Contrasting Sikhism

The Golden Temple (Harmandir Sahib) at night..

It occurred to me recently that I am embarrassingly ignorant of Sikhism – the world’s 5th largest religion. So I’ve been doing some homework to remedy this. Although I’ve never discussed religion with them, I’ve found the few Sikhs I’ve met to be modest, friendly and helpful. Reading their underlying values, this fits with the ideal view of Sikh philosophy.

Apart from my admitted laziness, my lack of knowledge may be because Sikhs are not evangelistic. This contrasts with other religions, most of which find some form of coercion or persuasion tactics necessary to keep their numbers up. In fact Sikhism seems to contrast with its theological cousins in a variety of ways. As it was established in India between the 16th and 18th centuries, the Sikh religion may be viewed partly as a reaction to its religious neighbours. According to Ninian Smart’s book of The World’s Religions, Sikhism’s first Guru, Nanak was a bit of a smarty-pants when it came to other religions:

On Nanak’s journey to Mecca he is reported to have fallen asleep in error with his feet pointing toward Mecca, and so showing disrespect to the Muslim faith. A mullah had woken him angrily, but Nanak’s comment was devastating: “Then turn my feet in a direction where God is not.

Sikhism and other religions

Contrasting with Hinduism, Sikhs believe in a single omnipotent god. However, this differs from Christianity, as the Sikh impression of god is impersonal, seemingly pantheistic.

In contrast with some aspects of Budhism, Sikhism advocates family life, working for a living and being part of the world rather than living as a hermit.

sikh_temple_manning_drive_300Unlike Christianity, Sikhs believe to some extent in the idea of Karma – actions having consequences – both now and in later lives. Sikhism says that belief alone is not what affects a person’s destiny.

Contrasting with Judaism, Sikhs do not believe they are a chosen people of god. Anyone, they say, can reach salvation. In fact they’re quite adamant that all people, male and female, are equal, which contrasts with Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and no doubt many others.

Unlike almost every modern religion and religious sect, Sikhism doesn’t have priests, mullahs, rabbis or any equivalent. Enlightenment and salvation are available to any individual with or without an authority to guide them.

Contrasting with Islam, Christianity and most others, Sihkism does not claim to be the only path to salvation. It does however claim to be the simplest. Here’s a line from the Sri Guru Granth Sahib the like of which you won’t find in many other religions,

“Do not say that the Vedas, the Bible and the Koran are false. Those who do not contemplate them are false.”

So I guess they’re all for comparative religion classes? Sounds good, but you can’t simultaneously believe the claims of contradictory holy books to be true. Interesting, worth reading, maybe. But they can’t actually all be true. Surely that is beyond the abilities of even the most devoutly religious mental gymnast? I’m wondering how they manage to mesh Karma and reincarnation with a pantheistic deity.

A (very) brief history of Sikhism

Sikhism began around the year 1500 in the Punjab region of Pakistan and India. The beliefs evolved over the next 200 years as ten sucessive gurus guided the faithful, after which the holy book, Sri Guru Granth Sahib, was declared the enduring guru. Sikhs suffered at the hands of both the Islamic Mughal Empire and later the British Empire. However, Sikhism is still going strong, with the main populations of Sikhs located in India, Britain and Canada.

Sikhs are expected to meditate on God, be generally decent human beings and adhere to a fairly strict dress code:

The 5 items are: kēs (uncut hair), kaṅghā (small comb), kaṛā (circular iron bracelet), kirpān (ceremonial short sword), and kacchā (special undergarment). (from Wikipedia)

In modern times the five Ks as they are called have caused several disagreements. One issue has been over the difficulty in wearing a motorcycle helmet and a turban simultaneously. There was also concern that a turban could unravel at high speeds, presumably leading to some gory Isadora Duncan-type incident. One dedicated Sikh biker proved this to be wrong by racing around a track on a motorbike with his turban firmly in place.

