God is happy: Young People not interested in Religion – 16 Nov 11

Yesterday I told you about the decision of Jesus, Mohammed and Krishna to finish religions on earth. Religions have already started to finish, it is already going on. I believe that this is a good thing.

On my travels in Europe I have heard often that churches are empty and on sale. They rent the buildings out for meetings and other activities. This is how I have, too, given a lecture in a church once. It was not used as a church anymore. I heard some churches have been sold and people make hotels and even night clubs out of them.

What makes me happy is not the fact that they need to sell the churches but the reason for it: people and especially the younger generation is not anymore interested to go to church. I have heard of many people in different countries of the west that it is elderly people who still go to church each Sunday. The majority of young people in many countries is not interested in religions and churches anymore.

In India, too, I see that many young people are not into religion. There are many people complaining about this fact but I actually applaud it. Religion does not have a space in the lives of young people anymore and I believe it does not have a future. The young generation is not interested in pilgrimages and temples.

We live in Vrindavan, a pilgrim place and a very religious place. Many people come here on weekends from the bigger towns of the surrounding. They come for a weekend trip and actually do a pilgrimage. If you look at the younger ones among them though, they don’t really do a pilgrimage! I would rather describe it as a picnic, a fun day out in another town. What do they do different than their parents? They come to Vrindavan and go to the temple area. Close to the main temples you will find a lot of shops selling snacks or yoghurt lassi. So many of them take one quick walk through the temple and then go to have a lassi. Others, who may have come before and seen the temple, don’t even bother to go there another time. They stop 100 meters before, at the sweet shop. It is their way of having fun and it is not religious!

You may ask why this all makes me happy. I am not sad about it because it shows me that people get more and more intelligent and start thinking for themselves. They don’t believe in something just because it is written in a scripture or because their father believed in it. They ask what is behind it, why it is how it is. When you don’t know something, you can only believe.

This is why religion was successful in earlier times. There was no explanation for the sunset and sunrise. Suddenly there was an institution that had an explanation and people followed it. They got answers through religion! They believed when they were told about ghosts, because they did not know. They followed gurus who pretended to materialize things and heal people where they actually did nothing at all but some cheap tricks. They did not know it better.

Nowadays schools give education and explain that the earth turns, which is why there is a sunrise every morning. So there is no need for people to believe in religious explanations anymore! Schools explain the laws of physics and that there is a reason for everything that happens. People don’t believe in cheap tricks because they can see behind them. Young people are more educated now. For them the show of gurus is not a matter of belief anymore, at the most it is entertainment.

I am sure that religion is slowly dying out. It worked in older times and maybe it was started with the good intention to help people. What happened however is that wars were started, people tried to convince each other, greedy people entered the scene, scriptures were changed and women suppressed. No, we don’t need such a religion.

I believe God is also happy about this development because He is not religious. He is not a Hindu, Christian, Jew, Muslim or Buddhist. He does not have a certain form, shape or colour. The same God that lives in you also lives in me and will be there even if all religions vanish from this world. He won’t mind that people stop giving donations to religious organizations because He does not need money. He knows that there are many cheaters and gurus who get rich with money of their disciples. He knows about all the bad things that happen because of religion.

If people leave religions and instead give their money to help the needy, it will be a good development. Make love and compassion a matter of your heart without the rules of any religion. In this way people can unite who were until now separated by the borders of religion.

Catholic Bishop Raymond Lahey found guilty for Importing Child Porn – 11 May 11

Yesterday I wrote about judging and mentioned that there are cases in which each of us judges easily – and that it is not bad to do this either. The following news is one of those cases: a Canadian catholic bishop was found guilty of importing child porn.

When Bishop Raymond Lahey was searched at the Ottawa airport, border guards found 588 pictures and dozens of videos of naked boys, even as young as eight years old, on the clergyman’s computer and phone. With further investigations they found even more and after the judges found him guilty, he was arrested. He is awaiting sentence and will additionally also face disciplinary actions by the Vatican.

