Against The Stream ~ SHEEP
IF YOU MADE CAKES
for sale, you would not tell people they taste terrible,
would you? You would like to sell them, so would say
they taste great!
Many people are trying to convince others
that their way alone is right and that therefore others
are wrong; they are all trying to sell something.
But can they demonstrate that their way is best, with
conclusive evidence? They say their way is the best,
of course, but does merely saying something make it
true? Are we so naïve as to believe everything
The most-vocal of such people are those
who say that everyone who doesn’t believe as
they do will go to Hell forever (isn’t it embarrassing
to hear people say such things these days, when we
are better educated than ever before?) According to
them, all Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, Jews, and even
Catholics (unless they are the ones saying it, as
is sometimes still the case), etc., are sure to go
One particular sect— known as ‘Jehovah’s
Witlesses’ — is well-known for going from
door-to-door pushing their narrow beliefs; they believe
that of all the billions of people who have ever lived
on this Earth, are living now, and will live, only
144,000 will be ‘saved’ and go to Heaven—
and of that miniscule number, all but 9,000 have already
been chosen! Can we imagine anything more silly? How
can people even consider such things, unless from
the egoistic desire to feel superior to others?
Compare such narrowness with the expansiveness
and all-embracingness of Buddhism, which exhorts us
to think about all beings, and holds out the possibility
of Enlightenment for all! (The Jehovah’s Witlesses,
by the way, are very fond of predicting ‘The
End of the World’; no less than six times have
their predictions failed to come true— 1914,
1918, 1925, etc.— and now they are doing it
again. They obviously can’t wait for it to happen,
because they believe that only when it does, will
Jesus come again. From this, we can easily see that
fanatics have a vested interest in starting another
World War— a war to end everything— feeling
they have nothing to lose but everything to gain!
The USA has more than enough of its fair share of
If it is really as these people say, and
if we were to say to them: "Look here, the Buddha,
Lao Tsu, Confucius, and countless other great people
didn’t believe in Jesus or accept him as their
personal savior, so, according to you, where will
they be now?" they would be forced to say: "In
Hell, of course, with all the other non-believers!"
So, if we must go to Hell merely because we don’t
believe in Jesus as they do, we shall be in good company
there, no? But maybe they got the words mixed up,
and have confused up with down, Heaven with Hell.
To believe and follow blindly is to be like
sheep, and sheep, as we know, are timid and rather
foolish. They are usually kept together, in flocks,
and if, for some reason, one of them gets scared and
starts to run, the others will automatically follow,
without understanding why.
In the abattoirs of Australia, so I’ve
heard, are sheep especially trained to lead unsuspecting
groups of other sheep in to be slaughtered; the trained
sheep then come out to lead in another batch, until
finally, it’s their turn, and they don’t
come out alive again. Such sheep are called ‘Judas
sheep’, after the disciple who betrayed Jesus.
Many humans are similar to sheep in the
way they follow others. Some of us will follow anyone—
it doesn’t matter whom or where he leads, as
long as the followers need not think for themselves
or accept responsibility for their own lives. It is
nothing to be proud of, to be like a sheep, yet that
is how the followers of the world’s largest
religion describe themselves.
We should listen to others with open minds,
not with minds full of prejudice (that is: pre-judgment).
But this does not mean we should accept everything
that every Tom, Moses or Matthew tells us, as that
would be foolish. We should use our intelligence,
our sense of discrimination, and try to separate the
true from the false.
And, if you are tired of people coming to
your door to pressure you to accept their religion—
and if they are Christians of one of the myriad sects
or another, as is usually the case— try this
on them: Ask if they themselves really believe that
the Bible is the ‘Word of God’, as they
so loudly claim. They will almost surely say "Yes,
I do!" Then ask them to turn to the Book of Mark,
chapter 16, verses 17 and 18, in the Bible they always
carry with them, and read it aloud. They will read
this: "And these signs shall follow them that
believe: In my name they will cast out devils; they
shall speak with new tongues. They shall take up serpents;
and if they drink any deadly thing, it shall not harm
them". Ask the person at your door if he/she
is prepared to undergo a test of his/her faith. Tell
him you have a variety of poisons in your home—
weed-killer, rat-poison, oven-cleaner, etc.—
which you could mix with syrup to make a sweet drink;
would he be willing to drink it? It is highly unlikely
he would accept this challenge, even though the Bible
says that a believer wouldn’t be harmed thereby.
It is a guarantee against that person coming to your
door to bother you again!