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 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
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.
No problem, it happens to me sometimes too and thank you for your post as well. I quite enjoy our discussions.
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.
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).
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.
I have put much thought into my criticisms . More then just a second thought . 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.
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?
Maybe? It depends on if an individual soldier thinks he or she has a 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?
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)
"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Which shows that Einstein had Sikhi values, quite unknowingly to him.
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
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.
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 . 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?
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.
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.
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 . 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 :
Going along with the the original post and the intent of Ambarsaria to link the teachings of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji 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.
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