Monday, July 29, 2013

What Happened to the Golden Rule?

The Golden Rule is called the golden rule because it has its origin in many different cultures and is the basis of one of the oldest and most powerful formulations of moral duty.  This moral maxim which is also called the ‘Law of Reciprocity” is based on the idea of mutual interest and has its roots and builds a common thread through all of the major religions, and especially the Abrahamic teachings of Judaism, Islam and Christianity. Now, I am asking myself, can’t we just put away all of politics and bring together the children of God under their one True Parents?

I watched a short video on TED by Karen Armstrong  who defends the Golden Rule for various reasons.  She asks some very simple questions: will dogmas divide us? Or will it unite us for the common good?  She reviews the catalysts that can drive the world's faiths to rediscover the Golden Rule.   She is a religious historian and has done extensive research in all religions.  Here is her video:

“People want to be right instead compassioned.”
~ Karen Armstrong

I believe that the Golden Rule is a deep source of morality.  It takes us beyond our own self-centeredness and challenges us to be compassioned, be aware of other’s needs and by applying it, helps us to integrate with people who are different from us.  It is the foundation of all existence: Give and Take (Receive).  Nothing can occur without that exchange, in fact, all of creation happens on that circular swap.  From the very give-and-take within the atom to the very complex orbits of the planets, the whole universe maintains its balance of energy that way.  It is one of those natural laws we could not live without.  Therefore, even if we don’t belief in it or try to deny the principle, it is challenging us to our very core. 

In the Western World we refer to it because of the words of Jesus in his Sermon on the Mount.
“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
~Matthew 7:12

But the golden rule has been mentioned long before Jesus in other cultures, here are some quotes from other religions and cultures in alphabetical order:

“Even looking at contemporary morals and social ethics, a certain principle applies. It is the standard that we live for the sake of others and not insist that others live for us."
 ~ Sun Myung Moon (71:125, April 29, 1974)

According to the universal law, a subject partner should care for its object partner as parents care for their children or teachers for their students. However, people in the fallen world instead try to use others in self-centered ways. That is why they perish. Through their good example, religious people should educate others in Heaven’s principle that we should place the happiness of others before our own happiness.
~ Sun Myung Moon  (271:72, August 21, 1995)

The Golden Rule imposes on each of us an independent, enduring moral obligation to help and be kind to others even if they ignore their similar obligations to us.

I believe that even some businesses are applying the golden rule.  It is certainly good customer service.  I listened to Chade-MengTan, a Google engineer, as he testified to the everyday compassion practices of Google.

The Ontario Consultants for Religious Tolerance have identified 18 religions, which all share a version of what Americans commonly refer to as "The Golden Rule." The consultants define it as "The Ethic of Reciprocity -- often called the Golden Rule in Christianity -- simply states that you are to treat other people as you would wish to be treated yourself." This concept exists throughout hundreds of cultures and therefore intersects with business and workplace behavior.

An extreme example of lack of integrity and accountability can be seen in today's political landscape. No matter where they land on the spectrum, politicians are consistently promising to do the right things if elected. Lower taxes, save the environment, stimulate the economy - every election season the American public is inundated with promises.

To be fair, these politicians might actually think they can follow through on their vows, but the lack of results from any single one of them or any party as a whole has become an epidemic in and of itself.  It also proves that politics without being based spiritual values cannot survive. That's where accountability comes in - you must do what you say.


Here is a beautiful video, showing us the applications of the Golden Rule:


If you have never heard of the Golden Rule or the Law of Reciprocity I hope you can do your own research.

-"It's impossible," said pride. "It's risky," said experience. "It's pointless," said reason. "Give it a try," whispered the heart.
– Unknown

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