Sophaster's Sophisms:
The Anti-Gospel Of The Great Sophaster
AKA "Mahatma" Gandhi

©Lucio Mascarenhas.
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Excerpts from Gospel according to Mahatma Sophaster, err..., The Message of Jesus Christ by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, edited & published by A. T. Hingorani, 1986, Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, Bombay.

My Difficulties

It was more than I could believe that Jesus was the only incarnate son of God, and that only he who believed in him would have everlasting life. If God could have sons, all of us were his sons. If Jesus was like God, or God Himself, then all men were like God and could be God Himself. My reason was not ready to believe literally that Jesus, by his death and by his blood, redeemed the sins of the world. Metaphorically, there might be some truth in it. Again, according to Christianity, only human beings had souls, and not other living beings, for whom death meant complete extinction; while I held a contrary belief. I could accept Jesus as a martyr, an embodiment of sacrifice, and a divine teacher, but not as the most perfect man ever born. His death on the Cross was a great example to the world, but that there was anything like a mysterious or miraculous virtue in it, my heart could not accept. The pious lives of Christianity did not give me anything that the lives of men of other faiths had failed to give. I had seen in other lives just the same reformation that I had heard of among Christians Philosophically, there was nothing extraordinary in Christian principles. From the point of view of sacrifice, it seems to me that that Hindus greatly surpassed the Christians. I was impossible for me to regard Christianity as a perfect religion or the greatest of religions.

Hinduism Satisfies My Soul

I must tell you in all humility that Hinduism, as I know it, entirely satisfies my soul, fills my whole being, and I find a solace in the Bhagavat Gita and Upanishads that I miss even in the Sermon on the Mount. Not that I do not price the ideal presented therein, not that some of the precious teachings in the Sermon have not left a deep impression upon me, but I must confess to you that when doubts haunt me, when disappointments stare me in the face, and when I see not one ray of light on the horizon, I turn to the Bhagavat Gita and find a verse to comfort me; and I immediately begin to smile in the midst of overwhelming sorrow. My life has been full of external tragedies and, if they have not left any visible and indelible effect on me, I owe it to the teaching of the Bhagavat Gita.

All Religions True But Imperfect

I have told you all these things in order to make it absolutely clear to you where I stand, so that I may have, if you will, closer touch with you. I must add that I did not stop at studying the Bible and the commentaries and other books on Christianity that my friends placed in my hands; but I said to myself, if I was to find my satisfaction through reasoning, I must study the scriptures of other religions also and make my choice. And, I turned to the Quran. I tried to understand what I could of Judaism as distinguished from Christianity. I studied Zoroastrianism and I came to the conclusion that all religions were right but every one of them was imperfect, imperfect naturally and necessarily, because they were interpreted by our poor intellects, sometimes with our poor hearts, and more often misinterpreted. In all religions I found, to my grief, that there were various and even contradictory interpretations of some texts, and I said to myself: 'Not these things for me. If I want the satisfaction of my soul, I must feel my way. I must wait silently upon God and ask Him to guide me.' There is a beautiful verse in Sanskrit which says: 'God helps only when man feels utterly helpless and utterly humble. When I was studying Tamil, I found in one of the books of Dr. Pope a proverb which means, 'God helps the helpless.' I have given you this life-story of my own experience for you to ponder over.

All Religions True But Imperfect - II

I hold that all religions are true but imperfect, inasmuch as they are presented through human agency and bear the impress of the imperfections and frailties of human beings. My quarrel with Christian missionaries is that they think no religion other than Christianity is true.

In The Harijan, February 25, 1939.

Appeal To Christian Missionaries

Hinduism has become a conservative religion and, therefore, a mighty force. It is the most tolerant because it is non-proselytizing, and it is as capable of expansion to-day as it has been found to be in the past. A Hindu refuses to change his religion, not necessarily because he considers it to be the best, but because he knows that he can complement it by introducing reforms. And what I have said about Hinduism is, I suppose, true of the other great faiths of the world, only it is held that it is specially so in the case of Hinduism.

