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Interfaith Relations - A Sikh Prespective - Book By Gurnam Singh Sanghera
Table Of Contents For 'Interfaith Relations A Sikh Prespective' By Gurnam Singh Sanghera
|Inter-Religious Relations: Exclusivim to Pluralism||27|
|Religious Pluralism: Theological and Social Implications||66|
|Western Attitude to Religious Plurality||102|
|The Scriptural Perspective||147|
|Living the Scripture in Tradition/History||191|
Preface To Book 'Interfaith Relations A Sikh Prespective' By Gurnam Singh Sanghera
Plurality of religions has been a reality of human social existential situation since the dawn of human civilization though this reality has been felt with more intensity in recent times. However, human life in the past remained relatively unaffected by the social and theological issues arising from it. The major reason for this was the lack of any efficient means of communication and transportation amongst people living in different places. People then lived in their own tiny, isolated religious camps, blissfully ignorant of who existed or whatever happened outside. However, scientific and technological advancements during the last hundred years or so have transformed this wide world into a 'global village'. Today people of different religious denominations live together and interact and interpenetrate with one another on daily basis.
Unfortunately, however in today's pluralistic 'global village' each faith-community is not in harmonious relationship with the other. This has been due mainly to the fact that each religious community tends to underrate the ideology and culture of the other. And this usually stems from the way leaders of each religion claim a monopoly of truth for their faith. To them, only their religion, or only their prophet, can lead people on the path to Godrealization and self-realization. Other religions are taken as fake or inauthentic, and other faith communities as pagan. This exclusivist attitude as well as the inclusivist attitude is no more relevant today.
Obviously, different religions have genuine differences, for each religion is a different historical manifestation of the Real One, each presenting visions of God, world and humanity from a localized, historically paricular perspective. The fact of diverse religions being finite manifestations of one Infinite in no way diminishes the significance of any particular religion; rather; such diversity reveals the richness of eternal and infinite truth. The modern-day world suffers from the problems of mutual distrust and disharmony, opression and violence, and if we have to set the world free from these and such other evils, we must "see others as our brothers and sisters, we need to discover how to affirm our own identity without threatening the identity of others." We must realize that "the religious life of mankind from now on, if it is to be lived at all, will be lived in a context of religious pluralism... This is true for all of us."
In today's pluralistic set-up, we need to recognize the value and validity of multiple religious communities in society. That is the only way to enable different faith and communities live harmoniously and peacefully. One must listen attentively to the faith of the other as this is witnessed to by the believer, without prejudging that faith and without abandoning one's own commitment. We must make an endeavour to know and appreciate the historical-cultural context and the people themselves who make up other faith communities. We can lead a meaningful, satisfying and safe life only if we do so and also work out a more dialogical relationship with our neighbours who may not necessarily be of our own race or color or religious persuasion. We must not only live with our religiously and culturally diverse neighbours; we must also talk with, work with,and learn from them.
The author has made a thorough study of the Sikh Scripture and tradition to highlight the central message of the Sikh Faith which says that the idea of God's love for all teaches us to accept and value the other in his or her otherness. It considers all religions and their revelations valid, appreciates others' faiths but at the time adopts dialogue to convey its differences on whatever points, makes love for God the vis-a-tergo of love for mankind and express this love through seva and such other philanthropic activities. The Sikh stress is on the realization of an ideal social structure of the Gurus vision - a structure wherein love and equality prevail, the otherness of the other and human dignity are respected, and oppression is replaced by justice mingled with compassion. But the need of the hour is that we must try and put them into practice and live the idea in our practical social life.
The book is the first full-length study of religious pluralism from the Sikh perspective. Written in a lucid and crisp style, the book begins with a theoretical base defining pluralism alongside exclusivism and inclusivism and goes on to discuss the social and theological implications of pluralism, attitude of Western religions towards Sikhism and the Sikh response to pluralism based on its scriptural teachings and examples from history and tradition. I am sure the book will be immensely useful to scholars as well as students in the fields of Sikh and interfaith studies.
Department of Guru Granth Studies
About The Author Of Book 'Interfaith Relations A Sikh Prespective'
Gurnam Singh Sanghera, a postgraduate in history, political sociology and social work from different universities in England and Canada, holds a doctorate on interfaith relations from Punjabi Universities, Patiala. Though Dr Sanghera retired from Ministry of Health of British Columbia, Canada, he has throughout remained involved in interfaith work. He was a member of the UNO's non-government organization for Europe for immigration affairs and also of the Federal Government of Canada's forum for multiculturalism. He is a widely traveled man, and is presently working on Sikh diaspora.
|Author||Gurnam Singh Sanghera|
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