Question: Why did Gandhi say, “Your Christians are so unlike your Christ?”

I have thought about answers to that question for quite some time.  Many Bible quotes come to mind which could agree with that statement or disagree with it.  Trouble is, no matter what I might say about it, “the world” would most likely still agree with Gandhi!

This is what got me thinking about that Gandhi quote.  While driving in my car I often listen to an a.m. talk radio station.  One advertiser on that station (“The Foundation for a Better Life”) often quotes the Hindu leader Gandhi.  They end their segment by saying, “pass it on.”)  However, I have noticed that one quote made by Gandhi doesn’t seem to ever be included in the commercial segment.  It is this one:

“I like your Christ but do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Gandhi

I wonder…why don’t they play that one?

It’s quite cringe worthy…to say the least!  Perhaps Gandhi did have a point when he made that statement.  However, is it fair to lump all Christians into such a category?

Such a disparaging statement caused me to wonder…in what ways did Gandhi think that Christians are so unlike our Christ?

Was he expecting us to be perfect?  Only Jesus is perfect!

Was he expecting us to be totally sanctified (which will only happen when resurrected to eternal life either at death or when the Rapture occurs) and never say the wrong thing or ever sin again?

It is difficult to counter what Gandhi said.  So many people admire him for that particular quote as well as many others that he made in his lifetime!

Perhaps I could share the following graphic to start the conversation:

That graphic holds a verse from 2 Corinthians 4.  I suggest reading the entire chapter.*

There is also the fact that many who claim to be Christians haven’t repented of their sins, become born again in Christ, invited the Holy Spirit into their lives and therefore, have rejected the mercy and grace afforded to those in Christ.  These days, biblical Christian faith is often frowned upon and hated by those who reject the Bible as truth.

Jesus warned us that there would be false prophets who are “wolves in sheep’s clothing.”

Mat 7:15

“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves.

These are the pretend “Christians.” Jesus told us in Matthew 7 that we would “know them by their fruits,” and that “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven.”

Further down in the same parable, Jesus describes who “will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand.” What’s worse is this part: “and the rain descended, the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house; and it fell. And great was its fall.”

Back to Gandhi.

So, maybe he encountered “foolish men who built their houses on the sand.” Or, maybe he encountered false prophets? Or, maybe he encountered “wolves in sheep’s clothing?” Or, maybe he encountered “the bad trees?”

Mat 7:17

“Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.

Mat 7:18

“A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit.

Mat 7:19

“Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.

Gandhi claimed to “like Christ,” but he obviously didn’t actually believe in Him, love Him, nor worship Him.

How ironic it would be to think that Gandhi didn’t like “your Christians” because of the world’s so-called perceived “judgmental character” of Christians?  In that particular quote, wasn’t Gandhi being judgmental against all of us?

Let’s begin the comparison of Gandhi’s religion vs. Christianity.  The following is not a comprehensive comparison of Hinduism versus Jesus Christ, but it is a good summary.

Along with their rejection of God as sovereign creator of the world, Hindus also part company with Christianity on the critical issue of Jesus Christ as god’s incarnate Son.  Hindu worshipers of Vishnu, for example, believe that God has become incarnate many times in the past.16  The Bible teaches that God became incarnate only once in human history (see John 1:14).  Jesus came not to teach humanity various “ways” to salvation, but to be “the way and the truth and the life.” (John 14:6) and “to take away the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).

The resurrection of Christ demonstrates His absolute uniqueness as God the Son, His victory over death and His divine approval from God the Father.  It also refutes the Hindu teaching of continuous reincarnation and their belief that Christ is just another teacher-avatar (super-savior).

OK…so now we know why Gandhi, as a practicing Hindu leader, would say that he “likes (your) Christ.”  He sees Christ as just one of the great teachers, but that is as far as he will go.

The next quoted section will reveal why the Hindu’s god is too small.

Actually, Hinduism is more a philosophy than a theology (a study of God).  The Hindus try to make a tremendous case for the bigness of their impersonal god–Brahma–the “that” behind and beyond reality.  But where does the Hindu seek Brahma?  Within himself.  For the Hindu, each person is “god” (or at least part of “god”).

Ah ha!  That partially explains why Gandhi would make the claim that “I (he) do (does) not like your Christians!”  He expects each Christian to be their own god, or at least part of “god.”  Therefore, he most likely saw each Christian who had not become totally sanctified in this regard as a failure.

