As a pastor, I have sought to understand other faiths, in part, to learn, and in part, to discover how I could understand others and build bridges for the gospel.

Sikhism is one of the lesser known religions in the West, yet with a significant history and influence in the middle east since its inception in around 1700. It is especially common in the region between Pakistan and India, where a Sikh Empire existed between 1800 and 1846, when it was ended by the conquering British Empire.

Another question I have of Sikhism is whether or not it is a peaceful religion or not. As a spawn of Hinduism and Sufi Islam, I would guess it leans toward the experiential, with at least a non-pacifist position. I have a Muslim friend who feels that Sikhism does have a more violent side which most westerners have not seen and that Sikhs carry more than just a symbolic sword (“kirpan”), but resort to political violence, such as in the Punjab insurgency.

But of course, the existence of violent extremists in any ideology does not necessarily reflect the ideology itself. So I am exploring Sikhism, especially some of the great converts from Sikhism. More to come on that.