Thursday, December 30, 2010

A Comparison Between Gandhi and Jesus

When I was a Junior at Virginia Tech in 2006, I took a class focusing on the life of Gandhi. It was extremely interesting and insightful. As a final project, I did a comparison of Gandhi and Jesus. I wrote a paper but could only find this summary. I think it’s important to compare the two men when considering Gandhi’s life and work because so much of what he believed was inspired by Jesus, although Gandhi never did accept the Christian faith as his own but remained a Hindu, which I learned to be a pretty fluid faith without solid beliefs in one thing.

In addition to studying the life of Gandhi, there are similarities found when studying the life of other social movement leaders and those who practiced nonviolent resistance in order to bring about change. However, I do believe that Jesus was the first to practice, preach, and embody these concepts and it is important to give credit where credit is due.

I recently submitted this comparison to be published on a site I have been writing articles for called Factoidz. They did not wish to publish this article so I am sharing it here. Nonetheless, Factoidz is quite an enjoyable site that pays authors according to the number of views articles receive. If you would like to write articles for Factoidz too, you can sign up through my affiliate link, which gives me a little bonus should you be promoted to a staff writer one day and saves you from a longer application process.

Here is A Comparison Between Gandhi and Jesus:

Similarity:

Large crowds would gather to hear them speak. They were highly attractive to people and carried a unique message.

Difference:

Lots of what people today have learned about Gandhi is from his own recorded thoughts. There are four recordings of the life of Jesus, the books of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. None of these were recorded by Jesus himself.

Similarity:

Both men believed that everyone should love their enemies.

Difference:

The two men differed as to whom and what should be considered an enemy.

Similarity:

Both men led movements and acquired a group of followers.

Difference:

Jesus’ followers had a stronger commitment than Gandhi’s followers. Even after the death of Jesus, many of his followers died for him and many more came to follow him.

Similarity:

Both men reached out to people that were the outcasts of society. Gandhi reached out to the Untouchables in India. Jesus reached out to the prostitutes and tax collectors in his time. He also reached out to Samaritans as recorded in John 4.

Difference:

Gandhi sought Truth and equated God with Truth. Jesus claimed to be the Truth as recorded in John 8:32 and John 14:6.

Similarity:

Both men greatly influenced their communities and other communities around the world.

Difference:

Jesus’ influence has been much greater and his time on earth was much shorter. Jesus died at age 33 whereas Gandhi died at age 79.

Similarity:

Both men opposed authority figures. Gandhi opposed the British authority whereas Jesus opposed the Sadducees and Pharisees.

Difference:

Jesus did not break the law but Gandhi did. Jesus was blameless and pointed out the wrong doings of the authority but did not break the law. (Mark 12:13-17, Matthew 5:17, John 18:23, Luke 23:39-43)

Similarity:

Both men took the burden of others onto themselves.

Difference:

They went about taking the burden of others onto themselves in different ways. Gandhi volunteered to fast for others to make peace. Jesus did not volunteer to undergo torture was captured. He did not fight back or refuse abuse. It is recorded that he dreaded taking on the burden of others but knew it must be done and accepted the torture he knew he would undergo. (Matthew 26:36-39, Luke 22:24, John 12:27)

Similarity:

Both men were killed for their causes.

Difference:

Gandhi died and left his followers without his leadership. The Bible records that Jesus rose from the dead and appeared to his followers. As a follower of Jesus, it is written that one is baptized by the Holy Spirit, (Luke 3:16), and Jesus promises that he will be with his followers forever, (Matthew 28:19, 20 & John 16:33).

10 comments:

  1. Gandhi actually brought about change.. Where as Jesus died trying. And yeah Jesus broke the law- That's why they crucified him :p blasphemy and treason had different meanings back then..

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    1. Your ignorance is offensive but I appreciate the dialogue. Do you not realize that Jesus chose to die for a purpose? And do you not realize that Jesus said that his followers would go onto do greater things than him. His change has not stopped. Treason?? How so?

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    2. Anon- In christian worldviews, it is that that Jesus died for our sins evoking a change in our final destiny and giving mankind a chance to go to heaven, what this means ultimately is that sure Jesus is god's son, humans kill him, he allows them to kill him (the bible says he knew that he would be sold out for the blasphemy and treason..), he returns to God and redeems us.
      The importance of these two people is that when it seems like everyone has forsaken you, they are on your side. they brought hope to large groups.
      Whether you believe in either one of them, to say one or the other did not bring change you gotta look around yourself. They are icons for hope.
      Im not a hardcore christian, i just took a class about it recently and am sharing some thoughts

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  2. Very insightful comparison, as I sit watching "Gandhi" and thinking how his kingdom was of the earth, whereas, Christ said, His kingdom is not of the earth, but heaven. His was a spiritual conquest over death. But, hedonism can't understand. God Incarnate is a bit deeper than a Gandhi. He was a good man, but because he did not convert to the one, true, faith, he was not crowned for any of his work.

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  3. I'm watching Gandhi now on TV and my first thought was about the similarities between Jesus and Gandhi. thank you for your insight.

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  4. A nice Comparison, I wish there was alot more to read as it is very interesting.
    I may sound daft but as a Roman Catholic I do beleive God does send us messengers and I believe Ghandi was the world's messanger within the last 100 years.
    I do not believe in the "Risen Jesus" but I do believe in the Man and his message. I don't believe in alot of what the Catholic Church preaches because I can't help but think that if Jesus was here today he would be deeply offended by his named being attached to this organisation. even if their initial intentions and practises are for positive reasons.

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  5. I found this a interesting to read Good job on the comparisons :D

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    Replies
    1. you wrote this 2 days before my birthday. -_-

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    2. you wrote this comment 2 days after my birthday. -_-

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  6. Thanks for helping me with a paper! :D

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