Science is experiment. You can’t trust speculation, you have to experiment with reality. You have to see reality as it is, not through a certain prejudice of your mind. You need not have any belief; you can simply go into reality without any belief and the reality will conclude. Reality is conclusive. The conclusion comes not by thinking, but by looking into reality. And if you have a certain a priori idea, that very idea becomes a distraction. It won’t allow you to see that which is.
So Sufis say: Don’t have any ideas, don’t have any beliefs. There is nothing to believe. Yes, there is much to know, but there is nothing to believe. There is no need to believe. All kinds of beliefs are fear-oriented.
I have heard:
An old gentleman suddenly felt that the time had come to be taken into the bosom of the church.
“Abraham,” warned his parson, “you must have faith. Do you believe everything in the Bible?”
“Yes sir,” insisted Abraham.
“Do you believe the story of Jonah and the whale? And Daniel and the lions – those hungry African lions that had not had a single thing to eat? Daniel, you know, walks right into their den and slaps them in the face and they don’t do anything to him?”
“If that is what the Bible says, I believe it.”
“And do you believe the story of the Hebrew children in the fiery furnace? They walk right into that furnace, step on the hot coals, and they aren’t even singed?”
“Not even singed? A regular fire?”
“Right! Not even singed!”
“Deacon,” said Abraham, “I don’t believe in that.”
“Then you can’t be taken into the bosom of the church.”
Abraham sadly picked up his hat and shuffled toward the door, “And parson,” he added, “I don’t believe that story about Daniel and the lions either!”
Nobody really believes these stories, not even those who pretend to believe, not even those who say they have great faith. No, it is impossible. By the very nature of consciousness, it is impossible to believe unless you know – all belief is against nature. And all belief is just a repression of your doubts. Yes, you can repress your doubts if there is great fear, you can repress your doubts if there is great greed – if you are offered heavenly pleasures in paradise and you are threatened by hellfire and devils who are going to torture you. If these things are put into your mind you start believing, but you know all the time, all the time, underneath, that you doubt.
How can one believe? How can anyone believe unless one has known oneself? Unless you have faced reality as it is, there is no possibility of having faith. Faith does not come by fear, faith does not come by greed, faith comes only through experience.