The Fundamentals of Sikhism
The Sikh religion (Sikhism) was founded in the Northern India in the 15th century by Guru Nanak Dev who was directly influenced by Hinduism and Islam. Its temple of worship is known as the Gurdwara (doorway to God). In the temple, genders are segregated and Sikhs historically have had no official clergy, but recently have implemented priests.
The Sikh religion originated in India by Guru Nanak as a hybrid of Hinduism, Islam, and its own novelties (and a slight influence of Christianity) with an emphasis on a selected tolerance. The Sikhs reject all other exclusive religious claims yet, dissimilarity they accept all religions as paths to the divine. In the West, the Sikhs are often confused with Muslims, but are not considered an Islamic sect by any religious specialist. The number of Sikhs worldwide is between 20-30 million and 150,000 to 250,000 in the United States. Sikhs have some warrior elements in their history, but today are a deeply peaceful group with essential outreaches to the poor.
This Love stands out beautifully … in the hymns-celestial of divine lovers of different religions, faiths, creeds are enshrined in One Religion of Love, in brotherhood of man and in sole fatherhood of God (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji).
God as Father
Thou art my father, Thou art my mother, Thou art my kinsman and Thou art my brother. In all the places Thou art my protector. Then why should I feel fear and anxiety? (Guru Arjan, Majh).
Muslims reject but Jews and Christian profess the Fatherhood of God and Sikhs believe that Waheguru (God) is Father, Mother, Brother, Husband, and Friend. The Sikhs are monotheists who believe in the One (Ik Onkar) Merciful God who is atemporal and has a type of aseity.
God is one. His name is True. He is the Creator. His is without fear. He is inimical to none. His existence is unlimited by time. He is beyond the cycles of birth and death, self-existent (Guru Nanak).
Waheguru created everything: “In His will, He creates all” (Guru Amar Das).
The Sikh Holy Book
The Sikhs’ holy book is called the Guru Granth Sahib or Guru Granth (viewed as the living Guru). They deny that any Holy Book takes priority over others. Likewise they reject the notion that a prophet from any religion is the ultimate messenger of God. Nonetheless, the Sikhs are heavily influenced by the Vedas and the Qur’an as they primarily focus on their own Guru Granth.
Say not that the Vedas and the Koran are false. False is he, who reflects not on them (Parbhati).
The Five Ks
The Five Ks that faithful Sikhs observe:
- Kesh: uncut hair worn under a turban for men.
- Kangha: a wooden comb used to comb the hair twice daily.
- Kara: an iron bangle placed on one’s hand.
- Kachera: an undergarment to be worn by all.
- Kirpan: a small dagger to be carried.
The Sikhs have no specific day for worship. In the West they usually assemble on Sundays. They deny an eternal heaven and hell, but profess a belief in cycles of death and rebirths until the soul merges with Waheguru (the Supreme being).
The most problematic doctrine is the Sikh rejection of Jesus as the unique Son of God who died for the sins of men. Sikhism esteems all people as the children of God. This is where the Christian should begin to care for and minster to the Sikh.
For I delivered to you first of all that which I also received: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).
The true and living God is just and righteous. Only through Christ’s death on the cross can mercy as well as justice be satisfied. An eternal Messiah paying the price for our sins against an eternal God is the only solution for sin and depravity. Men working their way through countless deaths and rebirths will not erase past misdeeds and sin.
But to him who does not work but believes on Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is accounted for righteousness … Blessed are those whose lawless deeds are forgiven, and whose sins are covered; Blessed is the man to whom the LORD shall not impute sin (Romans 4:5-8; emphasis mine).
The Cross: An Instrument of Death and Salvation
The symbol of Christianity is an instrument of death. It suggests hope (Frederick Buechner).
All of us, including Sikhs, are weak, mistake-prone sinners in great need of mercy. We must first understand the judgment that awaits all men without the Savior Jesus. Paul understood this: “Knowing, therefore, the terror of the Lord, we persuade men” (2 Corinthians 5:11). Christians are called to care for and pray for others. Additionally, we are to tell men of their sin and error as well as the judgment that awaits them without Christ; we do this by revealing how we and all men have sinned by breaking God’s moral law. The Apostle Paul reminded us that “by the law is the knowledge of sin” (Romans 3:20). After the terror of the law is made known to the non-Christian, the believer is then to preach the comfort of the gospel: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes” (Romans 1:16). And the gospel is: “Moreover, brethren, I declare to you the gospel…by which also you are saved…that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day” (1 Corinthians 15:1-4; emphasis mine). Thereupon share with the Sikh the hope of the good news found in the person and work of Jesus Christ.
No Sikh guru died for his people as a sinless atonement; only Jesus was and is sinless. He died on the cross for the atonement of believers; no other religion has provided an eternal effectual atonement by grace alone. Heaven is perfect and men are not; men must have their sins expiated (removed). All mortals require a perfect all-effectual atonement to enter heaven. Every man needs his sins atoned for, only Christianity has an infinitely effectual atonement. Christ’s sacrifice and resurrection justifies those who repent and trust Him. One can have legal, forensic righteousness to enter into the perfect purity of heaven, or reject Christ and attempt to live a religious life that cannot remove your past sins. Good works cannot erase sinful works. All of us sinners need an effectual atonement.
Therefore, having been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. … For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet, perhaps for a good man, someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us (Romans 5:1-8).
I say to you that likewise, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine just persons who need no repentance (Luke 15:7).
Soteriological truth’s summation is “to know nothing but Christ and Him crucified.” God is the righteous King, whom all men have offended in every point of His holy law, and Christ the Savior died for our transgressions, of that very same law. Reveal to the Sikh that what he confesses is found only in Jesus: “Love me when I least deserve it, because that’s when I really need it” (Sri Guru Granth Sahib Ji). Jesus died for the ungodly (Romans 4:5) so we may have forgiveness and life-everlasting in relationship with God the Father through Christ the Son.
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast (Ephesians 2:8-9).
Pray for the Sikh community that they may find comfort, grace, and mercy through Jesus Christ.
also see eBook that reaches out to Buddhists HERE