Golden rule


The golden rule is ancient and wise. It has 2 basic formulas—one positive and one negative. The positive version says something like this: “One should treat others as one would like others to treat us.” The negative version, sometimes called the ‘silver rule’, says, something like this: “”One should not treat others as would not like to be treated.” For my purpose it does not really matter which version is better. Both are good. It is a good rule.

I was stunned to learn that almost all religions have adopted the golden rule. They all have a version of it. Christians have it, but so do Jews. Islam has it. Hinduism, Buddhism, Islam and many other religions have it. Even very ancient religions have it. Some Christians think they had it first but that is far from the truth. Members of other religions probably thought they had it first too.

The Initial Declaration of the Parliament of World Religions proclaimed the Golden Rule. It was signed by 143 respected leaders from all of the world’s major faiths, including Baha’i Faith, Brahmanism, Brahma Kumaris, Buddhism, Christianity, Hinduism, Indigenous, Interfaith, Islam, Jainism, Judaism, Native American, Neo-Pagan, Sikhism, Taoism, Theosophist, Unitarian Universalist and Zoroastrian.

In ancient Babylon there was an early incarnation of the Rule in the Code of Hammurabi, one of the earliest codes of moral conduct ever. The Torah had a version. The Old Testament had it, “Love your neighbor as yourself: I am the LORD.”(Leviticus 19:18).

Ancient Egypt had a version: “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do thus to you.” Another example from a Late Period (c. 664 BCE – 323 BCE) papyrus: “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”

Ancient Greek philosophy had versions: “Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him.” – Pittaccus  (c. 640–568 BCE). Thales (c. 624 B.C.- c. 546 BC): “Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing. Pythagoras who lived about 500 years before Chris had a version, and so did Epictetus and two of my favorite Greek philosophers, Epicurus, and Socrates.

Ancient China had it as well as shown by its  most famous philosopher, Confucius. So did Laozi. I could go on and on, but I think that is enough to make my point.

Virtually every religion has adopted the Golden Rule. It is what virtually all religions have in common. There must be something good about. And there is. It is the basis of religion. It is what connects us to each other. It is truly religious. And there is no need to denigrate any other religion. That divides us. They all have it! I think that is fantastic.

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