Asking Questions

sikhguard300Much of my research has been at Sikhism101.com, which provides extensive FAQs with some interesting ideas and quotes, all phrased in a refreshingly un-authoritative tone. It may not be completely representative of modern Sikh thinking, but it makes for interesting reading. I particularly liked how they begin their answer to the question, “If Sikhism, is the true religion. How come it was created/revealed 300 years ago, and not at the beginning of time?“:

Which religion was created at the beginning of time? ….

However, the answers to the tougher questions get disappointingly woolly. Further reading shows some typical misconceptions about atheism and a rather weak answer to the problem of evil which amounts to little more than “Evil does not exist, only the absence of good. In any case, we don’t know what’s good for us, while God does.” (I paraphrase).

All in all Sikh beliefs make for interesting reading, with an impressive moral system and a dizzyingly eclectic collection of ideas. However, I’ve yet to see any great arguments for the truth of the supernatural claims. There are plenty of claims of the importance of truth,

“Realization of Truth is higher than all else.
Higher still is Truthful Living.” (Guru Nanak, Sri Rag)

What is missing is a reliable way of determining whether Sikh beliefs are true.

32 thoughts on “Contrasting Sikhism

  1. Fascinating post, Eshu. Like you, I’ve never really delved into Sikhism before, since (as you say) they tend to keep themselves to themselves. Many of its tenets seem similar to the Baha’i faith – did you uncover any relationship between the two?

  2. Thanks yunshui – it took a fair bit of research. I’m still pretty ignorant of the Baha’i and no, I didn’t see any relationship between them discussed. If it was there it would more likely be discussed in relation to Baha’i, it being the later religion. Maybe those old trade routes brought the influence… “Here’s your saffron sir… could I interest you in any of the teachings of the gurus?” ;-)

  3. Nice post. I’ve never paid much attention to the Sikhs, probably because I’ve never had a reason to do so. They haven’t bothered me, so I haven’t bothered them. Too bad they can’t shed the theology and just live out the rest of their beliefs – they seem to be pretty much of a “live and let live” group of people.

  4. I live in a part of the world heavily populated by Sikhs, and from the way they live, I would never guess that on paper they sound good at all.

    Around here, the Sikhs are always killing each other for one thing or another. Their traditions are a bit annoying in that they feel they have to wear their turbans and their outfit always. There is a tradition with some sort of knife that they always carry around, hidden, as well.

    Trying to marry a non-Sikh can get you killed. And they’re famous for beating and even killing their wives. Last year at least 3 women got killed by their Sikh husbands in the city of Surrey alone–it was all over the news. It was talked about it all year long.

    They also have strict dietary laws.

    Many of them are kind and helpful, though. I like their open-door food policy. You can always go eat at the temple for free, though the food is vegetarian. There is a temple very close to my house and two more within a 10-mile radius.

    Around here we think of the Hindu’s as more noble and easier to get along with than the Sikh.

  5. Lorena,

    Yes, it’s worth saying that the ideas and the practice are often worlds apart. I’ve always been suspicious of Hinduism due to the caste system and the way it denies individual freedom. Then again it may be more of a cultural Indian thing that something unique to Hinduism. I’ll stop there as my knowledge is drying up!

  6. Sikhism is one religion that I have no exposure to. Thanks for doing the research. I do have some exposure to Mormons who I compare to Sikhs only because they both have holy underwear. Otherwise, they seem to be two completely different religions. I just like to make fun of the idea of holy underwear.

  7. Robert,
    I agree “holy underwear” is funny, partly because of the suspicion that it means it has holes in it.

  8. Lorena – thanks for the additional info. As Eshu noted, the differences between the official party lines and the practices of the believers of any faith are often at odds. Just goes to show (again) – religion is stupid.

  9. and kacchā (special undergarment)

    I agree “holy underwear” is funny, partly because of the suspicion that it means it has holes in it.

    Let’s hope not. Especially if they get caca in their kaccha. Nothing funny about that.