They have even found that he has taken trips to countries like Malaysia and Thailand. We all know that in those countries sex tourism is one of the biggest businesses with foreigners. How do you know the bishop only bought his porn there but did not actually had sex with young boys?

Now tell me, don’t you judge this? Wouldn’t you say that this is shocking, disgusting, horrible behavior? A person does this to children, innocent boys who don’t understand what is happening? And this all under the banner of religion! I do judge and say this is wrong.

At the same time, I do not judge just this one bishop. He is not the only one but just joins the high number of child molesters among Catholic priests. Of course, he is a bishop, which means that he is even higher in their hierarchy, a more important official of the Catholic Church. This all shows again how wrong their system is that does not allow priests to have sex. I have said again and again that such abuse is the result of suppressing the sexuality of these men. You cannot stop this natural urge and if you forbid its natural outlet, it will find another way. Priests, bishops and probably cardinals, too, turn to homosexuality and sometimes even child abuse. Yes, I have to judge and say that this system, this rule and this idea is wrong.

I have been writing a lot about sexual abuse by Hindu Gurus and also much about sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. It happens everywhere, in all religions and it is always wrong.

Source
Photograph by: CHRIS MIKULA POSTMEDIA NEWS, Postmedia News; Ottawa Citizen

Is it Possible to Bribe God? – 7 Feb 11

After writing about the problems with the Karmapa Lama, I had some more thoughts about why people give donations to religious institutions like temples and churches or also to gurus and masters. Sometimes I wonder whether they think they can bribe God.

The ideal scenario would be this: a believer goes into a religious building, be it a church, a temple or any other such place. He or she has a problem and goes there to do prayers or ceremonies. This person finds inner peace, can calm the mind and maybe in this way find a solution for the problem. This makes him thankful that there is such a place and he wishes this place to remain so that he can always go there to pray. He thus supports the place with his donation.

What actually happens in the minds of people is not really this! People give donations not out of thankfulness and the wish to support, but rather in the belief that they can buy blessings. They think they can buy their luck or good destiny just like rice on the market.

They want to get something, they have a wish and they want to have it fulfilled. For this wish they go, offer some money and say ‘God, here you are, this is how much I give for you to fulfill my wish’. Even if they don’t formulate it clearly like this, they think that for big wishes you should give a big donation, for smaller wishes, some coins may be enough.

People thus try to buy fulfillment of their wishes from God. God however does not want or need any money. People have this thought that they give for God, or that God would love them more if they gave more but actually God does not really care for this. Otherwise what could a poor person give if he had a big wish?

My Idea of Holidays – Not Learning but Relaxing – 25 Jan 11

In Cochin I wrote about churches, temples and sightseeing and received a few comments telling me that people do appreciate the architecture of those temples, churches and other houses of God.

I actually fully agree with this idea, too. I myself have been to Paris and also saw Notre Dame there and I stood in front of it, admiring the many hands who built it and the mind of the architect who saw this all before in his imagination. I have been to the Kamasutra temples in Khajuraho, too, which were built with religious purpose, and I have been amazed by their architecture. Another great example of architecture that I admire is the Taj Mahal in Agra. Whenever there is any guest at the Ashram, we send them to see this wonderful monument of love which is only a one-day trip from Vrindavan.

Religious buildings have always been the places where architects showed their best work and I like to look at their work. However I don’t need a temple to worship and I don’t want to fill my holidays with only looking at those buildings, especially if they are not really masterpieces of art. Here in South India however this kind of religious tourism is very common, especially among Indian tourists.

Temples make a lot of money in this way. You pay entry fees to go into the temple but not only that! There are different categories and you can decide how close you want to get to the deity and the altar and how much you want to pay. You can pay only a little and practically stand at the door to have a look from far away or you can pay more and have a look from close-by. Your worship thus depends on how much money you have. To have a close look at God, you need a big pocket. I surely don’t want to support this kind of religious business and this is why I said, I believe religion belongs into museums.

I am also not a tourist who has a long list of all places in my hand that I want to see because my idea of a holiday is not visiting historical buildings and learning a lot. This can be a part of my holiday but not the main aim. On the other hand my main aim is also not shopping and eating. I eat in the same way that I eat at home, with my times and often even the same food. I don’t need many things, so I would not know what to buy either.

