If there is a God, man can never be free – that is an impossibility. God and man’s freedom cannot co-exist, because the very meaning of God is that he is the creator; then we are reduced to puppets. And if he can create us, he can destroy us at any moment. He never asked us when he created us – he is not obliged to ask us when he wants to destroy us. It is purely his whim to create or to destroy. How can you be free? You are not free even to be. Even your birth is not your freedom, nor is your death your freedom – and between these two slaveries do you think your life can be freedom?
God has to die if man’s freedom is to be saved.
The choice is clear; there is no question of any compromise. With God man will remain a slave and freedom will remain just an empty word. Only without God does freedom start having meaning.
But Friedrich Nietzsche’s statement is only half; nobody has tried to make it complete. It looks complete, but appearances are not always true. Friedrich Nietzsche was not aware that there are religions in the world which have no God – yet even in those religions man is not free. He was not aware of Buddhism, Jainism, Taoism – the most profound religions of all. For all these three religions there is no God.
For the same reason Lao Tzu, Mahavira and Gautam Buddha have denied God – because they could see that with God, man is just a puppet. Then all efforts for enlightenment are meaningless; you are not free, how can you become enlightened? And there is somebody omnipotent, all-powerful – he can take away your enlightenment. He can destroy anything!
But Nietzsche was not aware that there have been religions which are godless. For thousands of years there have been people who have understood that God’s existence is the greatest barrier to man’s freedom – they removed God. But still man is not free.
What I am trying to lead you to understand is that just by making God dead you cannot make man free. You will have to make one more thing dead – and that is religion.
That’s why I said religion also has to die; it has to follow God. And we have to create a religiousness which is godless and religionless, which has nobody above more powerful than you, and no organized religion to create different kinds of cages – Christian, Mohammedan, Hindu, Buddhist. Beautiful cages…
I was sitting in Holland, and through everything that happened around you, I got really worried, so I just decided to come. I wanted to see you, I just wanted to see whether you are okay. I was so mad when I saw what happened to you, I got so angry.
I have a question – I just made it up. What I see happening in Europe for the last months, is the attitude that religion is dead and leaders are “out.” You have shown me the meaning of religion, and I consider myself a leader, so I decided to call myself a religious leader. Everybody freaked out, saying, “You are nuts – that is not the thing to do today.” I said, “That’s why I’m doing it!”
Osho, what do you think?
The question is very significant. There is a prophetic saying of Nietzsche’s: “God is dead and man is free.” He had tremendous insight into the matter. Very few people have been able to understand it, the depth of his statement. It is a milestone in the history of consciousness.