When Copernicus found that the earth is not flat, as it is said in the Bible, but round, he was immediately in trouble. Now, these matters have nothing to do with religion. What has religion to do with whether the earth is round or flat? It can have any geometrical shape – religion does not have anything to do with it.
But Christianity, Mohammedanism, are very primitive religions. They don’t have the cultured, sophisticated attitude of Hinduism, Jainism, Buddhism, Taoism. They don’t know how to argue, they only know how to fight. Their only argument is the sword: at the point of the sword, it is to be decided who is right.
It is the church – you will be surprised to know – that has prevented the West from going in the direction of inwardness. It forced Western humanity to go towards matter. The inner was the church’s absolute monopoly, and it decided everything about it. There was no need to search, there was no need to discover, there was no need to meditate. You were only supposed to believe in God. But if did something as far as matter is concerned, there would be no problem as long as it did not come in conflict with the Bible.
Copernicus said to the pope, “It is just a small thing, and I have every proof that the earth is round. It is my lifelong work, and it does not affect your religiousness.”
The pope said, “You don’t understand. The question is not whether it affects our religiousness or not; the question is that the Bible is God’s book, the holy book. If one statement in the Bible is proved wrong, that has great implications: first, that God can be wrong. We cannot accept that.”
They cannot even accept that the pope can be wrong, what to say about God? The pope is a faraway representative. Jesus represents God, and the pope represents Jesus – not directly, but through hundreds of popes who have died before him. He is connected through them to Jesus, and Jesus has a direct telephone line to God.
Just one statement against the Bible, if it is proved valid, makes God fallible. And it cannot be accepted – that’s one thing.
Secondly, if one statement is proved wrong, what is the guarantee about other statements? It creates suspicion. It destroys the very foundation of belief and faith. “So we cannot accept anything in the Bible as wrong, but you can do everything that does not go against the Bible.” Naturally only matter is left. You can do research in physics, in chemistry, in biology, in zoology, in geology. You can do all these things; you are free to do so.
The church has been like the Great China Wall, preventing people from going inwards. It looks strange, but it is a fact: the Christian church has proved to be the greatest enemy of religion on the earth. Other religions have also proved to be enemies, but not that great. Genius was left to work only with matter. In the East, the genius had first preference for the inner journey. Only second-class, mediocre people would work for the outer, material things; real intelligence would always move into meditativeness.