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Atheism Is Atheism The Ultimate Sikhi?

Harry Haller

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SPNadmin-ji isn't that kind of the whole idea of people when you hear "take what works for you and leave the rest"? ;-)
In Sikhism everything works, and works perfectly, so that is not an option, you do great harm in throwing out the baby with the bathwater, as adminji has states above, the only issue is, in what order do you do things, how do you start? some start with the physical, some start with the spiritual, some try and do it all at the same time, however, in my opinion, a love for the truth, and a love for living the truth are important foundations before you even proceed to grow a single hair.
 

spnadmin

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I still sometimes struggle with 'requirements' vs what I actually do.
angrisha ji

Sometimes it helps to focus on core essentials rather than the 'requirements' when one is making a fresh start. And a fresh start can happen many times in one's single lifetime.

An atheist who espouses active engagement in service, but later abandons that value, can think of himself comfortably as an atheist. That person just doesn't believe in a god or divine principle and remains an atheist.

A Sikh who espouses active engagement in service/sewa, but later abandons that value, has placed himself/herself into a tough spot. Now the questions of Who am I? What is a Sikh? What is my identity? cannot be escaped.

Assuming of course the Sikh in question is conscious of his/her Sikhi.
 

Ambarsaria

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Harry Hller ji thanks for the thread.

I believe in this thread, we are unnecessarily skewing things in “this or that” versus “this and that” or “that and this”.

From my vantage in a myopic view of the concepts, accentuating short horizon viewing, the situation is “this or that” but otherwise is more congruent. The reasons or arguments can be like,

Possible Differences

  • Atheism needs everything proven to believe
    • Sikhism does believe in everything that is proven
  • Sikhism believes everything will never be known
    • Idealistically atheism projects to know all one day

Commonalities Today

  • Supernatural
    • Sikhism does not believe in it
    • Atheism does not subscribe to it


  • Oneness and permanence of all truths put together as a single truth or one creation
    • Whereas Sikhism espouses it
    • Atheism simply does not project it but calling all known one truth is not much of a stretch for any thinking atheist or not

Hypothetically Possible Commonalities

  • When and if all is known
    • Sikhism and Atheism will be the same

My hypothesis is that over time Atheism and Sikhism will continue to converge versus diverge. Whether it happens during the life cycle of current humanity on this earth or another place another time, may never be known.

Sat Sri Akal.
 

namritanevaeh

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naritanevaeh ji

Perhaps. I actually don't know what "people mean" by that statement. Whatever it means, is it not important to evaluate what one takes versus what is left behind? If basic assumptions of any path of adherence are left behind, then the part that "works for you" may turn out to be the frog that does not turn into the prince. It is just a frog.
That may be true. At least some times.

I guess if I look at myself...I am not a religious person. I don't know if I ever will be. But what attracts me to Sikhi is the community involvement. You CAN volunteer just about anywhere. I've always done a lot of volunteering. But no where have I seen such selfless service done so frequently as at langar. YOu get people who go there every DAY!! Sometimes for several hours. Unlike christian priests who are "on the spot" for an hour or 2 for a sermon but who ARE paid by their church, it seems to me that a lot of these people are doing stuff (such as making roti) for free...multiple times a week. Seemingly from the goodness of their heart.

THAT is what attracts me to Sikhi more than claims of godliness or anything else. And again, just thinking of myself, and how I've said...I don't think if there's a loving caring god out there (which I feel the jury may well be out on still ;-)) that he or she will care one whit if I cut my hair...or whatever I do to my OWN body as long as I'm a decent human being towards others...so right there there are 2 aspects of what I take from Sikhi and am able to apply to my lifestyle, but I just don't really necessarily feel I have to embrace everything 100% in order to gain something from it spiritually, educationally (sikhna ;-)) and in order to GIVE something too, along the way. :)
:peacesignkaur:
 

namritanevaeh

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1. Atheists may be ethical, compassionate, generous, socially engaged, hard-working, householders, tolerant of other points of view (though often they are not) and even spiritual. But...there is nothing about "atheism" per se that compels any individual atheist to be ethical, compassionate, generous, socially engaged, hard-working, householders, tolerant or spiritual. It is the decision of individual atheists to harbour those qualities.

