A Gandhi Quotation

Mahatma Gandhi once said this:

“I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ.”

Ray Comfort tries to respond. You know where this is going…:

First, no one is like Jesus Christ. He was sinless. If you think you can be like Him, try living like Him for one day…

Not that Gandhi ever said that he himself was like Christ. But Ray doesn’t let that minor point get in the way of his rant:

Second, the Bible doesn’t tell us to place our trust in sinful man. In fact, it says not to (see Psalm 146:3). It instead commands that we repent and trust alone in Jesus Christ. This was something it seems Ghandi failed to do. So his liking of Jesus wasn’t deep enough for him to believe what He said. Jesus warned that if we die in our sins, we will end up in Hell. What a tragedy that Ghandi didn’t find any help in his own hopeless religion. He lamented, “It is constant torture to me that I am still so far from God whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from him.”

Besides the ripping on Gandhi (and misspelling of his name), that last quotation seems odd. Perhaps he said it, but I have a hard time imagining that.

Anyone have a credible source for it? I can’t find any.

I would ask Ray, but… you know… I want a credible source.


[tags]atheist, atheism[/tags]

  • grazatt

    Comfort and Chuck Norris should get their own show!

  • Rik

    The only references I can find for this quote are on christian websites, so there isn’t any way to judge it’s validity.

    However, I do recall reading something about Gandhi that had a similar quote in it. Of course, he was referring to his own god, not the christian one. I’ll see if I can find the book where I read this.

  • http://www.deliberatepixel.com Jen

    I’ve seen that quote often, but since I’ve never seen it sourced, I’m not sure where it came from, or if Gandhi in fact said it. However, the sentiment is still a good one, and it seems dear Ray completely missed the point of it.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    Aside from the nastiness, I found something troubling. I was raised a Congregationalist, but I don’t remember Jesus threatening hell.

    It would be typical and disturbing that someone like Comfort would twist the bible to fit their own warped view of their place in humanity.

  • http://skeptigator.com Skeptigator

    There’s got to be a banana joke here somewhere but I’ll be damned if I can find it.

  • David

    Found it! Or rather, I found an it in print. The quote appears on page 18 of Soul Survival by Cristina E. Rodriguez. It seems she didn’t learn to cite her sources when she was being home schooled.

    Okay, I realize that could come off as a mean comment about home schooling, but Google Books provides a great deal of the text and there seems to be very little documentation for anything that isn’t a bible quote. And her bio does say she was home schooled…

    Maybe this isn’t all that unusual for inspirational literature. I haven’t been by a Christian supply store lately.

  • http://dmcleish.id.au Shishberg

    Ray Comfort saying that Gandhi should try living like Jesus for one day.

    Just… wow.

    That’s up there with Ted Haggard telling Richard Dawkins not to be arrogant.

  • http://www.blakeclan.org/jon/greenoasis/ Jonathan Blake

    Arkonbey,

    It seems Congregationalists read their New Testament selectively. Read Matthew 5:22, Mark 9:45,47, and Luke 16:19–31. Jesus was big on Hell. In fact, Jesus and Christianity introduced the idea of everlasting burnings into Abrahamic religion. So Comfort is well supported by Jesus’ teachings.

  • chancelikely

    Every one of the sixteen google hits for the second sentence of the quote links to a page that has Bible verses sprinkled liberally in it. Three are to Comfort’s work itself; about six are to a network of sites with the same page design.

  • Doug

    sounds like something Mother Teresa would say.

  • Siamang

    He lamented, “It is constant torture to me that I am still so far from God whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from him.”

    Wow… If I didn’t know better, I’d be surprised that Gandhi would say something that’s such a lock-and-key fit to Ray Comfort’s very narrow, self-serving worldview. But Ray-ray wouldn’t invent such a quote, would he? It’s almost a parody, isn’t it:

    “It is constant torture to me that I am still so far from God whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from him… if only there were some way that I could absolve myself of sin… but I cannot, as I am not a perfect being. Oh, woe is me, if only a perfect being could be a sacrificial lamb, so to speak, and wash my sins away. But sadly, Hindus have no such pathway to the infinite Glory of God Almighty…. “

  • Lysander

    Second, the Bible doesn’t tell us to place our trust in sinful man. In fact, it says not to (see Psalm 146:3).

    So Ray must not trust any modern edition of the Bible, as it has been “translated” such that the original meanings are long lost (even, I don’t doubt, in Hebrew versions). (Never mind that it was man who wrote the book; if one is of the opinion that man simply “transcribed” it, then that means God is either impotent or lazy.)

  • julie marie

    oops double post.

  • julie marie

    well, knowing your own wretched wickeness is keeping you from something you want would seem to me enough motivation to learn how to stop being wretched and wicked.

    I mean, really…control yourself man.

    Unless….maybe my mom was right. When I’d complain about being bored…she’d just look at me and say gee Julie, you must like being bored or you’d do something about it….used to irritate the fire out of me, but I have to admit, I am not a person who suffers from boredom anymore ;)

  • Lysander

    This site (which is religious, but they do spell his name correctly) has this version:

    It is constant torture to me that I am still so far from Him whom I know to be my very life and being. — Mahatma Gandhi

    This Christian site as well as a discussion post on this MySpace page (type “ctrl+f” and search “torture”; that will get you right to the quote) share the exact quote below:

    . . . stated in his autobiography, “It is a constant torture to me that I am still so far from Him whom I know to be my very life and being. I know it is my own wretchedness and wickedness that keeps me from Him.”

