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Albert Einstein and Spirituality: From the Man of Atom Bomb

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by Ambarsaria, Feb 18, 2011.

  1. Ambarsaria

    Ambarsaria Canada
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    I see lot of references in Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji on the highlighted parts on the quotes from one of the most brilliant minds of this century. Spiritually it almost seems at times he is reading from Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji.

    Please contribute with comments and complete shabad references or other scripture references. Let us not focus on literals from scriptures but the essence behind. Learning about elephants in space or exact birthing process are examples of little value from the way I read the quotes above.

    Thank you.
     
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  3. Caspian

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    It is important for me to note, in any discussion involving Einstein and Spirituality/Religion, that Einstein himself did not believe in a personal God.

    This post reminds me of a speech given by Neil Degrassi where he talks about how throughout history. The most brilliant minds have un-needlessly defaulted to religious explanation at the limit of their knowledge.

    YouTube - The God of the Gaps (by Neil deGrasse Tyson)

    Its in the first 7 minutes or so. But the whole thing is a good watch. Particularily cool is the comparison between modern america and the ancient arab world.
     
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  4. Tejwant Singh

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    Sikhi does not believe in a personal God either.
     
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  5. Ambarsaria

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    Tejwant Singh ji you are absolutely right as alwayswinkingmunda. I noted that too but wanted to do a more detailed Gurbani construct if I could.

    In the highlighted in "RED" I am pretty sure about Sri Guru Granth Sahib ji shabad references but it is going to take some time. In my mind those are in the essence of Sikhism.

    I also try to avoid jumping on young men/women boys/girls in a philosophical discourse allowing them to rethink certain things. Nothing like discovering on your own versus being told.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  6. spnadmin

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    Thanks that two forum members have convergence on this. A belief in a personal god is not a requirement for being a theist. Lack of belief in a personal god does not make you an atheist either.
     
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  7. Caspian

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    While I agree that for the most part "sikhi" does not believe in a personal god. I cant say the same for "sikhs." It seems as if many sikhs behave in a way that would make their god a personal god.

    If you ever find yourself praying to this god for something—your god is a personal god.

    If you put food before the guru granth sahib—your god is a personal god.

    Treating the guru granth sahib as if it was an actual living guru that needs even a bed to lay on—seems like a personal god to me.

    So yeah, I'll agree that "sikhi" rejects a personal god. But many "sikhs" act in a manner that supports a personal god. Albert Einstein would find those actions inconsistent with his idea of god. Albert Einsteins god needs neither prayer, food or a bed to lay on.
     
  8. Ambarsaria

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    Caspian ji generalizations have pitfalls just as nit picking or flagging exceptions.

    Einstein or any learned man will talk about the books they love and the authors they respect. Sometimes to the extent that they will go to great limits to preserve out of love and respect.

    The ceremonies you mention perhaps played a great role in times of one room Gurdwaras with "kachian kandhan" (walls of uncured clay bricks) prone to leaking in the rainy season. Whether same is needed for all situations and even further enhancements to safe keeping or knowing clearly where things can be found is a separate issue.

    I do see ritualistic practices and beliefs displayed by some, but that is not a genralizable concept or applicable in general. As the saying is "you don't throw the baby with the bath water", the generalization appears to me to be that.

    No offense just raising an alternate view.

    Thanks for your post.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
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  9. Tejwant Singh

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    Caspian ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    It is surprising to see how you are wrong on many things in your post. This is not the same Caspian I have known for sometime.:)

    Let's start, shall we?

    What do you mean by the "for the most part"? And rest is all judgmental which is strange coming from someone who calls himself an Atheist and is totally wrong in his judgment.

    It is sad to notice that you do not understand the meaning of prayer according to Sikhi. It is nothing but introspection. There is no deity (a personal god) that a Sikh prays to.

    FYI, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, our only Guru is not any God. I thought you knew that. And secondly, there is no need to bring food near the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. At Harmandir Sahib where 70,000 meals are served, no such thing is done.

    Before I respond to the above, I would like to know what is your own concept and what do you understand by an actual living guru ?

    I do not know if you are aware of or not, that in most of the houses in Punjab, the cots were and still in some places are used for everything, from sitting to sleeping. There were no sofas then. Sitting rooms had cots. So, laying Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on a bed is more a tradition. In many Gurdwaras in the west, no bed is used but Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is placed in a small palki.

