Sikhi Is Sikhi A Religion?

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by Harkiran Kaur, Mar 15, 2018.

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Is Sikhi A religion within the parameters of the generally accepted definition?

  1. Yes, it falls into what is generally accepted as ‘religion’

    7 vote(s)
    63.6%
  2. No, Sikhi is definitely not a religion

    4 vote(s)
    36.4%
  1. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur

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    Many on here have vehemently declared Sikhi is not a religion...

    The generally accepted definition of a religion is:

    “A set of beliefs concerning the cause, nature, and purpose of the universe, especially when considered as the Creation of a superhuman (or beyond human) agency or agencies (Creator/s), usually involving devotional and/or ritual observances, and often containing a moral code governing the conduct of human affairs.”

    If you believe Sikhi does not fall into this definition at all (and remember the definition is all encompassing so while any one particular religion might not fit all of the parameters of the definition, however the definition should be broad enough to encompass all religions) ... if you believe Sikhi falls entirely outside of this, then please explain why you believe so.
     
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  3. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller SPNer

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    I believe that Sikhism is an extremely personal journey that depends on your upbringing, environment, genetics and your own personal agenda, when I say personal agenda, that is not to say I feel that is wrong, everyone has a personal agenda, mine is to be nothing, at this stage in my life anyway, we all change through life, so each persons Sikhi must surely change too, I do not understand how a snapshot moment of ones own personal Sikhi can be lauded as a universal template to be followed by others, Sikhi does not have a clergy in the same way that other religions do, so the only person telling you what to do is yourself, which is quite liberating.

    You have been in the military, and you are also very very intelligent, you also have your own moral code, so maybe you might understand the below better than others,

    It's war, the enemy has overrun your village and they have orders to kill everyone, men, women and children. A group of people, including you, have found refuge in a cellar in a house but then you hear the soldiers up above you and you all freeze, knowing that the slightest noise will bring the soldiers storming in and everyone will die.
    And at that precise moment the baby starts crying.........what do you do?

    Personally, I would kill the baby, so in that instant, in that snapshot, my moral code goes out the window. The tenth master is quoted as saying 'Tyar bar Tyar' be ready for anything, how can one be ready for anything when one has ingrained various codes and traits?

    A religion is more of an organised set of commands, a way of life is respecting a set of commands but using ones own intelligence and discretion and being aware that one may need to break out of that respect when needed, and just be Tyar bar Tyar. The former needs no intelligence, just the ability to follow instructions, the latter requires huge wisdom and the ability to learn and know what is the right thing to do based on the factors presented. It is the former that ask the most pointless stupid questions, ala

    I have been to the doctor and he cut my hair on my belly to lance something, have I sinned?
    What is the correct order of ritual to do this or that?
    I am plagued by bad luck, what can I do, What prayer can I say?
    I have noted that there is a small amount of alcohol in my medicine, what should I do?
    and on and on and on and on..........



    In mainstream Sikhism the former is lauded, the latter is seen as new age coconut thinking, I follow the latter, however, I lean towards Sikh teachings in that respect, although out of respect for my fellow Sikhs, I refuse to call myself a Sikh, it implies I wish to change the system, or that the former is wrong and the latter is right, I am not into religious wars, or foisting my way on others, live and let live, let everyone have the right to come to their own conclusions in their own way, shared experiences are always good, good to learn from, I have learned much from you, and always read your posts with interest, but I resent anyone telling me what to do, or what is right, it is only right for you, not for everyone.

    thanks
     
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  4. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur Writer SPNer Supporter

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    I suppose I shall jump into the deep water and hope I can swim well enough to keep from drowning. Or that Guru ji will safely transport me across.

    For the sake of brevity, and to keep my fingers from cramping with too much typing, I will refer to Sikhi as a religion.

    As an adult, I have always considered Sikhi as a spiritual journey, a way of life, a religion, in stark contrast to other such systems, which seem primarily a means to placate God. Most Holy Scriptures of other religions, including but not limited to, the Abrahamic faiths, are primarily a combination of rules and history, with a bit of poetry and philosophy thrown in almost, it seems, as an afterthought. Siri Guru Granth Sahib ji is unconcerned, for the greatest part, with either history or rules. It is instead a book of surpassingly beautiful, deep poetry, espousing a sublime philosophy devoid of fear or coercion.

