D&D Religion's "Ask About Sikhism" Thread Watch

Noor90
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(Original post by Phantom Lord)

If you look at that document I posted earlier, it shows that only 16.8% of Sikhs are agricultural workers which is actually significantly lower than the average of India which is 26.5%. And why don't Punjabis in the neighbouring country mass abort their girls?

Even if Sikhs were massively overrepresented in agriculture, that isn't an accuse to mass abort or kill girls. There are lots of areas of the world where agricultural work is mainly practised and they don't resort to female infanticide.
I am actually Pakistani Punjabi myself, never been to Indian Punjab, so don't know for sure what is going on. Someone else will need to chime in.



Female infanticide is actually on the increase amongst Indians (and Sikhs) in the west, and in India the more educated and rich ones are more likely to do it.
There is evidence that British born Indians do it
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/debate/ar...-foetuses.html
Punjabis who move to the west may still do it. If British-born Punjabis are doing it, it is most likely due to pressure from the Indian-born parents, not because they actually want to do it.

What I can tell you with certainty however is that the situation in (Indian) Punjab is really messed up right now. It has the biggest drug problem in all of India, something like 75% of Punjabi youth are addicted to drugs. Sikhi is not practiced at all by the rural Punjabi population, and most of the rural population is "Sikh". Go to any village in Punjab, you will be hard pressed to find a turban on the head of someone from the younger generation.

You keep saying that this is something practiced by "Sikhs". It is not. This practice is forbidden in Sikhi to the point where associating with someone who killed their daughter would take you out of the religion.

Most of Indian Punjab calls itself "Sikh", but 75% of the youth are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Are these kids really "Sikh"? Does Sikhi promote drug and alcohol abuse?

I think that a better way to word the question would be to say "why is female infanticide so prevalent amongst the rural Indian Punjab population?".
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12e90
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(Original post by Phantom Lord)
What's the reason Sikhs in India have a very high rate of female infanticide, much higher than the other main religions in India?
Not religion. It is cultural reasons. Most Sikhs are Punjabi, the culture values male children more than females. You have to pay dowry when your daughter gets married (taking dowry is forbidden in Sikhism), many poor people cannot afford to pay, so they don't want a female child. Also males will inherit the farm/land and carry on the family name. So, many of these "Sikhs" don't follow their own religion and abort their children, the practise of female infanticide is banned in Sikhism. It is a cultural problem.
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viriol
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Well, I've recently become aware of the existence of this religion and I'm a bit lazy right now (wiki page seems rather hard to read)...

Apart from historical stuff, could someone sum up the gist of sikh belief to me? What does a sikh believe in that (say) a christian can't believe in? Those sorts of things...?
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Noor90
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(Original post by viriol)
Well, I've recently become aware of the existence of this religion and I'm a bit lazy right now (wiki page seems rather hard to read)...

Apart from historical stuff, could someone sum up the gist of sikh belief to me? What does a sikh believe in that (say) a christian can't believe in? Those sorts of things...?
1) "Heaven" and "hell" are states you create for yourself on Earth, not places you go to when you die.

2) Sikhism does not claim exclusivity, i.e. you don't have to be a Sikh to be "saved".

3) "Saved" in Sikhi means to live an honest life and to see God in all, to not become attached to material objects, to overcome the 5 evils (ego, lust, greed, anger, attachment). When you do that, you are saved, and you can be of any religion.

4) Actions are more important than the religious label you give yourself. Waheguru (God) does not care where we go to pray or what we call ourselves, only our conduct and the way we treat other people is important.

5) Sikhi rejects rituals, fasts, pilgrimages etc... as these will not bring you any closer to God.

6) Waheguru is omnipresent, not detached. "Soul" in Sikhi is jyot, and every creature has the jyot (light) of Waheguru within them. The Gurus taught that if you want to find God, all you have to do is look within, you do not find God through a mediator, following a certain prophet, performing fasts or rituals or pilgrimages, God is, always was and always will be in your heart.

7) The three pillars of Sikhi are:

a) Naam Jaapo (to remember God/chant God's name/see God in all, look upon all creation equally).

b) Keerat Karro (to live an honest life, do not lie, steal, cheat, don't step on others to get to the top, if you want something you work for it honestly, God isn't going to hand you anything on a silver platter, earn by the sweat of your brow).

c) Vand Chakko (give back to the community, to serve humanity selflessly, help others and not expect anything in return, all the Gurus were from high-class families, but would spend their time serving and taking care of the low caste people, which was unheard of at the time, high-caste and low-caste were not supposed to mix, but the Gurus taught that selfless service was the best way to eradicate ego).

8) No caste system, all of humanity is equal.

9) No concept of "sin". Sikhs do not live their lives in fear of the after-life, instead we are taught that we make the bed we sleep in, there are consequences for our actions in this life, right here and now. You do the right thing because you know it is the right thing to do, not because you want some reward from the genie in the sky. That is how you create your own heaven on Earth. On the other hand, you can be evil, treat others maliciously, you don't have to worry about God striking you down, but you do have to live with the burden on your consciousness, and the consequences will be that you drive people away from you, you will have created your own hell on Earth.

10) Sikhi rejects superstitious beliefs such as miracles. The Gurus taught us to use logic and reason in everyday life, if something happens and we don't understand it, it doesn't mean that it's a miracle, it means we have a whole lot more learning to do!

Hope this helped
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viriol
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(Original post by Noor90)
1) "Heaven" and "hell" are states you create for yourself on Earth, not places you go to when you die.

2) Sikhism does not claim exclusivity, i.e. you don't have to be a Sikh to be "saved".

3) "Saved" in Sikhi means to live an honest life and to see God in all, to not become attached to material objects, to overcome the 5 evils (ego, lust, greed, anger, attachment). When you do that, you are saved, and you can be of any religion.

4) Actions are more important than the religious label you give yourself. Waheguru (God) does not care where we go to pray or what we call ourselves, only our conduct and the way we treat other people is important.

5) Sikhi rejects rituals, fasts, pilgrimages etc... as these will not bring you any closer to God.

