Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gandhi, what do you think?

If somebody rejects Jesus and Christianity because of the poor example of Christians, how do you think God will judge them? I'm thinking of Gandhi here. I have heard that Gandhi once said that (and I'm paraphrasing) he liked Jesus but not the church he felt that Christians could learn a few things from their master. Thus he rejected Christianity.

A little context: Gandhi grew up in India, during a time when a "Christian nation", England was oppressing his homeland. He moved to South Africa, where Dutch Christians were using a poor form of theology (Calvinism) to literally oppress and de-humanize millions of Africans. Thus, Gandhi rejected Christianity because it failed to be...well...Christian.

Now I'm not God, and neither are you (that clears a few stresses up), so I understand that none of these answers are for sure right, I'm more asking your gut feeling.

8 comments:

Phil Strahm said...

I used this quote in a sermon last summer.

I had it down as "If Christians would really live according to the teachings of Christ as found in the Bible, all of India would be Christian today."

I think the quote is even more relevant today than a few decades ago.

djpb said...

I grew up learning about "the age of accountability". Now, I know that their age may not be valid in this situation but the accountability part does. If people have not been taught about Jesus and what it means to be a Christian, then are they really to be punished? It is the people around them that ARE Christians and DO know Jesus that should and will be held responsible for not witnessing to the less fortunate who Jesus Christ is and what it means to be Christ-like.

Michael Moore said...

It comes down too thier belief in Jesus. If a Christian sets a bad example to others, though the Christian must repent and move closer too Jesus, it does not give the non believer a great reason to reject Jesus. His words are thier to read. Though a Christian should ever be seeking God and be being rid of sin.

Though the Church did play a part in it all. Gandhi also said, "His death on the cross was a great example to the world, but that there was anything like a mysterious virtue in it, my heart could not accept."

dan said...

My issue is that, while the Biblical text is important, it is a book that demands proper interpretation. This is the church's primary responsibility. To continually be in the process of study, interpretation, and living out of the text. when a church fails to do so, what meaning does this text have?

It is our lives that is the #1 commentary on the text, when our lives are lived in improper ways, it is really the reputation of God that is at stake.

For Gandhi, the text would have been so horribly misinterpreted by the example of the Christians that surrounded him...probably we should not say that it was misinterpreted, it was destroyed! The church he interacted with was nothing like the church. This could have and, I believe, did blind him to the hope, the real hope of the church

Michael Moore said...

I am not try to say the churches actions dont have an impacts on peoples idea of who Jesus is and what that means. In reality I think the church needs to repent of how we have been teaching a watered down Gospel and doctrine. However you said that Gandi himself said that Jesus followers needed to look more like there leader. Which tells me he had read the text and knew the difference between a real Christian and a faker. In my view the text stands for itself were Jesus is concerned. Our interpretation comes into play in other parts of the Bible but Jesus speaks clearly about who he is and Gandi denied that Jesus.

dan said...

ok so if somebody rejects "Christianity" as a result of the Christians, yet accept Jesus - is that person a Christian? Even if he or she rejects the term Christian?

Michael Moore said...

I would say that that person would be a Christian in the sense that they would be pursuing Christ for who he said he was.

However as a Christian they would need to pursue Christ also within Church by pointing out hypocracy in stern but gentle manner so that others would not to have go through what they had to go through.

I see your point about Gandi and the "Christians" around him not really bring Christians but I wonder if that was the main reason for his rejection of Jesus.

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