• Mini Rant: The Golden Rule

    golden ruleFirst off, “The Golden Rule” predates Jesus. It is really annoying when Christians try to claim it as if it was something Jesus thought up and therefore proves how great he was. Buddha talked about The Golden Rule 500 years before Jesus was alleged to have been born and Buddha probably wasn’t the first to come up with it either.

    Second, the Golden Rule isn’t even very good. It might be good as a guide, but definitely not a rule. There is the pretty obvious problem with treating others as you would like to be treated. People aren’t all the same. Different people have different wants, needs, and desires. One extreme example is that of the masochist. Should someone who enjoys the sensation of pain, inflict pain on others since that is how he or she likes to be treated? Of course not! People are different and have different wants, needs, and desires.

    Enter the next rule in the sequence. Don’t do onto others as they would not have you do onto them. This is a much better rule but it suffers the problem of inaction. It calls on people not to act rather than to act. It is the “leave other people alone” rule. Basically the Libertarian version of The Golden Rule. And even that is an improvement.

    The better rule obviously follows. Do onto others as THEY would have you do onto THEM. This requires a little more effort. For one thing it requires you to actually think about other people and not just think about yourself. One criticism of this rule is that we aren’t psychics. How do we know how other people would like to be treated? Fair enough, but there really is an easy solution to this problem — ask them!

    Yeah, this rule is a little harder than The Golden Rule because it involves not just actually thinking about other people (which might be more effort than some religious believers are willing to take), but also communicating with other people. Don’t ask God how to treat other people, ask other people how they would like to be treated and then treat other people as they would like you to treat them!

    Category: featuredHumanismJesus ChristMini RantMoralityPhilosophyThe Golden Rule


    Article by: Staks Rosch

    Staks Rosch is a writer for the Skeptic Ink Network & Huffington Post, and is also a freelance writer for Publishers Weekly. Currently he serves as the head of the Philadelphia Coalition of Reason and is a stay-at-home dad.