6) Waheguru is omnipresent, not detached. "Soul" in Sikhi is jyot, and every creature has the jyot (light) of Waheguru within them. The Gurus taught that if you want to find God, all you have to do is look within, you do not find God through a mediator, following a certain prophet, performing fasts or rituals or pilgrimages, God is, always was and always will be in your heart.

7) The three pillars of Sikhi are:

a) Naam Jaapo (to remember God/chant God's name/see God in all, look upon all creation equally).

b) Keerat Karro (to live an honest life, do not lie, steal, cheat, don't step on others to get to the top, if you want something you work for it honestly, God isn't going to hand you anything on a silver platter, earn by the sweat of your brow).

c) Vand Chakko (give back to the community, to serve humanity selflessly, help others and not expect anything in return, all the Gurus were from high-class families, but would spend their time serving and taking care of the low caste people, which was unheard of at the time, high-caste and low-caste were not supposed to mix, but the Gurus taught that selfless service was the best way to eradicate ego).

8) No caste system, all of humanity is equal.

9) No concept of "sin". Sikhs do not live their lives in fear of the after-life, instead we are taught that we make the bed we sleep in, there are consequences for our actions in this life, right here and now. You do the right thing because you know it is the right thing to do, not because you want some reward from the genie in the sky. That is how you create your own heaven on Earth. On the other hand, you can be evil, treat others maliciously, you don't have to worry about God striking you down, but you do have to live with the burden on your consciousness, and the consequences will be that you drive people away from you, you will have created your own hell on Earth.

10) Sikhi rejects superstitious beliefs such as miracles. The Gurus taught us to use logic and reason in everyday life, if something happens and we don't understand it, it doesn't mean that it's a miracle, it means we have a whole lot more learning to do!

Hope this helped
It does clear a few things but I'm still a bit confused...

If there is no afterlife and if there are no miracles, what exactly does God do? And how did God make Himself known without miracles?
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Noor90
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Honestly, I wish I could give you a simple answer, but I can't. We are now leaving the clear-cut black and white and entering the grey area. There are varied answers to your questions, it depends on who you ask. I can only give you an answer based on my own understanding and interpretation of Gurbani and the teachings of the Gurus, there are other Sikhs who feel differently, and they are free to chime in whenever they want and answer from their own perspective, but the following answer is my own, I do not claim to be speaking for every Sikh in the world.




(Original post by viriol)
It does clear a few things but I'm still a bit confused...

If there is no afterlife and if there are no miracles, what exactly does God do?
I think what you are getting is that, for followers of religions with personified/personal deities, they pray to their God(s) during hardships, and they believe God will help them. They do what their God has told them to do in hope of getting some sort of reward (i.e. salvation) in the afterlife, but since Waheguru does not intervene a la miracles/wish granting, and there is no reward for anything in the afterlife, what is Waheguru good for? Why believe in God to begin with?


In the past, when I was Muslim, the only being I was concerned with pleasing was Allah. Muslims are taught to do things "for the sake of Allah". Do not use drugs/alcohol "for the sake of Allah", be kind to your fellow Muslims "for the sake of Allah", basically, the best way to do something is to do it "for the sake of Allah". And in the end, you are promised some sort of a reward (from Allah) for your submission. Everything that happens is the will of Allah, if something good happens, thank Allah, if something bad is happening, it is Allah testing you, and you should stick it out, make dua and move on.


Accounting myself responsible for my own life has helped me a lot. I do not pray for material/worldly things anymore. Instead, I ask myself every night before I go to sleep to stay true to myself, to remember that God is within me and that all I have to do is look in my heart. Sikhi liberates me from having to look outside of myself for happiness. It has bestowed upon me the realization that I am powerful enough to make all my dreams come true ON MY OWN, that I can ground the world to my vision, that I am capable of creating my own little corner of heaven on this planet while I am still alive, I do not have to wait until I die. Before, life was a prison, as a Muslim, I worked everyday for death, I was waiting to die so I could get my reward. Now, I love life, this life, the only life I will ever have as the person who is typing this up, if I want something, I must go after it NOW, my ultimate goal is to leave the world a better place than it was when I was born.


What does God do? Waheguru, to me, is like an infinite power-source that I am able to tap into whenever I wish. I can do this through meditation, I can do this through recognizing the light of God in all of creation and I can do this by living my life truthfully. Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, said "truth is high; higher still, is truthful living." When addressing Muslims, he said "Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran. Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast. In this way, you shall be a true Muslim. Let good conduct be your Kaabaa, Truth your spiritual guide, and the karma of good deeds your prayer and chant. Let your rosary be that which is pleasing to His Will. O Nanak, God shall preserve your honor."


I do not feel like I need fasts, pilgrimages, prayer mats etc... to realize God. I do not need to pray a certain number of times a day, nor do I need to go to Mosque, or prostrate myself towards the Kaabaa. All I need is to be merciful, live honestly, be modest, have good conduct, protect truth and perform good deeds to realize God.


If I ever pray now, it is to remember that I have the strength to move forward from any situation. I no longer rely on the genie in the sky to get me out of tough situations, I ACT, I hold myself accountable for things that are in my control and work hard to make the best of any situation, I would rather spend my time tackling the issues head on than begging God to do it for me.


I have a plan of my life, the long-term goals, what I want to accomplish, and I remember that any hardships are stagnant, they are not reality, it is only temporary. I remember that my Waheguru gave me a heart, a brain, and most importantly, family and friends I can lean on for support in any situation. And with those things on my side, I know I can overcome any hurdle.


"Oh dear God, please, I beg you, please help me get 90% on my next exam, please stop my boss from being such a ****, please make me get into medical school, and if you do, I will pray 'x' number of times/donate 'x' amount of money money/spend 'x' number of days fasting" etc...


Childlike faith might be cute in children, but it is downright silly in adults. Like praying to Santa Claus. I cannot bargain with God, for the simple reason that I have nothing to bargain with, everything I have already belongs to God, I have nothing to offer. Sikhi has given me a belief system that, quite simply, treats me like an adult. There is no "pie in the sky", I am accountable for my own actions, it does not guarantee me an easy life, it guarantees that life will be hard, life's middle name is "problem". HOWEVER, it gives me a pathway that will carry me through any problems in life, but walking that pathway is up to me, I must be strong enough to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward no matter what life throws my way.