2. Sikhs are, by rehat and Gurbani, taught to be ethical and to have a spiritual life through naam japna, kirat karni, and vand chakko. As individuals we can chose all, some or none of those pillars. Yet, the weaker our commitment to them the more aware we become that our Sikhism feels like an empty shell. The more the panth forgets them, the more their Sikhism becomes an outward shows of faith.
Well...I guess the flip side of this could be seen as this: There are a lot of religions out there that seem to proclaim that if you believe in them (such as if you believe in Jesus) you will go to heaven and if you don't you will go to hell. That seems to be the fundamental basis for what a lot of people seem to take from SOME religions. Maybe not all. And so what happens, I've seen it time again, is you get someone who seems to think that BECAUSE he or she upholds one of what he or she considers the strongest tenents of their religion, they are a good person no matter what they do which may actually be evil. There are dudes out there, I've met some, who seem to think that if they don't cut their hair but sleep around with as many women as possible, it's ok because they don't cut their hair and therefore are "sikh". I'm NOT by any stretch of the imagination trying to say that EVERYONE is like that if they're religious. But there are people who use religion to do good, and there are people who use it as a crutch to lean on in times of need (providing comfort), and there are people who use it as an EXCUSE to do bad things proclaiming that "as long as I do xyz which my religion says is the good right thing to do, whatever else I do doesn't matter". And there are insane crazies out there too who kill people (FOR EXAMPLE) saying that "god told them to".

It all boils down to, for me, that religion does not MAKE you good or bad. You either are or aren't. No amount of praying will make someone with a bad heart change. Nor will not beliving in a god or not following a religion to the T make a good person bad, in my opininion. If they're a good person, they probably don't need to be religious in some cases, in order to prove they're good and keep on being good. :)
 

spnadmin

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namritavaneah ji

I agree with much of what you say. I am not at all clear as to how your remarks are connected to what I said. We are coming at different questions from different directions. There are ethical atheists and ethical Sikhs; there are wicked atheists and wicked Sikhs. Ethical behavior is not however a defining aspect of atheism. As I said atheism is a philosophical position on the existence of god. Goodness or wickedness are not "deal-breakers" so to speak for an atheist to continue on through life as an atheist. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on the other plumbs one ethical question after another. It is our scripture and our Guru. When we turn away from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji we also abandon ourselves in a way. That's about it. We must at least try to be Gurmukh, to turn toward the Guru. If we fall back, sleep around, lie, cheat, steal, live in envy, we try again.
 

Ambarsaria

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spnadmin ji thanks for your great and focused, enlightening posts. I learn a lot all the time.

I do have one question regarding your post and it is about concept of "ethical".
namritavaneah ji

I agree with much of what you say. .....Ethical behavior is not however a defining aspect of atheism. ... Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on the other plumbs one ethical question after another. ....
My question is driven by my understanding that SGGS guides us towards absolute truths and practical ways to recognize our variances and also find ways to clarify and always improve.

In the above context how much is "ethical" an absolute truth and what will define a person to be ethical? Is it some actions versus others or violations of some fundamental truths versus others? Perhaps one or two examples out of SGGS. I will be happy to elaborate on shabads if you want to cite some so we may all share and learn.

Perhaps you or someone can initiate a whole thread about "ethical" and how it is embedded in the teachings through SGGS. It will be a fascinating thread.

Sat Sri Akal.
 

namritanevaeh

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I agree with much of what you say. I am not at all clear as to how your remarks are connected to what I said. We are coming at different questions from different directions. There are ethical atheists and ethical Sikhs; there are wicked atheists and wicked Sikhs. Ethical behavior is not however a defining aspect of atheism. As I said atheism is a philosophical position on the existence of god. Goodness or wickedness are not "deal-breakers" so to speak for an atheist to continue on through life as an atheist. Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji on the other plumbs one ethical question after another. It is our scripture and our Guru. When we turn away from Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji we also abandon ourselves in a way. That's about it. We must at least try to be Gurmukh, to turn toward the Guru. If we fall back, sleep around, lie, cheat, steal, live in envy, we try again.
Spnadmin-ji honestly, I agree with what you write here too pretty much. And said thus, I understand it better too. :)
 

namritanevaeh

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Perhaps you or someone can initiate a whole thread about "ethical" and how it is embedded in the teachings through Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It will be a fascinating thread.

Sat Sri Akal.
I think "ethical" is actually very much in the eye of the beholder many times. Some think it is unethical to kill animals to eat, for example. Others are fine with it...especially since other animals themselves do it too. (just one small example, not really wanting to branch off into THAT particular ethical discussion RIGHT HERE).

I think personally that it's funny that I almost failed philosophy in post-secondary education. ;-) I really don't mind discussing philosophy in some contexts. Just not the subjects that were taught in college in the compulsatory courses I took. ;-) I guess it's kind of how I HATED history through high school...honestly I wanted to stab myself in the eyeballs quite frequently at having to learn the subject material that MY SCHOOL (or province) decided I had to learn. But when you set me loose on a particular historical time period that interests me (1745 Scotland for example, due to my own family background then ;-)) I go all out and eat, sleep and breathe history for a while sometimes. ;-)

Sorry, that too was a tangent of sorts but it amuses me... ;-)
 

spnadmin

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spnadmin ji thanks for your great and focused, enlightening posts. I learn a lot all the time.

