I believe that there is no such thing as conversion from one faith to another in the accepted sense of the word. It is a highly personal matter for the individual and his God. I may not have any design upon my neighbour as to his faith which I must honour even as I honour my own. Having reverently studied the scriptures of the world I could no more think of asking a Christian or a Musalman, or a Parsi or a Jew to change his faith than I would think of changing my own. (Harijan: September 9, 1935)
I Disbelieve in Conversion
Conversion: Impediment to Peace
It is impossible for me to reconcile myself to the idea of conversion after the style that goes on in India and elsewhere today. It is an error which is perhaps the greatest impediment to the world’s progress toward peace … Why should a Christian want to convert a Hindu to Christianity? Why should he not be satisfied if the Hindu is a good or godly man? (Harijan: January 30, 1937)
No Conversion Designs Upon Me
I am not interested in weaning you from Christianity and making you Hindu, and I do not relish your designs upon me, if you had any, to convert me to Christianity. I would also dispute your claim that Christianity is the only true religion. (Harijan: June 3, 1937)
Conversion must not mean denationalization. Conversion should mean a definite giving up of the evil of the old, adoption of all the good of the new and a scrupulous avoidance of everything evil in the new. Conversion, therefore, should mean a life of greater dedication to one’s country, greater surrender to God, greater self-purification. (Young India: August 20, 1925)
Aping of Europeans and Americans
As I wander about through the length and breath of India I see many Christian Indians almost ashamed of their birth, certainly of their ancestral religion, and of theirancestral dress. The aping of Europeans by Anglo-Indians is bad enough, but the aping of them by Indian converts is a violence done to their country and, shall I say, even to their new religion. (Young India: August 8, 1925)
Why Should I Change My Religion
I hold that proselytisation under the cloak of humanitarian work is unhealthy to say the least. It is most resented by people here. Religion after all is a deeplypersonal thing. It touches the heart. Why should I change my religion because the doctor who professes Christianity as his religion has cured me of some disease, or why should the doctor expect me to change whilst I am under his influence? (Young India: April 23, 1931)
Missionary Aim: Uprooting Hinduism
My fear is that though Christian friends nowadays do not say or admit it that Hindu religion is untrue, they must harbour in their breast that Hinduism is an error and that Christianity, as they believe it, is the only true religion…so far as one can understand the present (Christian) effort, it is to uproot Hinduism from her very foundation and replace it by another faith. (Harijan: March 13, 1937)
Why I am Not a Convert?
Undermining People’s Faith
The first distinction I would like to make … between your missionary work and mine is that while I am strengthening the faith of people, you (missionaries) are undermining it. (Young India: November 8, 1927)
Physician Heal Yourself
Conversion nowadays has become a matter of business, like any other…India (Hindus) is in no need of conversion of this kind…Conversion in the sense of self-purification, self-realisation is the crying need of the times. That however is never what is meant by proselytisation. To those who would convert India (Hindus), might it not be said, “Physician, heal yourself.” (Young India: April 23, 1931)
Missionaries: Vendors of Goods
When the missionary of another religion goes to them, he goes like a vendor of goods. He has no special spiritual merit that will distinguish him from those to whom he goes. He does however possess material goods which he promises t those who will come to his fold. (Harijan: April 3, 1937)
If I had the Power and Could Legislate …
If I had the power and could legislate, I should stop all proselytizing … In Hindu households the advent of a missionary has meant the disruption of the family comingin the wake of change of dress, manners, language, food and drink … (November 5, 1935)
The Only Begotten Son of God?
I regard Jesus as a great teacher of humanity, but I do not regard him as the only begotten son of God. That epithet in its material interpretation is quite unacceptable. Metaphorically we are all sons of God, but for each of us there may be different sons of God in a special sense. Thus for me Chaitanya may be the only begotten son of God … God cannot be the exclusive Father and I cannot ascribe exclusive divinity to Jesus.
(Harijan: June 3, 1937)
Western Christianity Today
It is my firm opinion that Europe (and the United States) does not represent the spirit of God or Christianity but the spirit of Satan. And Satan’s successes are thegreatest when appears with the name of God on his lips. (Young India: September 8, 1920)
Western Christianity (cont’d)
I consider western Christianity in its practical working a negation of Christ’s Christianity. I cannot conceive Jesus, if he was living in flesh in our midst, approving ofmodern Christian organizations, public worship, or ministry.