    I have said before and will repeat myself that Sikhi treats us as adults. There are no rules telling us how to cook our food, make love to our spouses, or wipe our butts after defecating. It is expected that, as adult women and men, we can figure these things out for ourselves. Instead, we are given an attitude, a way of life, a directional guide that leads us directly back to the One.

    True Sikhi is based on our Eternal Guru, Siri Guru Granth Sahib. The Japji Sahib at the beginning of SGGS ji defines our situation in great detail and hints at a solution to our dilemma about life, morals, destiny, and other high and lofty problems. The Sukhmani Sahib gives succinct step-by-step instructions to achieve our goal of mukhti while we are alive on this planet during this lifetime. I call this "playing the game of life to win."

    SGGS is not a book of history or a code of law. It is instead a guidebook into unknown territory where left to our own devices, we cannot accurately guess or even imagine the problems and pitfalls in the minefield we are transversing, a guidebook that shows us how to avoid all the evils around us and to grow and become our best selves. It teaches us how to be in the world but not of the world. It teaches us how to be good and decent people while walking the path of spiritual growth. It is the Sikh's blueprint for winning this game of life.

    I can think of no better definition of a religion. But, of course, I am a fool in the wilderness beating:tablakudi: on a drum, still a Sikh Don Quixote trying to liberate fish from water:fish:. I do, however, remain in charhdi kala, :winkingkaur: awaiting whatever comes.

    As Tevya sang in Fiddler on the roof:
    To us and our good fortune,
    Be happy, be healthy, long life!
    And if our good fortune never comes,
    Here's to whatever comes!:rofl:
     
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  5. Harkiran Kaur

    Harkiran Kaur

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    For myself I think that for any belief system to truly be called a religion, it must also be a way of life.

    I don’t see them as separate just because the very meaning of religion deals with the very nature and purpose of the universe and our place within it, and I see our every day lives as part of that. Nowhere in the accepted definition do I see a necessity to follow one strict set of rules, rather generalized a moral code which any human should be following out of respect for humanity - the ALL.

    Gurbani does address the nature of the universe, reality, and our place within it. And it does intimate a moral code. Therefore by the generally accepted definition above, I believe Sikhi does define as a religion.

    But curious to see others views on how they see it as not fitting...
     
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  6. Original

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    Harkiran Ji,

    Humans are meticulous organisers when it comes to clarifying concepts, classifying things into various groups and categories. In so doing, they employ the science of logic to distinguish between form n substance because form n substance play an important part in how we discern things in the world. For example, Harkiran Kaur is a live creature, more specifically an animal, more specifically a vertebrate, more specifically a mammal, more specifically a human [form] being, more specifically a female, more specifically a Canadian female, more specifically a Canadian Sikh [substance] female. Thus, the Establishment have in place institutions for classifications and categorisations that uses this kind of conventional methodologies [deductive reasoning] to determine genre, class, category, group, sex, gender, ethincity, etc to determine what a particular thing is in "itself". Accordingly, Sikh in itself is a religion and hence, the classification.

    The reason why they've classified Sikh a religion is because of its subject matter [belief in the existence of a superbeing/energy] and the way in which it is comprehended. Arguably, it could be said that Sikh is a way of life [philosophy], but when that life philosophy is thrashed out to determine the form n substance of the superbeing, it turns to "argument and reason" for explanation and verification. Argument and reason can only take us insofar a view of what the superbeing is like, [if there is one, see Harkiran Kaur, above] but not what the superbeing is in "itself". So how do we explain and verify the superbeing in terms of form n substance for classifications purposes ? We can't. That as a result, have led the Establishment [noteably, David Hume, philosopher] to declassify religion from being a subject of knowledge, but one of "faith". And it this faith, which is solely and wholly responsible for the determination of the form n substance of the superbeing, constituted through intuition and revelation. The defining feature that Sikh is a religion is therefore, determined not by argument and reason but by intuition and revelation. That as a matter of fact, constitutes what we call a "system of belief" sufficient to enable particular classification.

    Good Easter !
     
  7. Inderjeet Kaur

    Inderjeet Kaur Writer SPNer Supporter

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    The distinction between knowledge (fact) and belief (faith) is crucial. To me, it is appalling how believers of various sorts, whether religious or pseudo-scientific or anything else, try to pass off their beliefs as facts. The devout Christian says to me, "I KNOW that Jesus is the Son of God and God incarnate and He died to save me from my sins." It is useless - and possibly cruel - for me to insist that "No, you don't KNOW, you BELIEVE." The flat earther is convinced that the earth is flat and no amount of evidence whether scientific or experiential, will convince him otherwise. The fact is that no matter how deeply one believes something, depth of belief does not change faith into knowledge.