    I am glad you have corrected yourself from your first post which said "for the most part". Having said that,Yes, I agree that many dogmas have crept into Sikhi which were not meant to be and I am sure with more understanding of Gurbani, they will be eradicated. After all Sikhi is a learning process, not a consequence. It is a journey, not a destination. If that were not true then the name Sikh would be meaningless.

    Let's not be pretentious enough to talk on behalf of Einstein.:) Who knows how he would have thought had he read the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji?!!

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  10. Caspian

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    What I mean is that as far as I know, the sikhi god is not a personal god. But their are certain customs and traditions that sikhs participate in, which may or may not be explicitly written in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, that in my mind are better suited for a personal god. I gave a few examples up their but another example would be praying for the good of humanity (nothing wrong with it btw) but it just seems like something better suited for a personal god.

    I am quite aware of the distinction that SIKHI makes. However, I was not referring to sikhi. I was referring to SIKHS many of whom have a simplistic understanding of their own faith. For example, the majority of my family and my friends who identify as sikhs will routinely admit to praying for something. So I was simply saying, if you are a sikh who finds himself praying for something—you believe in a personal god.

    Again, I realize that bringing food before the Guru Granth is not part of SIKHI nonetheless, many sikhs do it. This custom is also better suited for a personal god. I'm not arguing about whether or not the sikh god is a personal one or not. I believe it isnt. But many sikhs behave as if it is a personal god. Many customs are better suited for personal gods.

    My point of view. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a book. Its not a "Guru" so to say. Much in the same way that a chemistry text book is not actually the chemistry teacher. The student-teacher analogy is an oft used one in sikhism. If we are to assume that we (as sikhs) are students, and the gurus were teachers, the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji becomes a teacher because of its identity as a guru. I find that identity somewhat troublesome as you cannot ask the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji for clarification, for its exact interpretation, for anything really—you have to rely on someone else or your own best judgement. So its a book that contains teachings but its not a teacher (therefore, I wouldn't consider it a Guru in the same way I would consider Guru Nanak dev ji a Guru).

    However! As this post is about Albert Einstein and how much of what he says aligns well with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I would go further and say that much of what has become secular hallmarks in western society (gender and racial equality, freedom of religion, etc) all independently arose without the influence of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. So much of what the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji teaches seems to be innately human and not divine in any way. In my opinion, you dont need a Guru or a God (personal or otherwise) to arrive upon the same concepts and conclusions that our Gurus arrived upon.

    I think that is an important point and ultimately I think that almost every major "Sikh" concept has a secular/humanist counterpart or a socialist/communist counterpart. That is why its so easy to look at quotes from people like Albert Einstein and align them with the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I am almost for certain that you can do the same with the likes of Abraham Lincoin, Thomas Jefferson, Carl Sagan etc. all of whom were atheists/humanists.

    Not to mention. Albert Einstein himself was a humanist, he served on the advisory board of the first humanist society of new york.

    If cots were also used as bookshelves. I wouldn't mind. But I think most sikhs personify the Guru Granth Sahib in the same way that many Roman Catholics personify the wine and cracker as the bloody and body of christ.
    Ah its safe to assume that though based on other stuff he said.

    “It seems to me that the idea of a personal God is an anthropological concept which I cannot take seriously. I feel also not able to imagine some will or goal outside the human sphere. My views are near those of Spinoza: admiration for the beauty of and belief in the logical simplicity of the order which we can grasp humbly and only imperfectly. I believe that we have to content ourselves with our imperfect knowledge and understanding and treat values and moral obligations as a purely human problem—the most important of all human problems.” - Albert Einstein
     
  11. Caspian

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    Going along with the the original post and the intent of Ambarsaria to link the teachings of SGGS with the quotes of Albert Einstein. I believe that, in its purest form, (what i consider a "pure form" of sikhism is a discussion in and of itself) Sikhism has more in common with Humanism then it does with any other religion. I'm not sure if any sikhs would agree with me on that, Although, If I was a Sikh, I would welcome the comparison.

    I see religion in general as naturally evolving to a point of atheism/humanism. In our very early history, going from the mysticism/polytheistic religions. To more grounded monotheistic religions. And sikhism seems like a natural evolving point before humanism :). But :p this is all just conjecture and me talking for the sake of talking :p.
     
  12. Tejwant Singh

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    Caspian ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    I wrote the response and then all of a sudden it disappeared when I was editing it. Let me give it another shot.

