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  1. TheeTurbanator

    Answering Arguments Against Sikhi

    NOTE: This post is a work in progress Waheguru Ji Ka Khalsa, Waheguru Ji Ki Fateh! Often times I hear Non-Sikhs bring up common arguments against Sikhi, and as someone who likes to create a lot online resource hubs for Sikhs, I am taking it upon myself to create a list of Q/A's. I recently got a series of arguments (posing as questions) from an anonymous user on the Sikh Reddit who was allegedly Ex-Sikh. He frequently made references to Islam, and also claimed that he had done a lot of research on his "questions", yet the questions themselves seem as if they are taken from wikipedia or some anti-sikh site. Here are some of the arguments I would like to debunk: Q: If Sikhi is against the Caste System, then why are their Caste based Gurdwara's? A: Anyone can just create a "Gurdwara" and install their own beliefs into it, that doesn't make it valid. The key part here is that this cannot be supported by the actual theology of Sikhi, and all the main Gurdwara's still allow people of lower-caste to enter. All of these so called "caste Gurdwara's" are also not backed by the Akal Takth, and are not recognized by the Khalsa Panth. Q: Why were the Gurus themselves all from the Khatri caste and married within their own caste despite preaching against such barriers? A: The very premise of this question is incorrect, Guru isnt from the Khatri caste becuase the concept of caste itself is invalid. There is no evidence to suggest that caste was involved in the marrage decision, and neither was any proposal rejected due to caste. Furthermore, the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji itself contains writings from people of different "castes" and backgrounds. When the Guru created the Khalsa Panth, the Panj Pyare were from different occupations, locations, and families, the entire concept of the Khalsa itself destroys the caste system. If the Guru was secretly supporting the caste sustem, he would have not created the Khalsa and passed on the Guruship. Gurbani itself is the Guru, and its anti-caste message is very clear, but it's some food for thought. Q: How about the succession of the Gurus? How do we go from the 4 first being chosen by merit and from different lineage, then suddenly it turns into a system of monarchy resulting in the succession of Guru Harkrishan Ji at such a young age who also passed away at a young age. A: "Nepotism" is defined as: The practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. A lot of people like to accuse the Guru of being Nepotistic, and use it to bring down Sikhi by stating the successors of the Guru were not truly worthy of the title. The next Guru was never chosen on the basis of nepotism, and was always chosen based on Merit, the Guru tested each of his followers to see if they were worthy of the title of Guru. We are all just vessels filled with the same light, "family" is an illusion, we are all One. Although some of the Gurus did pass the Guruship on to their human sons, many did not, and even if they did, it was becuase their sons just happened to pass the test.If Sikhi allowed Nepotism, then why didnt Guru Nanak Dev Ji or many of the other Guru's pass it on to their children? Guru Nanak could have easily made Sri chand or Lakhmi Das the next Guru, the same applies with Guru Gobind Singh ji who did not have to let any of his sons sacrifice themselves for Sikhi, and could have asked them to not give Shaheedi. The fact that Guru Gobind Singh Ji established the Khalsa in 1699 before the death of all his human offsprings shows that he was going to stop the line of Human Guru's anyways. The ultimate argument against nepotism in Sikhi is the fact that the Siri Guru Granth Sahib Ji & the Khalsa Panth were made the eternal Guru. Hypothetically, even if the Guruship was passed down based solely on Nepotism, I would have no problem with it becuase it is the Guru's decision and looking back at history and how each Guru lives his life, I can say the Guru made the perfect decision. As for Guru Harkrishan Ji, the reason the Guru chose the vessel of a young boy was to show that spirituality isnt affected by age, and even a child can attain liberation. The reason Guru Harkrishan Ji physically passed away at such a young age was to exemplify shaheedi, it makes no sense for the Guru to go around curing other people of small pox, yet die from it himself. Q: why has Sikhi remained confined for the most part to the Punjabi population? A: Sikhs dont go out and actively convert people like people of Abrahamic theologies do, the Sikh community is also generally very young compared to others. This issue is already starting to change, there are already hubs of non-punjabi Sikhs thriving in places like America, Indonisia, UK, Canada, etc, and we just need time. Q: Why did/are some Sikhs converting to other religions, if Sikhi is supreme, then why would people leave it? A: The message itself is supreme, but the people themselves are not. The argument of people