    My previous examples of the devout believer who cannot differentiate between fact and faith, and the flat-earther who cannot differentiate between knowledge and belief, are relatively benign. The person who claims that the Bible is totally factual, that it is the inerrant, factual, literal Word of God is much more dangerous. The Bible then becomes a science and history text in schools and children are taught all sorts of nonsense that is obviously untrue, but which they must accept as true or be sinners of the worst sort, those who know the truth but stubbornly refuse to accept it.

    When the Bible or any holy scriptures are accepted as science, when belief is accepted as fact, science and logic become blasphemous, superstition overtakes science, and the society built primarily on reason and knowledge is shaken to its foundation. When I hear Sikhs smugly proclaim that Siri Guru Granth Sahib gets some scientific fact correct, I inwardly cringe, not because the statement is untrue, but because I see the inherent danger of using any holy scriptures as a source of scientific knowledge. The primary purposes of such scriptures are metaphysical and philosophical; some scientific facts may be correct, but that is not the purpose of those writings. Religion is about belief, science is about knowledge. Fortunately, Sikhi has managed thus far to keep those two distinct (most of the time), and so in Sikhi, there is no conflict between science and religion. The two great Abrahamic religions, Christianity and Islam, have not. [Judaism, although an ancient Abrahamic religion, is not now a major religion, and Jews tend not to be anti-science anyway.] As I stated before, I watch as science is morphing into superstition, beliefs are being held above facts, and a culture whose foundation is built on knowledge and scientific principles will likely come tumbling down on itself, if that trend continues.

    I fear we are today watching this process which is heralding the demise of Western Civilization right now. For all its many flaws, I believe that Western Civilization is one of the best ideas we humans have come up with, and it's worth preserving.

    Truly we live in interesting times

    [I haven't said anything about the way Hindu fundamentalism is destroying all that is great about India. Someone else can write about that, if anyone is interested.]
     
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  8. dalvindersingh grewal

    dalvindersingh grewal Writer Historian SPNer

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    Sikhism is a way of life; originated by Guru Nanak Dev Ji and gradually developed over a period by 10 Gurus and later Sikh traditions. It believes in One God and 10 gurus and Sri guru Granth sahib the guru eternal; no idol worship; no rituals to appease spirits; no sacred thread or mundan sanskar etc. Sikhs wear five kakars and wear turban; hence Sikhism is distinct from Hinduism, Islam and various other religions
     
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  9. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    I ticked 'religion' in the poll, because Sikhi does fit the definition. However, I also just read this on a blog about Stoicism and I thought one could swap 'Stoicism' for 'Sikhi' and it would be as accurate:

     
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  10. Original

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    Good morning Ishna Ji
    ..well done !
    ..what if definition changes, will Sikhi change from what it truly is ? No. The reason why Sikhi is classified as a religion is not because of the definition, but because of "what it is" and the way it is "approached" [see #5 above, more below].
    ...there are lot of similarities between the two, but the defining feature that one a philosophy [Stoicism] and the other a religion [Sikhism], lies in the pursuit of the "absolute truth". Stoicism relies on reason and argument to get to this absolute truth, whereas, Sikhism relies on intuition and revelation. And as a result, one is a philosophy and the other a religion.
     
  11. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    Perhaps, just as Stoicism has been described as a 'religious philosophy', Sikhi can be, too?

    "Stoicism may be called either a philosophy or a religion. It was a religion in its exalted passion; it was a philosophy inasmuch as it made no pretence to magical powers or supernatural knowledge." - Gilbert Murray
     
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  12. Original

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    ..yes it can be, and in fact it does when conceptual analysis are fully thrashed out to ascertain relationship between humankind, cosmos n God [Sikh]. This can only be had at a philosophical level, adding more weight to what you've said above - religious philosophy. But that doesn't suffice classification and categorisation criteria to denote it either/or. A good example to amplify what I'm saying is afforded by history as a discipline. History falls within the ambit of Art and not Science, despite the fact that analytical enquiry is carried out using the scientific method. See subjective below because that is why History a discipline remains an Art n not Science.