    Thanks for your post.

    As I mentioned in my previous post that you as an Atheist is looking from the outside and judging others without knowing their true intent. If you belonged to some religion and compared Sikhi customs with yours, then it would be understandable on the comparative basis. If you become a Sikh and find some faults in it and you feel the need for them to be corrected, then you have every right to do that.

    It is funny to notice how Atheists like to criticize other religions without giving it a second thought. And btw, an Atheist is who does not believe in the Abrahamical or any kind of deity God which again has nothing to do with Sikhi.

    I have many Atheist friends who are non- Indians and appreciate the message of Gurbani.

    Let me ask you something. If you are talking among your Atheist friends and wished the Egyptians well for what they have accomplished, would that mean you are praying to your personal Atheist God?

    John Lennon was an Atheist. Does his song “Imagine” reflect any prayer to his personal God for the good of humanity?

    Do the UN peace forces when deployed for peace have some personal God behind them?

    What I am trying to say is that your reasoning to prove something negative in Sikhi when the facts show to the contrary makes no sense. Why is it difficult for you to see the message of Gurbani which is same as your wishing well to the Egyptians, "Imagine" by John Lennon and the UN Forces?

    Well, once again you are judging them. Perhaps, they have not understood the true message of Gurbani yet. Once they do, they will stop performing meaningless rituals which they would realise are against the Gurmat values. As, you, yourself have said that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Sikhi reject personal God. Let them be Sikhs, students, learners, seekers. They will come around.
    Have faith in them.:)

    My response will be the same as above.:)



    I beg to differ with you. Guru means an enlightener, a teacher. Most of the educational books or of many other kinds that we study/read become our enlighteners, our teachers because we learn something from them.This is the fact and there no denying it. No human intervention is needed in this kind of learning. If one is a student, he/she can learn from different sources and ask for the opinions of different students and then make up his/her own mind. The same thing is true for the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    It seems to me that you are trying to find points of contentions that do not exist.

    Thanks for proving my point above that Sikhi is nothing to do with personal God but is based on universal values. The case in point is The Bill of Rights which echoes Gurmat values. Similarites in western values and Gurmat values in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji are the proofs that how Sikhi values embrace all, irrespective of anyone’s faith or absence of it.

    This is a very positive thing rather than a negative as your contention is.

    Thanks once again for re-emphasising my point that I mentioned above.

    Which shows that Einstein had Sikhi values, quite unknowingly to him.

    If cots were also used as bookshelves. I wouldn't mind. But I think most sikhs personify the Guru Granth Sahib in the same way that many Roman Catholics personify the wine and cracker as the bloody and body of christ.


    Cots were also used as bookshelves at that time. Now things are changing, thanks to many outlets of knowledge about Sikhi. Your latter statement is mixing apples and oranges. Your comparison between Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Roman Catholic rituals about Jesus Christ who is considered the Christian God make no sense. As mentioned before Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is not God as you seem to judge it as an Atheist.
    Is Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji a book- Guru- or God? Please make up your mind.:)
    Thanks for quoting Einstein to prove my point again. Einstein is talking about personal God, not Ik Ong Kaar of Sikhi. If you have studied Spinoza and also Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, you should have found many similarities in both.
    Is that a negative thing?:)
    You do not realise the fact that Sikhi is pragmatic, not dogmatic as other religions which have deities as God from which the concept of being an Atheist came into existence. This is a very important distinction that you should keep in mind.

    What if Einstein had studied Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji!!

    Regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  13. Caspian

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    I Know I'm guilty of this more often then not. And I'm not sure if you do it too. But I thought I'd just mention. It seems like you gave a point by point critique of my rebuttle as you read it. I did the same with yours, only to find out we may be having a rather large miscommunication towards the end. So I'll promise to read your reply in full before I go on with my rebuttle next time. Im hoping you would do the same with me :p because what I said at the end may change your mind about what I've said prior. Or atleast change the direction of your rebuttle so as to avoid a miscommunication. Take care



    No problem, it happens to me sometimes too :p and thank you for your post as well. I quite enjoy our discussions.



    I'm not sure if you're aware of this or not. But I was born a sikh, I'm not just looking from the outside in. I spent a longer portion of my life looking from the inside out. So I dont think im judging anyone unfairly.

