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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Golden Rule

Christians are always asserting that without the bible there is no basis for morality. That is patently absurd. The issue is that as a society we have decided that hurting people is bad and helping people is good because we are social animals and helping the individual helps the society. That is why we condemned the Nazi’s for war crimes against humanity. We did not condemn for violating gods laws, but mans laws.
What is pathetic is that Christians are saying the only thing that keeps them from raping, killing and stealing is a book. Decent people do not do those things because they know it harms others. They do not need a book of myths to know that hurting others hurts everyone. These are concepts that people have known for centuries before Jesus was ever thought of.

The Golden Rule- Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. A nice statement from Jesus. So is this same concept from Buddha, “Hurt not others with what pains yourself,” some 500 years before Jesus.
But that is hardly unique:

An early example of the Golden Rule that reflects the Ancient Egyptian concept of Maat appears in the story of The Eloquent Peasant which is dated to the Middle Kingdom (c. 2040–1650 BCE): “Now this is the command: Do to the doer to cause that he do.”[6] An example from a Late Period (c. 664 BC – 323 BCE) papyrus: “That which you hate to be done to you, do not do to another.”
The Golden Rule in its prohibitive form was a common principle in ancient Greek philosophy. Examples of the general concept include:
“Do not to your neighbor what you would take ill from him.” – Pittacus[10] (c. 640–568 BCE)
“Avoid doing what you would blame others for doing.” – Thales
“What you do not want to happen to you, do not do it yourself either. ” – Sextus the Pythagorean.
 The oldest extant reference to Sextus is by Origin in the third century of the common era.
“Do not do to others what would anger you if done to you by others.” – Isocrates
“What thou avoidest suffering thyself seek not to impose on others.” – Epictetus
“It is impossible to live a pleasant life without living wisely and well and justly (agreeing ‘neither to harm nor be harmed", and it is impossible to live wisely and well and justly without living a pleasant life.” – Epicurus
“One should never do wrong in return, nor mistreat any man, no matter how one has been mistreated by him.” – Plato’s Socrates (Crito, 49c) (c. 469 BC–399 BCE)

The Golden Rule existed among all the major philisophical schools of Ancient China: Mohism, Taoism, and Confucianism. Examples of the concept include:
“Zi Gong asked, saying, “Is there one word which may serve as a rule of practice for all one’s life?” The Master said, “Is not RECIPROCITY such a word?” – Confucius
“Never impose on others what you would not choose for yourself.” – Confucius
“If people regarded other people’s families in the same way that they regard their own, who then would incite their own family to attack that of another? For one would do for others as one would do for oneself.” – Mozi
“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.” –Laozi
“Regard your neighbor’s gain as your own gain, and your neighbor’s loss as your own loss.” –Laozi

It was known to the Hindu's 1500 to 2000 years before the Old Testament was written.

Hinduism: 3200 BC, From the Hitopadesa- "One should always treat others as they themselves wish to be treated."

What you consider as the wisdom from a god, was known to man long before your god was ever a concept in anyone's mind.

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