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Sikhism: A Religion for the Third Millennium

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by spnadmin, Dec 30, 2010.

  1. spnadmin

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    Sikhism: A Religion for the Third Millennium
    A Postmodernist Perspective
    Jasbir Singh Ahluwalia

    Sikhism - one of the five major world religions - has the unique distinction of being the only major religion that arose in the second millennium. Though a religion of the second millennium, it is a religion for the third millennium.

    Arnold Toynbee had observed that Sikh religion had the potential of ushering in a new higher civilization qualitatively different from the earlier Indic and Hindu civilizations. The potential of Sikh religion, its elan vital, can play a dominant role in shaping the 21st century society and the third millennium civilization that would be in its fundamental postulates different from the modern Western civilization. Islam and Christianity also, in their prime times, had brought about their respective civilizations; but these were uni-centric, religiously, socially and politically.

    For the uni-centricity of Christian civilization, the focal point was the Christian faith that claimed to be the full and final revelation of reality and truth, with the concomitant claim of being the exclusive path to God. Salvation meant salvation through the Christian door. Similar was the contention of Islamic civilization, Modern Western civilization, claiming to be secular, had substituted 'reason' for 'faith'. Euro-centric in orientation, modern Western civilization also postulated that reason, with its reductive-analytic method, can fully and finally unravel the ultimate (material) reality in terms of universally valid laws and theories which could be unified into a single over-arching theory with other theories and laws logically getting deduced form the central one. Such was the faith - both religious and scientific - in the uni-centric monolithic conception of reality.

    The uni-centricity of the Christian, Islamic and modern Western civilizations implied homogenization on social level and unitarianism-totalitarianism on political level. The new global civilization of the third millennium would, hopeably, be pluri-centric. Sikhism, with its inherent religious, social, cultural, economic and political pluralism, can provide ideological postulates for the new pluralist world civilization.

    Modern Western civilization was based on the grand narrative (in postmodernist terminology) of reason; this meta-narrative was constituted by certain 'universals' which flowed out of 'reason' as the central supreme, absolute 'universal'. First, there was the universal belief that the constitution of reality - whether material or social - was rational. Secondly, the rational constitution of reality - reflected in its causative structure - was fully and finally knowable through the reductive-analytic method of reason; a method that for deciphering and de-coding the 'whole' reduced it into its parts. Deterministic materialism, as such, was held to be the ultimate paradigm of material reality.

    The Hegelian postulate that 'the real is rational, the rational real' implied another 'universal' that the rational has an inherent tendency, an inherent directionality, to realize itself in time, in history. Deterministic historicism, as such, was believed to be the ultimate paradigm of social reality. Marxism contends that the dialectic of class struggle - rather than any spiritual teleology - is the motor force of this deterministic historicism, which it calls historical materialism. This deterministic historicism led to another 'universal' : that the linear directionality of history, with deterministic inevitability, would lead to progress, to emancipation of humanity in a rational socio-politico-economic structure wherein there would be no room for irrational inequity and inequality, injustice and exploitation. History was seen as progressing towards this kind of rational social dispensation; technology was seen as the driving force of 'progress'.

    But the latter half of the 20th century saw the collapse of this grand narrative of modern Western civilization : the metanarrative of 'reason'. This collapse came with the collapse of the once mighty reason that had since enlightenment, reigned supreme in nature, history and thought.

    Paradoxically reason was knocked off of its reigning supremacy by its own egoistic claim of universal validity and capacity in knowing reality fully and finally. Microphysical particles refused to behave in a rational (causative) manner; they refused to reveal their simultaneous position and momentum at any given point of time. W. Heisenberg, realizing the epistemic inadequacy of reason - of its reductive-analytic method - in knowing reality objectively (independently of the 'subject') propounded his famous principle of indeterminacy. This was an impasse beyond which reason could not go in its comprehension of reality. This impasse of reason was, in a sense, the impasse of modern Western civilization necessitating a paradigm shift in thinking.