    As a sikh, I felt that there were flaws, and the way I corrected them was ridding myself of custom, ritual and tradition. Along with those three, the need for a god (personal or otherwise) was forgone and what I was left with was essentially Humanism (Hence, why I suggest sikhism is very similar to humanism).



    I have put much thought into my criticisms :p. More then just a second thought :p. And I do "appreciate" the message of Gurbani (again for the most part) in that I feel It has many good things to say. But I question its status as "sacred" when many of the same concepts and conclusions of Gurbani were reached by secular humanists and atheists as well. So my appreciation of Gurbani stops well before devotion or religious practice.



    Nope

    Nope

    Maybe? It depends on if an individual soldier thinks he or she has a personal God behind them.



    Its not the same because Sikhs (or people of other religions) are invoking god in their "wishes." I draw a distinction between the person who says:

    "I hope the Egyptian people overcome their troubles" (Person A)

    and

    "I hope to god that the Egyptian people overcome their troubles" (Person B)

    On a purely practical basis, their is no difference between Person A and Person B in that neither of their wishes or hopes will have a positive/negative effect on the outcome. But the act of invoking God by person B seems to suggest he thinks God will listen to his hopes and perhaps aid Egypt. That's a personal God. (Unless he said "God" as a figure of speech). And again, if you say Sikhi has no place for a personal God—then why pray for the betterment (or detriment [lol but who does that]) of people to this god. Like you said, prayer in Sikhi should be about reflection. Praying for the good of people, while a nice thing to do superficially, holds no weight and turns the sikh god into a personal one.

    Again, praying for the good of people might help the individual praying in some manner. It might make them feel better about the world. It can have an effect on them. But these effects are unattended (even selfish maybe) because the actual prayer wont have an effect outside of the person praying. If you believe that prayer, in this fashion, can have an effect on others—Then you believe in a personal god.



    No doubt we can learn from books and become enlightened by books. Thats not what I am against. What I am against is the "Special Status" of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I can fully agree with you if you are willing to extend this special status to any Book someone is capable of picking up and reading. I have said before that I find sikh principles to be very similar to humanist principles so in my mind there would be little difference between the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and a book on Humanist philosophy in that they are either

    a) Both just books or
    b) Both "Guru's"


    What I cant accept is that one can be a book while the other is a Guru (and i refer to Guru here both as just a special status or as the more literal living embodiment that some sikh people believe).

    I would extend this argument to all religious texts. I find nothing Holy about the bible, the quran, or the torah unless you can similarily declare Catch-22 and Infinite Jest as "holy."

    But for me, referring to every book as holy or as a Guru is tiring. So instead, there just books to me. And we judge their individual merit as books (some books are better, some books really suck).

    But the fact is that even a Punjabi/English translation of the Guru Granth does not receive the "Special Status" that a Punjabi Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji does. And this reinforces the difference between "Book" and "Guru." Edging the sikh religion more towards a "personal" god.



    Ill agree with you but I have one point of contention. I would say that the Bill of Rights and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji both echo HUMAN values. The way You and Ambarsaria are trying to link the secular with the religious is unfound. I would say the bill of rights and einsteins quotes are not capable of echoing Gurmat values because Gurmat values were not the influence for either. So similarities between secular western values and religious sikh values to me is proof that you dont neccessarily need a God to further a universal message or a universal cause. And that there is nothing inherently divine about the message of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.



    No. I would say both Einstein and Guru Nanak had human values. You cannot attribute sikh values to people posthumously as you see fit. I guess this goes back to my beef with the neccessity for us to identify as "sikhs" and for "sikhs" to then identify qualities that are otherwise secular as "sikh qualities." Theres no such thing as sikh values or einstinian values—only human values :)



    I dont think my comparison to roman catholic principles is unwarranted however. Many sikhs believe the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji to be the living embodiment of the 11th guru. So in that case, yeah, its very similar.



    Anyways, It just a book from my point of view :p. Not a guru or a god. But I use those terms only when I talk about what it is. Never have I suggested that it IS a Guru or it IS a god (perhaps if I said "divine" instead of "god" you would have better grasped my intention). So again, I think its just book, its not a Guru and its not Holy/Divine imo.

    But would you say its acceptable for me to Have an Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji (in the original punjabi form) and put it on a bookshelf? How many sikh people here would have no quarrel with that?

    Im actually quite sad right now. :)P I dont really mean that, but I am kinda confused). I feel like I have gone through great lengths over and over again, saying that I feel Sikhism and Humanist principles are very similar. And you keep thinking that im arguing otherwise and just idiotically proving your point?