Continuing:

The Hindu’s god is too small.  The biblical record (see 1 John 5:11,12) states that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son.  If we have the Son, we have eternal life (not a series of mythological, absolutely unproven reincarnations).  As an Indian folksong put it:  “How many births are passed, I can not tell.  How many yet to come, no man can say; But this alone I know, and know full well, that pain and grief embitter all the way.”17

Christians, however, can rest in “the blessed hope–the glorious appearing of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” (Titus 2:13).

In conclusion, I will be summing up major differences between Hindus and Christians.  But first, I wanted to mention in the more detailed text of the book that I am quoting from, we find out that “Hindus call sin “utter illusion” because they believe all material reality is illusory.”

The term “illusory” is often confused with elusive, so here is the dictionary definition of illusory from Dictionary.com as well as the word origin and details:

adjective

1.

causing illusion; deceptive; misleading.

2.

of the nature of an illusion; unreal.

1590-1600; < Late Latin ill ū s ō rius, equivalent to ill ū d (ere) to mock, ridicule (see illusion ) + – t ō rius -tory1

Synonyms

See more synonyms on Thesaurus.com

1. fallacious, specious, false. 2. imaginary; visionary, fancied.

Word Origin and History for il-lu-so-ry Expand

adj.

1590s, from French illusorie, from Late Latin illusorius “ironical, of a mocking character,” from illus-, past participle stem of Latin illudere “mock at,” literally “to play with,” from assimilated form of in- “at, upon” (see in- (2)) + ludere “to play” (see ludicrous ).

So, is it a stretch of the mind to conclude that Gandhi (and all Hindus) might regard Christ’s sacrificial death to atone for the sins of the world as something to mock, deceptive, imaginary, false, and ludicrous?

But Gandhi still claimed to like Christ!

Continuing:

Regarding God and Jesus Christ:  Hindus do not believe in a personal, loving God, but in Brahma, a formless, abstract, eternal being without attributes, who was the beginning of all things.18  They believe that Jesus is not God but just one of many incarnations, or avatars, of Vishnu.19  Christians believe that God is an eternal, personal, spiritual Being in three persons – Father, Son, and Holy Spirit (see Matthew 3:13-17; 28:19; 2 Corinthians 13:14).  Jesus Christ is God as well as sinless man and He died for our redemption (see John 1:13,14; 1 Peter 2:24).

Regarding sin and salvation:  Hindus call sin “utter illusion” because they believe all material reality is illusory.  They seek deliverance from samsara, the endless cycle of death and rebirth, through union with Brahma, which is achieved through devotion, meditation, good works and self-control. 20  Christians believe that sin is prideful rebellion that leads to eternal separation from God after living only one life, not many (see Romans 3:23; Hebrews 9:27) and that salvation is gained only through believing in the sacrificial death and resurrection of Jesus Christ (see Romans 3:24; 1 Corinthians 15:3).

Gandhi, like other Hindus, could not accept the Christian answer to the problem of sin, het he felt a deep hunger for real salvation from sin.  He wrote:

“For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am.” 15

Reference:  So What’s the Difference by Fritz Ridenour, Bethany House a division of Baker Publishing Group Minneapolis, Minnesota. 2001 pp. 95-97.

Footnotes:

15.  Mahatma Gandhi Autobiography (Washington, DC:  Public Affairs Press, 1948). p. 170.

16.  These incarnations (avatars) included a fish, a tortoise, a boar and a manlion, as well as different human forms, including Siddhartha Gautama, the founder of Buddhism Kalki; the tenth avatar is yet to come.  See Myrtle Langley, World Religions:  A Guide to Faiths That Shaped the World (West Oxford:  Lyon Publishing plc, 1993), p. 22.

17.  Cited by S. H. Kellogg, A Handbook of Comparative Religions (Philadelphia, PA:  Westminster, 1899), p. 30.

18.  Yamamoto, Hinduism, TM and Hare Krishna, pp. 55, 85.

19.  Yogananda, Paramahansa, Autobiography of a Yogi (Los Angeles, CA:  Self-Realization Fellowship, 1972), pp. 195, 196.

20.  Ibid.

*******
* 2 Corinthians 4:1-18

2Co 4:1

Therefore, since we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we do not lose heart.

2Co 4:2

But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.

2Co 4:3

But even if our gospel is veiled, it is veiled to those who are perishing,

2Co 4:4

whose minds the god of this age has blinded, who do not believe, lest the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine on them.

2Co 4:5

For we do not preach ourselves, but Christ Jesus the Lord, and ourselves your bondservants for Jesus’ sake.

2Co 4:6

For it is the God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

2Co 4:7

But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us.