    Seriously, I kind of have a soft spot for the Sikh just because some were abused and even killed after 9/11. Fuck, the morons who did it might just as well have picked on Mormons or Scientologists.

  10. What I would like to know is — why do they have to wear turbans on their heads?

  11. The turban seems to be there to contain the long hair, which they are supposed to never cut. But why they shouldn’t cut their hair, I don’t know. In some respects I wonder if it is intended as a mark of differentiation, a form of implicit evangelism or a community badge.

    Can anyone enlighten us?

  12. The way I understand it is that the turban is not really needed. It’s the long hair that’s important and the cleaning and care of it. They even have a special comb they have to use to care for the hair with. The turban I suppose, like Eshu said, is just to cover the hair and to keep it tidy. I wonder, though, do they consider the beard as part of the long hair thing? It looks like most sikh men have long uncut beards.

  13. My auto mechanics are Sikhs. They have a huge shop and a reputation for honest dealing, Wife of owner spends all day negotiating for good prices on parts. They understand they are a vulnerable minority and work hardvto overcome that. They have pics of Mr G (the owner) shaking hands with Bill Clinton, GWB, and Bill White.

    BTW, Bill White will be the next governor of Texas.

  14. Good post, dear friend.

    I am a Sikh and would kindly like to mention that God is not impersonal (not sure if you meant impersonal as in not existing in person or not personal to self):

    “As fragrance abides in the flower As reflection is within the mirror, So does your Lord abide within you, Why search for him without?” – Guru Nanak.

    In my humble opinion, hair is for a purpose. But before I go ahead, it is important to think why everyone cuts hair.
    I think that while hair maintains simplicity, it may have a spiritual purpose as well. Jesus is portrayed to have long hair, so is Buddha, Vishnu, Shiva, Krishna, Abdu’l Baha etc. (note also the knot at the top of Their heads as well) and the various yogis of India. For me, I am faithful to Guru Gobind Singh ji(the Tenth Guru) who asked us to keep hair. As for the turban, I think it was to keep hair neat and tidy. My hair are knee-length and I think the turban is a boon! Also, usually turbans are worn by kings and people of high status- Gurus elevated the normal person to the level of priests and kings. Basically, this means that Gurus wanted equality for everybody. (One reason why all Sikh males have the last name “Singh”-meaning lion/king and females “Kaur”-meaning princess. This also was to ensure equality for all women, that their last names would remain same even after marriage. Yes, that in the 16th century!). Gurus asked us to keep hair, and also asked us to take care of them (and body in general, as it serves as a house for the soul). Which is why we keep the Kangha (the chic comb!). I might as well add, our uncut hair are not untidy, we wash and comb hair regularly.

    The kachera or the loose underpants (as you know, would be the last things to come off before sexual contact with any other person than spouse) would serve as a strong reminder of being a Guru’s Sikh – and not running after lust. The kara reminds me that I’m fettered to God, that I must not do what is not good. The kirpan is not simply a knife, it reminds me that I have to be fearless and stand up for the defence of the weak and against any form of injustice and harm towards anybody (not always by using a kirpan! – I have never used it till now). It also serves as a good self-defence weapon just in case you’ve someone to rob you out there. Also, the 5ks are like the uniform of the school headed by Guru Nanak Dev ji. Social Psychologists have actually found out that bearing visible objects relating to a group actually strengthens interest and faith in that group.

    It is a well-known fact in India to have saved the country from Islam rule. They did not suffer at the hands of Islam. Gurus till the 5th Guru suffered because they chose to tolerate Muslims (who wanted to convert all Hindus to Islam) by refusing to convert without force, but did Muslims care? They mercilessly killed Sikhs, who were prepared to face death but not lose their faith. And when all measures of self-defence failed, then came Guru Hargobind, who raised the sword. Thus started the martial traditions of the Sikhs who fought against Muslims and saved the country. And I must not forget to mention, after war-time was over – Sikhs even used to give water and apply balms to ailing Muslims. Why? Because they saw God in all. Guru Nanak said Dharma is the son of compassion, that is, Dharma is born of compassion.

