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seem to mean he is personal others state
that human souls eventually merge back
into God, who is' an impersonal essence.
The Westerner cannot resolve these

apparently contradictory statements but
Despite the surface similarities between
Sikhs seem to have no difficulty in doing
the two religions Sikhism and
so. God is said by them to be both the
Christianity are based on very different
creator and the created, the fisherman
philosophies and practised for widely
and the fish, the water and the net.
differing ends. When talking with a Sikh

don't begin by listing what you consider
the shortcomings of Sikhism. But do get

to know how his beliefs and practices
Sikhs deny the reality of man's sinful
influence the, way he thinks about.
nature. They teach that people are
spiritual matters..
essentially good; the divine spark within

them needs only to be fanned into a
flame of goodness. On the other hand,

the Bible teaches that men inherit a
As the Guru Granth Sahib is made up
sinful nature from Adam; a person's guilt
entirely of poetry it is rich in mysticism
must .be atoned for. Guru Nanak taught
and can be interpreted differently by
that a man's sins are moral lapses caused
different people. It is more a hymnbook
by his environment. They may be
than a statement of faith. The Bible does
cleansed through meditation and prayer.
have some mystical passages but there is

also a great deal of straightforward
-'moral and ethical teaching, and

statements about God's character and his
This is the area of greatest disagreement
activity in the world.
between Sikhs and Christians. Sikhs

reject the uniqueness of Christ as the
only way to God. They say he is one

Guru Nanak emphasized the oneness of
Moses, Mohammed, Buddha and the
God and his role as the supreme creator.
Gurus~ and that all paths to God are
He presented him as supremely a God of
equally valid. The concept of faith in a
love. But Nanak had no place for God's
person and the saving action of his death
wrath. Men and women, he said, should
and resurrection are totally absent from
not fear God's anger but be afraid of not
receiving all the benefits of his love. In

contrast to Sikhism the Bible declares
that God is righteous and holy. When his

holy standards are violated he displays
The Gurus taught that if deliverance is
his wrath. Yet his wrath is not
sought in the proper manner all will
incompatible with his mercy and love. It
eventually receive it. Nevertheless most
is meant for the ultimate good of
Sikhs are uncertain of salvation.
mankind. .
Grace is viewed as something, which
In some ways the Sikh concept of God is
God bestows on those he chooses. A
contradictory. Whereas some statements
man or woman receives salvation when

it is in their destiny to do, so. But given,
However their concept of Guru, Nam
enough time and rebirths all will
and Shabad (chapter 6) could be useful
eventually reach that point. So Sikhs
in explaining it.
believe that there is no such thing as

eternal damnation; all -will eventually
achieve deliverance from the bondage of

earthly life. Therefore ultimately no one
Despite the stress on the love of God in
is lost but is re-united with the divine
Sikhism there is a darker side. Sikhs
believe that both good and evil come
There is no personal resurrection. The
from God. Though some of them think
human soul is of the same essence as
evil spirits exist they have no sense of an
God, comes from God and will
evil being who opposes God. Sikhs are
eventually be merged back into him.
never told to resist the devil, as a
Heaven and hell are not places where
Christian is, because they do not believe
individuals live for eternity but refer to
in him. Evil, they believe, is the result of
different stages of a person 's earthly
a person making wrong choices.
life. In contrast Christians believe that

those who receive Christ as their Savior
are adopted into God's family. After

their earthly life is over they will have
Sikhs believe that meditation on the
eternal fellowship, with him in heaven.
Granth draws them closer to God; it
They will not lose their unique personal
cleanses a person from sin and instills
identity: Similarly hell, is a reality where
godly qualities in him. They see it as a
those who have rejected the Lord will
means of salivation. Christians do not
spend eternity.
believe that meditation can set anyone

free from sin but do value it as way of
drawing closer to God, hearing his voice

and discerning his will.
Christians believe that the presence and

power of the Holy spirit is essential if a
person is to live as God intends he

should (Galatians 5:13-26). Sikhs
Despite all the similarities between
believe in the presence of the divine soul
Christianity and Sikhism the latter
within man but don't look to it as a
cannot save anyone. Its teaching falls
means of helping them to live their
short of God's revelation in the Bible;
earthly life. They have no satisfactory
which makes it clear that only a personal
answer to the question of how a man can
faith in what Jesus did on the cross can
live a life that pleases God except, `try
qualify a person for salvation (John
harder'. Christianity makes impossible
1:12). Sikhs deny that God ever came to
demands on a man or woman but at the
earth in the flesh and died for men's sins.
same time indicates that the Holy Spirit
They fall into the heresy of the
is the power through whom these may be
Galatians, which was a mixture of grace,
fulfilled. The concept of the Trinity is
human merit and self-righteousness
foreign to Sikhs.
(Galatians 3). Some of the terms that
Sikhism uses are familiar to Christians:
However their content and meaning is

different, so they are not adequate for


1. If a Sikh friend has any criticisms
about Christians, listen to them. If they
are the result of misunderstandings try to
clear them up. If Christians were
unnecessarily hurtful, apologise for
2. At your next meeting start to talk
about beliefs you have in common. Then
gently introduce those over which you
differ. Be gracious about how you do
this. Don't get into an argument.
3. Ask your Sikh friend to tell you what
Sikhs believe about:
a) God's plan for mankind b) How one
can find salvation c) the Holy Spirit
Then tell him what Christians believe
about these matters.
4. Set aside time to pray for your Sikh
friend especially bringing to mind
anything you have talked about
concerning the things of God.


l . If you do not yet have a Sikh friend
get to know someone of that religion in
the ways already suggested in this book.
2. Work out how you would explain to a
Sikh the Christian truth about atonement
for sins. Use simple, everyday words
rather than religious terms.

(Reference: Lions, Princesses and Gurus-Chapter
13, Ram Gidoomal & Margaret Wardell).