That was the provocative question posed by Rob Bell in the video for Love Wins.
I guess the answer to that question depends on what you think should happen to racist, sexual pervert who believed in reincarnation. For that, according to a new biography of Gandhi is exactly what he was.
Gandhi the racist?
“Although Gandhi’s nonviolence made him an icon to the American civil-rights movement, Mr. Lelyveld shows how implacably racist he was toward the blacks of South Africa. “We were then marched off to a prison intended for Kaffirs,” Gandhi complained during one of his campaigns for the rights of Indians settled there. “We could understand not being classed with whites, but to be placed on the same level as the Natives seemed too much to put up with. Kaffirs are as a rule uncivilized—the convicts even more so. They are troublesome, very dirty and live like animals.”
As Rob Bell says, ‘A racist would be miserable in the world to come’ (p34)
Gandhi the pervert?
“Yet he could also be vicious to Manu, whom he on one occasion forced to walk through a thick jungle where sexual assaults had occurred in order for her to retrieve a pumice stone that he liked to use on his feet. When she returned in tears, Gandhi “cackled” with laughter at her and said: “If some ruffian had carried you off and you had met your death courageously, my heart would have danced with joy.”
Gandhi on reincarnation
“To a Hindu who asked how his co-religionists could ever return to villages from which they had been ethnically cleansed, Gandhi blithely replied: “I do not mind if each and every one of the 500 families in your area is done to death.” What mattered for him was the principle of non-violence, and anyhow, as he told an orthodox Brahmin, he believed in reincarnation.”
Now why post all of that? For a couple of reasons, firstly no person not even our great icons are perfect and therefore will face judgement – Gandhi included. Secondly, as Rob Bell insists we don’t know for sure what has happened to Gandhi so be wary of definitive statements as if we are the ones who judge. Thirdly, God’s grace can reach someone who is a racist, pervert and believes in reincarnation and save them to the uttermost. Whether it has or not, time will tell.