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Is Christianity unique or are most religions based upon the same fundamental principle?

Discussion in 'General Religious Debates' started by logician, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. logician

    logician Well-Known Member

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    That principle being the golden rule. Many religions, including Christianity, have their own version of the golden rule, or the "Ethics of Reciprocity". It is interesting that although all these faiths may view their god(s) in quite different manners, that their ethical systems are quite similar.

    Following is a list, not necessarily comprehensive:
    • Bahá'í Faith:
      • "Ascribe not to any soul that which thou wouldst not have ascribed to thee, and say not that which thou doest not." "Blessed is he who preferreth his brother before himself." Baha'u'llah
      • "And if thine eyes be turned towards justice, choose thou for thy neighbour that which thou choosest for thyself." Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
    • 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
      • Hurt not others in ways that you yourself would find hurtful." Udana-Varga 5:18
    • Christianity:
      • "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." Matthew 7:12, King James Version.
      • "And as ye would that men should do to you, do ye also to them likewise." Luke 6:31, King James Version.
      • "...and don't do what you hate...", Gospel of Thomas 6. The Gospel of Thomas is one of about 40 gospels that were widely accepted among early Christians, but which never made it into the Christian Scriptures (New Testament).
    • Confucianism:
      • "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" Analects 15:23
      • "Tse-kung asked, 'Is there one word that can serve as a principle of conduct for life?' Confucius replied, 'It is the word 'shu' -- reciprocity. Do not impose on others what you yourself do not desire.'" Doctrine of the Mean 13.3
      • "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." Mencius VII.A.4
    • Ancient Egyptian:
      • "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 to 1640 BCE and may be the earliest version ever written. 3
    • Hinduism:
      • This is the sum of duty: do not do to others what would cause pain if done to you. Mahabharata 5:1517
    • Humanism:
      • "(5) Humanists acknowledge human interdependence, the need for mutual respect and the kinship of all humanity."
      • "(11) Humanists affirm that individual and social problems can only be resolved by means of human reason, intelligent effort, critical thinking joined with compassion and a spirit of empathy for all living beings. " 4
      • "Don't do things you wouldn't want to have done to you, British Humanist Society. 3
    • 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." 5
    • Jainism:
      • "Therefore, neither does he [a sage] cause violence to others nor does he make others do so." Acarangasutra 5.101-2.
      • "In happiness and suffering, in joy and grief, we should regard all creatures as we regard our own self." Lord Mahavira, 24th Tirthankara
      • "A man should wander about treating all creatures as he himself would be treated. "Sutrakritanga 1.11.33
    • Judaism:
      • "...thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.", Leviticus 19:18
      • "What is hateful to you, do not to your fellow man. This is the law: all the rest is commentary." Talmud, Shabbat 31a.
      • "And what you hate, do not do to any one." Tobit 4:15 6
    • Native American Spirituality:
      • "Respect for all life is the foundation." The Great Law of Peace.
      • "All things are our relatives; what we do to everything, we do to ourselves. All is really One." Black Elk
      • "Do not wrong or hate your neighbor. For it is not he who you wrong, but yourself." Pima proverb.
    • Roman Pagan Religion: "The law imprinted on the hearts of all men is to love the members of society as themselves."
    • Shinto:
      • "The heart of the person before you is a mirror. See there your own form"
      • "Be charitable to all beings, love is the representative of God." Ko-ji-ki Hachiman Kasuga
    • Sikhism:
      • Compassion-mercy and religion are the support of the entire world". Japji Sahib
      • "Don't create enmity with anyone as God is within everyone." Guru Arjan Devji 259
      • "No one is my enemy, none a stranger and everyone is my friend." Guru Arjan Dev : AG 1299
    • Sufism: "The basis of Sufism is consideration of the hearts and feelings of others. If you haven't the will to gladden someone's heart, then at least beware lest you hurt someone's heart, for on our path, no sin exists but this." Dr. Javad Nurbakhsh, Master of the Nimatullahi Sufi Order.
    • Taoism:
      • "Regard your neighbor's gain as your own gain, and your neighbor's loss as your own loss." T'ai Shang Kan Ying P'ien.
      • "The sage has no interest of his own, but takes the interests of the people as his own. He is kind to the kind; he is also kind to the unkind: for Virtue is kind. He is faithful to the faithful; he is also faithful to the unfaithful: for Virtue is faithful." Tao Teh Ching, Chapter 49
    • Unitarian:
    "The inherent worth and dignity of every person;"
    "Justice, equity and compassion in human relations.... "
    "The goal of world community with peace, liberty, and justice for all
    ;"
    "We affirm and promote respect for the interdependent web of all existence of which we are a part." Unitarian principles. 7,8
    • Wicca: "An it harm no one, do what thou wilt" (i.e. do what ever you will, as long as it harms nobody, including yourself). One's will is to be carefully thought out in advance of action. This is called the Wiccan Rede
    • Yoruba: (Nigeria): "One going to take a pointed stick to pinch a baby bird should first try it on himself to feel how it hurts."
    • Zoroastrianism:
      • "That nature alone is good which refrains from doing unto another whatsoever is not good for itself". Dadistan-i-dinik 94:5
      • "Whatever is disagreeable to yourself do not do unto others." Shayast-na-Shayast 13:29
    Some philosophers' statements are:

    • Epictetus: "What you would avoid suffering yourself, seek not to impose on others." (circa 100 CE)
    • Kant: "Act as if the maxim of thy action were to become by thy will a universal law of nature."
    • Plato: "May I do to others as I would that they should do unto me." (Greece; 4th century BCE)
    • Socrates: "Do not do to others that which would anger you if others did it to you." (Greece; 5th century BCE)
    • Seneca: "Treat your inferiors as you would be treated by your superiors," Epistle 47:11 (Rome; 1st century CE)
    Versions of the Golden Rule in 21 world religions
     
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  2. Mister Emu

    Mister Emu Emu Extraordinaire
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    Christianity certainly is not unique in that respect...
     