I look to the Gurus for inspiration. I read about their lives and it makes me think, if they can go through all of that, be burned alive, have their loved ones killed in front of them, go days without food, have their entire world burn around them, and still, even after all that, they kept moving forward and stayed in Chardi Kala (high/optimistic spirits), then what excuse do I have?


By seeing God in all, I am able to find little gems of inspiration in the struggles and triumphs of those around me. God exists in all, and through them, there are gems of inspiration to uplift me when I need motivation. And once I am out of my own troubles, perhaps the hurdle I jumped over will be of inspiration to someone else.


The Gurus were perhaps the first teachers of "nothing is impossible, impossible splits up into 'I-M-Possible!'". Sikhi teaches self-dependence, self-reliance, faith in yourself, if things are falling apart, there must be something wrong with the concept of the project at hand, I go back and reevaluate what I am doing, figure out what was wrong and move on.


We have to learn to grow. Miracles are no good, who gets helped when prayers are answered, what do you learn? Sikhi is an education, a way of life, the moment we lose sight of that, we fall back onto the Abrahamic/Vedic ways of doing things, the very trap Guru Nanak was trying to save us from.


This is how I view God in Sikhi:


Gauree Gwaarayree, Fifth Mehl:


You are my Companion; You are my Best Friend.

You are my Beloved; I am in love with You.


You are my honor; You are my decoration.

Without You, I cannot survive, even for an instant. ||1||

You are my Intimate Beloved, You are my breath of life.

You are my Lord and Master; You are my Leader. ||1||Pause||

As You keep me, so do I survive.

Whatever You say, that is what I do.

Wherever I look, there I see You dwelling.

O my Fearless Lord, with my tongue, I chant Your Name. ||2||

You are my nine treasures, You are my storehouse.

I am imbued with Your Love; You are the Support of my mind.

You are my Glory; I am blended with You.

You are my Shelter; You are my Anchoring Support. ||3||

Deep within my mind and body, I meditate on You.

I have obtained Your secret from the Guru.

Through the True Guru, the One and only Lord was implanted within me;

servant Nanak has taken to the Support of the Lord, Har, Har, Har. ||4||18||87||



I do not fear God, I love God. God is not an imperial overlord, God is my support, I can lean on Waheguru at anytime in my life, I can tap into that infinite power-source and overcome any hurdle in front of me.

The Sikh holy text, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is not a book of rules, regulation, punishment, rewards. It is a tool-box. It is not supposed to dictate your life, it is supposed to enhance it. It has answers for a lot of the important questions in life, and acts as a lamp on your journey to unearth the remaining truths of life. I do not live my life in fear, I read Guru Granth Sahib Ji, contemplate what it Guru Ji is trying to say and make an effort to apply that knowledge to my own life, this isn't a game of carrot and stick, we are all promised two things: a birth, and a death. I rely upon Guru Granth Sahib Ji to carry me across this river of life, to make the most of my short time in this amazingly beautiful Universe.


And how did God make Himself known without miracles?
This will be unsatisfactory for anyone who believes that spiritual authority/morality need to be funneled to humans from a "greater force".


Guru Nanak depended on inquiry, observation, perception of patterns and intelligent propositions. He applied his "hypothesis" to the world of human suffering, asking questions such as how moral or political bankruptcy could be responsible for human suffering. In most shabads (hymns), Guru Nanak asks a moral/ethical question, and answers using patterns of greed, anger, lust, ego and attachment. He suggests that these patterns lie behind the suffering inflicted on ordinary people, and also behind the suffering we inflict on ourselves.


In this way, I do not feel like Sikhi was "revealed" to Guru Nanak, at least in the same way Moses claims to have gotten his revelations from God or Muhammad from the angel Gabriel.


I choose to evaluate the validity of a message by considering it's intelligibility, whether it makes sense, and whether people are free to follow it or are forced to follow it. I believe that Guru Nanak's message is intelligible and it connects with humanity. The bhagats stressed that people had to seek them out for enlightenment, Guru Nanak never made such claims. The Muslim overlords of the time mandated submission to Allah, Guru Nanak never made anyone do anything they did not want to. He reasoned with people, taught them to rely on themselves, that God is found within, he did not speak of damnation, he spoke of God as a "raft" that would take each of us across the ocean of life.


The authority of a scientific model and that of Guru Nanak are essentially the same: Does the message have internal consistency? Does it describe and explain a problem using observations and patterns from the reality before us in a way that rings true? Can we see how moral and ethical problems work? In my opinion, the answer, regarding Guru Nanak, is yes.


Many Sikhs believe Guru Nanak to have gotten direct revelations from God. I do not. To me, this is his greatest strength. Following orders from on high, taking a message from an external authority, leads to obedience; neither morality nor ethics is about obedience. Morality and ethics require a reasoning mind. Guru Nanak taught us to question everything, protect truth and use our reason/logic in everyday life. Pretty much, the same thing someone like Richard Dawkins would advocate:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSYosM2ZhzY


We need to rely upon our own judgement of what we know to be right and wrong, true and false, and work within that. I will not follow any so-called "prophet" who claims to be in communion with something divine if the message being preached is irrational and goes against everything my conscious knows to be good and bad.


Simply put, Sikhi does not ask me to believe in anything I know to be false (miracles), it treats me like an adult by telling me I am responsible for my own actions, I do something good because I know it is the right thing to do, not because I want a reward and that if I want something, I must work for it with everything I have. Sikhi has taught me to love life, not hate it.


Sorry for making it so long, again, all of this is based on my understanding and interpretation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the philosophy of the Gurus. I do not claim to speak for anyone else.
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(Original post by Noor90)
Honestly, I wish I could give you a simple answer, but I can't. We are now leaving the clear-cut black and white and entering the grey area. There are varied answers to your questions, it depends on who you ask. I can only give you an answer based on my own understanding and interpretation of Gurbani and the teachings of the Gurus, there are other Sikhs who feel differently, and they are free to chime in whenever they want and answer from their own perspective, but the following answer is my own, I do not claim to be speaking for every Sikh in the world.