    The illusion of 'progress' turned out to be a self-delusion. The myth of the inevitability of (socialist) order of society stood exploded. The dream of emancipation of humanity through social engineering came out to be a nightmarish experience, thanks to the bulldozing totalitarian regimes. The autonomy of the individual - the matrix of human rights - was eroded by the overarching nation-state that refused to recognize allegiance of the individual to any other principle - community, religion, ethnicity, etc. - counterpoised as the Other, human essence was reduced into existence, and existence was digitized into dots.

    The cleavage between the poor and the rich, between the elite and marginalized, among the countries as well as within most of the countries, widened day after day. The dialectic of class contradictions gave way to that of ethnic, ethno-religious and ethno-political contradictions in the context of growing tensions between secular nationalism and religious nationalism. The ideal of inter-community accommodation in a composite society stood shattered under the over-bearing weight of the State-backed processes of assimilation and homogenization; secular evangelism has proved itself to be more subtle, more complex and hence more dangerous than its ancestral 'religious' varieties.

    Western technology was based on the notion that lifeless, inanimate nature existed for man to be discovered (through laws of nature) and exploited (through ruthless use of natural resources) for his material progress. The end-result appears to be not 'progress' percolating down to the lowest levels of society but alarming depletion of natural resources in the absence of sustainable models of growth, and disturbance of ecological balance of nature to a point where even the very existence of life of this planet has become problematic.

    This scenario led to the postmodernist "incredulity toward metanarratives" in the words of Jean Francois Lyotard and to a feeling of betrayal by the very 'universals' that had sustained mankind's hope for about three centuries. In earlier civilizations, 'faith' had held promise of redemption of the soul in other-worldly life : modern Western civilization postulated that deified 'reason' would ensure amelioration of the conditions of man and society in this very world.

    The post-modernist disillusionment with the 'universals' swung the pendulum to the other extreme : from the universal to the particular, the local, the discrete; from centripetality to centrifugality; from unitarianism to plurality; from unity to diversity; from the unificatory to the differential, and from homogeneity to heterogeneity.

    But the post-modernist differential (differmatic) view of reality had an inherent epistemic weakness. Earlier, Buddhism with its atomistic conception of time and reality could not, for want of an organizing, relational principle, develop its concept of change into a coherent conception of evolution and development; consequently change became synonymous with "momentariness".

    Despite its rejection of the schemata of grand narratives, the post-modernism's differential view of reality in terms of heterogeneity, diversity, discreteness is, in a sense, a grand narrative in itself, but with an epistemic weakness. The epistemic weakness is the lack of an organizing principle necessary for holding together the differentialities. The holding-together, the inter-locking, of the differentialities is essential, for without such networking, the differential can not attain the quality and character of determinate concreteness which is at the centre of the post-modernist creed; it is in a network of relations that the concrete becomes determinate reality: the concrete as a distinctive part of the whole constituted by inter-related parts. The new organizing principle is given by the epistemic concept of 'systems thinking', a holistic cognition of reality.

    Systems thinking cognizes reality in terms of 'wholes-within-wholes'; a whole is a (non-static) configuration of the parts and, in turn, is a 'part' in relation to another configuration. The holistic view in the sense of systems thinking is contra distinguishable from both monistic and dualistic-dichotomous view. An organismic whole is not a coalescent, monistic unity; nor is it an aggregate of (dichotomous) parts. An organismic whole - 'whole' as an organism -is of the nature of 'differentiated unity'.

    The notion of 'spirit' in this sense would, it appears, be the foundational principle of the global civilization of the third millennium analogous to the way in which 'reason' was the foundational postulate of the modern Western civilization. But this does not mean a regress from reason; not "going back" from reason to the irrational but going to the supra-rational spirit in which the rational would endure as the past endures in the present in an organism.

