and said, “Yes, I can tell you. In my Bible my sister keeps her love letters and my mother keeps my father’s lock of hair.”
The teacher said, “Is your father dead?”
He said, “My father is not dead but his hairs are gone, they are just an ancient memory. The hairs he once had she keeps. And my father keeps tickets from movies, race-courses, lotteries - my Bible is full of so many things.” There is no Jesus in it, no Moses in it. These are the things that are significant in it.
A holy book finally reaches this state. The holier it becomes, the less it is read.
These books at least I have read because to me they are not holy, they are just books like any other books - badly written, not great masterpieces. You cannot compare them with Leo Tolstoy or Dostoevsky or Chekhov or Gorky - naturally, because Luke and Mark these poor fellows, what can they do to become Dostoevsky, Tolstoy? That is not possible. In fact whatever they have done, it is great; illiterate, poor, knowing nothing - at least they compiled whatever Jesus was saying.
And what can Jesus say, just in those four gospels? And those four gospels can be condensed because they are all repetitions, all the four: four versions of the same person, four journalists reporting a single speech. Each is a little bit different, but it is the same thing.