    I know that they share many fundamental similarities. I'm glad were both on the same page with regards to that. BUT what I'm trying to extend from that is the idea that sikh principles and the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji itself are not Divine. If they share many of the same principles that independantly arose within the secular humanist movement—how can they be divine? Thats what I'm trying to say. I await your reply with regards to that. Because you must clearly feel as if the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji message is deeply profound and had it not been for our gurus, this wonderful book with this wonderful message would be lost on humanity and perhaps we may be even worse if we did not have it. But i'm saying, woah, hold on, these same messages arose independantly amongst secular humanists? There is nothing unique (let alone divinely inspired) about the message of the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    So when you say "is that a negative thing?" I would say no. The similarities between the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Secular Humanist principles is not a negative thing. But because of that, I think the special status the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji enjoys as being divine or holy is unwarranted. Do you think that is a negative thing—the notion that the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji may not be divinely inspired but rather a product of human values.

    SIDENOTE

    Because I answered your qestions chronologically, I was not aware that later on you would suggest that I did not realize how similar the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and secular humanist principles are. So I went over and Bolded everything in my responses that was pointing to that similarity and the consequences of that similarity. Keep in mind, I find the similarity less important then the consequences :p. No offence, but when you point out the similarity between sikhism and secular humanism and ask me if thats a negative thing—I really feel like you ignored everything I said, especially with regards to my previous post where I basically said :

    So for you to go on and insist I'm just proving YOUR point seems odd to me (you have done this to me many times in our previous conversations as well). I'm not proving your point when I suggest a similarity—I'm using that similarity to suggest a human, instead of divine, inspiration for these values that you identify as "sikh" values. And unless that was ur point to begin with, I wasn't trying to prove it.

    Sikhism is not the original or only source of all that is "human"; consequently, these values cannot be divinely attributed. And the fact that one can find similarities between the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji and Einstein is one proof of that position (imo). and that is essentially my point in a nutshell. So I'm hoping I clarified my position. Sorry If I sounded a bit direct in this last bit :p

    Regards

    Gurinder Singh
     
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  14. Tejwant Singh

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    Caspian ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Thanks for the response. I do have a habit of reading each post several times before I prepare my response otherwise it defeats my purpose of true interaction from where one can learn from others.

    I am aware that you are born in a Sikh family and chose to become an Atheist. There have been many people like that who have come here and talked about their change. It is natural and also understandable that one becomes more critical of one's original way of life when one adapts to another one. In fact I have written several times in my posts that a Sikh can be also an Atheist and I gave my reasons about it. You can search those posts here if you like.

    I think most of our disagreements are on semantics because the message from all different sides which adhere to humanist values is the same no matter which geographical parts or during what time they come but we know they have come independently and on their own which is the beauty of being a human and having human values which is equality for all. As I did mention in my earlier post that Sikhi is not a religion and should not be considered as such. It is a secular humanist get together. I will write in details about it later.

    Before I respond to your post, which I have read fully, I have a couple of questions for you.

    1. Please describe Ik Ong Kaar from the Sikhi view point. I am sure as having been born into a Sikh family you would be able to do that quite easily.

    2. Please describe God from an Atheist viewpoint?

    3. Please give in details the difference between the first two as there are many.

    4. Is there any difference between Ik Ong Kaar and God in other religions? If the answer is yes or not then please give your reasons in details.

    After you have done that, which will help me understand your concept of God, then I will be able to understand more where you are coming from.

    Thanks and regards

    Tejwant Singh
     
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  15. Ambarsaria

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    caspian ji let me describe the initial intent of starting this thread.

    While studying through the wonderful thread about positive/negative aspects about science in time I started doing research. In that I recollected the thought that I remember reading somewhere that Einstein was a humble man in terms of spirituality. I Googled and I found the article. I read it and I found the quotes worth sharing. While cutting pasting and reviewing in the first person (my view of Sikhism) I noted lot of my understanding of Sikhism having common elements to Einstein's quote. I had not other purposes and I highlighted those that it may create greater dialog and interest.

    No agenda on my part to declare Einstein having Sikh values but I use these as a sanity check of logic if great minds in the world (excluding mine) sometimes agree or think like sometimes one does.