leaving/joining a certain religion can be made for any group. The larger abrehamic religions are the ones that generally have a higher turnover rate compared to easter Dharams. Q: why hasn’t history seen Gurus with a similar message in the West or other corners of the world? A: There are other people with similar messages, there's even some new relgion in the west called "Eckankar" which is very similar to Sikhi on certain aspects. Gurbani also contains Bani from a lot of people who lived before the physical arrival of Guru Nanak Dev Ji, who's Bani is inline with Gurmat. Q: Why is Gurbani repetitive? A: I dont know if your reading the english translation or something, but in Gurmukhi the way certain words are used has a different meaning depending on the context. Furthermore, Gurbani is also multilayered, and speaks to the mind during its different states. As for repetitiveness in message, it's important becuase Humans learn from repetition, when you were a child, your parents had to constantly call you by your name so you remember it, etc. Gurbani is not like the abrehamic texts, it is not divided by chapters, but rather by Music. Gurbani does not have dedicated sections for certain topics, becuase as a Sikh our job is not to pick and choose what we want to learn, the Guru teaches us what we need, and the format Gurbani is written in ensures its multi layered and speaks to different people at different stages in their spiritual journey. The fact that there are other Bhagats whose Bani is inline with the Guru, reinforces the Oneness of the message of Sikhi. Q: Why did the Gurus have multiple wives? At least with Islam there is a specific guidelines prescribed, a lot of Sikhs like to argue based on emotion rather than historical evidence. A: The narrative that the Gurus were polygamists is highly contestable on the basis of historical analysis, not emotion. "The story of Guru Har Rai having married seven wives, who were all sisters, is found only in one MS of Suraj Prakash and is written on unpaged leaves which are clearly an interpolation. Unfortunately this copy became the basis of the editions nowadays in vogue. Other copies mention only one marriage. Mahima Prakash, which is much older than this book, also mentions only one wife. See on this point the annotation of Bhai Vir Singh on Suraj Prakash" -Dr. Ganda Singh, Baba Teja Singh; 'A Short History of the Sikhs,' vol. i, pg. 48. Here is a good post discussing this issue As for Islam, providing specific guidelines, I hope you realize that it also provides guidelines to beat ones wife, among many other things... Q: Why so much debate over a simple matter of canon scriptures (the Dasam Granth which oddly enough contains 2 of the prayers forming the Nitnem) A: There isnt "so much" debate over this. the Anti-Dasam granth crowd is a vocal minority, and the Dasam Granth is accepted by the Khalsa Panth as a whole, and even backed by the Akal Takth. Furthermore, the Debate that does happen isnt about the nitnem banis from Dasam Granth (Jaap Sahib, Tav Prasad Savaiye, Chaupai Sahib). Overall, Sikhs have still preserved their scriptures far better than many others, and the Quran itself was never even written down by Muhammad, Jesus never wrote the Bible, etc... Q: Why is there such a controversy over vegetarianism vs meat eating? Why didnt the Guru lay our a clear guideline? A: This wasn't really an issue before the start of the modern day meat industry, but we as a community have turned it into an issue. Sikhs historically ate meat, this is a fact, the reason there is a big vegetarian movement in the Sikh community is mainly due to the modern day meat industry and the idea that Sikhs dont really need meat anymore becuase they have so many more alternatives. As for the actual theology regarding this issue, its already clearly laid out by the Guru: Sikhs are to refrain from Halal Meat, if a Sikhs is to hunt or eat meat, then they must follow the Jhatka Maryada set up by the Guru. More information and sources can be found at jhatkamaryada.com Q: Why are Sikhs encouraged to be critical thinkers, yet told not to ask questions? A: People are getting two concepts confused: its ok to question the Guru similar to how a student questions a teacher, however its discouraged to question for the sake of trying to create an arguement or disruption. Final Thoughts A deep underlying issue that motivates a lot of these arguments is the idea that if Sikhi is true, then why would it not also temporally reign supreme, and why would "bad things" happen to Sikhs if they are morally correct? The answer to this is the simply: Hukam, and the fact that "good" and "bad" dont really exist. However, the issue here is that others will see this as a cop out. I am interested in developing a more indepth response to this strain of thought. Any recommendations? Feedback If you have any suggestions, please let me know any way you can, you can also email me at TheTurbanatore@gmail.com or contact me via Reddit at reddit.com/u/TheTurbanatore
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