    This means a quest for a new dynamic, creative principle in the sense of spirit. It is not the spirit dogmatised in religion. It is the Self-realizing Spirit which is the very creativity of the Divine, the dynamics of the cosmos; the elan vital of history; the source of values for society and the very essence of human spirit. The Spirit is not an incarnation of world soul; cosmic consciousness; demiurge; nor is it a version of Platonic Idea, Aristotelian From, Spinoza's Substance, Hegelian Geist or Bergsonian Duree. Spirit is not something esoteric or mystical, inwardly felt in intution. Spirit is an outflowing current, and outpouring of energy; it is becoming in which novelty emerges in each new configuration; new qualities evolve that characterize the new wholes.

    Spirit is not an entity or a being requiring an external medium for its Self-expression and Self-revelation; it, rather, instantiates itself in inter-connections; relations; linkages patternizing and re-patternizing themselves into organismic wholes-within-wholes, constituting, as such, a holistic network of relations from the terrestrial to the transcendent. The rigid boundaries of the traditional pairs of mind and matter; soul and body; subject and object, noumenal and phenomenal, melt into fluid wholes of inter-connections; the old dualistic as well as monistic conceptions dissolve into a new "network conception" of reality in terms of organismic wholes-within-wholes, of systems nesting in other systems, of relations intertwined with other relations. This is how the epistemology of systems thinking, of holistic cognition, has its ontological counterpart in the concept of Spirit.

    As religion is the realm of the revelations of Spirit from time to time, mankind is looking upon religion in a new way: as a quest for the Spirit of religion, flowing in different faiths, as distinct from dogma hardened in different religiosities.



    II
    As I wrote elsewhere, in the process of ushering in a new holistic world view for the post-modern global society of the 21st century, Sikhism can play a vital role both on metaphysical and sociological levels. Sikhism is essentially a religion of spirit with a holistic vision on epistemic level.

    The basic category of Sikhism is spirit and not Vedantic being (Brahman). The Absolute in Sikh religion is not only Sat (being), Chit (consciousness) and anand (bliss) - as in Vedanta - but also Karta Purakh (Creator). The Absolute, aboriginally indeterminate abstract Being (Ik Onkar), qua Creator (Karta Purakh) becomes the determinate Spirit. God, as such, comes to have determinate relationship (Satnam) with His creation (nature, man) which reveals Him. In the holistic vision of Sikhism God, nature and man are integrally bound to each other.

    A number of qualitatively new metaphysical points - with revolutionary sociological implications - are involved in the Sikh concept of the Absolute as the dynamic Spirit. For the first time in the history of Indian speculative thought, Sikh metaphysics brought in the conception of historical time, of the historicity of time. Guru Nanak, the first of the ten Prophets of Sikhism, used a very significant expression: Aad Jugad, in his composition japji.

    To distinguish eternity of time from its createdness, Aad refers to logical beginning and Jugad refers to temporal, historical beginning. Spirit descends in time, in history, in historical time, which in technical language, means the Self-determination of the Spirit (in and through the created world) in time, in history, in historical time. The Self-manifesting Spirit is revealed in different religions from time to time. Hence, no religion can claim to be the full and final revelation.

    Guru Nanak stresses, in 'Japji, the inexhaustability of the attributes of the Divine and the relativity of the human modes of perception, and figuratively expresses this idea in this way : The brave sees God in the form of Might; the intellectual comprehends Him in the form of Light (of knowledge); the aesthete perceives the Divine in His aspect of the Beauty; the moralist envisions Him as Goodness, etc. Different revelations of the Spirit are like the variety of different seasons which refer back to the same Sun:

    Numerous are the seasons emanating form the one Sun
    Numerous are the guises in which the Creator appears

    For Sikh religion, all revelations of God are equally co-valid, having been given to man relative to the variables of time and place. This rules out any room for dogmatic assertion of fullness and finality of any single religion's revelation as well as religious totalitarianism which is not accepted in Sikhism. Though Sikhism embraces the other-worldly concerns of man as well as the this-worldly concerns of society and state, it is not a totalizing ideology. All revelations being relatively co-valid, no "ism" - religions or secular - can claim to be the sole way to God, the exclusive path to salvation.

    Guru Amar Das says:

    The world is ablaze, O Lord! shower your benediction.
    Through whichever door it can be delivered
    Save it that way.

