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The Christian Worldview

Describe about the Christian Worldview for A Survey of Christian Doctrine.

Today's society enjoys a plurality of religion, culture, philosophy and tradition and thus consists of various worldviews depending on which belief system one is ascribed. Worldview, therefore, refers to the entire beliefs that shape the perspective from which a society or an individual understand and interpreted the world[1]. The each worldview can thus be classified as a belief system that is held by religion, culture, a group of people, or a society. Importantly, different worldviews share some similarities as well as some contrasts because, fundamentally each worldview search answers for critical questions which include; Where is the origin of man and why man exist, what is wrong with the universe, and how can the problem of the universe be fixed[2].  The research aims at drawing a comparison as well as a contrast of the Christian Worldview and Sikh Worldview. More attention will be given to the nature of God and the nature of man (humanity).

Christian worldview refers to the belief system that shapes a Christian understanding and interaction with the mundane and the metaphysical phenomenon. It is fundamentally based on the scripture, that is, both the Old and the New Testament, in an attempt to answer the critical questions. Answers to the three fundamental issues raised by each worldview are well articulated in the scripture. To the first question, where is the origin of man and why man exists. The answer is found in Genesis 1:27-28; 2:15 (New International Version). That is, Man is created by God to subdue and govern the world while keeping fellowship with Him. In answering, what is wrong with the universe, Christian worldview finds the answer in Genesis 3, Man sinned against the law of God and thus, subjected the entire universe to a curse. To the third question, how can the problem of the universe be fixed.  The answer is found in Genesis 3:15 and Luke 19:10, as well as Isaiah 65: 17-25. (New International Version) God in his love has restored the world to its former glory through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The Christian worldview, therefore, believes in human dignity, miracles, moral absolutes, and redemption.

Sikh worldview, on the other hand, is founded on the Sikhs scripture known as Guru Granth Sahib and other form of writings from bhagats (saints). The worldview holds that the spiritual element enhances the man's practical life[3]. That is unless man applies the spiritual components to solve war, conflict and disharmony they will remain. The answer to man's problems, therefore, lies in integrating the God's will in man's life. Further, it holds that the brotherhood of man is authenticated by accepting the fatherhood of God. Gurus also held that Universal consciousness is an absolute reality that man can encounter as a result of love. Sikhism is thus a worldview of full responsibility in every aspect of life, hope, and eternal significance[4].

The Sikh Worldview

 Though, the two worldviews stem from different scriptures and traditions they share some similarities. On the nature of God both acknowledges that God is one. In Christian worldview the nature of God is described using a Trinitarian formula, that is, God is one in three distinct persons, God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Deuteronomy 6:4, 1; 1Corinithians 8:4; and the 1Timothy 2:5 (New International Version) implies that God is one. The use of Hebrew plural noun "Elohim" in Genesis 1:1 indicates of plurality in God. Similarly the use of "us" in Genesis 1:26, 3:22 and in Isaiah 6:8 (New International Version) connotes the idea of plurality in God. Also, the description is given in Matthew 3: 16-17(New International Version) during the baptism of the Jesus Christ is a clear explanation of the Trinitarian nature of God[5].  In addition, He is the sole creator and sustainer of the universe. Similarly, Sikhism holds that God is one and simultaneously within the creation and separate from it. The SGGSJ (Sacred Guru Granth Sahib Ji) affirms by saying this of God, "You have thousands of eyes, and yet You have no eyes. You have thousands of forms, and yet You do not have even one. You have thousands of Lotus Feet, and yet You don't have even one foot. You have no nose, but You have thousands of noses. This play of Yours entrances me. Amongst all is, the Light-You are that Light. By this Illumination, that Light is radiant within all." (SGGSJ, P.239)

Moreover, both Christian worldview and Sikhism recognize God as Love. In 1John 4:8 (New International Version) God is defined as love. In the Gospel of John 3:16 God's love is manifested through his act of generosity. Though man severed his relationship with God as in Genesis 3, God approached man through his son Jesus Christ to amend the relationship else the man will entirely be separated from God. In Romans 5:8 (New International Version) God wants the man to understand that his love is unconditional. From a Christian point of view the problems facing the man in the universe, therefore, should be solved through love. Similarly, in Sikhism God is known through his attributes and the most important of attributes is Love. In defining the fundamental nature of God, Guru says that God is all Love. And that Love has four explicit features: it is compassionate towards life in which He is immanent, it is dynamic, and it is directive, that is, has a will, and it is the mother of all values and virtues. The answer to man problem in the universe is essentially found in love. That is, the ability to integrate spiritual life and the practical life on one's life (SGGSJ, P. 459).