I think what you are getting is that, for followers of religions with personified/personal deities, they pray to their God(s) during hardships, and they believe God will help them. They do what their God has told them to do in hope of getting some sort of reward (i.e. salvation) in the afterlife, but since Waheguru does not intervene a la miracles/wish granting, and there is no reward for anything in the afterlife, what is Waheguru good for? Why believe in God to begin with?


In the past, when I was Muslim, the only being I was concerned with pleasing was Allah. Muslims are taught to do things "for the sake of Allah". Do not use drugs/alcohol "for the sake of Allah", be kind to your fellow Muslims "for the sake of Allah", basically, the best way to do something is to do it "for the sake of Allah". And in the end, you are promised some sort of a reward (from Allah) for your submission. Everything that happens is the will of Allah, if something good happens, thank Allah, if something bad is happening, it is Allah testing you, and you should stick it out, make dua and move on.


Accounting myself responsible for my own life has helped me a lot. I do not pray for material/worldly things anymore. Instead, I ask myself every night before I go to sleep to stay true to myself, to remember that God is within me and that all I have to do is look in my heart. Sikhi liberates me from having to look outside of myself for happiness. It has bestowed upon me the realization that I am powerful enough to make all my dreams come true ON MY OWN, that I can ground the world to my vision, that I am capable of creating my own little corner of heaven on this planet while I am still alive, I do not have to wait until I die. Before, life was a prison, as a Muslim, I worked everyday for death, I was waiting to die so I could get my reward. Now, I love life, this life, the only life I will ever have as the person who is typing this up, if I want something, I must go after it NOW, my ultimate goal is to leave the world a better place than it was when I was born.


What does God do? Waheguru, to me, is like an infinite power-source that I am able to tap into whenever I wish. I can do this through meditation, I can do this through recognizing the light of God in all of creation and I can do this by living my life truthfully. Guru Nanak, the first Sikh Guru, said "truth is high; higher still, is truthful living." When addressing Muslims, he said "Let mercy be your mosque, faith your prayer-mat, and honest living your Koran. Make modesty your circumcision, and good conduct your fast. In this way, you shall be a true Muslim. Let good conduct be your Kaabaa, Truth your spiritual guide, and the karma of good deeds your prayer and chant. Let your rosary be that which is pleasing to His Will. O Nanak, God shall preserve your honor."


I do not feel like I need fasts, pilgrimages, prayer mats etc... to realize God. I do not need to pray a certain number of times a day, nor do I need to go to Mosque, or prostrate myself towards the Kaabaa. All I need is to be merciful, live honestly, be modest, have good conduct, protect truth and perform good deeds to realize God.


If I ever pray now, it is to remember that I have the strength to move forward from any situation. I no longer rely on the genie in the sky to get me out of tough situations, I ACT, I hold myself accountable for things that are in my control and work hard to make the best of any situation, I would rather spend my time tackling the issues head on than begging God to do it for me.


I have a plan of my life, the long-term goals, what I want to accomplish, and I remember that any hardships are stagnant, they are not reality, it is only temporary. I remember that my Waheguru gave me a heart, a brain, and most importantly, family and friends I can lean on for support in any situation. And with those things on my side, I know I can overcome any hurdle.


"Oh dear God, please, I beg you, please help me get 90% on my next exam, please stop my boss from being such a ****, please make me get into medical school, and if you do, I will pray 'x' number of times/donate 'x' amount of money money/spend 'x' number of days fasting" etc...


Childlike faith might be cute in children, but it is downright silly in adults. Like praying to Santa Claus. I cannot bargain with God, for the simple reason that I have nothing to bargain with, everything I have already belongs to God, I have nothing to offer. Sikhi has given me a belief system that, quite simply, treats me like an adult. There is no "pie in the sky", I am accountable for my own actions, it does not guarantee me an easy life, it guarantees that life will be hard, life's middle name is "problem". HOWEVER, it gives me a pathway that will carry me through any problems in life, but walking that pathway is up to me, I must be strong enough to put one foot in front of the other and keep moving forward no matter what life throws my way.


I look to the Gurus for inspiration. I read about their lives and it makes me think, if they can go through all of that, be burned alive, have their loved ones killed in front of them, go days without food, have their entire world burn around them, and still, even after all that, they kept moving forward and stayed in Chardi Kala (high/optimistic spirits), then what excuse do I have?


By seeing God in all, I am able to find little gems of inspiration in the struggles and triumphs of those around me. God exists in all, and through them, there are gems of inspiration to uplift me when I need motivation. And once I am out of my own troubles, perhaps the hurdle I jumped over will be of inspiration to someone else.


The Gurus were perhaps the first teachers of "nothing is impossible, impossible splits up into 'I-M-Possible!'". Sikhi teaches self-dependence, self-reliance, faith in yourself, if things are falling apart, there must be something wrong with the concept of the project at hand, I go back and reevaluate what I am doing, figure out what was wrong and move on.


We have to learn to grow. Miracles are no good, who gets helped when prayers are answered, what do you learn? Sikhi is an education, a way of life, the moment we lose sight of that, we fall back onto the Abrahamic/Vedic ways of doing things, the very trap Guru Nanak was trying to save us from.


This is how I view God in Sikhi:


Gauree Gwaarayree, Fifth Mehl:


You are my Companion; You are my Best Friend.

You are my Beloved; I am in love with You.


You are my honor; You are my decoration.

Without You, I cannot survive, even for an instant. ||1||

You are my Intimate Beloved, You are my breath of life.

You are my Lord and Master; You are my Leader. ||1||Pause||

As You keep me, so do I survive.

Whatever You say, that is what I do.

Wherever I look, there I see You dwelling.

O my Fearless Lord, with my tongue, I chant Your Name. ||2||

You are my nine treasures, You are my storehouse.

I am imbued with Your Love; You are the Support of my mind.

You are my Glory; I am blended with You.

You are my Shelter; You are my Anchoring Support. ||3||

Deep within my mind and body, I meditate on You.

I have obtained Your secret from the Guru.