  3. rocketman

    rocketman Out there...

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    Christianity is primarily about salvation, not the golden rule. And while the rule is important, it does take a back seat to a more important rule:

    "One of the teachers of the law came and heard them debating. Noticing that Jesus had given them a good answer, he asked him, 'Of all the commandments, which is the most important?'"

    "'The most important one,' answered Jesus, 'is this: Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.'"

    "The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself"

    Mark 12:28-31
     
  4. ben d

    ben d Being

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    Hi Logician, that is a fine contribution and brings to 'light' the underlying principle of the unity of all, thank you.

    Agree with you and Mister Emu that this principle is not unique to Christianity, but is common to all religions.
     
  5. logician

    logician Well-Known Member

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    But this "primary" rule is not about ethics, but about how Christians are supposed to relate to their god. All the different religions mentioned have different ways of relating to their god, but their ethical systems are very much alike.
     
  6. rocketman

    rocketman Out there...

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    Ok matey, the broad thread title threw me ;). I think the golden rule is simple enough that it would be 'discovered' time and again throughout history. So I would agree with you, and I would add that the Christian version of the golden rule is probably one of the most generous and true to principle, it seems to go a step further and invites loss for the sake of upholding the rule:

    "But I tell you who hear me: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you. If someone strikes you on one cheek, turn to him the other also. If someone takes your cloak, do not stop him from taking your tunic. Give to everyone who asks you, and if anyone takes what belongs to you, do not demand it back. Do to others as you would have them do to you." Luke 6:27-31
     
    #6 rocketman, Dec 18, 2008
    Last edited: Dec 18, 2008
  7. logician

    logician Well-Known Member

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    Some say the golden rule of Confucianism is more practical:
    • "Do not do to others what you do not want them to do to you" Analects 15:23
    In that it is phrased in the negative, not a demand for action, it is, instead, a constraint.
     
  8. angellous_evangellous

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    Christianity is also not founded on the golden rule, as are almost none of the other religions listed above.
     
  9. kai

    kai ragamuffin

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    i think this Golden rule is a fundamental wish of "people" particularly the weak the poor,the subjugated, its no wonder people incorporate it into their religion. I see nothing Divine in its origins
     
  10. Father Heathen

    Father Heathen Veteran Member

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    Almost all religions are derivative and syncretic rehashes.
     
  11. tomspug

    tomspug Absorbant

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    The conclusion we draw from this is that, inherent in mankind, IN SPITE of religious and cultural differences, is the notion that there is a difference between right and wrong.
     
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  12. logician

    logician Well-Known Member

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    But not that "right" and "wrong" are objective to all, but are subjective to the culture or group.
     
  13. Trey of Diamonds

    Trey of Diamonds Well-Known Member

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    I disagree with part of this. I think the Golden Rule came from the strong rather than the weak. It takes a couragous and strong individual to turn away from the status quo of the powerful doing whatever they please to whoever they please. The Golden Rule came from strong people trying to protect the weak, not weak people begging for a savior.

    I agree with the fact that the origin isn't Divine.
     
  14. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    How special it is to find this bit of petit plagiarism in a thread about uniqueness from someone who persistently ridicules Christianity as plagiarism. :)

    (Logician, the quote key is that little square thingy next to that big, rectangular, "Enter" key.)
     
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  15. tomspug

    tomspug Absorbant

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    If right and wrong aren't objective, then why is the idea universal? If everyone in a room looks at an apple and says that it is red, what conclusion must you logically draw? We might have different NAMES for the apple or even opinions on its flavor, but it remains the same object.
     
  16. logician

    logician Well-Known Member

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    Objective in this case means what's right or wrong for one person is the same for another, however it isn't. Different cultures have different laws, norms, and mores.
     
  17. Magic Man

    Magic Man Reaper of Conversation

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    For one, it's not. For another, it's as widely spread as it is because we're all human, and have similar perspectives on the world. That doesn't mean something is objective.

    What about colorblind people? What about just plain blind people? Each of us creates the apple when we see it. We mostly have the same visual apparati, and so to most of us it's going to come out similar. Again, that doesn't make it objective.
     
  18. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    So you reject a reality independent of you perceptions?
     
  19. Magic Man

    Magic Man Reaper of Conversation

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    I'm going to assume this was directed at me, but if not, don't mind me. There is a "reality" independent of me, but my perceptions are what realize it.
     
  20. Jayhawker Soule

    Jayhawker Soule <yawn> ignore </yawn>
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    Yes, it was directed at you and I rather like the answer. Thanks. Would you also agree that this "reality" has attributes (e.g., the mass of a bowling ball) that are likewise independent of the observer? So, for example, would you expect any observer standing at the intersection of Haight and Ashbury in San Francisco will "realize" that a bowling ball is heavier than a ping pong ball?
     
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