Belief means basically that there is doubt and you are covering it with belief. Doubt is there like a wound and you are covering it with beautiful flowers of belief. But by covering a wound with flowers you are not curing it, it is not being healed. In fact by covering it you will make it far more dangerous. It will be growing deep inside you, it will go on spreading; it will become a cancer finally. Why do you believe in the first place? If you don’t doubt, what is the need to believe?
Buddha’s approach is always very fundamental; he goes to the very root of the problem. You believe because you doubt. And why do you doubt? He does not stop there. Why do you believe, why do you doubt? – because you desire.
For example, you believe in an afterlife and you also doubt an afterlife. Both the belief and the doubt persist in you side by side. You believe in afterlife because you desire; there is a great lust for life, you don’t want to die. Because you don’t want to die, any priest can exploit you. He can tell you, “Don’t be worried, only the body dies; your soul will live forever. Your soul is immortal.” And you are immediately ready to believe. Why? Without inquiring into such an important matter, you believe some stupid priest who knows nothing about it, who has not experienced anything about it himself, who has not gone deeper into his own being. Maybe he knows the scriptures, he can quote the Bible and the Koran and the Gita, but so what? By knowing the Gita or the Koran or the Bible he does not know that the soul is immortal. How does he know? On what authority is he speaking? On the authority of Christ? – then it is borrowed. On the authority of Krishna? – then it is not his own. And unless it is his own there must be doubt in him.
Unless some experience arises in your own being, doubt cannot be dispelled. You can go on believing in light sitting in a dark room, but that does not mean that the darkness will disappear by your believing. You can recite the Gita and you can talk about light, but darkness will remain. You can deceive yourself by believing in light, you can say there is no darkness, you can pretend that there is no darkness, but you know that there is darkness. Otherwise, why are you talking about darkness at all if there is no darkness? Why are you saying there is no darkness? If there is no darkness there is no darkness! Why waste your time?
Why are the priests continuously teaching people that the soul is immortal? They know people are afraid of death and desire life. The fear of death and the desire for life are two sides of the same coin.
Buddha says: If you desire something then you have to believe. Why do you believe in God? Have you seen God? Have you experienced God? You can say Jesus saw God, but he may have been a deluded man. Either he himself lived in an illusion or he was deceiving you. Who knows? How can you be certain that he knew? What grounds have you got that anybody has ever seen God?
If you are suffering from a headache, nobody else can know except you yourself. Yes, if you say it, people can sympathize with you. They may not say so – they may agree with you, they may disagree with you – but how can they know that you are suffering from a headache? Only you know.