Through the True Guru, the One and only Lord was implanted within me;

servant Nanak has taken to the Support of the Lord, Har, Har, Har. ||4||18||87||



I do not fear God, I love God. God is not an imperial overlord, God is my support, I can lean on Waheguru at anytime in my life, I can tap into that infinite power-source and overcome any hurdle in front of me.

The Sikh holy text, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, is not a book of rules, regulation, punishment, rewards. It is a tool-box. It is not supposed to dictate your life, it is supposed to enhance it. It has answers for a lot of the important questions in life, and acts as a lamp on your journey to unearth the remaining truths of life. I do not live my life in fear, I read Guru Granth Sahib Ji, contemplate what it Guru Ji is trying to say and make an effort to apply that knowledge to my own life, this isn't a game of carrot and stick, we are all promised two things: a birth, and a death. I rely upon Guru Granth Sahib Ji to carry me across this river of life, to make the most of my short time in this amazingly beautiful Universe.




This will be unsatisfactory for anyone who believes that spiritual authority/morality need to be funneled to humans from a "greater force".


Guru Nanak depended on inquiry, observation, perception of patterns and intelligent propositions. He applied his "hypothesis" to the world of human suffering, asking questions such as how moral or political bankruptcy could be responsible for human suffering. In most shabads (hymns), Guru Nanak asks a moral/ethical question, and answers using patterns of greed, anger, lust, ego and attachment. He suggests that these patterns lie behind the suffering inflicted on ordinary people, and also behind the suffering we inflict on ourselves.


In this way, I do not feel like Sikhi was "revealed" to Guru Nanak, at least in the same way Moses claims to have gotten his revelations from God or Muhammad from the angel Gabriel.


I choose to evaluate the validity of a message by considering it's intelligibility, whether it makes sense, and whether people are free to follow it or are forced to follow it. I believe that Guru Nanak's message is intelligible and it connects with humanity. The bhagats stressed that people had to seek them out for enlightenment, Guru Nanak never made such claims. The Muslim overlords of the time mandated submission to Allah, Guru Nanak never made anyone do anything they did not want to. He reasoned with people, taught them to rely on themselves, that God is found within, he did not speak of damnation, he spoke of God as a "raft" that would take each of us across the ocean of life.


The authority of a scientific model and that of Guru Nanak are essentially the same: Does the message have internal consistency? Does it describe and explain a problem using observations and patterns from the reality before us in a way that rings true? Can we see how moral and ethical problems work? In my opinion, the answer, regarding Guru Nanak, is yes.


Many Sikhs believe Guru Nanak to have gotten direct revelations from God. I do not. To me, this is his greatest strength. Following orders from on high, taking a message from an external authority, leads to obedience; neither morality nor ethics is about obedience. Morality and ethics require a reasoning mind. Guru Nanak taught us to question everything, protect truth and use our reason/logic in everyday life. Pretty much, the same thing someone like Richard Dawkins would advocate:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSYosM2ZhzY


We need to rely upon our own judgement of what we know to be right and wrong, true and false, and work within that. I will not follow any so-called "prophet" who claims to be in communion with something divine if the message being preached is irrational and goes against everything my conscious knows to be good and bad.


Simply put, Sikhi does not ask me to believe in anything I know to be false (miracles), it treats me like an adult by telling me I am responsible for my own actions, I do something good because I know it is the right thing to do, not because I want a reward and that if I want something, I must work for it with everything I have. Sikhi has taught me to love life, not hate it.


Sorry for making it so long, again, all of this is based on my understanding and interpretation of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and the philosophy of the Gurus. I do not claim to speak for anyone else.
Beautiful.
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Phantom Lord
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(Original post by Noor90)

You keep saying that this is something practiced by "Sikhs". It is not. This practice is forbidden in Sikhi to the point where associating with someone who killed their daughter would take you out of the religion.

Most of Indian Punjab calls itself "Sikh", but 75% of the youth are addicted to drugs and alcohol. Are these kids really "Sikh"? Does Sikhi promote drug and alcohol abuse?
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
(Original post by Noor90)
I think that a better way to word the question would be to say "why is female infanticide so prevalent amongst the rural Indian Punjab population?".
Like I said earlier, the more educated ones are more likely to do it, and it's worse in the cities. http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...icle398285.ece
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Noor90
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(Original post by Phantom Lord)
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman


Like I said earlier, the more educated ones are more likely to do it, and it's worse in the cities. http://www.thehindu.com/news/nationa...icle398285.ece
No idea then dude, can't help you.

The title of the thread is "D&D Religion's "Ask About Sikhism" Thread", if you have question about SIkh philosopy, I will answer as best as I can. I have no idea why certain people in the world who call themselves Sikhs would kill their daughters, the same reason I don't know why they drink or gamble or do drugs or lie or cheat, which are also against Sikhi.

As far as the daughter killing thing goes, Sikhs are forbidden to associate themselves with anyone who engages in such filthy behavior, it is outright foribidden in the religion, unless you think Sikhi allows you to kill your daughter, in which case present your evidence from Guru Granth Sahib Ji.
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Noor90
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(Original post by Use Err Name)
Beautiful.
Haha thanks

I do wish that more born-Sikhs felt that way though, a lot of them are quick to say "I am from a Sikh family but do not believe in it" or "it doesn't make sense to me", and the funny thing is that people like that generally don't even know the names of the 11 Gurus, and wouldn't be able to tell you what the mool mantar (first line in Guru Granth Sahib Ji) is. They go by what their parents tell them about the religion, which is almost always cultural stuff and not real Sikh teachings, and never seek to do their own research. Such a shame, Sikhi is perhaps the world's best kept secret, glad I was able to find it
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Hi

What do sikhs say about Jesus and other men that some religions deem prophets?

do they believe that god can have a son?

Also, as in hinduism do you have like a statue/sorry don't know what its called, that you pray to?

What does sikhism say about inheritance laws, especially for women?
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Noor90
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Hey, thanks for asking

(Original post by LordVoldemort1)
Hi

What do sikhs say about Jesus and other men that some religions deem prophets?
The Sikh holy text, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, does not mention Jesus. So it comes down to personal opinion. However, Sikhism is not an exclusive religion, we do not believe that God belongs only to us, or that it's "our way or the highway". We believe that truth can be realized by anyone of any religion (or lack of religion), and Sikhi teaches that actions outweigh the religious label you give yourself. As such, many Sikhs (myself included), hold Jesus in high esteem, he was a great man who lived a noble life, did not hurt other, taught the world to "love thy neighbor" and that the kingdom of God is within you. I have a lot of respect for Jesus and think he is someone worth looking up to, that we can all learn something from him.