2Co 4:8

We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair;

2Co 4:9

persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed—

2Co 4:10

always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.

2Co 4:11

For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh.

2Co 4:12

So then death is working in us, but life in you.

2Co 4:13

And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,”[fn] we also believe and therefore speak,

2Co 4:14

knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you.

2Co 4:15

For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.

2Co 4:16

Therefore we do not lose heart. Even though our outward man is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.

2Co 4:17

For our light affliction, which is but for a moment, is working for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory,

2Co 4:18

while we do not look at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen. For the things which are seen are temporary, but the things which are not seen are eternal.

Hat tips to all links and graphics.

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10 Responses to “Question: Why did Gandhi say, “Your Christians are so unlike your Christ?””

  1. GMpilot Says:

    CJW: I have thought about answers to that question for quite some time. Many Bible quotes come to mind which could agree with that statement or disagree with it. Trouble is, no matter what I might say about it, “the world” would most likely still agree with Gandhi!
    This is what got me thinking about that Gandhi quote. While driving in my car I often listen to an a.m.talk radio station. One advertiser on that station (“TheFoundation for a Better Life”) often quotes the Hindu leader Gandhi. They end their segment by saying, “pass it on.”) However, I have noticed that one quote made by Gandhi doesn’t seem to ever be included in the commercial segment. It is this one:

    “I like your Christ but do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.” – Gandhi

    I wonder…why don’t they play that one?

    Probably because they, like you, see the truth in it. OTOH, they’re also aware that sectarian disputes are the cause of much strife in the world, and are trying to avoid the appearance of any similar endorsement.
    Perhaps the reason that The Foundation For A Better Life doesn’t play that one is because they don’t like it either: it might betray their origins.

    Founded in 2000 with a $700 million endowment from Philip Anschutz, a member of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church (United States), the organization is headed by its president, Gary Dixon, a member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (LDS Church).

    …The Foundation neither solicits nor accepts monetary donations from the public. It is not officially affiliated with any religion, instead hoping that “the values we share transcend any particular religion or nationality”. …All funding comes from the Anschutz Foundation. –Wikipedia

    Didn’t we go over all this a few years ago?

    Gandhi claimed to “like Christ,” but he obviously didn’t actually believe in Him, love Him, nor worship Him.

    Of course not, silly; he was a Hindu! Christians cannot seem to comprehend that other nations have gods of their own; they keep pumping out missionaries to throw at non-Christians, and have done so for centuries. What you say of the Hindus is equally applicable to the Jews, but that doesn’t seem to disturb you.

    How ironic it would be to think that Gandhi didn’t like “your Christians” because of the world’s so-called perceived “judgmental character”of Christians? In that particular quote, wasn’t Gandhi being judgmental against all of us?

    Why does this disturb you? The historical (and folklorical) records illustrate the “judgmental character” of Christians
    very plainly. Heck, you’re judging Gandhi right now!
    We cannot know for certain if Gandhi meant only the Christians he knew, or if he compared what he knew of Christianity’s creed with the actions of its practitioners. But since he had working eyes and ears, it was probably the latter. In any case, I think it’s funny that you’re still so sensitive about this, after so many months. Since you claim to worship the Son of the One True Lord of the Universe, why do you care what a little old man in a robe said?

    OK…so now we know why Gandhi, as a practicing Hindu leader, would say that he “likes (your) Christ.” He sees Christ as just one of the great teachers, but that is as far as he will go.

    Interesting that you’re comparing belief (Hinduism) to personality (Jesus). They are not exactly the same, and you argue dishonestly by doing that. Again, the Jews also regard Jesus as a great teacher, but your knickers aren’t in a twist over that.

    So, is it a stretch of the mind to conclude that Gandhi (and all Hindus) might regard Christ’s sacrificial death to atone for the sins of the world as something to mock, deceptive, imaginary, false, and ludicrous?

    Possibly. Good and reasonable men have died for bad reasons before.
    Can a god die?
    If not, exactly what was the sacrifice?

    Like

  2. christinewjc Says:

    Oh darn…I started to reply but lost it when I went in to delete your link to my former post. It has caused my computer to slow down and that page keeps buffering. That is why I went in to delete it. Here is the link:

    https://talkwisdom.wordpress.com/2015/07/07/i-like-your-christ-i-do-not-like-your-christians-gandhi/

    That post was quite different from today’s post. Perhaps you took notice of that fact?

    One of the interesting things that I found this time is where Gandhi laments that his “religion” didn’t ultimately satisfy him spiritually.