    This accounts for the basis and significance of religious pluralism in Sikhism. From here it follows that unity of different religions - or the global ethnic -need not to be artificially conceptualized on the basis of the lowest denominator common to all religions; it can rather be realized spontaneously on the basis that different religions are different stages of the revelation of the one and same divine Spirit manifest in different forms in different faiths. The descent of the divine Spirit in time is, in a sense, the ascent of man in his spiritual development.

    The conception of religious pluralism, as envisaged in Sikhism, provides a positive basis not only for co-validity and co-existence of different faiths in dynamic interaction with each other, but also for co-equality and co-existence of different religious and ethno-religious communities and their co-participation in the national body-politic of their respective countries. Here co-participation of the religious, ethno-religious or simply ethnic groups or of the minorities-based on religion, region, ethnicity, culture etc., means co-participation in their corporate capacities, through their own political organizations, representing the social collectivities with their respective self-identities which is no case should be diluted, homogenized or sublated into an over-arching "secular" nationalism of the Western type adopted and adapted in the third world countries.

    Coming back to the question of the Sikh revelation of the Divine, the Spirit-in-history realizes Itself in "peoplehood" the sociological category of which, in the Sikh parlance, is known as the Khalsa.

    This verily is the phenomenal form of the Timeless Who manifests Himself in the corporate body of the Khalsa -Prehlad Rai, author of Sikh Rehatnama

    The Khalsa is my determinate form
    I am immanent in the Khalsa -Guru Gobind Singh

    Spiritual aspect of the Divine sovereignty is revealed in the Holy Word (Guru Granth) and the temporal aspect of the sovereign Spirit becomes diffused in the body-politic of Guru Panth. (The Hegelian Spirit reaches its fullest manifestation in the institution of the nation-State which he identified with the Prussian State; on the other hand, in Sikhism, it is the "peoplehood" and not the nation-State which is the vehicle for sovereign Self-realization of Spirit). Here is a new mode of the Divine revelation on societal level.

    The conception of the Absolute (God, Brahman, Idea, etc...) becoming manifest in space (nature), or in the Word, or in the soul, has been recurring in both Western and Indian philosophy. But the idea of the Spirit, Self-determinating in history and then getting diffused in the Khalsa, in peoplehood, appears for the first time, through Sikh metaphysics, in the history of speculative thought of the world.

    The Khalsa here does not mean a particular community in a particular form, in a particular region; it rather means commonwealth of enlightened human beings at a higher level of spiritual growth - a Divine Brotherhood of those who in the language of Guru Nanak are sachiar (embodiment of Truth and truthful living) and inthe language of Guru Gobind Singh are jujhar (the socially committed and active for righteous cause). Here was a new revolutionary concept in the history of the world : the Divine in humanity and humanity in the Divine.

    The human spirit partakes of the divinity of the Absolute Spirit. That is how the human spirit is sovereign in its inalienable dignity, worth and freedom. This Sikh thought, in a sense, heralded the ideals enshrined in the preamble to the United Nations Charter which, interalia, reaffirms "faith in the fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person, in the equal rights of men and women and of nations, large and small."

    We have celebrated in the year 1999 the 300th anniversary of that divine moment in the flux of time, the creation of the Khalsa Panth in the year 1699 by Guru Gobind Singh, that ushered in a new praxis, the full potential of which awaits to be realized in the post-modern global society and civilization of the 21st century.



    III
    For playing its historic role in the shaping of the 21st century society and the third millennium civilization, Sikhism, first of all, would have to re-discover its essential values - liberalism, humanism and universalism - and to re-interpret them in the present-day context.

    Liberalism is an integral, essential part of the Sikh value pattern. Says Guru Arjun, the fifth Prophet of Sikh religion:

    The fetters around the feet are sundered
    The Guru has emancipated me.

    Sikhism liberated man - his inner spirit that had become encrusted - from dogma, ritual, abscurantist belief. What is more important is that though Sikhism embraces man's this-worldly concerns as much as his other-worldly salvic concerns, it is not a totalitarian ideology; it is not a totalizing creed subjecting man to the bondage of ritualism from pre-natal to post-death stage.