Same with "prophets" of other religions, there is something to learn from everyone.

do they believe that god can have a son?
No, Sikhs do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. A great man who lived by example, yes, but not the literal Son. Our concept of God is different to the one found in the Abrahamic religions. In Christianity, God is in heaven, in Sikhi, God is a part of His creation.

Also, as in hinduism do you have like a statue/sorry don't know what its called, that you pray to?
Sikhi and Hinduism are two completely different religions. Sikhs are forbidden to pray to any sort of statues, pictures or idols.

What does sikhism say about inheritance laws, especially for women?
Men and women have equal rights in Sikhi. If a man can do something, so can a woman; if a woman isn't allowed to do something, neither is a man.

There is not clergy system in Sikhi, at Gurdwaras, we have Granthis (care-takers of Guru Granth Sahib Ji) and Ragis (someone who chants hymns of Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the sangat i.e. devotees). All of these positions are open to both males and females.

As for inheritance, male and female children get equal amounts.
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(Original post by Noor90)
Hey, thanks for asking



The Sikh holy text, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, does not mention Jesus. So it comes down to personal opinion. However, Sikhism is not an exclusive religion, we do not believe that God belongs only to us, or that it's "our way or the highway". We believe that truth can be realized by anyone of any religion (or lack of religion), and Sikhi teaches that actions outweigh the religious label you give yourself. As such, many Sikhs (myself included), hold Jesus in high esteem, he was a great man who lived a noble life, did not hurt other, taught the world to "love thy neighbor" and that the kingdom of God is within you. I have a lot of respect for Jesus and think he is someone worth looking up to, that we can all learn something from him.

Same with "prophets" of other religions, there is something to learn from everyone.



No, Sikhs do not believe that Jesus was the Son of God. A great man who lived by example, yes, but not the literal Son. Our concept of God is different to the one found in the Abrahamic religions. In Christianity, God is in heaven, in Sikhi, God is a part of His creation.



Sikhi and Hinduism are two completely different religions. Sikhs are forbidden to pray to any sort of statues, pictures or idols.



Men and women have equal rights in Sikhi. If a man can do something, so can a woman; if a woman isn't allowed to do something, neither is a man.

There is not clergy system in Sikhi, at Gurdwaras, we have Granthis (care-takers of Guru Granth Sahib Ji) and Ragis (someone who chants hymns of Guru Granth Sahib Ji to the sangat i.e. devotees). All of these positions are open to both males and females.

As for inheritance, male and female children get equal amounts.
My apologies if I am bombarding you with questions!

So what does sikhism say about angels and demons. Do you believe in jinns/genies?

How would one go about converting to sikhism?
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Noor90
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(Original post by LordVoldemort1)
My apologies if I am bombarding you with questions!
Don't worry about it I like discussing Sikhi, plus this thread seems pretty dead compared to the Christianity and Islam ones, so I relish the chance to answer someone's questions on Sikhi lol.

So what does sikhism say about angels and demons. Do you believe in jinns/genies?
Belief in jinns/genies/angels/demons depends on how you choose to interpret Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. Someone who reads it literally will probably believe in them, someone who does not (like me) will not. Guru Granth Sahib Ji is poetry, I do not believe it was meant to be read literally, it is full of metaphors and allusions, and that needs to be kept in mind while going through it.


As for your question, Sikhi mentions that there are things out of there beyond human understanding. Basically, that there is much more to the Universe than the physical aspect, that there are a lot of things we do not have knowledge of. But Gurbani does not spend much time discussing this, Guru Ji says that remembrance of God and love of the Naam is all that is important, nothing will be able to touch you if you have those things, so Sikhs do not worry about spirits and such nearly as much as Muslims or Christians might. Take this for example:


Pauree:


Emotional attachment to Maya, sexual desire, anger and egotism are demons.


Because of them, mortals are subject to death; above their heads hangs the heavy club of the Messenger of Death.


The self-willed manmukhs, in love with duality, are led onto the path of Death.


In the City of Death, they are tied up and beaten, and no one hears their cries.


One who is blessed by the Lord's Grace meets the Guru; as Gurmukh, he is emancipated. ||12||




As you can see, spirits like demons are not detached entities, they are a part of us. Gurbani refers to the 5 evils (anger, lust, ego, greed, attachment) as demons, and says that because of these "demons", mortals are subject to "death". Now, death in Sikhi is not physical death, when your heart stops beating and your brain stops functioning, that is not what Gurbani refers to as death. Real death is death of the conscious, when you lose all control of yourself to your internal desires, when you become so engrossed in worldly affairs that you lose sight of what is really important (kindness, compassion, honesty, love etc...). "They are tied up and beaten, and no one hears their cries", here Guru Ji is saying that people who allow themselves to be controlled by these internal 'demons", no matter how happy they may look on the outside, on the inside they will be dead, they will be crying, but no one will be able to hear their screams. And then in the last line Guru Ji talks about emancipation. Someone who is blessed by the Lord, lives an honest and virtuous lifestyle, that person will be freed from their bondage with the 5 evils/internal demons and meet the Guru.


Another example:




Bhairao, Fifth Mehl:


When the Guru was totally pleased, my fear was taken away.


I enshrine the Name of the Immaculate Lord within my mind.


He is Merciful to the meek, forever Compassionate.


All my entanglements are finished. ||1||


I have found peace, poise, and myriads of pleasures.


In the Saadh Sangat, the Company of the Holy, fear and doubt are dispelled. My tongue chants the Ambrosial Name of the Lord, Har, Har. ||1||Pause||


I have fallen in love with the Lord's Lotus Feet.


In an instant, the terrible demons are destroyed.


Twenty-four hours a day, I meditate and chant the Name of the Lord, Har, Har.


The Guru is Himself the Savior Lord, the Lord of the Universe. ||2||


He Himself cherishes His servant forever.