When I think I have a holiday, I want to relax. If I am at a nice place, I enjoy the atmosphere and maybe also look at a few buildings. I like to see what the differences are to the place that I normally live in and I like to see a nice sunrise or sunset. In this way it becomes a nice mixture of nature, culture, relaxation and sightseeing.

Religion is Good in Museums and God is in Your Heart – 22 Jan 11

Yesterday night Ramona and I arrived in Cochin. This morning we had a nice breakfast and after that decided to go out and see the town. When we asked the receptionist for some information, she was very friendly and handed us a map of Ernakulam and Cochin, the two cities that seem to be so close by each other that it does not make much difference which one you are in. We asked her to mark the sights and there she went: you can see this church, that temple, this basilica and this synagogue. There is also a mosque but that this a little bit smaller. And apart form that the Dutch Palace. With some more information about markets, restaurants and the marine drive along the water, we thanked her and left.

Once on the road Ramona and I looked at each other and smiled. Good that we only have this one day in Cochin because there is not really a lot for us to do. We are not religious people and this is why we are not interested to see neither a church nor a temple nor a synagogue or mosque. We don’t go there for worship, why do we need to go there for tourism?

Is this really what these places, these houses of God have been made for? So that people stand in front of them, say ‘Oh, what a nice building’, take a picture and leave again? Pilgrimages are, at least in India, already big business. There you can see the future of religion. Only business and making money. How sad when a place of love and worship merely becomes a place to show off or a place to look at.

In many South Indian Hindu temples foreigners are not allowed and Indians have to pay entry fees to look at the statue of God and worship. In London, too, if you want to see Westminster Abbey from inside, you have to pay. I anyway say I don’t need any temple, my God is in my heart and that is enough. Maybe this all is also a good sign that all those churches and temples are slowly turning into museums. Then you can go to Notre Dame in Paris only to look at the beautiful architecture and visit so many other temples, mosques, synagogues or churches only to learn about their history and maybe learn that we all are not Hindu, Christian, Muslim or Jews but just human. In this way we will finally understand that we don’t need a separate house for God because he lives in our hearts.

So we did some sightseeing and walked through the markets of Cochin and enjoyed the differences of the South of India. We had a beautiful time without looking at any houses of worship and will now go for dinner.

Tomorrow we will move on from Cochin to Allepey and write my Sunday’s diary for you from a houseboat in the backwaters of Kerala.

If Contraception Kills Life, Abstinence and Celibacy Do, Too! – 25 Nov 10

Pope Benedict XVI now allowed Catholics to use condoms in very special circumstances. These circumstances are very limited and don’t include using a condom only as a contraceptive. You can use it if you want to save life, if you have AIDS and don’t want to spread it. If you use it as a contraceptive, the Catholic Church believes that it is a sin because you actually kill a life in the process of creation, you are acting against God’s purpose – so they say. The problem thus is killing life before it happened.

With this explanation I had to wonder about the church’s general stand on sex. Sex is okay between a married man and woman as long as they don’t use contraceptives. But life can actually only really be created when the woman is ovulating, when she is in the fertile period of her cycle. Only then, the egg can be fertilized. If a married couple has sex on any of the other approximately 25 days of the month, all this precious sperm gets killed! Is that against God’s purpose, too? Should a couple that is strictly following the Pope’s suggestions only have sex five to six days a month?

Following this thought, it is a really bad thing that even if you have sex in ovulation time, only one of those millions of little guys has to reach the goal, all others are destined to die! Oh, but wait a second – didn’t God destine them to die? All except one who makes the run and actually starts the real creation of life.

Let’s stay with the idea that the Pope gave us for solving all problems – celibacy or abstinence. Okay, if someone is even abstinent from women but needs some relief and does hand-practice in the bathroom? Then, also all sperm will die. If someone very strictly follows the Pope’s rules and never masturbates but has wet dreams? Then, too, all the sperm comes out and dies. This happens naturally, you can ask any teenage boy. But maybe the solution for this would simply be to go to church and confess. What can you do about this anyway?