I do have one question regarding your post and it is about concept of "ethical".My question is driven by my understanding that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji guides us towards absolute truths and practical ways to recognize our variances and also find ways to clarify and always improve.

In the above context how much is "ethical" an absolute truth and what will define a person to be ethical? Is it some actions versus others or violations of some fundamental truths versus others? Perhaps one or two examples out of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. I will be happy to elaborate on shabads if you want to cite some so we may all share and learn.

Perhaps you or someone can initiate a whole thread about "ethical" and how it is embedded in the teachings through Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. It will be a fascinating thread.

Sat Sri Akal.

Ambarsaria ji

I was waiting for this question and I am very happy that you are the one who asked it --- and in a nonargumentative way.

1. Yes, Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji guides us to absolute truths.

2. But, the manner in which we are guided calls us to ask ethical questions of ourselves, often by having these questions addressed to someone else in poetic form. There are many, many examples of this; however, I will use only one, Ang 1412. Guru ji calls us to step off of the path of egotism and asks in so many words, 'just how do you think egotism will help you if you want to play the game of love?' We are later told that there is no wisdom without the Guru and it is Dharma that leads us to meditation/dhiaan (not the reverse). Thus, we conclude an ultimate truth: Ego must be tamed if the divine is to be discovered within. But Guruji does not lecture on this point. Guru ji puts ethical dilemmas before us. Guru Nanak asks, What is it that we want? We have to riddle it out.

4. What is ethics? Not code, not morality, not mores and norms, ethics is the practice of confronting questions of good and evil and searching for the principles that will help us chose good over evil. Ethics is a process of thinking; it is not an end, but the means to an end. Ethical thinking guides our search for the values that motivate our actions, and it provides tools for weighing the choices we make.

5. I see in Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji, in every raag, panna, shabad, saloka, an ethical problem that has been placed before us. How do we connect with ourselves, with one another, with the Sat, for the good, to be good, to be people of virtue, to be Gurmukh? This jumps right out at me every time I read the Granth Sahib. I am being challenged to account for myself.

6. So there are at least 2 ways to read Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji. One is to consider it a book of conclusions that distill the absolute truths. There is another way. That way is to consider it a book that leads us on a journey to those truths. Truths are nothing more than intellectual abstractions if we are not changed by the experience of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji.

7. Otherwise, we are very smart people with a good grasp of Punjabi. We are scholars in progress. Is that what Guru Nanak had in mind? Did he want us to be experts on the nature of gunas and turyia, or was he sharing his understanding of how to embrace something that runs deep and gets lost? My own opinion is that Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji begins with the Mool Mantar because it sets forth the destination: this is where we are going and this is what we want to find and this is what we want to internalize as human beings. The rest of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji takes us lesson by lesson on how to get there. First comes the destination, the objective; then we are given ethical direction on how to get there.

8. I notice many times that in reading a tuk, someone will land on the conclusion and stop. They struggle with how to make it their own. They seem to miss the fact that Guru ji has already explained "how" in the beginning of the tuk. There is a path; there is a end-point.

We engage the ethical part of Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji when we are active and we are guided by the verbs not the nouns and adjectives. We serve, we meditate, we keep, we enshrine - and then we are transformed, we become "angels."

Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is a book of truth; Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji is our teacher; Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji teaches us how to be ethical people.
 

spnadmin

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I think "ethical" is actually very much in the eye of the beholder many times. Some think it is unethical to kill animals to eat, for example. Others are fine with it...especially since other animals themselves do it too. (just one small example, not really wanting to branch off into THAT particular ethical discussion RIGHT HERE).

I think personally that it's funny that I almost failed philosophy in post-secondary education. ;-) I really don't mind discussing philosophy in some contexts. Just not the subjects that were taught in college in the compulsatory courses I took. ;-) I guess it's kind of how I HATED history through high school...honestly I wanted to stab myself in the eyeballs quite frequently at having to learn the subject material that MY SCHOOL (or province) decided I had to learn. But when you set me loose on a particular historical time period that interests me (1745 Scotland for example, due to my own family background then ;-)) I go all out and eat, sleep and breathe history for a while sometimes. ;-)

Sorry, that too was a tangent of sorts but it amuses me... ;-)
namritavaneah ji

If we are going to talk about ethics, let's do it right. Let's talk about ethics as true students of philosophy do it.

Ethics is not about 'anything goes if it feels right to you.' That is the Internet speaking. A real discussion of ethics comes from deep within the heart and mind and is careful in the conclusions it draws. Everything else is the result of the focus of the modern world on "me" and "my feelings" and "who got hurt" and "if no one was hurt then it must be OK."

Personally i would not myself want to be too active a participant either for fear of the mud bath such a thread would become.:noticekudi: A mud bath inspired by "It's all about me and my needs, urges, desires, thoughts, which must be good, because after all they are mine." It is hard enough for me to find maansarovaar. And harder to stay focused on it when I think I had a peek.
 

angrisha

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are there any requirements in Sikhism?