    Just to clarify as you kind of bundled me with Dear Tejwant Singh ji (which would be a privelege for mewinkingmunda) but I rather keep my free mind as the greatest gift that your parents can ever give you.

    Sat Sri Akal.
     
  16. Caspian

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    Ill respond, but Ill need some time to mull over the questions. :p
     
  17. findingmyway

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    Caspian,
    I get the sense of de ja vu as I am sure we have had this conversation previously. I am going to add in some points here though.

    1) You judge Sikhi on the action of some Sikhs who have not fully comprehended the depth of Gurbani. That seems very judgmental to me! If I were to judge all atheists by your words, especially after you declared on another thread you felt it was your personal mission to stop all religion but luckily I'm not judgmental and I know that not all atheists are so intolerant of or threatened by spirituality. Don't blanket judge a philosphy on the actions of a small section of the people. Your exposure will be limited (as will mine). I'm not going to judge all communists on the actions of Stalin. If you want to know about Sikhi then go to the source-Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

    2) In all of your posts and arguments, you always insist on using the example of a personal God. You refuse to study mool mantar where Sikhi concept of God is detailed as Tejwant Ji is constantly telling you so really this line of argument is laughable. It's also immature to not move forward from it despite it being refuted time and again. If your parents believe in a personal God and rituals that is fine but that is not what Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji teaches. Please can you stop using the argument of a personal God in ALL your arguments and find something more sophisticated to say.

    3) We have already had a discussion about praying. Prayer for many Sikhs is not asking for things but a way of focussing the mind and establishing what we want for ourselves. I know there is no-one out there listening to my prayers so when I pray it is to discover who I am and what I want inside. You will do the same thing but in a different manner. Praying is for ourselves, not for God.

    4) I am sure we have discussed rituals in great detail too. If not I know there are many threads dealing with them. Some are symbolic, others functional (eg protection of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji so pages dont erode) and others just plain wrong! Again Sikhi should be based on the teachings, not the misunderstandings.

    5) You were unhappy with what you saw around you and much didn't make sense and I was the same-we have that much in common. Your way of dealing was to become atheist and I respect that choice. My way of dealing was to go back and study Sikhi further and changing the way I do things more inline with Gurbani. I think that is just as valid a path to choose and should not be looked down upon.

    6) You seem to accept Guru Nanak Dev ji was a Guru yet deny Guru Granth Sahib ji. It is not the book that is the Guru but the words, the shabad. Guru Nanak Dev ji was the 1st physical manifestation to bring us this shabadguru and Guru Granth Sahib ji is the last. The physical body is not the important thing, the knowledge, the message is. The Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji gives the shabadguru a physical form otherwise learning cannot take place (sp physical form is only important as a vehicle for the message so it won't get destryed or distorted over time) and it is then treated with respect. Don't confuse this respect for assuming it is the equivalent to God and don't confuse respect for worship. They are not the same thing. There is no knowledge in wine and crackers and they do not come from Jesus himself as a key to liberation so the comparison is ridiculous. If some people do behave that way, again I say does that make all communists as violent as Stalin?

    Most importantly, humanism has one major flaw. There is no spirituality there. Sikhi is humanism plus spirituality. People who seek religion do so as they feel something is missing in life, ie spirituality. Although humanism is a good thing, it is not enough for everybody. Einstein obviously felt there was some higher power too so I think he believed in more than humanism (but I can never know for sure just as you cannot know for sure the other way either even though his quotes do imply such a belief). Also, Sikhi never said it is the only path worth travelling. It is not judgemental and believes in freedom of choice. It also believes there is a higher power that created us and everything else.
     
  18. Caspian

    Caspian
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    I Really dont think it'd be fair of me to address any of your points before I address Tejwants questions. But I might get around to them after I'm done answering his questions :p Again tho, I appreciate our conversations.

    Having said that. I have a problem with ur last point regarding Humanism. As a humanist, I dont neglect "Spirituality." I think your limiting Spirituality to the realm of the religious. But one can get spiritual benefits in a secular manner as well. And I think Science can be used to examine and study the neurological roots of spirituality. So humanism does not reject spirituality. However, Humanism recognizes all forms of spirituality some of which you would disagree with because of your religious convictions. For example, I think it totally possible to have profoundly spiritual experiences on the influence of drugs. I think one can have profoundly spiritual experiences through epileptic seizures. Spirituality for me has no direct connection to religion.

