As we all know, Mother Teresa was a very committed Roman Catholic. Which means that some of her beliefs would contradict core Christian beliefs. For some reason, this has not alarmed many Christians who uphold her as an example of Christian morality, love, & self-sacrifice. I hope to show that words are powerful.
I would like to show that Mother Teresa was more than just a Catholic, but a universalist, believing that all religions lead to the same God.
In an interview with Christian News a nun who worked with Mother Teresa was asked the following in regards to the Hindus they worked with, “These people are waiting to die. What are you telling them to prepare them for death and eternity?” She replied, “We tell them to pray to their Bhagwan, to their gods.”
While she worked with the poor, Mother Teresa was adamant that any type of evangelism was unnecessary. In her book, Life in the Spirit: Reflections, Meditations and Prayers, she says:
“We never try to convert those who receive [aid from Missionaries of Charity] to Christianity but in our work we bear witness to the love of God’s presence and if Catholics, Protestants, Buddhists, or agnostics become for this better men — simply better — we will be satisfied. It matters to the individual what church he belongs to. If that individual thinks and believes that this is the only way to God for her or him, this is the way God comes into their life — his life. If he does not know any other way and if he has no doubt so that he does not need to search then this is his way to salvation.” (Pages 81-82)
Consider also the following quote from another source, “I love all religions. … If people become better Hindus, better Muslims, better Buddhists by our acts of love, then there is something else growing there.” Or in another place, “All is God — Buddhists, Hindus, Christians, etc., all have access to the same God.”
A Simple Path is a compilation of the teachings and meditations of Mother Teresa. Labeled as a “unique spiritual guide” we would expect this book to contain unique insights into Scripture and into the Christian life by someone who is perceived as being a Christian spiritual giant. Instead, in the foreword we read,
“The Christian way has always been to love God and ones neighbor as oneself. Yet Mother Teresa has, perhaps with the influence of the East, distilled six steps to creating peace in ourselves and others that can be taken by anyone — even someone of no religious beliefs or of a religious background other than Christian — with no insult to beliefs or practices. This is why, when reading Mother Teresa’s words and those of her community, we may, if we choose, replace the references to Jesus with references to other godheads or symbols of divinity”
“I’ve always said we should help a Hindu become a better Hindu, a Muslim become a better Muslim, a Catholic become a better Catholic” (Page 31).
Why is it important to express these concerns regarding Mother Teresa? I believe that Christians are holding her up as the ultimate example of self-sacrifice for the sake of the gospel. Never mind that her theological views concerning Christ, salvation, & the gospel represents an entirely different Christianity, non-Christianity. She provides everyone with an example not of a Christian responding to the call of God, but an example of deeds and compassion completely separated from the Truth.