Posted by: Andrew G | March 29, 2010

Tying up the Loose Ends

Even with its favorable length, I’m running out of time here in March. So, today is going to be little more than a quick summary of some of the world religions I haven’t explored. And Wednesday I will do a full review and commentary.

Sikhism – founded about 500 years ago, Sikhism is based on the visions, revelations and preachings of Shri Guru Nanak Dev Ji. It is based on a belief  of a singular, formless God and the brotherhood of humanity. There is a relation to certain Hindu beliefs, such as  samsara (reincarnation, cycle) and karma. However, every individual has equal status before God.

Prayer is a cornerstone of the Sikh religion but the worshiping of idols is strictly forbidden (since God is formless). Also, dress and clothing is very important and symbolic to the religious Sikh. Hair is not cut, but kept in a turban. Short pants, a comb, and a metal bracelet are worn as well as a ceremonial dagger.

As a reflection of the ‘equality’ within the religion, there is a tradition where Sikh males all  share the name “Singh”, meaning lion. Women carry the name “Kaur”, meaning princess.

Jainism is tied pretty closely to Hindu traditions. Jains tend to follow a vegetarian diet, and there are extreme cases where devout Jains may only eat that which does not kill the original plant or animal (eg. fruit). Interestingly enough, Jains believe that karma is only the ‘bad’ collected through a person’s life. This is different from the Hindu and Buddhist definition where karma is the sum of both ‘good’ and ‘bad’.


Parsis (Zoroastrianism) – If I have but one serious regret it would be that I have not written more about Zoroastrianism because I do feel it provides incredibly valuable context to how religions are influenced by other religions.  So I might make it up to dear Zarathustra later. Zoroastrianism (began in the Middle East around 600-500 BCE but is now found in small groups In India) did have a major role of influence on Judaism, Christianity and Islam, especially in terms of the development of ideas such as an afterlife and a paradise based on judgments of good and evil.

Vodun (Voodoo) – Terms such as ‘Voodoo’ are used to describe a collection of practices and beliefs that originated in West Africa but are often associated today with the Caribbean and with traditions of ‘black magic’. ‘Vodun’ tends to be used to refer to the religion itself. In this belief system there are hundreds of minor spirits, but there is a supreme being and an afterlife. For an interesting list of some of the minor spirits, here is a link.

Scientology –  If I have one comedic regret it would be in not inspecting Scientology further, because, to paraphrase several comics, the punchlines just write themselves (as an added note, their websites are really sleek and nice).  Forgive my ignorance but I just feel life is too short to glean ethical and mystical advice from celebrities or dynamic executives.




If there is something I have missed, or sketched inappropriately, or represented inaccurately, please let me know. And as usual, the limits of my scope and my abilities should be a signal that for any interested readers, this is just a beginning.

Please prepare well by all means available, and then  set forth on your own journey. All paths lead to more paths and more vistas. You may not see them all or be able to take them, but knowing they are there, and knowing someone may be traveling on them, is an important step on your journey, all the same.



  1. All paths lead to more paths and more vistas.

    Religious folks often like to see us as “seekers”, but I prefer the image of “explorer”. You quote here (and these posts) illustrate my point — we are not looking for something, we are exploring what is !

    Well done.

    • Thanks again S! (Was I too harsh with Scientology? :-))

      I was looking on your friend list on your site, and got to wondering: is this what you would consider a ‘declaration’ from me?

      I’m going to do a kind of review and slight evaluation Wednesday (if you noticed, I did leave out agnosticism in the March exploration so far…)

      I’ll check out your seeker/explorer thing now.

  2. Excellent overview. For information on the Zoroastrian religion, I recommend this site:

    This is also an excellent site:

    The Zarathushtrian Assembly is a Gatha-only organization that is despised and derided by traditionalist Zoroastrians.

    Plus ça change, plus ça reste la même chose.

  3. good as it takes us through to understand it but why not also teach the way it can be use by others like me.

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