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Are all Holy writings chains to hold the ignorant?

Discussion in 'Interfaith Dialogues' started by thecoopes, Jan 4, 2005.

  1. thecoopes

    thecoopes
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    Happy New Year to all lovers of peace.

    My Dear friends may I ask a respectful question of all Sikh’s. I trust that you will all understand that because I have very little knowledge of the Sikh faith and way of life that some of the terminology I use and the questions I ask may appear provocative. But let me assure you all, I ask these in the spirit of truth seeking and not confrontation.

    How will it ever be possible to unite mankind? Each religious group by nature of the individuals faith in their beliefs are trapped by religious writings that have been handed down throughout the centuries, to the point that each religion will defend an entrenched position of, in the most cases blind faith in the holiness of their religious writings!

    Each religion feels free to criticise the others Holy writings, and the more vocal the religion the louder they shout that all the others are fools to believe their traditions and prophets.

    So we have the spectre of perpetual religious hate fuelled by an intractable and often irrational faith in words that were written for long past generations.

    From what I have seen on this website Sikhs are some of the most reasonable and approachable people one could discuss religion with, however even with your natural tendency to look for the avenue of understanding, you too I believe loose yourselves in debates over an exact understanding of this or that and in doing so loose sight of spirit of the overall wisdom within any writings.

    (I refer to one discussion of whether a Guru went to Mecca or not and which way his feet were facing!!!)

    If truth and approach to God were through these intellectual debating forums and an understanding of semantics then how, in the name of this great God we are all searching for, would the vast majority of this world’s population ever find him? Most people of the world don’t know where their next meal is coming from so to them any microscopic analysis over the fine print within these writings is meaningless.

    Therefore we have the religious masses kept in chains through the need to have priests and Imams telling them the meaning of scripture and through this a perpetuation of ignorant intolerance to others because of the need for them to have faith in these unintelligible holy words!

    I was told by a dear Sikh on this website. “That to find God is not hard, if we are finding it hard then it is us who are making it that way!”


    So my last question is, do you think you are looking at the words passed on from generation to generation and not the spirit of the message that the writer wanted to convey?

    Best wishes



    John C
     
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  3. Arvind

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    Dear John,

    Thanks for the needed thought-provoking post.

    In another thread, Aman Singh already explained what Guru Granth Sahib ji means to a Sikh - much more than a mere book, so I wont get into that area.

    What I feel is the writings by enlightened persons need not be taken literally, as most of the times, poets/writers use many word-jewels to explain a concept, or emphasize the need of something, and even a way out. Here it becomes important to understand your point that spirit of message should be passed on further. Problem starts when the religious texts are used to prove superiority over another, or even bashing at personal/cultural/religion level. 'Live and Let Live' principle has full potential to bring and keep any kind of people stay together, hence live life.

    Major negative effect of Religious brain-washings is ignorant intolerance, that s why chaos prevails around!

    Thanks for your presence here John.

    Regards.
     
  4. Lee

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    Hello John,

    Good question, my feelings are that spirtual understanding in not easy or straight forward. In the majority of holy scripture the message is not clear nor can we take things litraly. The whole concept of the written or spoken word is totaly inadequate to convey what God is or what Gods plan is. It is up to us as indivivuals to grasp the concepts as written by true holy men, and read between the lines.

    As to the amount of differing faiths, and holy scripture in the World this just pronounces to me the greatness of God, that God has created so many 'mindsets' and thus many ways of explaining God to differing people.

    Within Sikhi itself we say 'If you take one step towards God, God will take 1000 steps towards you' and also:

    'sach milai sach oopjai sach meh saach samaa-ay. Meeting the True One, Truth wells up. The truthful are absorbed into the True Lord.

    surat hovai pat oogvai gurbachnee bha-o khaa-ay.

    Intuitive understanding is obtained and one is welcomed with honor, through the Guru's Word, filled with the Fear of God.'


    This means of course that the more you try to connect with God, the easyer God makes it for you to understand.


    This of course is true for those that follow a non Sikh path, as it is for Sikhs.


    So to answer your question it is my belief that on the whole the words are quite meaningless, it is the mesage beyond, behind, and inbetween that we all have a personal duty to percive.


    Cheers,


    Lee.
     
  5. Arvind

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    Dear Lee,

    It is a delight to read your posts.

    Waheguru.
     
  6. thecoopes

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    Religious writings have been used for untold centuries to enslave the people, indeed the more confusing the better for serving the purpose of holding people in enslavement.