He watches over every breath of His humble devotee.


Tell me, what is the nature of human beings?


The Lord extends His Hand, and saves them from the Messenger of Death. ||3||


Immaculate is the Glory, and Immaculate is the way of life,


of those who remember the Supreme Lord God in their minds.


The Guru, in His Mercy, has granted this Gift.


Nanak has obtained the treasure of the Naam, the Name of the Lord. ||4||33||46||






Here, Guru Ji is talking about how enshrining the name of the Lord in the mind destroys your fears, and "entanglements are finished". Entanglement to what? To lust, greed, anger, ego and attachment. And then Guru Ji goes on to say that "in an instant, the terrible demons are destroyed". The internal demons that plague human existence, make life miserable. "The Lord extends His Hand, and saves them from the Messenger of Death.", it is to show that God is not an imperial overlord, but a friend and a cherisher, someone to turn to when you need help, by remembering God, seeing the same light in every heart, you will be freed from those internal demons and the Messenger of Death. A lot of metaphors.



How would one go about converting to sikhism?

There is no conversion ceremony in Sikhi, no set of magic words or any special phrase that makes you a Sikh. You are a Sikh when you accept the teachings of the 10 living Gurus, and accept Guru Granth Sahib Ji as your eternal Guru. Along with this, you should also want to remember God and see God's light in all, live an honest life and give back to the people around you, work to help those who are not as fortunate as you are, in other words, serve others without expecting anything in return. Scroll up and read post #824 for a run-down of the basic Sikhi beliefs.


There IS, however, a Baptism ceremony in Sikhi, ordained by the 10th Guru, Sri Guru Gobind Singh Ji. But you don't take Amrit to be a Sikh, you take Amrit to be a part of the Khalsa Panth. Amrit is not the place to start, it is something you must earn, for anyone who is interested in Sikhi, the best thing to do is read Guru Granth Sahib Ji, try to understand it, and implement it's teachings in their life. Amrit comes a long way down the road, being a Khalsa means you are someone for other Sikhs to look up to, it is a badge of honor, you must earn it.
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viriol
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(Original post by Noor90)
Honestly, I wish I could give you a simple answer, but I can't. We are now leaving the clear-cut black and white and entering the grey area. There are varied answers to your questions, it depends on who you ask. I can only give you an answer based on my own understanding and interpretation of Gurbani and the teachings of the Gurus, there are other Sikhs who feel differently, and they are free to chime in whenever they want and answer from their own perspective, but the following answer is my own, I do not claim to be speaking for every Sikh in the world.
First of all, I'd like to thank you for your reply. It's a very good insight, and (in the end) I got my questions answered.

However, I'm still left with a problem, which is that I don't think I know what Skhism is yet. I'm sorry but I don't feel I could give a clear answer to the question "what is Sikhism?". Although the experience you have shared is very clear (and very commendable, in a way) most of your posture as a sikh seem to overlap with my own posture as a catholic. I understand that you have told me you can be a sikh and still believe in another religion (which is still confusing to me, I must confess, but I can live with it) but surely you realise this makes it harder for me to have my question answered - for I'm pretty sure that, despite agreeing with most of your points, I do not identify myself with some important parts. Basically, I'd like to know some "fundamental dogmas" (even if you advocate the use of reason above all, dogmas are needed in any belief system). How to tell Sikhism from Buddhism (which also emphasises rationalism and experience and some other points you have mentioned)?



Many Sikhs believe Guru Nanak to have gotten direct revelations from God. I do not. To me, this is his greatest strength. Following orders from on high, taking a message from an external authority, leads to obedience; neither morality nor ethics is about obedience. Morality and ethics require a reasoning mind. Guru Nanak taught us to question everything, protect truth and use our reason/logic in everyday life. Pretty much, the same thing someone like Richard Dawkins would advocate:


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zSYosM2ZhzY
I may be going a bit off-topic but I just couldn't help it now. These sentence and link of yours particularly struck me. Everytime I hear that person speak I lose a little respect for him (and I initially respected him). Surely, looking at that interview from an objective point of view, you must realise he gave a fallacious answer worthy of a politician - in fact, he didn't even answer the question he was asked!
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Noor90
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(Original post by viriol)
First of all, I'd like to thank you for your reply. It's a very good insight, and (in the end) I got my questions answered.
You are very welcome

However, I'm still left with a problem, which is that I don't think I know what Skhism is yet. I'm sorry but I don't feel I could give a clear answer to the question "what is Sikhism?". Although the experience you have shared is very clear (and very commendable, in a way) most of your posture as a sikh seem to overlap with my own posture as a catholic. I understand that you have told me you can be a sikh and still believe in another religion (which is still confusing to me, I must confess, but I can live with it) but surely you realise this makes it harder for me to have my question answered - for I'm pretty sure that, despite agreeing with most of your points, I do not identify myself with some important parts. Basically, I'd like to know some "fundamental dogmas" (even if you advocate the use of reason above all, dogmas are needed in any belief system).
Ahh I think I see what is going on here. You are trying to understand Sikhi from an Abrahamic perspective. I was too, when I started. There is a huge problem with going about it like that. What has happened is that Abrahamic missionaries and scholars, in an attempt to categorize and subsequently subdue alternative religious thought, systematize other religions into simple lists. The result of this categorization, is a classification of belief systems into "Religion". Sikhi is not "a religion", because the word religion carries with it immense baggage borrowed from Abrahamic theology and academia. By answering missionary questions like "are you mono or poly", "what are your primary commandments", "what is considered sin", etc... we conform our understanding of Sikhi into a pre-shaped cubby defined by the Abrahamic understanding. This reduces our conceptual understanding of Sikhi into predefined definitions that are colonial in nature-- they are not our own.


That is why you are asking for the "fundamental dogmas" of Sikhi, I wanted to know myself, coming from an Islamic background, that is how I tackled Sikhi and tried to comprehend it; I soon found out that Sikhism does not fit into Abrahamic cubbies.


A general definition of dogma would be authoritative religious laws, deemed to be absolutely true, without any sort of proof. An example would be that all non-believers are going to hell in the after life.


