Religious pride is an oxymoron. You are either religious or proud.
I am referring to pride as a sense of superiority. To overcome the sense of inferiority within, people have used various means to feel superior over others – race, caste, nationality, colour of the skin etc. Religion, unfortunately, is also one of these means. People from every religion want to feel superior to people from other religions, and therefore, they shout “Our religion is the best on earth”.
I see Sikhs shouting out that Sikhism is the best of all religions. My point is: why do we need to engage in comparison with other religions? In Guru Granth Sahib ji, we have a place for Saints from different faiths who have worshipped different Avatars: Namdev ji worshipped Lord Krishna, and Fareed ji asks in one of his saloks to do Namaaz. When such magnanimity and equality has been shown by the Gurus, why do we need to feel superior to other religions?
Gurbani has been unequivocal for the need of humility in the spiritual aspirants.
But we, disregarding the message of Gurbani, want to feel superior over others, and that too on the grounds of religion. Gurbani asks us to abandon pride and be humble towards all people. Instead of following the message of Gurbani, we want to use the greatness of Gurbani to somehow sound superior to others. By engaging in such a behaviour, aren’t we disrespecting Gurbani and making a mockery of ourselves?
All this need to feel superior shows we are hollow inside. It means that we aren’t following the message of Gurbani in our lives. It means that we are unaware of true spiritual message of Gurbani. It means that we haven’t experienced the greatness of Gurbani ourselves. Gurbani says humility and sweetness are the essence of virtues, and if our life reflects just the opposite of humility, clearly we haven’t been able to grasp the message and greatness of Gurbani.
We shouldn’t feel superior about our religion. We should feel grateful for our religion. We should feel grateful towards God or Guru Nanak for giving us Gurbani and Sikhism. However, we shouldn’t engage in any comparison with other religions. Other religions are different from us – not necessarily worse or better than us. Besides, who can decide the parameters to compare two religions?
The greatness of a religion needs to be seen in the lives of its followers. If their lives are hollow or worse than others, then they feel the need to shout about the greatness of a religion. On the other hand, if the followers are following their religion sincerely and thus, building a life of character and spirit, there is no need to shout about the greatness of the religion. Everyone will see the greatness of that religion in the lives of its followers. And people get impacted by the life of one individual more than the shouts of thousands.