Similarities Between the Christian Worldview and Sikh Worldview

Nevertheless, there is a difference on the nature of God between the Christian worldview and Sikhism. Sikhism emphasizes the unity of God and His role as the creator. God is thus portrayed as absolute Love and deprived of wrath. Further, the view advises that men and women should not be afraid of God's wrath but of not enjoying all the benefits of his love. In contrast to Sikhism, Christianity emphasize that God is holy and righteous[6]. And if His holy principles are violated He punishes the offenders. However, in Christianity God's wrath is meant for justice, which is compatible with His mercy and is meant for the good of man. In Christianity, the concepts of God are a mystery while in Sikhism they seem contradictory. For example, to Sikhs God is the creator and the created at the same time[7].

Regarding the human nature, Sikhism holds that man has evolved from Manmukh to Gurmukh over a million of years. Guru taught that man has evolved from a tiny speck of life. "For several births man was a mare worm, for several births an insect, for several births a fish, and an antelope,"  "After ages you have the glory of being a man" (SGGSJ, P.176). Further, taught that God created man out of a drop of water to which He gave the breath of life. However on creation man is endowed with the light of reason, wisdom, and discrimination[8]. Due to his nature man is perceived as the supreme of all God's creation. Similar, to Christian worldview man is endowed with reason and freedom. Thus, superior to every other creation since he was created to subdue and govern creation Genesis 1:28 (New International Version). In addition, Sikhism views man as fundamentally egoistic from creation hence prone to war, aggression, and conflict. Similarly, in Christian view and especially in Catholicism man is tainted by the original sin, hence, inclined to do evil[9]. Sikhism teaches that the sinful nature of man implies hope and demand to make the moral effort. Likewise, in Christianity, the imperfect nature of man signifies his dependence on the God's grace and benevolence.

On the other hand, the two worldviews hold divergent views about the human nature. While Christianity holds that men inherit the sinful nature from Adam and Eve it emphasizes that personal sins must be atoned[10]. Sikhism on the other hand refutes the man's sinful and nature. Guru Nanak taught that man is essentially good and that the divine spark in every man needs to be triggered to goodness. Further, he views man sins as a moral drift which is caused by the surrounding environment. In Sikh worldview, the moral lapse can be cleaned by prayers and meditation unlike in Christianity where sins are cleaned through prayers, fasting, charity, and confession.    

Differences Between the Christian Worldview and Sikh Worldview

It is important to note that every worldview is comprehensive because it affects every aspect of the man's life from politics to art, from ethics to money issues. True to this Christianity and Sikhism are more than a set of beliefs to be used at church but a system that should be used to aid man in solving the problems he faces. For example, in Christianity and specifically in the bible there is no distinction between the secular and the religious life. Jesus calls people to a Christian life as the only life there is. In John 14:6 (New International Version) Jesus speak of himself as "the way, the truth, and the life." Similarly, in Sikhism life is affirmed and man is invited to integrate both the spiritual life and the empirical life. Therefore, the two worldviews apply to man[11].

In conclusion, it is clear that religion is an essential part of man's life and dictates the worldview an individual holds. Though religions are different, their values shape how the followers of those religions act toward others, plants, and animals. Sikhism as a worldview encourages men to be conscious of God at all times and in every situation. Moreover, it calls men to true living which is inspired by justice and equality of mankind. Sikhism is thus open to all because there is only one God and that the Name of God is Truth[12]. The Christian worldview, on the other hand, invites mankind to love as in Mathew 22:36-40. And it is only from the viewpoint of love that men and women can live fulfilling lives. Hence, Christian worldview offer man an ethical framework which aids him to understand the history of the universe as events geared to the fulfillment of God's purposes for humanity as in Ephesians 1 (New International Version) to save mankind. 

Fraser, David A., and Anthony Campolo. Sociology through the eyes of faith. Harper Collins,

2013.

Gidoomal, Ram and Margret Wardell. Lions Princesses-Reaching Your Sikh Neighbour.

Highland Books, 1996.

González, Justo L., and Zaida Maldonado Perez. An Introduction to Christian Theology.

Abingdon Press, 2011.

Griffiths, Paul J. Philosophy and the Christian worldview: analysis, assessment and

development. Edited by David Werther, and Mark D. Linville. A&C Black, 2012.

Hicks, Joshua C., and Peter Rasor. "Analyzing the Christian Worldview: Why

Christianity is the Only Reasonable, Logical, and the Factual Answer for Life." 2012.

James A. Fowler. Christian Understanding of God.

Nesbitt, Eleanor. "Sikhism: a guide for the perplexed." British Journal of Religious

Education 37, no. 2 (2015): 213-215.

Nesbitt, Eleanor. Sikhism: A very short introduction. Oxford University Press, 2016.

Sam A. Smith. An Outline of Bible Doctrine: What The Bible Actually Says about The

origins of Nature. Biblical Reader Communications, 2005.

Singh, Nikky-Guninder Kaur. Sikhism: An Introduction. IB Tauris, 2011.

Singh, Daljeet. "Idea of God in Sikhism." NEWS & VIEWS... 117 1 1978.

Young, William A. The world's religions: worldviews and contemporary issues. Prentice

Hall, 1995.

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