Three articles appear below:

1.    The Golden Rule
2.    Pillars of the Christian Faith Demolished III
3.    Consider The Golden Rule


The Golden Rule

Kirk Straughen

(Investigator 120, 2008 May)


Introduction

All religions concern themselves (or at least their members would have us believe) with ethics — a system of values conducive to the harmonious functioning of the human psyche, and society as a whole. In the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, we are told that:

"So whatever you wish that men would do to you, do so to them; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12).

This passage of scripture, known as the Golden Rule, has been attributed to Jesus and is considered a summary of his ethical teachings:
"Our Lord looks back to what He has been saying in c. 5 about the fulfilling of the of the Law, and sums up His teaching on the whole subject with this important practical maxim."  (Page 650 in Dummelow, JR: The One Volume Bible Commentary, Macmillan & Co., Ltd., London, 1911)
Unfortunately, some Christians think, only their religion has a monopoly on such values. Fortunately, they are mistaken in this regard as I shall now proceed to demonstrate.


The Ethical Maxims of other Religions

NOTE: all quotations (unless otherwise indicated) that appear below are an abridged list from the following website:
www.religioustolerance.org/reciproc.htm
African:

•    "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."
African Traditional Religions. Yoruba Proverb (Nigeria).
Quoted from: www.unification.net/ws/theme015.htm

Brahmanism:

•    "This is the sum of Dharma [duty]: Do naught unto others which would cause you pain if done to you."
Mahabharata, 5:1517

Buddhism:

•    "A state that is not pleasing or delightful to me, how could I inflict that upon another?"
    Samyutta NIkaya v. 353

Confucianism:

•    "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you." Analects 15:23

Egyptian (Ancient):

•    "Do for one who may do for you, that you may cause him thus to do."
The Tale of the Eloquent Peasant, 109   110. Translated by R.B. Parkinson. (The original dates to 1970-1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written.)

Hinduism:

•    "This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you." Mahabharata 5:1517

Islam:

•    "None of you [truly] believes until he wishes for his brother what he wishes for himself."
Number 13 of Imam Al¬-Nawawi's Forty Hadiths.

Judaism:

•    "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary."
Talmud, Shabbat 31a

Roman (Ancient):

•    The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves.

Zoroastrianism:

•    "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself."
Dadistan i dinik 94:5

Conclusion

The nearly universal nature of the Golden Rule shows that ethical values are not the exclusive monopoly of any one religion. Indeed, the world would probably be a better place if the various faiths concentrated on what they have in common, rather than their differences. This might encourage more believers to dismount from their moral high horse, and stop persecuting and killing each other in the name of their respective gods. Then again, maybe I'm simply being hopelessly naive.





PILLARS OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH DEMOLISHED

Part III

(Investigator 133, 2010 May)


Christian writers with their usual methods of dishonesty have tried to ascribe "The Golden Rule" to J. C. But historical records show that this same "Golden Rule" with some variations in the presentation, but meaning the same, was presented to the world long before the Christian era or the birth of J. C.


It states in brief, a gist of this rule:-  "Do unto another that what you would have him do unto you."

History records its use by the following religious teachers and approximate dates:

1 Pittacus — 650 bc. 5 Aristotle — 385 bc.
2 Confucius — 500 bc. 6 Aristippus — 365 bc.
3 Thales — 464 bc 7 Isocrates — 338 bc.
4 Sextus — 406 bc 8 Hiller — 50 bc.


The above are all heathens and used the golden rule long before J.C. did in about 30 ad.

Most of the heathen religious figures and the religious books of the ancients breathe forth a spirit of love and kindness towards enemies.

There are over 800 writings from the pens of the ancient heathens setting nearly all the duties of life and teaching the immortality of the soul, etc, all copied in due course by the dishonest Christian writers and claiming it as their own, and that Christianity is superior to other religions.

But my demolition of its three pillars — Miracles, Prophecy, and Faith — prostrate the divine claims of Christianity, and does not leave an inch of ground for Christianity to rest on. It shows up as a fraudulent, false and fictitious religion, and J.C. as "The God who never was."

Brian de Kretser
Darwin, N.T. Australia




CONSIDER THE GOLDEN RULE

Anonymous

(Investigator 134, 2010 July)


Jesus stated: "In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets." (Matthew 7:12) This rule received its label "the Golden Rule" in the 16th century


Mr Straughen (#120) listed other ancient versions of the rule to refute some Christians who think, "only their religion has a monopoly on such values."

The Encyclopedia of Biblical and Christian Ethics (1987, R K Harrison) says: The rule was not unknown to the pagan world, occurring in Oriental and European authors alike. When it is quoted, however, it usually appears in a negative form such as "Do not do to others what you would not have them do to you."

The New Testament accepts that Gentiles and non-Christians do get some ethical standards correct and therefore may, when God's judgment comes, be "excused". (Romans 2:12-16)

Mr De Kretser (#133) claimed that the Golden Rule is one of 800 heathen writings "copied…by the dishonest Christians and claiming it as their own."

I've pointed out before that having some words or ideas in common does not demonstrate copying. Any two books about World War II, for example, have many words and phrases in common but without plagiarism. It's when whole paragraphs are almost identical that suspicion arises. Jesus referred not to "heathen writings" but to the Old Testament, the "law and the prophets", as his source. One scripture he would have had in mind is, "You shall love your neighbour as yourself." (Leviticus 19:18)

Critics sometimes challenge the Golden Rule: "Presumably, therefore, if you would like everyone you meet to hand you a gold coin…then you must present a gold coin to each of them, even though they do not actually give you any." (Arnheim, M. Is Christianity True? 1984)  Or if you like chocolate then give chocolate to others even if they hate chocolate to get more chocolate back. (Hospers, J. An Introduction to Philosophical Analysis, 1967)  Or if you want help when in difficulty, then help the murderer who's having difficulty escaping the law.

Jesus explained that the Golden Rule is about giving "good gifts" to the innocent in need: "Is there anyone among you who, if your child asks for bread, will give a stone? Or if the child asks for a fish, will give a snake?" (Matthew 7:9-12)

The Golden Rule is as much about sensible, lawful and unselfish "wants" as it is about actions. It's a guide to responding to innocent others in situations of need with lawful and  caring actions appropriate to that need.

The "Good Samaritan", for example, encountered a stranger who had been robbed and left for dead and "did as you would have him do to you" by dressing his wounds and taking him to an inn to recover. (Luke 10:29-37)

Theodicy

The Golden Rule is also related to Theodicy (why God permits evil), and to Judgment:

In #104 I argued that the reason why God (if He exists) allows humans to suffer is our "knowledge of good and evil". (Genesis 3:22) This "knowledge" is the attitude everyone has that they are right in their ethics and actions and that others who disagree (including God) are wrong. Such attitude is not refuted by God using force but by God saying, "Go for it, prove it, show me." Then He would have to stay on the sidelines as if non-existent so that people can act freely without being intimidated by his power.

If God stays away to let humans prove their supposed rightness then humans become responsible to do all the good that God would do if he didn't have to stay away. Here we have a basis for charity, altruism and working to improve living standards. The Golden Rule is a guide to fulfil these obligations.

Furthermore, if the reason for permitting evil is to let people prove their supposed goodness, then the appropriate basis for judgment is for people to be judged by their conduct:
For all of us must appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each may receive recompense for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (II Corinthians 5:10).

For judgment will be without mercy to anyone who has shown no mercy. (James 2:13, 24)

…all were judged according to what they had done. (Revelation 20:13)
Let us therefore do appropriate good to people we encounter, thus following the Golden Rule.


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