Did Gandhi Really Say, “God Has No Religion”?

 

“Killing kittens is fun.”

“Whoa, Amy.  What the heck?  What is going on here?  Oh my gosh, did you hear that Amy Thomas said that killing kittens was fun?  She is a horrible human being.”

“Now, hold on guys.  Just a minute.  That is not what I said.”

“Oh yes, you did.  Somebody posted it in a meme on Facebook and I saw it.  It’s true!  They were your words!”

“Well, that’s only partly true.  You didn’t read what I really said.  You just took a piece of something I said out of context and formulated judgement based on that without taking the time to read my actual words.  What I really said was:  ‘Killing kittens is fun.  That is, if you are an evil and heartless individual.  Serial killers often start out harming or killing small animals.’  Takes on a whole different meaning when you read it in its entirety, doesn’t it?”

This happens a lot nowadays.  Honestly, I feel like we can’t take anything at face value and we have to constantly be vigilant for the truth.  It’s exhausting really, because if you decide that you aren’t going to be intellectually lazy, you are forced to check into EVERYTHING.

So, where am I going with all this?  Well, this week I saw something that bugged me.  Someone posted this meme:

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The person posting this was using this as a reason to not go to church.  Gandhi is a respected individual and so anything he said holds a lot of merit.  Believe me, I have nothing against Gandhi and his peaceful revolution against England is something that is to be admired.  I believe he was a good man and had many good things to say.  Problem is, he never said this.  When I saw this, I thought two things:

1)  “Well, duh, God would not have a religion since He is the one being worshipped.  So what’s your point?”  But, I knew this was not the reason that thousands of people were posting this meme.  Which led me to ask…

2) “Did he really say this?”  If he did say this, in what context?  I wanted to read this quote in the context it was being used so that I could get a handle on his thoughts.  If he did say this quote it isn’t like he said this sentence in a vacuum.  He didn’t just walk out somewhere and state, “God has no religion” and then walk away.  If he said it, there had to be a dialogue around this sentence.  I googled it and googled it and looked through all his quotes.  I looked upwards and backwards, but finding this quote anywhere other than in a meme is impossible.  Now, people have said that they love this quote from him, but you can’t find any reputable site that shows he ever said this.

What does this mean?

Well, it means that people are using a well-liked, intelligent man to push an agenda.  Dishonest people know that people will listen to what this very religious man has said, because, well, he’s Gandhi.  So, they put words in his mouth hoping that people will glom onto it and start to follow it.  They’ve done a pretty good job, because the lady that I saw post this, uses it as justification for being spiritual and not religious.

But why spiritual and not religious?  Well, the popular idea goes that religions are bad and control people, but being spiritual never leads to that.  This is dangerous thinking.  I’ve had tons of people tell me, “I’m spiritual, not religious.”  When I ask what they mean by that they say, “I don’t need a church to tell me what to do.  I can read the Bible and talk to God in my house and that’s all I really need.”

Uh huh.

In honest curiosity, I then go on to ask how often they are reading scripture or praying or doing anything “spiritual” and I always get a glazed over look and they quickly change the subject.  Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t spiritual people out there that do read their faith’s book and pray often.  But, is that what’s best?

I’m going to speak about Christianity because that is what I know.  When we are baptized we become children of God.  In the Bible we are told that we are the body of Christ.  He is the head of the Mystical Body, we are the body.  All children of God make up the body.  Using our many talents and abilities, we carry out God’s will here on earth.  Well, how do we do this?  By being apart of the Church.  Let’s look at an example.

Let’s pretend that I am the thumb in the body of Christ.  I’m extremely important.  I help the hand work properly.  But, let’s say that I decide to remove myself from the body in order to be spiritual and do my own thing.  So, I cut myself off of the body.  To look at me, I’m still the thumb.  But, how much better would I be if I was attached to the body?  The Church is weakened when  members start cutting themselves off from the body and we are not united.  United we are strong, broken apart we are weakened.  I would wager that this is what is intended by using this meme and guising it as an insightful quote from a respected man.  It’s something to consider.

