When you discuss your religion with a person of
another faith, what do you usually do? You try to defend it from attack by the other, while he tries to point out its faults.
And you do the same to him while discussing his religion. Usually the debate ends in acrimony and mud slinging. You are left
with the feeling that the other does not understand the delicacy of your viewpoint, forgetting that he too goes away with
the same feeling as you criticise his religion.
Gandhi would want you to adopt the exact opposite
approach. He would say, you have no business to criticise another’s religion. In fact it is your duty to look at it
from his point of view, and always have a reverential attitude towards his religion. But as regards your own, while you need
to follow it and respect it, you must be aware of its faults and correct them vigorously, at every step.
His firm faith in reason was never shaken. He could
not accept any religion as perfect for they had all come to us through humans, and humans were not perfect at all. He could
not accept that the Vedas alone were the inspired word of God, for if they were so, why not also the Bible and the Koran?
Neither could he accept that Jesus was the only incarnate son of God, or that only one who believed in him could have everlasting
life. If God could have sons, all of us were His sons.
He had a pretty strong opinion on conversion as
well. He could not find any justification for proselytization as an organised activity. He also could not find any justification
for anyone to get converted, for a convert had, according to him, really not understood the greatness of his own religion.
He felt he should seek fulfilment there rather than in change of faith.
On a subject that generates much heat, the sober
thought of Gandhi can help calm turbulent waters.