    The Sikh doctrine has not prescribed canonized Sikh jurisprudence; formalized Sikh economics, or dogmatised Sikh dress, or the clergy-determined prescriptive behavior, eternally, valid for all times, in all places. Doctrinally the clergy as a class is not accepted in Sikhism, which does not admit of any mediation between the Sikh and his Guru and God. There is a direct bond, a direct communion, between the faith-followers and his God. This is the connotation of the expression Waheguru ji ka Khalsa. There being no anointed clergy in Sikh religion, there is no Church-like authority or institution with inherent right to interpret the Scripture, to excommunicate a Sikh from the community and to prescribe a code of conduct for a Sikh who is directly responsible for his deeds to his Guru and God.

    There is no theocrat, no clerico-cracy. The Akal Takht jathedar is not a theocrat or a vice-deity presiding over the temporal affairs of this sacred institution of Sikhism; he is a sewadar, or at best a spokeman of the voice and will of the community articulated through intra-community deliberations in different forums, particularly the democratically elected Sikh institutions.

    Sikhism is a humanistic religion which accords primacy to the innate human spirit partaking of the divine Spirit; this is man's primary identity which in sociological form was expressed by Guru Gobind Singh as such: Recognize all humanity as one in spirit.

    The secondary identities relating to country, region, creed, language, ethnicity, etc., are also important as the human essence - the primary identity - becomes determinate through such identity-relationships which, as such, need to be well-recognized and respected in social and political reckoning.

    The Sikh conception of humanism is distinguishable from the old, classical concept that had made man the measure of all things, and not any outside transcendental reality or principle, on the basis of the dichotomy of the human (the terrestrial) and the transcendental. The new conception is based on the holistic vision that recognizes an integral bond between the human and the Divine. Man's worldly activities have their own autonomy and significance but existence derives its meaning, its purpose, its sacredness, from its relationship with the Divine.

    Another pillar of Sikh value pattern is its universalism. Sikh religion is universal in two senses of the term. First, Sikhism is not an ethnicity-specific, region-specific religion. The different ethnicities of the first five Sikhs initiated into the Order of the Khalsa, through the sacrament of holy amrit by Guru Gobind Singh, mean that this religion is not bound down to a particular ethnicity - Punjabiat. Guru Gobind Singh in his bani (Akal Ustat) refers to different peoples, in terms of their ethnic identities, co-worshiping God. Contemporary ethnicized (Punjabised) form of Sikhism is just one of the possibly many more determinate forms of Sikh religion flowering out in other ethnic contexts, new ethno-religious species, developing out of the parental genus, would really make Sikhism a universal religion.

    Sikhism is also not tied down to a particular region, though the Punjab is the natural habitat of Sikhism where it has grown during the last five hundred years. The whole of earth planet being revered as 'mother' in Guru Nanak's Japji, there is no specific 'holy land' or 'promised land' conceived as such in Sikhism.

    Sikhism is 'universal' in an other sense also. Its essential concerns, daily remembered in the Sikh prayer as "sarbat da bhala" are universal, taking the entire humanity in their reckoning. Due to circumstantial reasons, the existential-social, economic, political-concerns of the Sikhs in the Punjab, since the first Sikh reformation originating in the last quarter of the 19th century, have taken precedence over the universal concerns of Sikhism, which now must come to the centric stage, particularly the concerns of ecology; depletion of natural resources; sustainable models of growth; human rights; gender equality, the empowerment of the lowest, suppressed, marginalized strata of society, etc. This is the primary issue for the long over-due second Sikh reformation which has to address itself to the following internal problems.

    First, the process of de-brahminization of Sikh society - started by the first Sikh reformation - needs to be completed for liberation from caste-discriminations; growing ritualism; individualistically oriented 'mystical' meditational forms, etc. Secondly, the gradual growth of the 'Sikh clergy'- which has no doctrinal sanction or basis - and its increasing influence in religious, political and academic matters must be uprooted, De-clericalization is an essential imperative of the second Sikh reformation. The necessity for de-regionalization and de-ethnicization of contemporary Sikhism has already been highlighted above; without this two-fold process, Sikhism would be a universal religion only as a religious rhetoric and not a reality.

