And what the pope said is significant. He said, “The question is not your one statement. The question is, if the Bible is wrong about one thing, then what is the guarantee about other things?”
The Bible has to be true as a whole. A single statement going against the Bible will destroy people’s belief. And if the belief is gone, the religion is gone.
Religion – whether Christian, Hindu, Mohammedan, Buddhist – any religion is based on your ignorance, is a cover-up. You don’t know, but the belief gives you a certain knowledge which helps you to feel knowledgeable. It does not make you wiser; on the contrary, it keeps you stupid, unintelligent.
Ignorance has to be accepted, not covered. You have a wound – it has to be accepted, its cause has to be found. The medicine has to be searched for, to remove the cause; only then will the wound heal. But that is a long process which needs intelligence.
The simple way is just to cover up the wound and believe that there is no wound at all. But doing such a thing means you will remain retarded, and the wound will go on growing bigger and bigger. And as the wound goes on getting bigger and bigger, you will have to stretch your belief bigger and bigger, to the point where it becomes absolutely absurd.
All the religions of the world have kept humanity in ignorance. Only an ignorant person can believe.
Nobody asks you, “Do you believe in the sun, in the moon? Do you believe that you have eyes, that you are alive?” Nobody asks these questions because you know. You are alive; you cannot deny it. Even the denial will prove your existence: who is denying it?
There is a story in Mulla Nasruddin’s life. He was sitting in the coffeehouse with his friends, bragging about his generosity. But the friends said, “You talk always about great things – generosity, humbleness, hospitality – but you have never even asked us to come to your home for a cup of tea.”
Mulla got agitated and he said, “You are all invited for dinner. Come with me!”
In his excitement he forgot that his wife was there in the house. As they started coming closer to the house he started becoming worried, because in the morning his wife had sent him to purchase some vegetables, other foods. And the whole day he had wasted, playing cards, drinking coffee, meeting friends…. He had completely forgotten all about why he had gone to the city.
But now he was in a dilemma: twenty friends with him, one wife – and one wife is far stronger than twenty friends! He started trembling. The friends asked, “What is the matter? Have you got a fever?”
He said, “You don’t understand; this is a far bigger disease. If you are really my friends, do a small, kind act.”
They said, “We are always ready. What is the problem?”