    Note:

    Gandhi, like other Hindus, could not accept the Christian answer to the problem of sin, yet he felt a deep hunger for real salvation from sin. He wrote:

    “For it is an unbroken torture to me that I am still so far from Him, who, as I fully know, governs every breath of my life, and whose offspring I am.” 15

    The answer was right there! It resides in Jesus Christ…the one he stated that “he likes” but rejected as Lord and Savior of his life.

    I’m signing off to clear my cache and hopefully get rid of the buffering problem.

    BTW, your two questions at the end have been answered here several times. The fact that you reject such answers (like Gandhi did) doesn’t negate the truth of God’s written Word – the Bible, as well as God’s Living Word – Jesus Christ.

    Like

  3. GMpilot Says:

    Oh darn…I started to reply but lost it when I went in to delete your link to my former post. It has caused my computer to slow down and that page keeps buffering. That is why I went in to delete it.

    This is your blog, Christine; you can reply anytime you want. I’ll be somewhere around.

    …That post was quite different from today’s post. Perhaps you took notice of that fact?
    I noticed the direction was different, but the basic question (“Why did he say that?”) was still the same. So…

    Oh, and I missed another thing you said earlier:

    Was he expecting us to be perfect? Only Jesus is perfect!

    Perhaps Gandhi was familiar with Matthew 5, especially verse 48. That directive is as clear as glass.

    One of the interesting things that I found this time is where Gandhi laments that his “religion” didn’t ultimately satisfy him spiritually.

    I seem to remember that your “religion” didn’t ultimately satisfy you spiritually, either. That’s understandable. It’s difficult to explain the questions of life with magic.

    The answer was right there! It resides in Jesus Christ…the one he stated that “he likes” but rejected as Lord and Savior of his life.

    The only way anyone will ever see a god is through the actions of its followers. Either your god’s “plan” was not necessary to help Gandhi become a respected figure, or the actions of your god’s other followers did not live up to the standards they claimed. All I know of you is what I’ve read on these pages…and you are so unlike your Christ!

    I’m signing off to clear my cache and hopefully get rid of the buffering problem.

    That should work. If it doesn’t, you can always blame George Soros, as you’re so fond of doing.

    BTW, your two questions at the end have been answered here several times. The fact that you reject such answers (like Gandhi did) doesn’t negate the truth of God’s written Word – the Bible, as well as God’s Living Word – Jesus Christ.

    In case you’ve forgotten, I reject the written Words of other Gods, too. Living and dead.

    Good luck with the cleanup.

    Like

    • christinewjc Says:

      GM wrote:

      The only way anyone will ever see a god is through the actions of its followers.

      That is not true! Please explain how Helen Keller became a Christian? She did not see the actions of God’s followers.

      Now, you may think that I only mean a physical type of seeing. But, there are other ways of seeing things…such as believing in the truth.

      2Co 5:7

      For we walk by faith, not by sight.

      Jhn 20:29

      Jesus said to him, “Thomas,[fn] because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

      You wrote about me:

      All I know of you is what I’ve read on these pages…and you are so unlike your Christ!

      That’s your opinion and you are entitled to believe what you want to believe. However, whether or not you “think” that I am “so unlike your Christ” is irrelevant when it comes to the salvation of the soul. Gandhi made the same mistake.

      Like

  4. L Says:

    I liked your post Chris, and the rebuttal GM.

    The word, or Bible is the answer to our questions. What other book claims to be the written word of any other God? I don’t recall that they do make that claim. There are so many mysteries in the Bible. When looking at numbers alone, and how they appear in the Bible is amazing. As Christians we acknowledge that we could not have imagined or put all of these things in the Bible by ourselves.

    L

    Liked by 1 person

    • christinewjc Says:

      Yes, L. That is because the writers of the Bible, over the course of hundreds of years, were all carried along by the Holy Spirit of God to write what they did.

      About The Bible

      The Bible is God’s Word to all mankind. It was written by human authors, under the supernatural guidance of the Holy Spirit. It is the supreme source of truth for Christian beliefs and living. Because it is inspired by God, it is truth without any mixture of error.

      II Timothy 1:13;3:16; II Peter 1:20,21; Proverbs 30:5; Psalm 12:6;119:105,160

      Like

  5. GMpilot Says:

    That is not true! Please explain how Helen Keller became a Christian? She did not see the actions of God’s followers.

    We know she was able to communicate, therefore other people were able to communicate with her (I assume God was too busy elsewhere). Somebody had to have told her about Christianity, or she wouldn’t have become one. That means she could, and did, learn of the Christian God and of the actions of his followers. Simple, right?