    The relationship between religion and politics in contemporary Sikh praxis also needs to be re-defined. The miri-piri concept, which is traditionally understood as the unity of religion and politics, does not mean coalescence or merger of the two, or subordination of either of the two domains to the other; this concept also does not mean manipulation of the secular institutions by the ecclesiastical ones or vice-versa.

    In essence, this concept means that the temporal concerns of society and state are doctrinally within the embrace of Sikhism as much as the spiritual concerns of man. But the two domains are like the two banks of a river; in other words the relationship between the two is of the nature of 'differentiated unity', and not monistic unity. The relationship between the secular and religious institutions should be coordinated afresh after the principle of differentiated unity. In this context the nature of the authority of Sri Akal Takht also needs to be properly comprehended.

    Sri Akal Takht is a symbol - and not the seat - of the worldly authority, the temporal sovereignty, vesting in the Khalsa Panth, Guru Panth. Guru Gobind Singh, while vesting the spiritual aspect of the Divine sovereignty in the Adi Granth, thereby institutionalizing it as Guru Granth, had bestowed the temporal aspect of the Divine sovereignty upon the Khalsa Panth, making it Guru Panth. Sri Akal Takht is a symbol of the temporal authority which vests in the Guru Panth and is exercisable, on practical level, through democratically elected institutions.

    The Panch Pradhani mode also does not mean that the so-called Head or High priests, the Takht jathedars, can appropriate unto themselves the power, the authority, the temporal sovereignty, vesting in the Guru Panth [When there is no distinction between the high and the low in the Sikh doctrine, then, how can there be a category of 'head priests', 'high priests' over and above the other (low!) priests' In fact there is no priestly class in Sikhism].

    At best the Panch Pradhani mode can have significance in the sense of the sangat, attuned to the Divine in the holy presence of Guru Granth, spontaneously choosing five gursikhs for deliberating upon or resolving some issue, but without acting as theocrats.

    The point is that the contemporary Sikh praxis has to be updated through the second Sikh reformation, if the Sikh community has to play a participatory role in evolving the 21st century global society and the third millennium civilization.

    Sikhism has still to realize its historical mission of ushering in a new, higher civilization - a mission bequeathed to the community of faith-followers by the Guru and God.

    http://www.sikhspectrum.com/022006/postmodern.htm
     

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  3. skeptic.freethinker1

    skeptic.freethinker1 United States
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    Thanks for sharing the above article. It surely gives a very good insight into what Sikhism might shape up to be in the coming decades.

    I also want to draw your attention to a tiny inaccuracy in the article.
    The article mentions that Sikhism is among the five major religions in the world.

    Although there is no doubt that Sikhism is one of the major world religions today, it so happens that it is not among top 5. It is the 8th largest at least by the data I found below.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Major_religious_groups


    I apologize in advance in case the above data is outdated.
     
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  4. findingmyway

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    Skeptic ji,
    Thank you for the stats, I found them quite interesting as was not aware of the folk religions! In the UK we have always been taught that Sikhism is the 5th major religion in the World and we were taught that Judaism rated more than Buddhism which is prob true in the UK. Notice I don't say Sikhism is 5th largest as that goes against the stats but it is major for a couple of reasons;
    1) The folk religions and Shinto are very regional. They are also a larger collection of belief systems whereas Sikhi is essentially one belief system with variations (hope that makes sense!). On a global scale Sikhi rates more as it is more spread out.
    2) We are more visible therefore have a relatively larger impact on people in the places where we go. Where there is education about what Sikhism stands for this impression is generally very good. (I am talking about general perceptions rather than local quips before anyone picks up on these comments).

    It is these things that make Sikhi the 5th major religion of the World. However, these are just stats! It'll be interesting to see what happens in the future....
     