    The quote about Koran and Bible probably implies that they present the same subtle meanings. One Universal God. As a Sikh, I believe Allah, Ram, Yahweh, Jehovah are only different names used to refer to One God. Sikhs accept other religions, but believe that the path to God is the path of Love (also symbolized by the Golden temple which has its doors open in all four directions but there is one way to get inside – and people from all walks of life can come). Once you believe God is in all (the pantheistic view), you will automatically respect and love everyone and everything – the creation.

    “The love of the Truth is my karma and Dharma – my faith and my actions, and my self-control.
    O Nanak, one who is forgiven by the Lord is not called to account. The One Lord erases duality.” – Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, Page 353.

    Now, what is Truth?

    Guru Nanak described God as:
    “One Universal Creator God, The Name Is Truth, Creative Being Personified, No Fear, No Hatred, Image Of
    The Timeless One, Beyond Birth, Self Existent, By Guru’s Grace.”

    In my opinion, the mentioned fighting and killing is probably because of the bad aspect of the Punjabi culture, not the Sikh faith. Punjab is a province in India where the Sikh faith originated and where many Sikhs reside. It is surprising to hear of the killings – I know many Sikhs who’ve married with people of other religions. History bears evidence to the fact that Sikhs have been righteous protectors of people – it is so unfortunate that some people are a disgrace to the whole community. By wearing the turban and having a beard, one does not become a Sikh. Gurus made it very clear that outward appearance is completely unnecessary unless there is love in the heart.

    Most Sikhs (including me) are not dependable when it comes to trying to explain the faith. The only true source of understanding the Sikh faith is Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji (www.srigranth.org), which contains the message of the Gurus and speaks not just to Sikhs but to anyone of any religion. It contains only the subtle truths of life and poems of love for God in very simple (yet brilliantly rhyming and metric) form. The shortcomings of the translations are that they are gender biased, whereas God is not of a particular gender.

    Some various quotes from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji:

    “You keep the fast to please Allah, but slay life for your relish..But you do not reflect on the Lord, Who is within you” (Bhagat Kabir, Asa)

    “He reads the holy books with commentaries, He does not remember God, his way of living is not flowless. He instructs and makes other people firm, But does not practise, whatever he says. Understand the substance of the Vedas, O Pandit!” (Guru Arjan Dev, Ramkali)

    “They go to holy places for a bath, Their minds are impure and bodies are like thieves; If by bath their dirt drops down, they got on themselves twice as much dirt and ego.” (Guru Nanak, Var Suhi)

    “No matter how hard you try to grab it, it does not come into your hands. No matter how much you may love it, it does not go along with you.
    Says Nanak, when you abandon it, then it comes and falls at your feet. ||1|| Listen, O Saints: this is the pure philosophy.” – Guru Nanak

    I hope what I have shared about my faith will be useful. Good wishes to everyone!

  15. Hi anonsikh,

    Thanks for your extensive comment. A bit longer than usual, but thankfully it’s informative rather than preaching.

    Forgive me if I’ve misunderstood the Sikh concept of God. It is something rather new to me. It is also rather confusing and apparently contradictory. This quote from Sikhism101 seems to show that contradiction:

    “Truly speaking, God is both in and above the universe. God is the Whole and the world a part of that Whole.”

    I may have misunderstood the sense in which God is impersonal. I came to this conclusion partly because of the pantheistic ideas, but also because Sikhs do not appear to have a personal relationship with God (as some other religions stress), but one via the Sri Guru Granth. On the other hand, I understand that Sikhs believe all people may come to know God via a variety of routes.

    Also, usually turbans are worn by kings and people of high status- Gurus elevated the normal person to the level of priests and kings.

    That’s good, but why do they need to have long hair to wear a turban?

    Social Psychologists have actually found out that bearing visible objects relating to a group actually strengthens interest and faith in that group.

