The Golden Rule “Do to others as you would like them to do to you” or “Whatever is hurtful to you, do not do to any other person“ is a rather universal concept expressed by a large number of mainstream religions both in the East and in the West. Christians, Jews, and Muslims hold this among their highest moral values. It is expressed in Buddhism and other Eastern religions as well.
This expression makes sociological sense for the social enhancement of social animal such as we. It embodies empathy, love, compassion, good will, and cooperation with others. It implies the social good of the community on an equal plane as personal benefit. It conjures cooperation in a community as essential as ones self-interest. It stresses Love and the democratic cooperation much lacking in our society, our congress and our president’s foreign policy, and our overall moral attitudes towards others different from ourselves.
It is taught in many Christian scriptures about moral conduct. The Good Samaritan; Turn the other cheek; Love thy Neighbor as thyself; He who has no sin cast the first stone are all expressions of the Golden Rule. These biblical lessons are all meant to be practiced daily for All aspects of life. Yet we as a society do not even come close to practicing these rules as a predominant Christian nation. Many devout fundamentalists Christians seem the very antithesis of the Golden Rule. Their obsession towards certain moral behaviors among others overshadows the primary theme of their religion: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you (Luke 6:31). It seems that the Golden Rule should take precedence over all other moral concerns and that they should let their God judge the moral conduct of others rather than they taking over their God’s judgment prerogative (Judge Not Lest Ye Be Judged. -Matthew 7:1).
I feel that the double standards I see practiced by many (not all) Christians is not right. They try to outlaw and sometimes violently demonstrate against such things as abortion and same-sex marriage yet claim to be good Christians (implying that they practice the Golden Rule). The Golden Rule should be at the top of their morality hierarchy and should overshadow and govern how they respond towards others who hold different moral values. That is what is unambiguously taught by their Christ and something I totally agree with. The United States is such a melting pot of cultures, religions, sexualities and other ethnicity and beliefs. As a Free country these citizens have a right to freely express their diversities. How can anyone insist that everyone must be held to the same religions moral standard as theirs? Doesn’t the 1st Amendment separate church from state? Our founding fathers saw the wisdom of keeping religious morality out of this nation’s government and laws meant for everyone as their first thought in the Bill of RIGHTS for All citizens in placing it as the very First Amendments. That is how important it is. People should simply practice their personal moral beliefs and not impose them upon others. Perhaps others will see by their good example how good they are and want to become like them. Forcing morality upon unwilling people is what dictators do best.
I am a great believer in the Golden Rule even though I am not a religious person. However I do extend it beyond just people. My Golden Rule is “Treat others and nature as I would like people to treat me and nature to provide for me.” This helps keep me humble and focused on being more compassionate, loving, and considerate of others and less judgmental and alienating even though I can be quite biased. This is why I write a lot about Social Justice, the environment, religion, and finding peaceful solutions to international conflicts. I am aware of many of my biases and work hard at improving myself. In the end I believe myself not accountable to any higher power but only accountable to myself. I hold my Golden Rule to be my Gold Standard of moral conduct which overshadows everything else. I think you will see this in much that I write on this blog.
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