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  5. skeptic.freethinker1

    skeptic.freethinker1 United States
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    Jasleen Ji,
    I agree that folk religions are primarily regional. That's why I was a bit surprised to even see them in the list of major religions. But the fact is that there total number of followers is still more.

    Well even in the total number quoted for sikhs, everyone who calls themself a sikh is included. It includes both amritdharis, keshdharis, sehajdharis and all other kinds of sects.
    But I understand the point you were trying to make and you're probably right.


    As for Buddhism, it sure does have significant influence in Western countries besides Asia and Australia. They might not be as 'visible' as sikhs for obvious reasons, but you can gauge their influence just by the high profile celebrities working to spread their message.

    So Sikhism isn't really 8th. It is probably 6th most influential.
     
  6. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Jasleen ji and skeptic.freethinker ji

    I was somewhat stymied by skeptic's observation and went to bed with it still on my mind- quite literally climbing the stairs wondering how there could be such wide differences of information. Today it occurs to me that some of the problem arises from Wikipedia itself. Everything there must be taken with a pound of salt because of the way that the articles are authored.

    Wikipedia prides itself for is NPOV or Neutral Point of View. But the articles can be written by anyone. In this case it would not have to be a demographer or population scientist. ANYONE could have written that article! It could have been a person with a political agenda to sate that local, regional, aboriginal religions are "under-represented" because of "historical political forces" that have sought over generations to "disenfranchise" and otherwise demean the "disempowered" local cultures.

    This is the kind of argument one finds throughout academia. So there is absolutely nothing to prevent a sociologist, or anyone, with an agenda, to author that article. And, basically there is no one to correct or otherwise explain this vast difference in what should be factual knowledge. The agenda would be to write something in the universally used reference site, i.e., Wikipedia, that "liberates" population statistics from the evil-minded "scientists" who are really "pawns" of the "politically enfranchised masters" of governments around the world.

    Bottom line is that liberation science is just as untrustworthy, if not more so, than the Census bureaus of countries around the world who are alleged to "lie" to keep the "enfranchised" in power and the "disenfranchised" under water. And Sikhs lose out either way. For example, the number of Sikhs in countries like the US is unknown and therefore unreported. So how did that author even have the temerity to know how many of each of these other religious groups might be known country to country? Wikipedia is full of problematic articles.
     
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  7. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    Also admin note: Keep the discussion on the topic of the article, The Wikipedia discussion is interesting, but takes us in a different direction. Do not hijack the thread! Let us not veer off into a discussion of who is a Sikh. Or I will need to go through and prune out all irrelevant comments.
     
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  8. findingmyway

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    Spnadmin ji,
    You are absolutely right! Wikipedia is far from my preferred source for information. Having said all that I really think it's irrelevant exactly where Sikhism stands today as the article is about the future. Realistically I am confident that Sikhism will rise and indeed become a big influence in the third millennium. In the west, I am seeing an increase in questioning attitudes as well as increase in the search for spirituality. The article makes some very good points about how Sikhism can satisfy both these needs. Over the last 10 years I have attitudes changing among the Sikh sangat away from ritualism and back to understanding. It is a small percentage at the moment but is having a snowball effect. World politics require more people to make themselves aware and so more people are discovering about Sikhism which is often leading to further interest. One of the best things about SPN is seeing people from all walks of life and backgrounds so it shows that Sikhism can be a unifying force. My father disagrees and thinks it's all doom and gloom due to the hate attacks and rise of extremist Islam but when injustice increases, awareness increases and Sikhism gets stronger as shown in our history. When things are going well and there is peace, people drift away. All things have a habit of going round in circles! Even if Sikhism is not the the largest religion it will be a major influence due to the ideals enshrined in the Guru Granth Sahib ji and the appeal those ideals have to everyone whether they follow Sikhi or not. That's my :2cents: for what it's worth!
     
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  9. spnadmin

    spnadmin United States
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    1947-2014 (Archived)
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    Where there are only 5 Sikhs, there is the message of Guru Nanak. Thanks findingmyway ji!
     

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