    I can well believe that. I wonder how many football matches the researchers had to attend to work that one out! :-)

    Once you believe God is in all (the pantheistic view), you will automatically respect and love everyone and everything – the creation.

    I’m not sure that unconditional love for everyone and everything is necessarily a good thing, nice though it sounds. I think it devalues love. If you ask your wife if she loves you and she replies, “Yes dear, I love you because God is in you as he is in all things, from the Pacific ocean to the dog turd I stepped in this morning.”

    The only true source of understanding the Sikh faith is Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, which contains the message of the Gurus and speaks not just to Sikhs but to anyone of any religion.

    Yes it certainly seems to have some interesting ideas in it from what I’ve read so far and I plan to read more at some stage.

    What I’m really interested in however is whether it is true. Can you offer me any evidence to show that Sikhism is true?

    I hope what I have shared about my faith will be useful. Good wishes to everyone!

    Yes, thanks for your (enormous) contribution!

  16. Sikh concept of God is that it is the light within all creation – creation includes everything that exists. Which means this light is within us as well – but we have to realise it by continual meditation on it (which is God/God’s light itself). In my opinion, this light/God is similar to/or same as the Tao explained in Tao Te Ching of Taoism (which is a must read as well). Buddhism also endorses this belief of one meditating on the inner self, so do Hindu scriptures. Only that Sikhs wish to follow this path by love, devotion and leading a non-ascetic life. Another thing I like is that is Sikh faith is based on meditation through music as well (the Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji is written in Ragas or musical moods), yes music that is the universal language. (search Sikh kirtan/music on youtube for more).

    “They sing the Glorious Praise of the Lord; they read about the Lord each day. Singing the Praise of the Lord, they merge in absorption.” – Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, 28

    “Singing the Praises of their True Lord and Master, the lotuses of their hearts have blossomed forth.” – Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji, Page 148

    But really, I strongly encourage you to read Guru Nanak Dev ji’s Japji Sahib (http://www.sikhiwiki.org/index.php/Japji_in_English) to gain an understanding of God in our faith. It is a simple, but deep reading which is metaphysical in nature.

    Coming to the turban, I read somewhere that the skull consists of movable plates, which the turban keeps in place and helps in maintaining mental balance. Not sure if this came from a reliable source, so this would need verification. I think unpleasant connotations have been attached to the turban in the western world post 9/11 attacks. It reminds me of the way Gurus looked, and I want to be like my ideals, my teachers. Turban carries with it the dignity of belonging to the Gurus. Note that the dignity is not pride in own selves, but in the teachers, the Gurus.

    In my opinion about unconditional love, I would kindly like to differ. Unconditional love does not devalue love, but is the truest form of love. I would like to remind you of a Taoist teaching:

    “When people see some things as beautiful,
    other things become ugly.
    When people see some things as good,
    other things become bad.” – Verse 2, Tao Te Ching

    If God is in all, why should some be beautiful and some ugly? Now, Sikh history is flowing with such examples – Guru Gobind Singh lost his four sons, two died in battle and two (aged 9 and 5) were bricked alive by the Muslims. And I must share his reply: “So what if I have lost four sons, many more in their thousands live.” It was not that he did not care, he sacrificed by forgetting his own interests and caring for all humanity.

    I am sorry, I did not completely understand the question asking to confirm the veracity of the faith. Do you mean predictions? Or consistency with science? Well, it was predicted in the ancient Hindu scriptures (the Vedas, in particular) that Guru Nanak would come in this age (google Guru Nanak Vedas for more). Scientific facts support the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji as well (see http://www.realsikhism.com/science.html).

    Hope my explaining helped, good wishes to you!

  17. “I’m wondering how they manage to mesh Karma and reincarnation with a pantheistic deity.”
    Well, reincarnation in Sikhism has been redefined. Everything can reincarnate into everything else. Rocks, mountians, trees, animals, etc, almost like “Recycling”.

