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General Let's Play 'spot The Contradiction'


May 9, 2006
Hi again

Recent events provoke a re-examination of suffering and evil within the context of religion. Whilst browsing the topic I found this :crazy: BBC article in 'religious studies: Sikhism: good and evil' http://www.bbc.co.uk/schools/gcsebitesize/rs/god/sigoodandevilrev1.shtml

I struggle to read it even thought I've been over these topics here a hundred times. Imagine being a newbie - how the contradictions stand out!!

Page 2 is where the real fun starts. My comments are in green:

What does Sikhism teach about good and evil?

  • Everything that happens is Hukam, the will of God (Waheguru). People should live their lives in obedience to God’s will.
  • God created everything and gave people free will. <- if everything that happens is by the will of God then how can there be free will?
  • Suffering is not inflicted directly by God but is permitted by God as a test of courage and faith. Suffering is appreciated for the good that it often brings out in humanity eg, compassion. It is a person’s own actions that are responsible for their suffering.
  • There is a divine spark or soul, which is part of God, in everyone. This spark or soul is re-absorbed into God when a person is finally released from the cycle of births and deaths.
  • The soul lives through many different forms of existence before being born into a human body. There are 8,400,000 different forms of life, and many souls have to travel though many of these before they can finally reach God. <- really?? How is this even relevant to suffering and evil?
  • Only humans know the difference between right and wrong, and can make moral choices. So it is only when the soul is in a human being that the cycle can be broken. Freedom from this cycle of rebirth is called mukti.
  • Good actions do lead to good karma. However, Guru Nanak preached that the birth is due to a person’s karma, but the final liberation (mukti) is due to God’s grace. <- if the human birth is the result of a person's karma, but human's are the only beings capable of making moral choices which affect karma, then how did they cease to be animals to begin with???
The existane of this article on the BBC website makes me need a paper bag.


1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
The Sikh pages are accompanied by pages for other religions too. Then in the left column navigation pane, other topics are also "taught". The site is called "Bitesize" and I suppose that means the intent was to keep things simplistic and short. That is what "short" gets you, something that is so simplistic that it is probably wrong and/or misleading.

If you backtrack, you can find there are some tests. For Sikhism:

Sikhism: beliefs about God
Sikhism: good and evil
Sikhism: revelation


What should I do if I fail one of those tests? Maybe I should confess to the forum in a public and humble way. What should I do if I get an "A?" Maybe I should brag to the forum in a public and not-so-humble way.

Maybe I should write to the editor and complain. The last time I did that, I wrote to an international Sikh newspaper regarding a major controversy. The editor wrote back and told me and "your kind" to get a life.

That ties in with the simple and short theory. Does the BBC believe that very many people want to spend time thinking about Bhagat Ramanand and what he thought about god, good and evil, or revelation. Too Complicated

But his shabads sum up deep Sikh beliefs, beginning with ਰਾਮਾਨੰਦ ਜੀ ਘਰੁ ੧ रामानंद जी घरु १ Rāmānanḏ jī gẖar 1 Raamaanand Jee, First House:

It would be good to know more about the origins of this site on BBC and who its founders were.
  1. How were the authors who wrote the religion pages selected?
  2. Did any particular 'panthic' bias predominate among those who were selected, or those who were doing the selecting?
  3. Was there an editorial board and did it think that a site for children and/or newbies should employ uncomplicated explanations?
  4. Was there internal controversy when the Sikh pages were being written?
    • Did those who were present in the largest numbers prevail?
    • Did those with the loudest voices prevail?
  5. Final question. How would non-Sikh desk editors and feature editors who had primary responsibility for this project know who to listen to?

Somehow the site does not surprise me. It would be very interesting to hear from members of other faiths who would take the time to look over the sections and tests for their religions. They might get back to us with their concerns.
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1947-2014 (Archived)
Jun 17, 2004
Ok, I took all 3 tests. The site really has a hang-up with the name of the object (no clues from me) that is used to fan Guru Granth lol . Also be clear about the meaning of manji. lol

The test about "God" is a snap if you know the commonly accepted meanings of words in the Mool Mantar. There is an example of what test designers call a "semantic clue" over the meaning of the word saibhang (you can get it right just by ruling out two choices based on two questions just before it). There is a repeating "length clue" that can actually cause people to make the wrong choice. japposatnamwaheguru:

The test on good and evil is mostly a vocabulary test. Frequent visitors to SPN should have no trouble whatsoever. The only tricky part would be if you were daring enough to apply Dr. Baldev Singh's thinking on karma and reincarnation to one or two questions. If you do, you will get those questions wrong... because Dr. Baldev Singh is "wrong," he may even be a pakhandi theorist, according to many 'panthic" organizations in Canada and England.:sippingcoffee:

The test about Revelation is not really about revelation at all but mostly a quick take on early Sikh history. The "manji" hangup is repeated on this test. Just about anyone can get a good grade as long as you do not get lost in subtleties - the curse of the good to excellent student. :mundaviolin:
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