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Did Jesus And Gandhi Teach Pacifism?

Updated on April 14, 2015

What is Pacifism?

Pacifism is the belief that war and violence, disputes, and disagreements are unjustifiable

A lot of people say both Jesus, and Gandhi taught pacifism, so I looked up the things Jesus said, and did, and I read Quotes made by Gandhi, and came to a different conclusion

Was Pacifism Taught By Jesus

I find nothing in the bible that suggests that Jesus taught it since Pacifism relates to war and violence, and strong disagreements.
And many in the world who claim to be absolute pacifists debate about whether it is a religious teaching or not, which makes their claim ineffective


War seems to be a necessary evil even in the bible
When Jesus spoke of tribulation, he said it fulfilled prophecy. Since wars, and tribulation were prophesied they have to occur. The only way I know of that would bring about such tribulation is a world war, and takeover of countries.

“For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.” (Matthew 24:21)

Another verse in the bible which is referring to war is in Luke, and it speaks of armies
Armies compassing Jerusalem is a sign of the end, and has to come about because God said it. God is bringing it about to bring us to the final showdown-To the end

“And when ye shall see Jerusalem compassed with armies, then know that the desolation thereof is nigh” (Luke 21:20)

Pacifism vs Passiveness

Pacifism is sometimes confused with being passive.

Passive means to accept or allow what happens or what others do without active response to it.

Passiveness is what Jesus taught, and not pacifism

Jesus’ Teachings

Nowhere did I find that Jesus said we should not go to war, and he was not mean speaking of pacifism when he said to “turn the other cheek” meaning to accept what happened
He was speaking of being passive, and not holding a grudge

Being passive is not a weakness it is a strength, because It takes a stronger person to remain passive, especially under stressful situations than it does, to lash out, and talk back

Aggressiveness, revenge etc, is always the signal of a weak and desperate person who is weak in personal conviction and weak in belief.


The Jesus of Christianity taught not to return evil with evil, but to return evil with good, in doing so the evil doer convicts himself, and becomes ashamed of his or her evil deeds

But Jesus himself took a whip, turned over tables, and ran the moneychangers, and their animals out. Regardless if Jesus actually hit anyone or not is irrelevant, his actions certainly was not passive because the people were doing something that he saw as very wrong, and decided to put a stop to it. This is much like the American government, who wants peace more than anything else, so they try to reason with the people who are doing extremely wicked, and cruel things to the weak, but will declare war on them if they don’t stop. Many see this as wrong, but can we really sit by and do nothing? I don't think so, and neither did Jesus, because he too a responsive stance

If our neighbor is being attacked, and there's a chance that we can save them by using force, in this case it's not wrong. The cause Jesus had to turn over tables. and run the moneychangers from the house of God was an important, and justifiable one, as saving someone is.

Jesus and the Adultress

Mary was caught in adultery, and the Pharisees were going to stone her, but first they wanted to use her to trick Jesus.

Jesus saved the adulteress woman named from being killed.
“And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst”
(John 8:3)

Jesus first ignored the Pharisees when they spoke to him, then he stopped them from stoning Mary for adultery, and he did it in a passive way by saying
“He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her” (John 8:7)

He caused people to allow their spirits to convict them

“And they which heard it, being convicted by their own conscience, went out one by one, beginning at the eldest, even unto the last: and Jesus was left alone, and the woman standing in the midst” (John 8:9)

This is being passive in daily life, and has nothing to do with war.



Ghandi did not teach pacifism as so many think that he did

Gandhi was not against violence if necessary, as Jesus wasn’t. I have posted a couple of quotes below
“Among the many misdeeds of the British rule in India, history will look upon the act of depriving a whole nation of arms, as the blackest.”

Ghandi Quotes
“During the civil disobedience of 1930-1932 a platoon of Garhwali soldiers refused to fire at unarmed peaceful satyagrahis in Peshawar and were court martialed and given life imprisonment. When Mahatma Gandhi went into negotiations with Lord Irwin in the wake of this movement, he declined to plead the case of these votaries of Ahimsa, on the grounds that they were guilty of violating their oath of loyalty to the British Empire, implying that non-violence was not that sacrosanct, as he claimed it to be”

“A soldier who disobeys an order to fire breaks the oath which he has taken and renders himself guilty of criminal disobedience. I cannot ask officials and soldiers to disobey, for when I am in power I shall in all likelihood make use of those same officials and those same soldiers. If I taught them to disobey I should be afraid that they might do the same when I am in power But if they cannot conscientiously carry out the orders which are given to them they can always hand in their resignation.“


My opinion is that pacifism is wrong in war, and in helping someone who is being hurt.

We need to come to the aid of countries, and people in trouble. We should love our neighbor
Being Passive in daily life is good.
Passiveness, and pacifism are not the same thing. Pacifism is not taught in the OT or NT bible

The Paralysis of Pacifism

I hear this song all the time on a T.V. commercial promoting peace, and have never heard it all the way through because I don't listen to country music, but the words, are great.

I have included the lyrics, and a video you can listen to below

Song Lyrics


"Til The Last Shot's Fired"

I was there in the winter of '64
When we camped in the ice at Nashville's doors
Three hundred miles our trail had lead
We barely had time to bury our dead
When the Yankees charged and the colors fell
Overton hill was a living hell
When we called retreat it was almost dark
I died with a grapeshot in my heart

Say a prayer for peace
For every fallen son
Set my spirit free
Let me lay down my gun
Sweet mother Mary I'm so tired
But I can't come home 'til the last shot's fired

In June of 1944
I waited in the blood of Omaha's shores
Twenty-one and scared to death
My heart poundin' in my chest
I almost made the first seawall
When my friends turned and saw me fall
I still smell the smoke, I can taste the mud
As I lay there dying from a loss of blood

Say a prayer for peace
For every fallen son
Set my spirit free
Let me lay down my gun
Sweet mother Mary I'm so tired
But I can't come home 'til the last shot's fired

I'm in the fields of Vietnam,
The mountains of Afghanistan
And I'm still hopin', waitin' prayin'
I did not die in vain

Say a prayer for peace
For every fallen son
Set our spirits free
Let us lay down our guns
Sweet mother Mary we're so tired
But we can't come home 'til the last shot's fired
'Til the last shot's fired

Say a prayer for peace (for peace)
For our daughters and our sons
Set our spirits free (set us free)
Let us lay down our guns

Sweet mother Mary, we're so tired
But we can't come home (No we can't come home)

'Til the last shot's fired

'Til the last shot's fired-By Trace Adkins

© 2015 Mara Alexander


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    • MonkeyShine75 profile image

      Mara Alexander 2 years ago from Los Angeles, California

      Thank you Stargrrl for stopping by and commenting.

      Yes Jesus experienced every emotion that we do. He came to tell us that the ordinary man can see God (metaphorically)

      Thanks again

    • profile image

      Stargrrl 2 years ago

      You're right--Jesus was not always passive. It is a myth that He was always so calm and poised. He hates sin as much as God. What about when He got angry at those people selling stuff at a worship area? What about when he cursed a tree for not bearing any fruit? My point is that Jesus had the ability to get angry, as God does, but He is slow to anger, as is God. Good hub.