If this is the theory however, what should women do? If the egg that their body produces is not used, if conception does not take place, the egg will also die and it will be discarded. Even celibacy is not a solution then! Each nun kills one egg each month. She is doing this by not having sex and not getting pregnant. As a conclusion women should try to become pregnant each time they ovulate. Is this what the Catholic Church wants to tell us?

I think we leave this topic with these thoughts, everybody has his own opinion and I think I made mine clear.

If you had a close look at the picture already, you may have noticed that we are now in Germany. You may be surprised because I did not mention it before. This time it is going to be a short trip only and I will let you know the reason for this tomorrow.

Population of India Blasts and Pope Bans Contraceptives – 23 Nov 10

I had to think a little bit more about the Pope’s idea of using condoms for preventing HIV from spreading but not as a contraceptive. The Catholic Church with the Pope as its head says that people should not use birth control. Anyway, sex before marriage is completely unthinkable and comes close to a mortal sin, so they are not talking about one-night-stands, single sex or partners who did not decide to unite in the holy bond of matrimony. That is anyway evil, so let’s keep discussing intercourse in a marriage, absolutely legal intercourse according to Catholicism.

Why exactly are you not supposed to use condoms? Their answer is that you are trying to prevent life, you are practically opposing creation. Each time that you have sex and each time that the man has an orgasm could be one more life on this earth and you practically kill that life before it even started if you use condoms or birth control pills.

If we follow this thought it means that the Catholic Church wants a couple to get married and as soon as possible have children. When one child is born, don’t control anything, let the second one happen! And another one, and another one… wait, is that really the idea? Living here in India we hear many doctors telling illiterate and uneducated families not to produce a lot of offspring, and that for several cogent reasons.

India is a country with a population growing so fast, that it could in 15 to 20 years outgrow the population of China. Five or more children in a family are not a rarity. Uneducated farmers like the thought of having many sons who can work on their fields. Additionally the business would stay in family, you can trust them and you don’t need to pay anybody from outside. They don’t realize that feeding seven children may be even more costly than paying salary to extra workers. In their eyes their children are the provision for their old age. Everybody wants to have many children although they sometimes don’t even have the money to feed themselves. What should their children live from?

There are many grievances in India and charity workers from India and all over the world try to tell people that they should only have one or two children. The government tried to lower the birth rate in many ways. They spent millions of Rupees educating people on family planning and paying money to those who have sterilizations and vasectomies done. This all for a reason: if India’s population keeps on growing, the poverty in the country will take overhand, there are not enough schools even today, there is a big shortage of doctors and so many people live and die in situations of extremely poor hygiene simply because they don’t have enough space.

So if it is a sin to use birth control methods such as condoms, India will just keep on growing. To educated people, the idea of not using birth control seems old-fashioned, outdated and simply irresponsible. The Holy Father’s answer to this would probably be celibacy again. Just don’t have sex if you don’t want to have children. But you cannot teach people abstinence if you have difficulties teaching them the alphabet! Is it really a sin to use condoms in this country? Would the Pope make an exception and allow Indian Christians to use artificial birth control? Or is India just not a place for Catholics?

Pope allows Condoms to Prevent AIDS from Spreading – 22 Nov 10

After the child abuse scandals and sex scandals of the Catholic Church that have been uncovered in the last years, the world has been waiting for a reaction by Pope Benedict XVI. Something. An apology, a call to action against it, any reaction! But no, even on his Easter speech to the world it seemed like this topic was not enough of an issue to bother the Holy Father. Next week however the world will finally be able to read about how stunned he was about the scandals… better late than never?

Next week the Vatican will publish a book based on the first interview given face to face by a Pope and everybody can look forward to get some interesting new statements. One of the most surprising ones is that he finally accepts that condoms might be a good thing!

