| Nangka Boy | Opinion | 7 Dec 2016 | Asia Samachar |
Logic has a place in life. Logic is central in Sikhi. Sikh preachers who try to throw logic out of the window are doing the teachings of Guru Nanak a great disservice.
The other day, I heard a preacher from a Kuala Lumpur-based organisation actually arguing that logic has no place in Sikhi. I bring you the preacher, in his words:
“Today, many talk about logic. Logic is the sure path towards manmat, logic is the starting point for manmat (opposite of Gurmat, or the Guru’s teachings). You find logic only in your studies, in engineering or elsewhere. But in Dharam (religion), there is no logic.”
Did I hear him right? Logic leads to manmat? Manmat is when one who follows his own thinking, as broad or as limited as it may be, without taking cue from the Guru. It’s the opposite of Gurmat – the way of the Guru. Big claims, here. Will they stand scrutiny?
The preacher man goes on:
“If we walk on the path of logic, nothing gets done. That is why you get many people raising questions about history. They ask how did Baba Deep Singh placed his head on his palm. That is not possible, they say. Guru Nanak had placed his hand to stop the rock. This can’t be, they say. But the rock stands there till today. Who will provide the answer? The rock is still there, it hasn’t broken up.
“Today, parcharaks have confused the people. What is the source of the confusion? They want to run the affairs of the world according to rules of the world. That is the mistake. It can’t be done. They are two different subjects here.”
Let me hazard a guess as to what the preacher is really trying to say. He is probably trying to say that in matters religion, there is an element of faith. Indeed, in religion, you do take a leap of faith in the believe of God. You do take a leap of faith when you allow your mind to be guided by the Guru.
But in his sweeping argument, the preacher threw the baby out with the bathwater. As a result, his argument leads one to conclude that Sikhi and logic do not go hand in hand. But that’s absurd. The teachings of the Guru, as contained in the Sri Guru Granth Sahib (SGGS), are so full of logic. The Gurus don’t feed us magical and utterly unbelievable fairy tales. The Granth is no scientific manual, but it certainly makes sense.
SEE ALSO: Logic and Sikhi – Part 1
What logic are we talking about here? The other day, I was hearing an old debate between an atheist and a believer. Both were well known and well read personalities. The moderator, Sir Anthony Kenny, himself a distinguished philosopher who taught at Oxford, began by finding some common ground. He said:
“I like to make sure that we do agree on three very simple things, that is:
1. We all believe in truth. That there is such a thing as an objective truth, it is not just an ideological construct to keep the lower classes down.
2. We all believe in logic, that if two statements conflict each other, they can’t both be true; and,
3. We all believe in science, that we think it is one of the greatest of human achievements and that we all owe scientists of many generations a great deal of gratitude for the way they have improved the world.”
The two debaters were Archbishop Rowan Williams and Prof Richard Dawkins. Williams was the former Archbishop of Canterbury, a big time man of God. Dawkins, on the other hand, is an evolutionary biologist who does not believe in God. He is the Baba Guru, of sorts, for a slice of the atheist community.
“Is there any dissent to that, or qualifications?” asks moderator Kenny.
Both Williams and Dawkins nod in agreement. They are both fine with the three statements above. One is a man of God, another who does not believe in God. They both subscribe to objective truth, logic and science.
And, here, we have our preacher man denouncing logic from Sikhi. And he was doing it on stage at some gurdwara. Not contented, he goes on to condemn fellow Sikh preachers, called parcharaks, who actually subscribe to the idea that Sikhi and logic are no strange bedfellows.
So much for our preaching. And we ask why Sikhs shun the gurdwara.
Nangka Boy was born in Southeast Asia, home to the nangka or jackfruit. He does not claim to know everything, but has an opinion on just about anything and everything. Whether you are a nangka or a durian or a jambu, leave a comment at the website and / or at the Facebook page.
- This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of the Asia Samachar.
[ASIA SAMACHAR is an online newspaper for Sikhs in Southeast Asia and surrounding countries. We have a Facebook page, do give it a LIKE. Follow us on Twitter. Visit our website: www.asiasamachar.com]
How Sikhs have been fooled…. (Asia Samachar, 22 Nov 2016)
Belief: Rules, Conviction, Ideology (Asia Samachar, 2 Nov 2016)
Logic and Sikhi – Part 2 (Asia Samachar, 28 Sept 2016)
Logic and Sikhi – Part 1 (Asia Samachar, 24 Sept 2016)
Are our Gurdwaras Dysfunctional? The Assessment. (Asia Samachar, 9 Jan 2016)