The Golden Rule is a Christian principle

What is the golden rule?

The so-called “Golden Rule” describes a principle that Jesus taught in his Sermon on the Mount. The phrase "Golden Rule" is not mentioned in the Bible, nor is the word "Sermon on the Mount" mentioned. These terms were later added by teams of Bible translators to refer to different passages of Scripture to make the Bible easier to read and study. The expression "golden rule" was used in this teaching of Jesus in the 16th-17th centuries. Attributed to the 17th century.

What we call the Golden Rule refers to Matthew 7:12: “Now whatever you want people to do to you, do it for them too! That is the law and the prophets. ”Jesus knew the human heart and its egoism. In fact, in the previous verse, he describes people as inherently evil (verse 11). Jesus' Golden Rule gives us a standard by which naturally selfish people can measure their actions: in all things, others should actively treat as one would like to be treated oneself.

The Good News Bible translates the Golden Rule as follows: "Treat people as you yourself want them to treat - that is what the law and the prophets demand." entire Old Testament from Leviticus 19:18: “You shall not avenge yourself or keep anger against the children of your people. You shall love your next like yourself; I am the LORD. ”Again, we have the implication that humans are naturally loving for themselves because of sin, and this commandment uses that human stain as a starting point for treating others.

People universally demand respect, love, and recognition, whether they deserve it or not. Jesus understood this need and used it to encourage godly behavior. Do you want to be shown respect? Then you should respect others. Do you long for a kind word? Then one should speak words of kindness to others. “It is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35). The Golden Rule is also part of the second greatest commandment, preceded only by the commandment to love God himself (Matthew 22: 37-39).

What is interesting about the Golden Rule is that no other religious or philosophical system has its own equal. Jesus' golden rule is not the “ethics of reciprocity” as is commonly claimed by non-Christian moralists. Often liberal critics and secular humanists try to dismiss the uniqueness of the golden rule and explain it as a common ethic shared by all religions. However, this is not the case. Jesus' command is different. The difference is only subtle, but very important. A brief consideration of Eastern religions and philosophies will make this clear:

• Confucianism: "Do not do anything to others that you do not want yourself to be done" Analects 15.23 (translated from English).

• Hinduism: "That is the sum of the duty: do not do anything to others that would cause you pain". Mahabharata 5.1517 (translated from English).

• Buddhism: "Do not do anything to others that you yourself find painful." Udanavarga 5.18 (translated from English).

These sayings are similar to the Golden Rule, but they are negative formulated and based on passivity. The golden rule of Jesus is one positive Commandment to show love on your own initiative. Eastern religions say "don't do it"; Jesus says, “Do it!” Eastern religions say it is enough to keep negative behavior in check; Jesus says one should look for ways to act positively. Because of the “reverse” nature of non-Christian sayings, they were called "Silver Rule" called.

Some have accused Jesus of “borrowing” the idea of ​​the Golden Rule from Eastern religions. However, the texts cited above for Confucianism, Hinduism and Buddhism were all published between 500 and 400 BC at the earliest. Written in BC. Jesus adopts the golden rule from the 3rd book of Moses, which was published around 1450 BC. Was written. Jesus' source for the Golden Rule is about 1,000 years before the "Silver Rule". Who “borrowed” from whom?

The command to love is the difference between Christian ethics and the ethics of any other religion. Indeed, the Bible is so radical in its command to love actively that Christians even have to love their enemies (Matthew 5: 43-44; Exodus 23: 4-5), which is ignored in all other religions.

Obeying the Christian commandment to love others is a hallmark of a true Christian (John 13:35). In fact, Christians cannot claim to love God unless they actively love other people. “If someone says: I love God and hates his brother, he is a liar. For whoever does not love his brother whom he sees cannot love God whom he does not see ”(1 John 4:20). The Golden Rule contains this idea and is unique in the Judeo-Christian scriptures.


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What is the golden rule?
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