Bertrand Russell has written a book, Why I Am Not A Christian. In the book he gives many arguments; one of those arguments is worth considering. He says the Christian and Jewish God seems to be utterly unjust, unfair, because Christians and Jews believe only in one life… Bertrand Russell says, “As far as I am concerned, for all the crimes that I have committed, even the hardest judge cannot sentence me for more than four years. And if the sins that I have not committed but only contemplated are also included, then too, at the most, eight years, ten years.”
In a life of seventy years, how much sin can you commit? In a life of seventy years one third is spent in sleeping, the other one third in working for bread and butter. What time do you have to commit sin and how much can you commit? And, Russell says, the Christian, the Jewish God says you will be punished for eternity! Now, this is unfair! Even if you punish a man for seventy years, okay; seventy years at least he lived. If life itself is sin, if to breathe is sin, then send him for seventy years to hell – but sending him to hell for eternity, for ever and ever he will be in hell… Russell says that this is unjust. If this is your idea of God, then what is your idea of the Devil? How can God be more devilish? This is a very evil conception.
But because the so-called religions are based in fear, such ideas create more fear in people. And the priests exploit your fear; they say you will be condemned, punished. They have created pictures, paintings of hell, hellfire and they have invented all kinds of tortures for hell.
These people can’t be saints. Even to contemplate that others should be burned in fire forever and forever needs a very cruel mind – even to think about it, even to write about it.
Buddha says the search, the true search, is not for God, cannot be – because God is the need of a pathological mind. Let this sink deep in you; otherwise you will not be able to understand this very superior vision of religion.
Secondly, Buddha says religion is not a search for truth either, because the moment you start inquiring about truth you become intellectuals. The whole inquiry becomes philosophical, intellectual, rational – truth is a rational concept. Then you start thinking that you have to go through many logical processes, that you have to argue, discuss, debate, and then finally one day you will come to the conclusion – as if truth is going to be a conclusion of a logical process, as if truth is going to be a by-product of your syllogism.
Truth is not just intellectual. And what can the intellect think about truth? It is all imagination, inference. At the most it can arrive at a certain hypothesis, a workable hypothesis, utilitarian; but it can never arrive at any truth.
That’s why philosophy never arrives; it simply goes on and on in circles – it moves in vicious circles. Science also never arrives at truth. At the most it comes across hypotheses which are accepted today and rejected tomorrow because tomorrow you find a better hypothesis which works more efficiently; hence yesterday’s hypothesis has to be discarded.
Newton was discarded by Albert Einstein; Albert Einstein will be discarded sooner or later by somebody else. Science never comes to truth, to ultimate truth. Everything is utilitarian: if it works then it is worth using. But the question is not of truth, the question is of utility.