    ..can it ? lets have a closer look, bearing in mind the operative word here is "described". Lets take an orange [fruit] for example - how would you describe an orange ? That its round, juicy and has a flavour. Sounds about right, being round n juicy will pass universal test [objective] but it being sweet, sour, in-between [subjective], etc. wont. Similarly, Stoicism n Sikhism may appear to be similar in many ways, but are they ?
    ..the operative word here is passion. We can ascribe passion to the emotional dimension of the human being, meaning - subjective. One's emotional content is pretty much like one's taste - variable. So what is true for the stoics isn't necessarily true for the rest of the population, thus, a matter of belief.

    Explanation

    Philosophers set out to discover the theory of knowledge [epistemology] meaning, how we know what we know, is it knowable and whether it could be relied upon using conventional modes and human faculties. The answer they came up with is that belief systems [faith schools] are not subjects of knowledge but subjects of faith.
     
  13. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    I think there are similarities, yes. But I don't want to go on about that here. I was merely presenting the thought that perhaps Sikhi is both a religion and a philosophy, and that it wouldn't be alone in that classification.
     
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  14. Harry Haller

    Harry Haller SPNer

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    I do not think anyone, despite what they may think, has a monopoly on what Sikhism is, if the question is can Sikhism be described as a religious philosophy, I would say it can be. The above answer, as usual, does not really answer your question, the above answer attempts to answer the question is Sikhism like Stoicism, which you do not ask,.

    The answer is clearly, yes it can, if the above member wishes to debate this point with me, I would be happy to do so
     
  15. Original

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    Ishna Ji - I understand where you're coming from and accept everything you say, but this "perhaps" [see bold above] doesn't wash within certain jurisdictions, especially when it comes to categorisations and classification. Religion and philosophy are two sides of the one coin - more when I have time, but for now - thank you for the Sunday Service - been a real pleasure !

    Love n Live
     
  16. Sikhilove

    Sikhilove Writer SPNer

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    Truth is Truth. The Gurus teachings were just the Truth. As were taught by other teachers that God sent previously. There's either Truth or Maya.

    That's what Guru Nanak Ji was telling us when he said there's no Hindu, No Muslim, Only One.
     
  17. Original

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    Good morning Everyone,

    Is Sikhi A religion within the parameters of the generally accepted definition?
    1. Yes, it falls into what is generally accepted as ‘religion’
      6 vote(s) = 75.0%
    2. No, Sikhi is definitely not a religion
      2 vote(s) = 25.0%
    I write with reference to the above statistics: given the host site is allegedly a representative body of a system of belief [Sikh] why analyse ? Is the host in doubt, and if so, then representation to that end should be made accordingly [I'm mindful here not to invite the honourable, Mr Malik n Harry Haller because I've already at heart their view n verdict - thank you].

    As for the on going discussion in general, perhaps an academic argument could develop if the 25% were to show why Sikhi is definitely not a religion ?

    Many thanks
     
  18. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    The 'host site'? Dude, it's a user-generated poll. ;)
     
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  19. Tejwant Singh

    Tejwant Singh Mentor Writer SPNer

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    Original ji,

    Guru Fateh.

    Would you care to explain what you mean by the above in bold because I have not the faintest?

    Basic decency demands this from you. I hope you would heed to it. Thanks.

    And BTW, I agree with @Ishna ji about the poll.
     
  20. Original

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    Thank you Ishna Ji - Dude is definitely a notch up from grumpy old git, hey !

    Okay, I should've said "service provider", but the message still stands and is intended to benefit the compliance officers at SPN.

    Conducting that kind of a poll on a site that is in itself a representative body of the survey in question can be seen as an expression of willingness to negotiate what might otherwise be deemed non negotiable [IMHO].


    Gur Fateh Veer Ji

    I'm simply asking the 25% to come forward and justify [academically] how "Sikhi is definitely not a religion". It will be interesting to see how the arguments pan out. In so doing, I've intimated that you and Harry Haller be spared from this onerous task, on account, we have in the past killed much of Sikhi to death already and, nothing new is likely to emerge. I took the liberty to pre-empt this decision and stand corrected should you wish to make a statement to the contrary. Moreover, its an invitation to the Admin Team to speak up - purely for me to reflect on.

    Wishing you the very best !

    Goodnight n Godbless
     
    Last edited: Apr 15, 2018
  21. Ishna

    Ishna Enthusiast Writer SPNer

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    Your attitude per above makes this a very uncomfortable place to be. :applauds: I'll be going again now. Good luck.
     
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