    Now, you may think that I only mean a physical type of seeing. But, there are other ways of seeing things…such as believing in the truth.

    Are you claiming that “believing is seeing”? Because people believe many odd things without seeing them, and without evidence. It is possible to believe sincerely and completely in something and still be wrong…because what is believed in is simply not true. Belief can be good, but knowledge is always better.

    You wrote about me:

    All I know of you is what I’ve read on these pages…and you are so unlike your Christ!

    That’s your opinion and you are entitled to believe what you want to believe. However, whether or not you “think” that I am “so unlike your Christ” is irrelevant when it comes to the salvation of the soul. Gandhi made the same mistake.

    Yes, that is my opinion, and I don’t need your approval whether or not to believe it.
    However, I do not ‘think’ (you mean ‘believe’, don’t you?) that you are unlike your Christ. I know it. You demonstrate it with almost every post you write, and I have over a decade’s worth of them to choose from. If you believe that condition is irrelevant when it comes to the salvation of the soul, then you don’t much care, as long as it’s your soul that’s saved. You’re just another “I got mine” believer.
    Maybe Jesus would have persuaded Gandhi; maybe he would have done to him as he did to the fig tree. I don’t know. Obviously, Gandhi didn’t feel he was making a mistake. Krishna was just as real to him as Jesus is to you. But few, if any, religions practice the tolerance they all claim to preach.

    Like

    • christinewjc Says:

      Be honest GM. You could care less about how (or, whether or not) Helen Keller became a Christian.

      And yes. You are right that I am “so unlike your (oops…I mean MY) Christ.” All Christians are sinners saved by the Savior. We are not perfect, never will be…until Christ returns to take us to our eternal home. It is only then that we will be transformed and be like Him.

      That is exactly why Christ had to come to the earth, die on the cross for our sins, be resurrected back to life, and become our Lord and Savior.

      Quite frankly, I don’t care what you think of me.

      As past arguments between us have always turned out fruitless, I’m not going to continue with your blather. It’s a waste of time. However, for other readers who may come along and read this thread, I will end with just a few lines from a favorite Christian song.

      Christ alone
      Cornerstone
      Weak made strong
      In the Savior’s love
      Through the storm
      He is Lord
      Lord of all

      -Verse 1-
      My hope is built on nothing less
      than Jesus’ blood and righteousness
      I dare not trust the sweetest frame
      but wholly trust in Jesus’ name

      -Verse 3-
      Then He shall come with trumpets sound
      Oh, may I then in Him be found
      Dressed in His righteousness alone
      faultless, stand before the throne

      Like

    • L Says:

      GM, You do like to push buttons don’t you?

      How is the reading going? The Bible has the answers to your questions.

      A good movie to watch is Above and Beyond on Netflix. I think you will like it. You also might enjoy listening to Ravi Zacharias.

      I know you have a soul even though you try to hide it. Keep reading, and searching for the truth.

      Like

  6. GMpilot Says:

    Be honest GM. You could care less about how (or, whether or not) Helen Keller became a Christian.

    You’re right, I don’t. But you asked a question, so I assumed you actually wanted an answer. Who’s being dishonest now?

    And yes. You are right that I am “so unlike your (oops…I mean MY) Christ.” All Christians are sinners saved by the Savior. We are not perfect, never will be…until Christ returns to take us to our eternal home. It is only then that we will be transformed and be like Him.

    Matthew’s words imply otherwise. “Be perfect”, he said.

    That is exactly why Christ had to come to the earth, die on the cross for our sins, be resurrected back to life, and become our Lord and Savior.

    Because we’re not perfect? When something’s not perfect, you go back to the point where the flaw was, and make your adjustments there. Where we went wrong, according to the story, is when Eve and Adam ate that fruit. God’s first attempt to correct that was to destroy humanity…but he left a tiny portion of it alive to start again, not realizing that the flaw was in them, too. The Master of the Universe has poor quality control standards.

    Quite frankly, I don’t care what you think of me.

    I’ve heard that line before, too. I don’t judge you any more harshly than your god does, and probably less, because I know you can change, unlike your god, who can’t.

    As past arguments between us have always turned out fruitless, I’m not going to continue with your blather. It’s a waste of time.

    If you wanted me gone, you’d have banned me long ago. It pleases you to have me here, because you can show off to everyone how well you stand up to the scoffer/unbeliever/Satan’s Own or whatever you feel like calling me this week.

    You designated me as your nemesis. Why do you get upset when I do what a nemesis is supposed to do?

    Like

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