    In the 15th century there were those in Europe that argued for the Bible to be made available to all in the languages spoken by the ordinary peoples. The religious leaders fought against this, as it would mean their control of the masses would be threatened.

    In England William Tyndale translated the Bible into English and paid for this with his life, good men were arguing that ones relationship with god was to be a personal thing and not one controlled via priests and Imams. Because the individual then becomes a tool of the minds of these men, this we can see everyday where people are only to willing to hand over their consciences to others for them to tell them right from wrong.



    [This is taken from the life of William Tyndale.]

    Tyndale returned to Gloucestershire to serve as chaplain and tutor to Sir John Walsh and his family. This work enabled him to continue his study of religious texts. During that time he translated a tract by Desiderius Erasmus, a Dutchman whose writings argued for personal faith: a direct relationship between the individual and God, not one mediated and controlled by the Church hierarchy.

    Church services were conducted in Latin throughout the Christian world, and translation of the Latin Bible into the vernacular, in other words the local language anyone could understand, was actively discouraged.

    In England, however, under the 1408 Constitutions of Oxford, it was strictly forbidden to translate the Bible into the native tongue. This ban was vigorously enforced by Cardinal Wolsey and the Lord Chancellor, Sir Thomas More, in an attempt to prevent the rise of English ‘Lutheranism’. The only authorised version of the Bible was St Jerome’s Latin translation, known as the ‘Vulgate’, made in the fourth century and understood only by highly-educated people.

    My view is, as long as religious writings are broken down into there component parts of syntax and word, and you have a religious hierarchy only to willing to give their understanding of what God is saying and add to this people who allow their consciences to be moulded by others, then you will have Hell on earth.

    It is not the word but the spirit of the writing; this can be understood by any and all. Read what the writer says not the words.

    Good luck John
     
  7. Amerikaur

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    John and Lee,

    Please forgive me for copying Arvind's sentiments. I have thoroughly enjoyed reading posts from both of you...and I hope both of you continue to contribute here A LOT!

    John - I hope you don't mind if I bring up a couple of old discussions that I had to drop out of when I was on travel for a bit...as awkward as it may sound, I'd like to pick up the conversation.

    Lee - a big welcome aboard to you! I hope you stick around!

    [/hijack]

    Something that I really enjoy about The Coopes postings is that he gets me to think about things that I may not have thought about otherwise.

    Is enslavement (as it is used in this context) always bad?

    I think that religious institutions definitely have been used to control people. Coopes touches upon some of the negative times. A not-so-negative example can be seen in the artistry of Japanese food.

    Japan is a chain of volcanic islands. The limestone terrain is not suitable for farming, aside from rice and soybeans. Most traditional Japanese foods are made of combinations of rice products, soybean products, sea products, and green tea.

    In the late 1100's and mid 1400's Japan was devastated by famine. Some reports say as many as 2000 people per day were perishing of starvation. The monks started a practice of cutting the small precious pieces of food in to a design that would form a picture that told some sort of story. The monks then had the villiagers meditate on the story in an attempt to keep their mind of the devastating hunger.
     
  8. thecoopes

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    I want you to think about this in relationship to writings that are professed to be from the great creator of the universe, also think about these people that are held in esteem as the messengers who convey Gods directions and advice to mankind.,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,



    You are approached by a family who are obviously lost seeking your help asking you for directions to a place that you know is many miles away and over difficult terrain. This small group is tired and a little confused also non have had an education of which to speak so have little ability when it comes to reading. What do you do? You are faced with conveying to them directions that also must show that there are dangers to be avoided.

    Do you write the directions down in such a manner that they will be confused further, and will end up disagreeing as to which direction they should be going? Do you hide tricky clues that need hours of painstaking study to decipher, or do you as an imperfect human still do your best to simplify your help? (Think about the times you have been asked for directions by people and how you went to almost boring lengths to go over the information you give so that there would be no ambiguity in your instructions!) Maybe even taking them partway, certainly if we as weak and imperfect humans would have empathy and concern that these lost souls would be ok, do you not think that our great Creator would have made his instructions clear and that the words of direction and advice would be easy to understand with no need for religious leaders to interpret what God actually is trying to say.



    Below is a verse; to read it one knows what it is telling us. There is no need for interpretation by another. The only time there is confusion is when we see words and not thoughts.



    scu vyKxu scu bolxw qnu mnu scw hoie ]
    sach vaekhan sach bolanaa than man sachaa hoe ||
    They see the Truth, and they speak the Truth; their bodies and minds are True.