    “I’m not sure that unconditional love for everyone and everything is necessarily a good thing, nice though it sounds. I think it devalues love. If you ask your wife if she loves you and she replies, “Yes dear, I love you because God is in you as he is in all things, from the Pacific ocean to the dog turd I stepped in this morning.””
    I think you brought up an interesting point. Though, I wouldn’t say that’s devaluing love. I mean obviously, you will love some things more than others. I think what that fellow is referring to is or what I think Sikhism refers to is, is being in “Awe” of His “creation”.
    But if you go back to Guru Nanak’s time period. I think he used the concept of God to unite people. Like you quoted in your main post, that Guru Nanak was a bit of a smarty pants when it came to religion. He was ;)

  18. i am sikh and one thing for sure i think all religons are same their is only one god but different belives,i was in a church today,and both religon almost talk about the same thing,so everyone please respect all religons cause theirs only 1 GOD.Thanks
    Wahe guru ji ka kalsa wahe guru ji ki fatehh,
    `May god bless every’

  19. gursharan,

    An alternative explanation for the similarities between religions is that they all address some common human needs: uncertainty, fear, community, etc.

    There are some common themes, but religious beliefs are almost all entirely incompatible, which to my mind, points to their not being a single god communicating with humanity, but lots of humans guessing or inventing things and attributing them to a particular god.

  20. Hi, I’m a Sikh from a non-Punjabi background and have enjoyed reading your post and related comments. As a general observation, I would note that it can sometimes be difficult to find sources of information on Sikhism that will give you a considered response to questions- mostly because many Sikhs have been brought up in their religion and it is treated as an offshoot of Punjabi culture. However, I have found as a result of my own experiences that when you do get someone who has a good feel for the Sri Guru Granth Sahib, has questioned it, and actually put into practice its recommendations for living, the well-rounded and informed perspective of that person can allow you to see what may appear to be ‘dogma’ or ‘primitive’ belief in a whole new light. I do not claim to be one of those people, but I do think that not being subject to the blurring of cultural and religious practices has helped a great deal in my own approach to exploring the faith.

    If the questions regarding Sikh bana (i.e. the turban, kachera, kara etc) are still requiring answers then I’d be happy to offer my perspective or point you towards sources that I’ve found helpful- for example the Chardi Kala Jatha video I reference in my blog post “Do I Need to Look Like a Sikh to Be One?”)

    Otherwise I’ll bow out and say that it’s great to see a genuine interest in a lesser-known religion :)

  21. Hi Prithi,

    Sorry for the huge delay in responding!

    The thing I’m most interested in is Sikhism’s justification for its claims. Christianity and, to a lesser extent Islam have huge amounts of apologetic material attempting to justify the claims made by their holy books and those who interpret them. I’ve not been especially impressed by either, but I thought Sikhism might approach things differently or do a better job of it.

    Maybe what happens is that an evangelist starts talking about their god, the bystanders respond by saying, “No, that sounds ridiculous!” then the evangelist goes off and writes a bunch of arguments attempting to address their criticisms. I’m guessing that the less evangelistic religions might not have so much apologetics because they’re not always faced with non-believers’ questions.

    Anyway, thanks for your comment.

  22. Hello, everyone.

    Sikhs believe to some extent in the idea of Karma – actions having consequences – both now and in later lives.

    I’m a Christian, and I believe in consequences. I don’t believe in Karma, though. I believe you are judged according to everything you have done in your life. In Heaven, and what happens in your life definitely depends on what you have done for others and if you have followed God’s law and His commands. Believe me, the more you do for others, the better you follow God, and the more you give in general, you will have a happier and fuller life. Even a longer life.

  23. I’m sorry, but I missed this when I wrote my other quote ( I hate to spam your site ).

    Sikhs do not believe they are a chosen people of god. Anyone, they say, can reach salvation. In fact they’re quite adamant that all people, male and female, are equal, which contrasts with Islam, Christianity, Hinduism and no doubt many others.