Well, he didn’t quite say it like that. He moved only a tiny little bit away from the conservative statement that condemns condom use overall: “In certain cases, where the intention is to reduce the risk of infection, it can nevertheless be a first step on the way to another, more humane sexuality.” He right away makes clear that although you may use it to prevent AIDS from spreading, it is not the ‘proper way’ to deal with HIV and for sure you should not use contraceptives when you are married and both you and your partner do not suffer from AIDS.

So he actually only admits that men may use condoms if they know that they are HIV positive so that they don’t infect another person. He gives an example: “There may be justified individual cases, for example when a male prostitute uses a condom, where this can be … a first bit of responsibility, to redevelop the understanding that not everything is permitted and that one may not do everything one wishes.” He does not leave the opinion that you should not use birth control or that you should not have sex before marrying – God beware! No, but it seems that after decades of protests, debates and discussions, the pontiff finally realized that even the Catholic Church cannot stay that much backward to believe it is better to infect another person with a deadly virus than to use a condom! Many cardinals, bishops and priests who obviously live more in reality are already of the opinion that birth control may even be a good idea and much better than the solution of the pope who still suggests abstinence.

Nevertheless I guess we have to thank his holiness for granting all HIV infected men to have sex with their wives using condoms and all male prostitutes to use condoms in their profession. Should he himself ever get the joy of having sex, I think he should try it without a condom to be able to get full pleasure.

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Toilets for India and Sharing Places for the West – 5 Sep 09

When we were talking yesterday, I also said that I don’t tell anybody how they should get in touch with God. Many people say their prayers with rituals, when they are in temple or church or only pray if they have a mala. I don’t say praying with a mala is wrong but I say that it is not the only way. You don’t need a mala for praying. And you don’t need a church for getting in touch with God.

My God is just love. There is not any figure or person attached with it. It doesn’t matter if you say He or She. It is just love. I don’t say that you shouldn’t go to a church or temple for praying. But I say that you don’t have to go there for praying. That is why I feel building temples is not very necessary. If in India you ask me about building temples, I would say, please make toilets. It will be good, many people don’t have that and it will be good for the environment, too.

And if you ask me here, in the West, I would say please create spaces or places where young people can come and share their emotions. This is what they are really missing. They cannot share and express and this brings many complications in life and brings them in situations in which their suppressed feelings explode. I think today’s youth would rather like to go into this kind of place than in any church or temple, when they are not going for worshipping but going for sharing.

This is what I believe is needed today and that is why I believe that it is not necessary to build churches and temples. And this is also what the aim of my life is: I want to create this kind of atmosphere and aura around us that people just feel comfortable and feel that they can approach me. Then they are not like followers who are far away. Then they can be friends and share love.

Church Tax and other Pressure by Church and Religious Institutions – 6 Jun 08

Yesterday Ramona received a letter from the church in which she was asked to pay money to the church. I was really very surprised about this as I had never heard that you have to pay. Then she told me that this was like a request for a donation and that there was a church tax that you are really obliged to pay. She said that she wanted to quit and told me that for that, too, you have to pay 31 Euro!

Since then I am really wondering why this is necessary. She showed me the letter that she had received. There it was written how much money you have to give to them. It is 9% of your income tax that has to be paid. And this is obligatory, if you don’t, they take you to court. I think when you want to support the church or temple or mosque it should be voluntary. Why do they force people to pay?

I heard that churches are empty these days. I think this pressure that is created makes people go away from the institution. I am not in any way against any religion or against the church. For me Jesus and Krishna are same. I don’t see myself as a follower of any other religion. I just want to say how it creates pressure on the people and makes them lose their belief.

India is a very spiritual country and people there are very God-conscious. They love to go to the temple and they give donations because they love to take part in the religious activities there. You are also not a ‘member’ of Hinduism as you are a member of the church. This means that if you have the belief then you are Hindu. You do not have to pay if you do not believe in it. Here, too, many people are Christian although they do not believe in the church and are not a ‘member’.

And I was told that many people of older generations go to church not because of their belief. They go because if they don’t, the neighbours will talk bad or the priest will think they are not religious. However the reason to go to church should be that you enjoy it there. A lot of acting and drama is going on also in this. Just be yourself and original. This I also said in Darshan in the evening: be yourself!