Golden Rule: Every Religion Has One
The Golden Rule: Man's Relationship to Man
Most religions differ in the Deity they worship, their beliefs, their practices, and their sacred writings. However, there is one thing that ALL religions have in common. They all have a Golden Rule or Ethic of Reciprocity. It is often one statement that summarizes the general principles of ethics. The Golden Rule involves man's relationship to man.
The Golden Rule in all religions might be stated in a different way, but in essence, it says that each person should treat others in a fair, decent and respectable manner.
The Ethic of Reciprocity
Every person should be respected and treated fairly because we are all equal in importance and all people should enjoy human rights.
The Ethic of Reciprocity applies to all humans. It is not not limited just for people who are in the same church or religion or who have the same beliefs as you.
Two Places in the Bible
The Golden Rule is to "do to others what you would have them do to you." This simply means to treat others the same way you yourself would like to be treated. It is called the "golden" rule because there is much value in having this kind of respect and caring attitude for one another.
The words "The Golden Rule" do not appear in the Bible. However, the concept is there. In that respect "The Golden Rule" is like "The Great Commission," "Trinity" and "Rapture." These words do not appear in the Bible either; however, the concept is clearly understood in each case.
The Golden Rule in Christianity is found in two places in the Bible:
- Matthew 7:12 - Therefore all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them: for this is the law and the prophets. (KJV)
- Luke 6:31 - And just as you want men to do to you, you also do to them likewise. (KJV)
The Golden Rule: A Universal Ethic
All things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye so to them; for this is the law and the prophets
Matthew 7:12 ; Luke 6:31
Do not do to others what you would not like yourself. Then there will be no resentment against you, either in the family or in the state.
Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful.
One should not behave towards others in a way which is disagreeable to oneself. This is the essence of morality. All other activities are due to selfish desire.
No one of you is a believer until he desires for his brother that which he desires for himself.
What is hateful to you, do not do to your fellowman. This is the entire Law; all the rest is commentary.
Talmud, Shabbat 3id
Regard your neighbor’s gain as your gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.
Tai Shang Kan Yin P’ien
That nature alone is good which refrains from doing another whatsoever is not good for itself.
A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated.
Try your best to treat others as you would wish to be treated yourself, and you will find that this is the shortest way to benevolence.
Active and Passive Form
The moral code in every religion can be written or stated in either the active form or in the passive form.
- Active Form: Do to others what you would have them do to you.
- Passive Form: Don't do to others what you would not have them do to you.
Technically, both the active and passive forms say the same thing; however, in the active form you are doing. In the passive form, you are NOT doing.
Dalai Lama says,"Every religion emphasizes human improvement, love, respect for others, sharing other people's suffering. On these lines, every religion had more or less the same viewpoint and the same goal."
The Golden Rule
Even though the Golden Rule in Christianity requires you to DO SOMETHING, the Golden Rule in the other religions prohibits you from doing something unfavorably to others.
Christianity: Do unto others what you want them to do unto you.\
Others: Don't do to others what you don't want done to you.
With the other religions, all that is required is that you don't harm other people. In Christianity, what is required is that you show kindness, love, fairness, and compassion to others.
When you don't know how to respond to others, treat them as you yourself would like to be treated, and it is unlikely you will ever do the wrong thing