    This is my struggle, if we are to believe these thoughts are from God and the men who wrote these thoughts his servants then as truth there is no hidden path, the god who imbued me and you with the compassion and concern that would prevent us from intentionally directing our fellow man who was lost onto an erroneous path would I believe make his guidance even clearer!

    We have to work it out for ourselves we must have a personal relationship with God, as keepers of his clear truth.

    It's in our hands we are responsible for our faith.

    Regards

    john
     
  9. Lee

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    I totaly agree with you John, our faith is in our own hands, and we must all strive to have that personal connection with God.

    You suggest though if we can show compasion, and not give false directions to others then God the creator must do the same. However it is always a mistake to try and imbue God with human attributes for God is sooo much more.

    As a Sikh I belive that God is a part of yet apart from Gods creation.
    If this is true then God is everything that exists, includeing us.

    So then it becomes not a case of clear directions to find God, because God is already with us, but more a question of how to remember that God is here with us.

    Bearing this in mind, then God cannot make it as easy as follow the directions, because every single one of us is differant, with differant capacity to understand differant things, then we must all find our own ways of remembering.

    So in my humble opinion, the multitude of faiths that God has given us may on the surface all point in differant directions, and I'm even prepeard to admit that a lot of holy scripture has been tainted by mans word and not Gods, but this dosen't matter because the more you tryto remember God(no matter what dogma you follow) the more God helps you to remember, and so seperate Gods word from mans.

    Cheers,

    Lee.
     
  10. thecoopes

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    Dear Lee and friends, any of the beliefs I expound here are obviously products of a personal and at times subjective view. I enjoy very much reading all your comments and through them I have been able to get a better understanding of the one we are all searching for. I hope you understand that to explore it further there is a need for me to make another comment apropos your observations.

    If we were discussing areas of physics and math we could develop our argument based on fundamental tangible truths and by this process we then prove one theory over another, however there is a difficulty when discussing metaphysical issues that involves areas of faith and sometimes unnatural fears that become almost taboos and cause the group to pull the shutters down on their reasoning’s.



    Forward then:

    Quote;
    You suggest though if we can show compasion, and not give false directions to others then God the creator must do the same. However it is always a mistake to try and imbue God with human attributes for God is sooo much more.




    Well this has to be a good starting point for all whom profess faith in the creator.


    making a mental model: how big is the milky way? [from Harvard website]

    Imagine that our entire Solar System were the size of a quarter. The Sun is now a microscopic speck of dust, as are its nine planets, whose orbits are represented by the flat disc of the coin.

    On this scale, the diameter of our Milky Way galaxy will be about the size of the United States! How far away is the nearest star to our sun? In our model, Proxima Centauri (and any planets that might be around it) would be another quarter, two soccer fields away. This is the typical separation of stars in our part of the galaxy.

    This though is just our Milky Way galaxy!

    Although our imagination along with both perception and knowledge can help us formulate a picture that tries to come to some understanding of this awesome creation, we know that it goes far beyond our most wildest and creative speculation how then can we possibly understand its creator? We cannot, but of all creation we appear to have attributes that are not born of some speculative evolutionary explanation as to our existence. These attributes would then point to a higher order of which we can grasp but a speculative appreciation, just as with the physical universe so to its creator. I believe this one can be seen from time to time in the acts of almost unbelievable nobility that humans are capable of, these are acts of kindness, love, and self sacrifice to the point of surrendering ones life to save another for no reward. If then we who are a poor reflection of this creator act in such superlatives is it not right to think that he who created us would himself act in the same manner to those he created, and so would not subject creation to futility by playing hide and seek while allowing imperfect men to control and manipulate their fellow man with what they think God is saying?


    As a Sikh I belive that God is a part of yet apart from Gods creation.
    If this is true then God is everything that exists, includeing us.

    So then it becomes not a case of clear directions to find God, because God is already with us, but more a question of how to remember that God is here with us.


    This is why I believe it is with thoughts and not words we find God. Lawyers, solicitors and other primitive life forms play with words to circumvent the law and make good into bad and visa versa.

    Bearing this in mind, then God cannot make it as easy as follow the directions, because every single one of us is differant, with differant capacity to understand differant things, then we must all find our own ways of remembering.


    Directions to find God do not need to be, do this do that, don’t do this etc, God must be able to be found by all and as the majority of this world are just scraping a living and with poor education then the directions to find this one must be via those good things that set us apart from all other creation.