    Which contrasts to Christianity! Everyone ( in my Christian belief ) is equal! Everyone can be led to salvation! I’m sorry, but that does not go against the Christian belief. Now, I’m not sure about the other beliefs, but it most certainly doesn’t contrast to Christiany ( that part right there at least ). The only part that I disagree with is this part…

    Sikhs do not believe they are a chosen people of god.

    We are all chosen people of God. He has a plan for every single one of us. He knew our name before he even made the earth.

  24. Hi Jon,

    At the risk of going off the subject of Sikhism and onto your religion, I’ll address your comment.

    Everyone ( in my Christian belief ) is equal!

    Well, you can believe what you like, but the Bible is far from clear on this issue. Consider Leviticus 25:44-46 (NIV)

    44 ” ‘Your male and female slaves are to come from the nations around you; from them you may buy slaves. 45 You may also buy some of the temporary residents living among you and members of their clans born in your country, and they will become your property. 46 You can will them to your children as inherited property and can make them slaves for life, but you must not rule over your fellow Israelites ruthlessly.

    The NT may have some nice stuff about people being all one in Christ, but it also contains misogynistic verses like this: “I do not permit a woman to teach or to have authority over a man; she must be silent.” 1 Timothy 2:12.

    The US Declaration of Independence certainly says all people are created equal, but this phrase wasn’t taken from the Bible.

    In a way I’m glad that Christians are ignoring the nasty bits of the Bible or “reinterpreting” them in the light of modern ethics, but I also wish they’d look at those bits and realise how flawed the whole book is.

  25. The reason 1 Timothy 2:12 says this is explained in right afterwards (verse 13-15) based on the creation of man and Adam and Eve (in Genesis).

    “13 For Adam was formed first, then Eve. Further, Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and transgressed. 15 But she will be saved through motherhood, provided women persevere in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.”

  26. Hmm, I’m not sure that really makes women equal, rather says, “They’re bad because…”. As I said the Bible is far from clear on this issue and plenty of people have used it in less enlightened times (and probably today in some places) to justify misogyny. A full list of examples can be found at the skeptic’s annotated Bible.

    Women’s rights didn’t come from the Bible. It came from women chaining themselves to railings and throwing themselves under carriages. When sympathy was won for their cause, Christians had to re-interpret how the read the Bible. Twas ever thus…

  27. Well, I think God gave everyone their so called rights. I went to skeptic’s annotated Bible. I saw nothing wrong with what they pointed out. What she saw unfair I saw right because if you read those verses and books of the Bible, you (well, I at least) understand why that happened.

    Just because you’re a slave doesn’t mean you’re not equal. Equal isn’t about where you are on earth. God sees everyone of us as one of His children that His only begotten son died for and He loves very much; and no matter who you are, He sees your sins and let’s you repent and has mercy for you and forgiveness. That is equality, my friend.

  28. Just because you’re a slave doesn’t mean you’re not equal. Equal isn’t about where you are on earth.

    Ah, well this is where we differ…. I’m quite shocked and appalled by your comment.

    That is equality, my friend.

    No, that’s a story about equality being provided in another life. A story which has been used to justify the continued oppression of people in the only life we can be sure we genuinely have – this one. By promisingly downtrodden people “pie in the sky” in the afterlife, Christianity has been used to keep them in quietly in submission.

    OK, so the Sri Guru Granth Sahib is far from perfect by modern standards when it comes to women’s rights, but compared to earlier religions, it has some ethical insights they lack.

  29. Just goes to show (again) – religion is stupid.

    If you have no religion, there’s no purpose in life. I guess we all just magically appeared and do whatever we want until we die and then we’re just gone. A world without religion is a world with chaos. Everyone would be doing whatever whenever if they had nothing to live by. Why follow law? If we’re just going to end up in a grave with nothing, why not just have fun while we can? Religion fixes this by giving us purpose.

  30. Jon,

    How do you think we got here. How did the earth begin?

    OK, as you changed the subject yet again, I think it’s time to close this thread and continue the discussion via email.