Religious Studies 2H03 November 11 Lecture
Key concepts / principles
1. God is truth: Truth is embedded in the very nature of the universe; later Gandhi said that truth is
god for it is harder to deny the existence of truth than of god.
2. Unity of truth / relativity of truth: Truth cannot contradict itself, None of us can know all of
truth, thus truth is relative, partial, as it is mediated through us
3. The search for truth: The search for and testing of truth is an obligation of every human being.
Truth must be weighed by reason and tested in practice
− Lying is the “mother of violence”
− Relativity is the notion that we are not able to understand the truth, we can only understand
parts of it
Religious Principles Continued
4. Unity of religions:All religions are equal (all have truth, but all are or have been subject to
human misinterpretation / corruption of the original message and purpose)
5. Unity of humanity/ interconnectedness and sanctity of all life: We are all brothers sisters; all life
And work as worship and 'broad labour'
− “The beginning and almost the end of all good law is that everyone shall work for their bread
and receive good bread for their work.”
− John Ruskin “Into his last” 1840
Ideals into Practice
− Practicing various forms of self – discipline (fasting, prayer, meditation): to 'purify' the body
and the mind, to strengthen one's 'higher' self in the battle against the ego or 'lower self', to
subdue the desires of the body, to be ready to hear the “inner voice”
− self-sacrifice, risk and 'conscious suffering'
− reliance on God
− truthfulness − following the 'law' of ahimsa
− love of all (including one's enemies)
− respect all religions
− fearlessness and joyfulness
− noncooperation with evil
− solidarity with the poor
− 'live simply so that others may simply live'
− service to all: “I am endeavouring to see God through service of humanity, for I know that God
is neither in heaven nor down below, but in everyone” ; and “Religion is the service of
− avoiding worldly power
− work as worship and 'bread labour' (Ruskin)
Key concepts in Gandhi's program:
1. Ahimsa: “harmelessness”; for Gandhi includes: compassion, fearlessness, profound love for all
living beings, sacrifice, respect your diffe