“My effort should never be to undermine another’s faith but to make him a better follower of his own faith.” ~ Gandhi, Mahatma, vol. 2, p. 343
We can take this as a special case of the striking principle we’ve discussed before that Gandhi tried never to insist that anyone follow his (Gandhi’s) ideas but follow his or her own rigorously and honestly enough to come to its logical conclusion. His unshakeable faith was that “all roads lead to the Truth” if followed in this spirit, and the strong preference for persuasion over coercion in nonviolence is but an expression of that spirit. You could be doing something Gandhi knew for a certainty was wrong, like military service, but if you didn’t see its wrongness it would be hypocritical—and probably only temporary—to abandon it on anyone else’s say-so. Just imagine how much less violence there would be, particularly based on the excuse of religion, if this precept were followed. And he followed it, sometimes in ways that leave you gasping.
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Our 2016 Daily Metta continues with Gandhi on weekdays. On weekends, we share videos that complement Michael Nagler’s award-winning book, The Search for a Nonviolent Future: A Promise of Peace for Ourselves, Our Families, and Our World. To help readers engage with the book more deeply, the Metta Center offers a free PDF study guide.
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