But, what bothers me most is that with the proliferation of the internet, slander and taking things out of context runs rampant. This is dangerous and incredibly wrong.  My point in the example at the very beginning is to show how character and reputation can be ruined by taking things out of context.  It also leads to people believing in things that were never said or are just not true.  This unethical practice causes confusion and mistrust, not to mention it’s just morally wrong.  It’s tough to check out every little thing that you read or come across, but if we don’t and we allow lies and deceit to be the bigger voice, we will lose everything that we hold dear.  Our country, our children, our lives are worth the effort of seeking the truth.

 

 

 

17 comments

  1. Cristina says:

    Pope Francis. He gets this all the time. It’s just the world we live in, maybe? Memes and quick quotes that get snap judgement and misconception. I really like how you teased this out.

  2. Aaron says:

    “In honest curiosity, I then go on to ask how often they are reading scripture or praying or anything “spiritual” and I always get a glazed over look and they quickly change the subject. Now, that isn’t to say that there aren’t spiritual people out there that do read their faith’s book and pray often. But, is that what’s best?”

    In my understanding, people of a Spiritual path usually have no dogma.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      Then what the heck does it mean? In my understanding, it means that people really don’t want to have to answer to anything and just do whatever. I mean, to be spiritual, means that you are dealing with things in the spiritual realm. I would hope that they could at least answer me with a, “Well, I get up in the morning and go on a walk where I talk to God. I like to read things that help me grow closer to God.” I mean, give me something. What does “being spiritual” look like? It doesn’t have to look the same for everyone, but, good grief, give me an answer.

  3. Babert says:

    I asked a friend today what church he attends and he told me he doesn’t belong to any religion and that he doesn’t believe in religion. After several arguments with him he sent me a pic of “God has no religion-Gandhi.” So I decided to browse and c whether that was what Gandhi really meant. I like what u said. You really digested and it’s true God doesn’t need to belong to any religion.

  4. Alexander Pendjurin says:

    The whole premise of your blog is that Ghandi did in fact say “God has no religion” as part of a bigger context. This may not be true and his statement was probably made for the sake of itself only, being that there is no evidence of it being a part of a bigger discussion. Churches and religions are institutions created by men, although they all profess to be the true word of God. They speak the word of God as interpreted by men and people are not perfect, inspired or not. There are many “churches” and many denominations of certain church orders each supposedly based on the same biblical writings. Which of these should we follow? The Westboro Baptist Church? Churches tend to pick and choose things written in The Bible to stress certain things and to suit their needs and push an agenda, treating it like a menu in a Chinese restaurant. Some even claim to speak foir God on all sorts of issues … which I believe to be totally wrong. Your post is a good one and well intentioned, but based on a premise that’s unproven and probably false.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      Thank you for your comments. What premise exactly is unproven and probably false? That there is a God? You’re right, there are many religions and each claims to be the true one. I would also agree with you that there are large numbers of denominations that pick and choose like off a Chinese Menu. This, however, doesn’t mean that there isn’t a true one. Just because some get it wrong, doesn’t mean that ALL are wrong. Can we in any way know which one is true? I think we can with a little investigation. But, first, I would need for you to define what you mean by my premise is unproven and probably false.

      • Alexander Pendjurin says:

        You’re very welcome. The premise that Ghandi made his quote as part of a larger discussion is very questionable and the basis for your blog. If he did incorporate it as part of a larger topic, it would be common knowledge because he lived in more or less contemporary times. It’s for each of us to decide in our hearts what and who to believe and only God knows the absolute truth in all things. Churches and theologians interpret biblical writings a certain way and they sometimes aren’t interpreted the same way or true to the original meaning. There is subtlety in meaning lost in translation from language to language and these ancient texts weren’t written in English. The thing that I find very hypocritical are those “people of faith” that think they can speak for God on ALL issues, past, present and future. I’m a Christian with a very open mind and a minister at a church I attended said I see things most people miss. This is the last comment I’ll make here. All I can say is try to keep an open mind.

