Former President Jimmy Carter said he does not know whether someone like Gandhi would go to hell for not being a Christian.
Journalist Nicholas Kristof of The New York Times described Carter as a “longtime Sunday school teacher and born-again Evangelical” but of a “more liberal bent” than Christian apologist the Rev. Tim Keller.
Kristof said in the interview with Carter that a problem he finds with evangelicalism is that it would consign someone like Mahatma Gandhi — who led India’s independence movement through nonviolent campaigns — to hell, given the belief that people are saved only through a personal relationship with Jesus.
When asked whether he agrees with such a view, Carter replied:
“I do not feel qualified to make a judgment. I am inclined to give him (or others) the benefit of any doubt.”
Gandhi did not identify as a Christian but believed in the “fundamental Truth of all great religions of the world,” and described Jesus Christ as one of the “greatest teachers humanity has ever had.”
Carter said that he does not take everything in the Bible in a literal sense, but affirmed his faith in miracles, such as the resurrection of Christ.
“Having a scientific background, I do not believe in a six-day creation of the world that occurred in 4004 B.C., stars falling on the earth, that kind of thing. I accept the overall message of the Bible as true, and also accept miracles described in the New Testament, including the virgin birth and the Resurrection,” Carter said.
He explained that his belief in Christ’s resurrection from the dead does not require scientific proof, but is rooted in his Christian faith.
“My belief in the resurrection of Jesus comes from my Christian faith, and not from any need for scientific proof. I derive a great personal benefit from the totality of this belief, which comes naturally to me,” he added.
Kristof asked whether Carter would consider him a Christian, given that he “aspires to follow Jesus’ teachings,” but questions all the miracles surrounding Christ, such as His virgin birth and the physical resurrection, to which Carter replied:
“I do not judge whether someone else is a Christian. Jesus said, ‘Judge not, …’ I try to apply the teachings of Jesus in my own life, often without success.”
Carter admitted that sometimes he struggles with doubt, but explained that he eventually decides what to believe in.
SOURCE: STOYAN ZAIMOV