    So in my humble opinion, the multitude of faiths that God has given us may on the surface all point in differant directions, and I'm even prepeard to admit that a lot of holy scripture has been tainted by mans word and not Gods, but this dosen't matter because the more you tryto remember God(no matter what dogma you follow) the more God helps you to remember, and so seperate Gods word from mans
    .

    I am convinced that the books that are considered Holy by all the worlds’ religions in themselves offer that which goes someway in our quest to find God. It’s only when we allow others to interpret those words as to what they believe God is saying that we get this madness we call “my religion”.




    Salaams



    John
     
  11. devinesanative

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    Every Individual Follows His Religion , But in Times of Need He Needs the help of Psychotherapists , Self Help Books , Motivators , Mentors ...

    Why Religion Fails in This Arena ?
    Why Religion Fails in the Practical Grounds ?
    Why Religon makes One Pessimist , Lethargic and laggard ?
     
  12. japjisahib04

    japjisahib04 Kuwait
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    Religion does not fail. It is veil of ignorance which leads it to fall. That why guru Nanak asked 'keev sachiara hoeyea keev kudhai tuteh paal'. How to be truthful to God that irrespective of any situation one stands like a wall and handle it and not start going to astroglers, tanrtiks or samadh.
    Best regards Sahni Mohinder
     
  13. 21khalsa13

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    I remember a saying that was told to me a while ago

    a man goes out in the search for GOD
    some get half way, turn back and return with religion
    those who go all the way don't come back why would they want to.....


    :wah:
     
  14. japjisahib04

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    Very interesting. God is not something that you wed and bring alongwith you to your home. You got to stay there only. As gurbani tells us, "Thakar ek sabhaeii naar. He is only Akal Moorat and once we wed we too have to be akal in order to have union with Him. One in million is lucky enough to achieve this union. May God bless us to avail this human opportunity to have union with Him.
    Regards Sahni Mohinder
     
  15. devinesanative

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    Did Guru Nanak Dev Ji Went Half Way ??
     
  16. 21khalsa13

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    there was a 'black' man working as a genatar in a church
    in the deep south (USA) in the 60's
    he was a very good and poius man, he completed his duties with due diligence.
    Every sunday the bishop gave a great sermon.
    this man listened every week from his little room inside the church.

    one day he asked the bishop.
    hey' you do such a great prayer do you mind if i sit in, on this sunday to get the full benefit
    the bishop replied' i would love you too, but these people are crazy they'll lynch you.

    so this man continued year on year doing his work praying from his little room

    one day whilst in deep prayer he had a vision of christ. Christ came to him and patted him on the shoulder. ' you been good man, and have attained the grace of god. ask for anything and by my command it will be yours'

    the old man replied with his hands in prayer position, dear christ now i have seen your face all is clear for me, i just have one question that if you can answer will help me a great deal. ' why don't they let me into that church to pray with them??'
    christ replies ' don't worry about them, they don't let me into that church' and supposedly they are prayer to me
     
    #15 21khalsa13, Oct 28, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 23, 2005
  17. Jass Singh

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    I am new to this forum and this is my first post. Whether the Holy writings of a particular religion are in fact chains to keep the ignorant in bindage or is the source of freedom & liberation is for you to investigate and find out. Discussion and ineraction is a great way to sharpen your understanding through constructive criticism and debate. I look forward to further interaction with the participants.

    Jass Singh
     
  18. Admin Singh

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    Dear Jass ji, welcome to SPN as we look forward to your active particiation on various issues.

    Regards
     
  19. japjisahib04

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    Jass Singh Ji

    It is not the holy scripture but the priestly class who exploit the ignorant and make them slave so that they can make their business out of it. I am proud to say that Guru Nanak eliminated the intermediatry business completely. Further Gurbani tells us, pehla vasat pachhan ta keeja vaapar.

    Best regards
    Sahni Mohinder
     
    #18 japjisahib04, Nov 2, 2005
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 2, 2005
  20. devinesanative

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    Why the Custodians and Top Clergies , Even the mid Clergies of Each and every religion , tries to convince and preach the sangat and abstain each and every person from elevating their conscious and subconcious level of understanding at the level of Guru or Prophet ?

    Why it is considered a Sin by each and every religion that if you elevate yourself at the level of Guru or Prophet you will be a sinner ?
     
    #19 devinesanative, Nov 6, 2005
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2005
  21. japjisahib04

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    Divine Ji
    We are lucky, our faith does not preach that if we elevat ourself at the level of Guru or Prophet we will be a sinner. On the contrary Guru Nanak tells, Nanak leen bhaieye gobind seo jeo paani sangh paani.
    Best regards
     

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