If there is any substance in what I have said, will not the great missionary bodies of India, to whom she owes a great debt of gratitude for what they have done and are doing, do still better and serve the spirit of Christianity better by dropping the goal of proselytizing while continuing their philanthropic work? I hope that you will not consider this to be an impertinence on my part. I make the suggestion in all sincerity and with due humility. Moreover, I have some claim upon your attention.

I have endeavoured to study the Bible. I consider it as part of my scriptures. The spirit of the Sermon on the Mount competes almost on equal terms with the for the domination of my heart. I yield to no Christian in the strength of devotion with which I sing: Lead Kindly Light and several other inspired hymns of a similar nature. I have come under the influence of noted Christian missionaries belong to different denominations. And I enjoy to this day the privilege of friendship with some of them. You will perhaps, therefore, that I have offered the above suggestion not as a biased Hindu, but as an humble and impartial student of religion with great leanings towards Christianity. May it not be that 'Go ye unto all the world' message has been somewhat narrowly interpreted and the spirit of it missed? It will not be denied, I speak from experience, that many of the conversions are only so-called. In some cases, the appeal has gone not to the heart but to the stomach And, in every case, a conversion leaves a sore behind it which, I venture to think, is avoidable.

Quoting again from experience, a new birth, a change of heart is perfectly possible in everyone of the great faiths. I know I am now treading on thin ice. But I do not apologize for saying that the frightful outrage that is just going on in Europe, perhaps shows that the message of Jesus of Nazareth, the Son of Peace, has been little understood in Europe, and that light upon it may have to be thrown from the East.

Speeches & Writings of M. Gandhi, February 14, 1916.

Missionary Work

Q. May we know what form, in your opinion, missionary work should take if the missionaries are to stay in India?

A. Yes. They have to alter their attitude. Today, they tell people that there is no salvation for them except through the Bible and through Christianity. It is customary to decry other religions and to offer their own as the only one that can bring deliverance. That attitude should be radically changed Let them appear before the people as they are, and try to rejoice in seeing Hindus become better Hindus and Mussalmans beter Mussalmans. Let them start work at the bottom, let them enter into what is best in their life and offer nothing inconsistent with it. That will make their work far more efficacious, and what they will say and offer to the people will be appreciated without suspicion and hostility. In a word, let them go to the people not as patrons, but as one of them, not to oblige them but to serve them and to work among them.

Young India, July 14, 1927.

Vincible Ignorance

Comments by Lucio Mascarenhas.

What we see here is a clear case of Vincible Ignorance, Ignorance deliberately cultivated; lovingly, sedulously fostered. Sophaster is the type of great leader who misuses his talents to capture the hearts and minds of people, not to lead them into the paths of truth and salvation, but to confirm them in their errors and in the path of certain damnation. Most founders of the man-made religions are of his type, however, while most of them lived in remote ages, we here have a recent example of the deliberate rejection of Divine Grace and of wilful perversion of the soul and of truth.

It is important not to overlook the fact that Guru Sophaster very cunningly exploits the typical stupidity of the Anglo-Saxon in appealing to his "social sense", offering the baubles of "mutual social niceness" that the Anglo-Saxon has, for centuries, made a cult of, if he, the "Christian" Anglo-Saxon would give up the offensive claims of Christ...

Guru Sophaster kindly offers them the meaningless facts that he reads the Bible, and that he can sing some Anglican hymns just as good as any other Anglican... and in exchange, the Anglo-Saxon will give up the real good gold of Christ's Gospel!

Too often, I have noticed that many — principally those, even Catholic, of "White, Anglo-Saxon Protestant" heritage — substitute "social niceness" for the faith, congratulating themselves that they are thereby "Good Christians", and deploring as "foolish" those who take the Gospel of Christ literally.

To my mind, it was this same attitude that the English already exhibited during the Council of Constance, and is the underlying belief of the Continental "Gallicanism", Anticlericalism, Laicisism, Josephinism, Regalism, etc.

This is the same attitude that causes so many men, "wise" in their own conceits, to reject and to refuse any part in the effort to elect a pope, given that Sedevacantism is true, and to scorn and contemn those who have proceeded nevertheless...
©Lucio Mascarenhas.
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