        • Amy Thomas says:

          It’s too bad that was your last comment. People don’t often come out and just make one-liners and leave it at that. You make my point. If he did make it, it would be somewhere for us to find. He didn’t live that long ago.

          We do have to decide what we believe, but first and foremost we must follow truth, not just what we want to believe in our hearts. Our emotions can sway us. God does know all things, but He didn’t just put us here and leave us zero clues.

          Thankfully, as a Catholic, we have the Church that infallibly interprets Holy Scripture for us. Luther decided to interpret it in his own way and then the domino effect happened. Clearly, we weren’t meant to just all be our own authority on the matter, because we don’t all know the ancient languages or the nuances made in translating from one language to another. We all aren’t scholars on ancient times and even St. Peter said that there are parts of the scripture that are hard to understand. The Catholic Church speaks on behalf of God on matters past, present and future, not me or you. It is the Church that Jesus founded and He promised the Holy Spirit would be with her (the Church). That’s fine to be a Christian with an open mind, but at some point we have to follow the truth where it leads us. My mind is open to truth. If something is heresy, untrue, illogical, irrational, or contradictory there is no reason to be open minded to it. That would be silly and it gets you no where. Men do interpret scripture differently and that is because they have set themselves up as their own authority. That was the danger of private judgment given to us by Luther. It’s done more damage than can ever be imagined.

  5. Alexander Pendjurin says:

    I try not to engage people in conversation that claim to be open minded, but in fact are not. It’s a total waste of time dealing with these people. I love how you insist Gandhi said more on something based solely on your beliefs and nothing else. People like you can be very dangerous if they get in positions of authority. Regarding the infallibility of the Catholic church, they are the ones who labeled Copernicus a heretic for telling the truth about the earth nor being the center of the universe. They’ve since changed their tune and the Vatican actually has an observatory.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      When you can find the source from which this quote comes from, I will stand corrected. I never said Gandhi said anything. I said he didn’t say it. Big difference. I have been completely open-minded with you, but at some point one has to arrive at truth and stop there. We don’t just keep open-minded to anything and everything. You obviously are not open-minded to my point of view, because why? You think you are right. I did try to find out why Gandhi said this (if he did) and I wanted to understand him. Problem is, is that there is nothing out there that shows he really said it. Like I said, if you can find the source, I’ll read it and possibly stand corrected, based off the source. It would need to be a primary source. The Church did not label Copernicus a heretic. You are thinking of Galileo. Copernicus hypothesized about heliocentricism, but was not able to expand upon it, Galileo did some work based off it. However, that’s a long story and not pertinent to Gandhi. I will claim the Church as truth, because it is. You have not provided any evidence to the contrary, only half-truths and mistruths. The Church is comprised of people, but if you are a Christian like you said, than I would assume you believe the Bible is infallible. So, therefore, you believe that at one time, numerous men were able to infallibly write Scripture with the Holy Spirit guiding them. You misunderstand infallibility. The people of the church are not infallible.

      The problem is, Alexander, that the Church really has nothing to do with this. This is my personal blog. I’m not speaking with the authority of the Church. I have no right to do that. I simply saw this meme about Gandhi, went to research it, and found it to not exist anywhere. I also noticed who was using this meme and it’s atheists and those that think you can just ignore going to church. I have provided evidence. You have not. If you can, shoot it my way.

  6. Alexander Pendjurin says:

    Stop claiming to be truth driven as if your “truth” is the ultimate one. The church is comprised of people and people are not infallible. How can you claim to be truth driven when you tell us that Gandhi said something which he did not. There is no point in arguing with people like you for in your mind you’re always “right”.

  7. Alexander Pendjurin says:

    1 Timothy 2:11-12English Standard Version (ESV)

    11 Let a woman learn quietly with all submissiveness. 12 I do not permit a woman to teach or to exercise authority over a man; rather, she is to remain quiet.

    • Amy Thomas says:

      I sure hope you don’t have a wife and this is what you say to her. You just lost all credibility on this comment. If you can’t make an intelligent debate with me, than find someone else to harass.

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