Maybe this should be a new thread. But its something that ive been contemplating for a few weeks now.

As Ive gotten older, I find myself saying no to or avoiding situations which seem to be against what I believe. Even when it involves ppl close to me (sometime my mother), so I struggle sometimes with the guilt of following what I choose to vs. what they want.

For example, I recently had gotten into a my first accident (very bad actually), but at the end of the day for the extent of damage to my car im very much okay. In the process of buying a new car, I personally heard a number of things such as: Dont buy a car on Tuesday or a Thursday. Or my own moms personal insistence of doing something special for the car to remove "nazar" (which in my mind is silly, and we've had a number of vehicles with no such thing done). We've always been grateful for what we receive and personally ive never taken anything for granted.

But how do you go about saying no in a way that doesnt offend people? Or should you even care? I find that I encounter these issues more and more... or maybe im just more reluctant to go along with it :s

For my mom, I basically told her that I didnt think it was necessary but if she wanted to do something for her own peace of mind she could with my car.... my dad basically told her the same thing. She got over it, but she didnt take it well.
 

Harry Haller

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But how do you go about saying no in a way that doesnt offend people? Or should you even care? I find that I encounter these issues more and more... or maybe im just more reluctant to go along with it :s
easy, just tell them youve become an atheist lol
 

Seeker2013

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LOL . No wonder you started this post .
I already knew you were on the verge of being an atheist

PS: Sikhi (tu hi tu hi (only you, O god, only you !) is total opposite of atheism (there is no god)
 

Harry Haller

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Seekerji,

your god, by your own admission is an evil god, I wish no part of your god, good luck with the animal sacrifices!
 

Seeker2013

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Seekerji,

your god, by your own admission is an evil god, I wish no part of your god, good luck with the animal sacrifices!
So you don't believe in Guru Gobind Singh ji since his own composition Jaap sahib mentions one of god's name as
"Namo nit narayane kroor karme" (Salutations to the one (god) who is forever refuge of humans and is evil doer too)
On another note, how do you know god is evil because that gang rape happened ? maybe the victim made her way to heaven or a better birth ? maybe she obtained moksh by being reborn in a gursikh family and doing naam simran . It could be the victims of 1984 genocide got into a much better birth and perhaps half of them obtained mukti by naam simran by being reborn in a gursikh family outside india .!
You're seeing a part of the story ! thats why you felt god did something bad .
Indeed a passerby who sees a mother hitting her child would say "Mother is bad for hitting the child." without knowing the full story . He doesn't knw child did something bad and mother's punishment is just her love to make sure her child doesn't go the wrong way

PS: I am not saying we shouldn't help miserable people and excuse our duty out by saying them "they deserved, their karma" , They're suffering is their karma, but helping them is mine ! :)

PS: What I am saying is illogical if you use your head but makes sense if you use "prema bhagti"

"Jin prem koi, tin hi prabh paeo" (Only those who've loved god has obtained him) - Guru Gobind Singh
 

Harry Haller

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So you don't believe in Guru Gobind Singh ji since his own composition Jaap sahib mentions one of god's name as
"Namo nit narayane kroor karme" (Salutations to the one (god) who is forever refuge of humans and is evil doer too)


I do not believe god is evil, period. maybe this is one of those times when a good translation may come in handy?

On another note, how do you know god is evil because that gang rape happened ?

no, your getting confused here, evil god is your thing not mine, I do not think god is evil, can you keep up here?

maybe the victim made her way to heaven
can you please assist me in telling me about heaven in Sikhism?

and please tell me what is moksh?

It could be the victims of 1984 genocide got into a much better birth and perhaps half of them obtained mukti by naam simran by being reborn in a gursikh family outside india .!

perhaps........so when you say that god gives everyone their wishes, it is not always in this life? could you clarify this? or when he is not in an evil mood?

You're seeing a part of the story ! thats why you felt god did something bad .
I did not feel god did something bad, I am merely questioning your statements, one of which was that god gives his devotees everything, now your telling me this is unless he is in an evil mood, or planning a better birth next time,
 

Seeker2013

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Talk to Guru Granth Sahib , not me ! maybe that would help with the "screaming of duality" you seem to be suffering from.
Guru sahib is clear. Out of the many names for god in SGGS , one of god's name is "bhagat vachhal"
and also "santa(n) ke tek" , "bhagta di ot" , you would know if only you read SGGS yourself , rather than coming on an online forum with your view of sikhi which no one in their right mind would think has any semblance to Sikhi as preached by Guru Nanak or any of the 11 guru sahibans

You sir , are an atheist in denial :)

PS: nothing wrong in being an atheist, but atleast own up to it rather than being so confused
 

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