    Alittle bit about Sam Harris (a humanist) and Spirituality:

    <sup id="cite_ref-newsweek.com_8-2" class="reference"></sup>
     
  19. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    No,problem. Please take your time.
     
  20. Caspian

    Caspian
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    I must confess. While pondering these questions I had to, not only confirm my conceptions with research of others, but think back to my childhood and try to figure out where my parents and grand-parents fell askew with their conceptions. It was a good experience looking into these issues, but nothing has really changed my mind as I wasn't all that wrong (in my opinion) but feel free to point something out as being inconsistent with sikhi if you see it as such. :p

    1. Please describe Ik Ong Kaar from the Sikhi view point. I am sure as having been born into a Sikh family you would be able to do that quite easily.

    My being in a Sikh family didn't help me in figuring out exactly what the Sikh god is. I have to admit that my disbelief in God is one that is so general that I felt confident it would rule out the Sikh god in some way. And essentially my conception of the Sikh god was fairly simplistic. It is as follows

    The Sikh god is immaterial, there is only one, impersonal, the creator and compassionate. Furthermore, there is no concept of free-will in sikhi so everything that happens is ordained beforehand by god ie predetermined. (this is something I've based on an earlier thread I posted on this site concerning the free will paradox and sikhi).

    The first four qualities do infact align very well with the idea of Spinoza's god. It is the second last (and to a lesser extent, the last one as well) attribute that I disagree with the most (from my atheistic perspective). The second last attribute, the attribute of compassion, does not sit well with spinoza's conception of god. Spinoza's god was indifferent, neither malevolent, compassionate or apathetic. Simply indifferent.

    I cannot agree with god being the "creator" of the universe but I am willing to concede that point to you guys as a kind of nomological dangler so to say. It is conceiveble that a god like figure could exist, and create the world, but if he is to be impersonal he cannot be compassionate at the same time.

    So I guess my concept of the sikh god depends on if I want to give him the attribute of compassion. What does the Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji say? Im pretty sure sikhs believe in a compassionate god. If this is the case, then I cant believe in that kind of a god. If not, then it is essentially Spinoza's god

    2. Please describe God from an Atheist viewpoint?

    Any god in general. Whether it is Theist (like Christianity), Pantheist or Deist. I take a pretty hardline approach to what I consider to be a "God." I completely reject the notion of theist gods like Allah because they have to entirely destroy the systems of logic inorder to exist. And I disagree with more liberal notions of god (such as spinoza's god) due to the inherent pointlessness of these god. Although I would be the first to admit that you can set up a logical argument in favour of spinoza's god. But in such a universe where spinoza's god was the true god, it would make no difference whether u were an atheist or a sikh. That is something I can welcome as well.

    3. Please give in details the difference between the first two as there are many.

    Ah... not really for me. My concept of god is general enough to include the sikh concept of god. I concede there are different kinds of gods and the sikh god is not like allah. But i still cant believe in it and but one of those reasons is listed above

    4. Is there any difference between Ik Ong Kaar and God in other religions? If the answer is yes or not then please give your reasons in details.

    Omg yes. But i dont think I have to list those out here? I think we all agree the sikh god is more similar to spinoza then to allah but not similar enough to warrent comparison to einsteins conception of god :p

    (im rushing to go to a midterm. i might expand on this tonite. but feel free to reply)
     
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  21. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh United States
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    Caspian ji,

    Guru fateh.

    Thanks for the response.

    I will wait for your elaboration. I have a couple of points to add. It seems that your way of expressing what god is and not is directed more towards your end- which is belief in no god- rather than the means.You are working it backwards to prove your atheism in an adamant way.

    A couple of more questions for you to ponder on and please do not worry, no one is trying to convince you not to be an Atheist or convert you but I would like you to be nitid about your belief on whatever it may be. What I have felt in your posts is a bit of bitterness towards Sikhi for some reason without really giving it a much thought what Sikhi is all about outside your own home and bundling it with other religions. One wonders why! You want to be accepted as an Atheist but it seems that it is difficult for you to accept others the way they are. Isn't acceptance part of AtheISM?

    In Sikhi it is the foundation of its way of life.

    1. Is Ik Ong Kaar a he, she or it?

    2. Is Ik Ong Kaar a deity like other gods that you have bundled Ik Ong kaar with in your previous posts?

    Thanks & regards & more hearing from you.

    Tejwant Singh

    PS: Good luck in your midterms.
     
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