By: James Hannah
What is religion and why do so many in the world follow a form of it. The masses are so easily moved to follow something. Religion is a way to control the masses, but also we can look at that further that internet controls the masses, as does cell phones. That is my feeling on the subject. I did learn a lot by the religions that we looked at. I happened to go to the Sikh Temple, The Synagogue and to the Cathedral of the Madeline. I will say all three where awesome to go on and I did learn a lot. Moving from East to West try to see how they all seem to work together.
Sikhism was very interesting religion to look at because of their belief in one god in a Hindu dominate area of the world. They are a warrior class within India, protectors of all that are oppressed. Their first guru was Nanak and he emphasized that God is within the heart. So one does not need the Vedas or the Qur’an to find God, and regardless of one’s caste or gender, God is within, Truth immanent. This is symbolized by its openness to both Hindus and Muslims. Nanak wore Hindu-style clothing on his lower body and Muslim-style on his torso and head. 6 centuries later the guru then wore two swords, one representing spiritual power and the other temporal power, to signify the defense of the Sikh religion against Muslim and Hindu armies. 1699 the initiation ceremony for the Khalsa “the Pure” that required showing willingness to die for their faith and to take the life of anyone who attempted to persecute its members. I learned that is still done but that the last part is to include those that are persecuted from lower caste and or that are different. They don’t kill anyone for that but they are to stand up for the less fortunate or oppressed people. God to them is based on direct experience of a personal God in the human heart. To them God is as close to a person as his or her heart but unity unlimited in time and space. So that belief is why they say that Hindu deities and the Muslim deity are human experiences of God, but are more limited than God. To Sikh’s the world and humans are not essentially opposed to God, he is immanent in the world, and also transcends it. To them God is available in the human heart, but is also beyond complete human comprehension. To them the human soul can experience the world as good or evil. A person that is making progress towards unity with God see’s the world as a beautiful place that is able to witness God’s glory, or the person that is self-loving or absorbed in themselves will see the world as an enemy. To them the human soul has a opportunity to live in peace and harmony with God, but to them most humans unfortunately love physical possessions rather than God. To them karma affects all people’s lives and that God can forgive even the worst sinners, but one must turn towards God to be forgiven. So an unaided person cannot succeed in this, one seeing or hearing the guru is not enough, one must become committed completely to God in one’s heart and salvation is only available through baptism. Sikhs have a very affirmative attitude towards creation, so to them the world is good and to be enjoyed. They are allowed to eat meat and also eat vegetables, but they do not use tobacco, which other people also feel is harmful to the body. To them the human body is also good and to be strengthened. Being aggressive in behavior is prohibited by any of the ahimsa doctrine, but force can be used where needed in warfare and in civil life. To them the belief in God and the teaching of the gurus and the Adi Granth can give them strength for victory of their enemies. Women in the religion have experienced high and low status, depending on customs in India, but because women are not considered unclean or impediments to salvation, marriage or association with them does not make a man a lower or higher status. The Golden Temple at Amritsar houses the object of...