    Alrighty… How I came across these… On the assumption that the quote is accurate, I googled [gandhi, "constant torture to me that I am still"] (I cut the quote off there because google limits you to ten words). That yeilded only fourteen results. Of those links, three were to atheist pages discussing Ray’s post (two of those three were to FA – the main page and this post :) ), one was to that MySpace page, and the remaining ten were to Christian pages.

    The quote may be correct, but the disparity of results lends doubt. The first nine words may be somewhat off; someone else :) will have to delve to determine if that’s the case. Or the quote is wrong. If you really want closure, your best bet may be to get ahold of that autobiography.

  • Lysander

    Arkonbey said:

    Aside from the nastiness, I found something troubling. I was raised a Congregationalist, but I don’t remember Jesus threatening hell.

    Jonathan Blake replied:

    It seems Congregationalists read their New Testament selectively. Read Matthew 5:22, Mark 9:45,47, and Luke 16:19–31. Jesus was big on Hell. In fact, Jesus and Christianity introduced the idea of everlasting burnings into Abrahamic religion. So Comfort is well supported by Jesus’ teachings.

    The passages JB mentioned (all prime examples) and other examples of Jesus’ (im)morality are among those discussed here.

    Coincidentally, here is a page (still incomplete) that points to a few of the many reasons Ted Haggard is hellbound (at least, as far as those who take hell and the Bible seriously are concerned).

  • anonymouse

    I’m currently reading Gandhi’s autobiography, The Story of my Experiments with Truth, and the quote doesn’t surprise me. He was a humble man who held himself up to very high standards. He kept himself aware of his shortcomings so he could better approach perfection. That quote seems to me like it would be at home among the self-deprecating language that can be found it the book. As he says in the introduction “The seeker after truth should be humbler than the dust. The world crushes the dust under its feet, but the seeker after truth should so humble himself that even the dust could crush him. Only then, and not until then, will he have a glimpse of truth.”
    The quote, of course, is presented in a misleading fashion in Comfort’s article. If he did, in fact, say that, he said it because nothing less than perfection would have satisfied him, not because his religion left him unfulfilled. By “wretchedness and wickedness”, it seems to me, he means “humanity”.
    I find Gandhi, who, like any of us, had to fight for perfection, and yet would not settle for anything less, a far more inspirational figure than Jesus, a divine being born free of sin.

  • QrazyQat

    Wow… If I didn’t know better, I’d be surprised that Gandhi would say something that’s such a lock-and-key fit to Ray Comfort’s very narrow, self-serving worldview.

    Back when Gandhi was driving a cab, did he ever pick up a guy named Freidman?

  • http://www.SecularDignity.net Secular Dignity

    First, no one is like Jesus Christ. He was sinless. If you think you can be like Him, try living like Him for one day…

    It does say somewhere in Ephesians that believers should imitate God. I get the feeling from Comfort’s post that he does not think anybody should bother trying to imitate God.

    Second, the Bible doesn’t tell us to place our trust in sinful man. In fact, it says not to (see Psalm 146:3).

    Thanks for the quote Ray. I will keep it in mind the next time a Christian tells me what to do.

  • http://www.cognitivedissident.org cognitive dissident

    Comfort is actually quite close to correct with that quote; according to Wikisource, Gandhi wrote the following in his introduction to An Autobiography: The Story of my Experiments with Truth:

    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. I know that it is the evil passions within that keep me so far from Him, and yet I cannot get away from them.

    Gandhi was referring not to the Christian god, of course, but to “the Absolute Truth, the Eternal Principle, that is God:”

    There are innumerable definitions of God, because His manifestations are innumerable. They overwhelm me with wonder and awe and for a moment stun me. But I worship God as Truth only. I have not yet found Him, but I am seeking after Him.

  • Siamang

    You should give Ray the exact quote since he seems to use this one from time to time.

    It’ll serve his purposes equally well. At least the words sound a bit more Gandhi-esque.

    Also give him the correct spelling of the man’s name.

  • Maria

    as usual, Ray Comfort doesn’t know what he’s talking about

  • http://religiouscomics.net Jeff

    To be honest, I feep getting Ray Comfort and Edward Curent mixed up.

    Edward Curent is the commedian who sometiems play-acts like a Ray Comfort-like Christian.

  • http://arkonbey.blogspot.com Arkonbey

    Jonathan Blake and Lysander:

    Thanks for the info. It’s been years since I’ve been to Sunday school. It could be said, JB, that most Christians read the bible selectively. To defend my former church a little bit, I must say that they read their bibles so selectively that the church council (or whatever they call it) voted last year to not exclude openly gay people from the congregation. What makes it extra nice was that it was only a single nay (who subsequently left the church). It’s a small action of tolerance, but tolerance nevertheless.

  • grazatt

    Arkonbey many would say your former church is not really Christian


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