Seeing as most of these laws come from sacred scriptures and texts, it is only fitting to first search the Guru Granth Sahib for any “laws”. Yet when one does read the Guru Granth, (which unfortunately is not too common an occurrence) we realize that that such a search would be in vain. While one is likely to find the praise and glorification of God, a call for Simran and Kirtan (meditation and recitation of the hymns), and even some words of a morale boosting nature, we cannot find any sort of “laws”. Why is this so?


The Gurus’ goal was not to set out how many times to pray, what to eat, or even how to eat it, but rather to create humans of such high moral character and thinking that they would be considered model citizens for any country. If there are any laws in Sikhism, they are ones of such universal nature that most, if not all of them would be found or represented in the International Declaration of Human Rights, or any other such charter.


How can Sikhism, based on divine hukum (accepting the will of God and living within it), not have any laws? What do the followers follow? Moral values, of trust, honesty, hard work, and many more are told to be means of reaching the ultimate goal of oneness with God, but there are no commands or orders. In other words Sikhism was made as a way of life. A philosophy of hard work, praise of the one and only Lord, and service to humanity. This is the beauty of Sikhism. Through Gurus’ infinite knowledge, they gave us neither laws nor orders, but rather extremely beautiful and universal poetry. Poetry which tells us how to be good human beings. Dogma, in every sense of the word, is contrary to the Sikh belief.


Sikhi does not concern itself with the afterlife. There is no promise of rivers of wine or 72 virgins waiting for you upon death. Sikhi is about living this life, here and now, and not worrying about things that are out of your control. It teaches us that we must all make the bed we sleep in, that there are consequences for our actions, not when we die, but during this life. All of us have free will, we can do whatever we want to do, the important thing to realize is that every action has a reaction, your actions don't just affect you, they affect the people around you as well. Guru Granth Sahib emphasises over and over again the need to be in control of your desires, wants and most importantly, your mind. Guru Nanak went as far as saying ""By conquering your mind, you can conquer the world." We are taught to think for ourselves, rely on our judgement, reason and logic, but to do that, we MUST be in control, you cannot walk that path if you are a victim to your mind, your wants, your desires.


One of the main goals, if not the single biggest goal, in Sikhi is to harness our minds. To make the mind a tool for us, not against us. There are 5 vices that we must constantly battle to be able to rule our minds - Kaam, krodh, lobh, moh, and ahankar. That is: lust, wrath, greed, attachment, and ego. This is the guidance from our Gurus, to not be slaves to our urges, but to use them to our advantage.


Sikhism is not the right path for someone who wants to walk through life sucking the thumb on one hand and holding onto God's finger with the other. We are allowed to do what we want. God is not here to baby us, tell us what to do in every situation, we are supposed to be self-reliant, self-dependant, to have faith in ourselves and be able to make the right choices on our own. The Guru Granth Sahib, like I have already mentioned, is not a text of rules and regulations, punishments and rewards. It is here to enhance our existence, not dictate it, it is a guide, the choice to listen and apply it's message is up to us.


Now reading the above, I realize I still haven't answered your question. "What is Sikhism"? "What is a Sikh"? Well, according to the Sikh Rehat Maryada (code of conduct), a Sikh, by definition, is someone who believes in:


i. One Immortal Being,
ii. Ten Gurus, from Guru Nanak Sahib to Guru Gobind Singh Sahib,
iii. The Guru Granth Sahib,
iv. The utterances and teachings of the ten Gurus and
v. the baptism bequeathed by the tenth Guru, and who does not owe allegiance to any other religion, is a Sikh


Which means that it is not possible for you to be a Sikh and a Catholic at the same time. I like to study other religious philosophies, I enjoy reading the teachings of Jesus and think there is something to learn from everyone, but that does not mean I owe allegiance to any religion other than Sikhi.










How to tell Sikhism from Buddhism (which also emphasises rationalism and experience and some other points you have mentioned)?
Well that depends, which Buddhism are you talking about? Tibetan, Chinese, Zen, Theravada?

From a Sikhi perspective though, there really is only one thing that distinguishes a Sikh and a Buddhist- the same thing that distinguishes a Sikh, a Muslim, Hindu, Christian, Jew and Atheist, and that is our actions. The religious label is not important, it is how you lead your life.


I may be going a bit off-topic but I just couldn't help it now. These sentence and link of yours particularly struck me. Everytime I hear that person speak I lose a little respect for him (and I initially respected him). Surely, looking at that interview from an objective point of view, you must realise he gave a fallacious answer worthy of a politician - in fact, he didn't even answer the question he was asked!
Okay I am a bit confused on this one. Did you bring this up because you just don't like Dawkins, or because you were unsatisfied with the answer he gave? I think it is the latter, so which part of the answer do you disagree with? As a Catholic, do you feel like religious authority and morality need to be bestowed on humans by a greater force?
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freedomtocreate
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What do you guys think of people who are Atheists? I mean some Christians think that we are Satan worshippers (even though we don't believe in God or Satan). I was just wondering what you guys think.
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(Original post by freedomtocreate)
What do you guys think of people who are Atheists? I mean some Christians think that we are Satan worshippers (even though we don't believe in God or Satan). I was just wondering what you guys think.
lol mate PM me I can tell you a few "Satan worshiper" stories.

As far as i am aware Sikhism is perfectly fine with you they are tolerant to an extent just don't try to oppress people in their view.
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freedomtocreate
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(Original post by DeathGuardElite)
lol mate PM me I can tell you a few "Satan worshiper" stories.

As far as i am aware Sikhism is perfectly fine with you they are tolerant to an extent just don't try to oppress people in their view.
How do I pm? I am still pretty new to this. I can be tolerant to other religions, the thing that pisses me off is when they ram it down my throat. I am genuinely curious about some religions.
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(Original post by freedomtocreate)
How do I pm? I am still pretty new to this. I can be tolerant to other religions, the thing that pisses me off is when they ram it down my throat. I am genuinely curious about some religions.
Intolerant people who know little that try to preach things do more then anger me most of the time i want to just punch them but i have to resist the urge to kill.

I did a year of research on a lot of religions so i think i spent enough time on it XD
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